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OTTAWA, April 15 – The largest-ever survey of Canadians’ attitudes on municipal issues shows they believe municipal governments do not have the resources they need to meet the challenges facing them, and they want the federal government to play a major role in fixing the problem. That was the principal message today as FCM President Gord Steeves released the survey results at a news conference in Ottawa.
The poll of 2,000 Canadians, conducted for FCM by The Strategic Counsel between Jan. 30 and Feb. 14, 2008, found that Canadians believe their municipal governments are under-funded in relation to the services they provide to their communities. However, they do not see raising property taxes or reducing municipal services as ways to fix the problem. Most believe provincial and federal governments should provide the additional funds.
“This poll leaves no room for doubt about Canadians’ views on the importance of their cities and communities and the need for federal government support for the places they call home,” said Steeves. “Now it’s time for the federal government to act on Canadians’ priorities.”
The poll shows Canadians overwhelmingly want the federal government to provide greater financial support to municipal governments. More than 90 per cent say the federal government should help municipal governments deal with infrastructure issues, a view shared across the country, including in Quebec and Alberta.
They are so concerned about municipal under-funding that they would have preferred the federal government kept the GST at 6 per cent and used the funds to help municipalities. A strong majority (67 per cent) want to see the federal surplus used for spending on areas requiring additional funding.
“The survey shows that Canadians are aware of the issues and challenges facing their municipalities and understand that these local issues have national implications,” says Tim Woolstencroft of The Strategic Counsel.
Finally, the poll shows that, of all the issues currently facing Canadians, only health care is more important than helping cities and communities with their infrastructure. This priority was rated well ahead of other important issues, including post-secondary education, fighting smog and climate change, helping industry be more competitive, assisting aboriginal people, and improving border and public security.
The findings are based on a national survey of 2000 Canadians aged 18 years and older, with a margin of error of 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Results are based on interviews conducted between Jan. 30 and Feb. 14, 2008.
To view the survey go to www.fcm.ca/english/documents/april152008.pdf
For further information: Maurice Gingues, (613) 907-6395
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