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Premiers want return to co-operation with federal government with new budget

OTTAWA — Canada’s premiers are warning the federal government not to overreach into their jurisdictions when it comes to delivering the programs laid out in Ottawa’s latest budget.

In a letter responding to the Liberals’ budget, the premiers say they worry new federal programs are eventually going to be downloaded onto provinces and territories. 

They also say the housing crisis cannot be solved by the federal government working with municipalities alone. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would go directly to mayors to provide housing funding after Ontario Premier Doug Ford refused to accept the money with conditions. 

The premiers say they need to have a key role in developing federal housing programs and are calling for more flexibility.

The government’s new housing plan includes billions in spending aimed at building nearly 3.9 million homes by 2031.

In the letter, Council of the Federation president and Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston touches on everything from defence spending and disaster assistance to housing. He says the premiers were expecting updated Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements this year to provide adequate support for emergencies.

The premiers want to see even more spending on Arctic security and investments to equip and staff the Canadian Armed Forces. 

Houston and his fellow premiers also say they expected the federal budget to include flexible and predictable infrastructure funding, “but this did not happen.” 

“Budget 2024 may lead to positive impacts for Canadians if actioned properly and collaboratively with provincial and territorial partners,” Houston wrote.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2024. 

The Canadian Press


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