Ontario's big-city mayors meet this week to press for elusive federal dollars for big-ticket urban needs, but on one score they face an embarrassment of riches.
Suddenly, they have not one, but two similar-named public advocacy campaigns to lobby the minority federal Conservative government to share its $14-billion budget surplus directly with cities across Canada.
Now Ontario mayors confront a delicate task: how to stick to their core message without confusing the public with competing pitches.
Last week, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion grabbed the headlines with her "Cities Now" crusade, scolding federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty for announcing tax breaks to individuals and businesses rather than investing the equivalent dollars in cities.
To drive the point home, she won council approval in principle for a 5-per-cent "infrastructure" surcharge for residents and businesses, on top of a pending property tax hike, to claw back the federal tax cuts that include a percentage point drop in the GST to 5 per cent. This week, she will challenge other Ontario mayors to follow suit - and tell taxpayers the federal government is to blame.
But another campaign already exists - "One Cent Now!" launched earlier this year by Toronto Mayor David Miller to fire up voters for a likely federal election next year. Source...