The third annual Federal-Municipal Meeting was held Wednesday, January 17 at the Centre Bombardier. An initiative of Bernard Généreux, MP for Montmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, the meeting aims to foster a stronger relationship between the two levels of government through knowledge sharing. More than 50 elected officials and their representatives attended.
The topics that emerged from the meeting were infrastructure funding, federal finances, progress regarding cellular network coverage in rural areas, promoting programs to support municipal development projects, the importance of strengthening foreign worker recruitment channels, and the establishment of a day promoting physical activity throughout the riding.
“With the majority of my municipal counterparts having been recently elected on November 5, I felt it was especially important that we all get together,” Mr. Généreux stated. “I’m delighted that so many of them agreed to attend this annual meeting, which I take great care to ensure is as informative and welcoming as possible. I started my political career at the municipal level, so I know how essential it is to keep the lines of communication open.”
The Honourable Michael Chong, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Communities and Urban Affairs, noted that “despite the pivotal role infrastructure plays in our economy, the federal government has failed to reach an agreement with the provinces on the now $20 billion in federal funding that was promised through various infrastructure programs but remains undelivered.” According to Mr. Chong, these programs have let down communities across Canada.
“With balanced budgets not expected until 2045, the federal government has shown a complete loss of control over public finances,” said Gérard Deltell, Shadow Minister for Treasury Board. “The Liberals had originally promised deficits of no more than $10 billion, but that figure has now doubled. What’s more, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance currently find themselves embroiled in ethics scandals. It is high time that Prime Minister Trudeau brought his administration back under control and kept the promises his government made to Canadians.”
As part of the Tournée agroalimentaire, which takes place this year from April 1 to September 30, Mr. Généreux invited community representatives to suggest agri-food businesses for him to visit, including those of all sizes in sectors such as production, processing, training, innovation, and research and development. The goal of the showcase tour is to highlight the breadth of agri-food expertise in Montmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup.
Mr. Généreux also gave a brief overview of the various announcements regarding cellular coverage in the riding, and reiterated his support for efforts to expand this core service to more constituents.
Two local entrepreneurs also addressed the meeting to share their initiatives and insights.
Hugues Battisti of LimBa Consultant Inc. suggested that elected officials needed to think outside the box. “I believe that employers should be made aware that the traditional methods of building a workforce are no longer sufficient, and that they must now look to immigration.”
For Bruno Morin, Vice-President of the Fonds d’investissement Côte-du-Sud Inc., regional economic development depends on citizens’ involvement, such as the group of entrepreneurs who created a venture capital investment fund, which he sees as an example of “smart capital.”
Senator and ex-Olympian Nancy Greene Raine addressed attendees via videoconference from Kamloops, British Columbia. She outlined her initiative to foster healthy and active living and showcase communities’ recreational activities — Bill S-211, An Act to establish a national day to promote health and fitness for all Canadians — which Parliament passed in 2014. According to the senator, the law is meant to encourage more municipalities throughout Canada to celebrate National Health and Fitness Day, and she was happy to note that 300 of them would be doing so on Saturday, June 2, 2018.
Mr. Généreux confirmed that a fourth meeting with mayors had already been scheduled for January 2019.
“There will always be new challenges to face. I consistently strive to help initiate the discussions that lead to real improvement in the economy and the quality of life of my constituents.”