LETTER – Regional labour council imploring the federal government to help municipalities

Dear editor,

Our community is facing a crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, and local governments haven’t been spared. Municipal governments are an important economic driver in our communities. They provide vital services like libraries, road construction, policing and fire fighting, garbage and recycling collection, and many more services we take for granted.

However, COVID-19 is having an impact on the ability of our local governments to deliver the important services we all rely on. Here in the Comox Valley we’ve seen many programs deferred or suspended. There will be challenges for many homeowners to pay taxes when they’ve lost work, and income. This will add further pressure on ability to provide good services.

Local governments help keep people safe and directly help citizens to weather the storm, and they need the help of the federal government to be able to keep doing this important work. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has asked for immediate action from the federal government to provide emergency funding to get through this crisis. We, at the Campbell River, Courtenay and District Labour Council, agree.

We are asking for the federal government to deliver targeted emergency operating funds to all local governments in order that services can be maintained. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is calling on the federal government to give cities the help they need, and has proposed a model based on the federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) that includes funding for the general operation of municipalities, and the maintenance of public transit and transportation.

The need is immediate and urgent. We call on the federal government to save our cities, towns, and municipalities from financial distress by providing emergency assistance.

Ben Olsson, president

Campbell River, Courtenay and District Labour Council

Do you have an opinion you’d like to share? Email letters@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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