(Ottawa): “Municipalities need more power and autonomy to address 21st century challenges,” says GPO leader Mike Schreiner while attending the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in Ottawa.
The Green Party supports providing municipalities with more flexibility, autonomy and tools. Schreiner believes cities need more flexibility to close the infrastructure gap and fund services while reducing the tax burden on municipal property tax payers.
“Cities should be able to diversify revenue sources to reduce demands on property taxes without begging for permission from the province,” says Schreiner. “The province cannot stand in the way of municipalities ”
Schreiner supports giving cities the power to implement revenue tools such as congestion charges on city roads to reduce gridlock and pay for infrastructure. Cities need more autonomy to address infrastructure, transportation and housing challenges according to the Greens.
“The Liberals should be ashamed of the way they threw Toronto Mayor Tory under the bus on road pricing,” says Schreiner. “The NDP and Conservatives are more interested in playing political games than solving gridlock in municipalities across Ontario. We need honest answers to how municipalities can pay for infrastructure to make our communities more livable.”
Schreiner is also calling for municipalities to have more power when the province issues water taking permits. The GPO supports managing water as a public trust in the the public interest. Greens are calling on the government to prioritize public drinking water for municipalities over other users when issuing permits to take water.
“It’s ridiculous that a multinational corporation could outbid the Town of Centre Wellington for access to water,” says Schreiner. “Or that the City of Guelph has to fight a private corporation and the province to protect the city’s water from a quarry. This has to change.”
The GPO is on a mission to bring honesty, integrity and solutions that work for people to Queen’s Park.