Tiasha Tabassum: Trudeau has promised to fund 2.2 billion for the development of the cities that municipal leaders said need help. Due to the budget hole created by COVID-19, the cities are going through an economic crisis. Usually, the funding is distributed in two installments. But this time considering the situation Liberals want to send all money a once in within June.
Municipalities faced huge losses in this pandemic time as the parking transit, recreation centers etc are closed for months. They could not collect enough money to support the system.
FCM president Bill Karstens said the $2.2 billion may help some cities with immediate cash flow issues. But noted the money is not new and has already been accounted for in municipal budgets. “There are municipalities that have certainly indicated to us that, in terms of actual cash flow, they only have another month or so,” he said. Ontario Premier Doug Ford was a bit disappointed and said “We need more money.” Ford said he was willing to help, but the federal government needed to step up as well.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the fast-track spending was the first step as he holds talks with provinces. He said, “There is a range of services offered by cities that are in danger of disappearing. That’s why we’re doing what we can unilaterally and advancing money forward, but we need to work with the provinces on this.”
Federal infrastructure spending is a way to stimulate economic recovery in normal conditions. But this time it is facing new challenges for the COVID-19. Experts suggest the Liberals put money into things like child care and to help women who have lost their jobs.