Mayors’ Council Statement on Federal Cabinet Shuffle
July 26, 2023
Vancouver, B.C. – Following the announcement this morning by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing a new federal cabinet, Mayor Brad West, Chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, said:
“The Mayors’ Council congratulates all members of the new federal cabinet and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the Government of Canada to deliver efficient, reliable and sustainable public transit services to the Metro Vancouver region.
The Prime Minister has said this cabinet shuffle is about aligning government around priorities such as the economy, affordability and housing. These are also priorities for local and provincial governments here in B.C.
I am hoping that this new federal cabinet will get focused on working with cities and provinces to deal with one of the biggest challenges we face, and that is population growth. Major urban regions like the Lower Mainland will be welcoming hundreds of thousands of new Canadians thanks to the federal government’s recent increase in immigration targets, but we haven’t yet seen the government commit the funding we’ll need to get ready for this growth.
The Mayors’ Council has been ramping up our meetings with the federal government in recent months to make sure they know the urgency of delivering new infrastructure funding to cities – including for public transit here in the Lower Mainland. With so many ministers taking on new roles, we plan to go back to Ottawa this fall to make sure they’re hearing about the needs of our region.
The Mayors’ Council has a new 10-year plan called Access for Everyone that will bring significant increases in transit service, road improvements and new infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians in every community in the region. To keep up with growth we need to start rolling out the plan next year, in 2024. But funding from the federal government runs out at the end of this year, which is very concerning. We can’t afford to delay improvements to our transportation network, for the sake of our residents, our local economy and our efforts to reduce GHG emissions. So we’ll be pushing for federal funding through the new Permanent Transit Fund to start no later than 2024 so we can get started on the Access for Everyone plan.
Over the past decade, the region has benefited from a strong partnership with the federal government, and the Province of B.C. remains steadfast in its support for transit expansion in Metro Vancouver. With the B.C. Government providing critical post-pandemic relief funding in the spring to support the near-term stability of our system, TransLink is now ready to move forward with the next phase of expansion projects and service upgrades and we look forward to bringing all three levels of government back to the table to ensure TransLink has sustainable funding so we can keep our region moving.
The Mayors’ Council had a good relationship with the previous Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, and we look forward to meeting with the incoming minister, the Hon. Sean Fraser, to discuss the urgent need for transit investment and its links to affordability and the economy in the Lower Mainland region. We’re sending an official communication this week to congratulate Minister Fraser and we’ll be in Ottawa this fall to push for new funding commitments as he prepares to roll out the federal government’s new infrastructure plan.”
About the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation
The Mayors’ Council is the collective voice of Metro Vancouver residents on transit and transportation. Our members include representatives from each of the 21 municipalities in TransLink’s service area, as well as Electoral Area ‘A’ and the Tsawwassen First Nation. It is responsible for approving TransLink’s transportation plans, identifying local funding and negotiating with other levels of government to make those plans a reality.