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Municipal Affairs Speaking Notes

Municipal Affairs Speaking Notes

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Published by christopher_raes

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Published by: christopher_raes on Oct 21, 2010
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Thank you, and good morning everyone.Before I begin, I’d like to thank the City of Red Deer for allowing us to be here today and, of course, allof you for coming out for this policy announcement.We are here in Red Deer today to unveil the latest of our policies, and in light of municipal electionsearlier this week, we think it’s a great time to talk about municipalities and infrastructure.There were several exciting races across the province in those elections, and Albertans are anxious to seewhat their newly elected councils will do and how their representatives will perform.The Wildrose shares in that anticipation. As the level of government most connected to the daily lives of Albertans, the Wildrose fully supports the role of municipalities.We believe municipalities should be empowered to set their own priorities and equipped with thefinancial resources to meet the needs of their citizens.Unfortunately, that has not been the case in Alberta in recent years.Like local hospitals and schools, municipalities have become another casualty of this government’stendency to centralize and consolidate decision-making power.Funding that should be going to support counties, towns and cities ends up wasted in unnecessary bureaucracy, and municipalities are forced to go cap-in-hand to the provincial treasury in the hopes of getting approval for the projects and services their residents require.We have even heard that municipalities are having to hire full-time staff just to fill out provincial grantapplications, as if infrastructure dollars are some sort of prize to be won with government bureaucratsacting as the judge.It’s no wonder municipalities with crumbling roads and aging public facilities face infrastructure backlogsthat stretch a generation.The current patchwork of municipal grants and funding programs offer no cash-flow predictability. Andwith no long-term funding formula from the province, infrastructure planning becomes mired inuncertainty, and key projects languish on the drawing board while frustrated residents wait and wait.The money that does flow from provincial coffers usually finds its way into constituencies only where theMLA has enough political clout to lobby on their behalf, or ends up going to fund to some ill-conceived pet project nobody asked for.For instance, no one asked to spend billions to pump CO2 into the ground. No one asked the province tospend billions on unneeded power lines.But there is mounting frustration that Anthony Henday overpasses aren’t being built fast enough inEdmonton and the much-needed airport tunnel in Calgary doesn’t even register on the government’sradar.Instead the PC government has been lurching from project to project with no priorities and throwingmoney around based on everything except actual need.Municipal Affairs – Speaking Notes – October 21, 2010 – CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

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