Mayors across Canada who make up the Big City Mayors’ Caucus will sit down and meet with the prime minister Friday morning in Ottawa.
Mayors for Saskatoon and Regina, Don Atchison and Michael Fougere hope to get more insight into possible bailout money from the federal government, and how that might flow to municipalities in response to the struggling energy sector.
“There’ll be money coming through some emergency funding for Saskatchewan as has gone to Alberta. That stimulus money will be coming out shortly,” he said.
Thursday was the first chance for discussion among the mayors at the two-day meeting.
A priority of Fougere’s before he left was to bring the message of how important it is to move ahead with approval of the Energy East Pipeline project.
He said he had the opportunity to sit down with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre to talk about the subject.
Coderre has expressed public resistance to the pipeline project, saying the economic benefits don’t compare to what the cost of a cleanup of a potential oil spill would be. Despite this difference, Fougere seemed encouraged by their discussion.
“Aside from some of the extreme language being used, I don’t think we’re really that far apart in many ways,” Fougere said.
“We would all want to have any new pipeline or any new construction to meet National Energy Board guidelines and their approval process. Once that’s done – and that would of course accommodate discussions on its impact on the environment – once that is completed, I think we would certainly have support for that.”
Atchison said he’s expecting to learn more about Trudeau’s infrastructure funding program, which at election time, Trudeau pledged to go into deficit to spend $60 billion on infrastructure over 10 years.
“We’d certainly like to get our hands on some infrastructure dollars that are available … we’d like to get (overpasses on) Boychuk and Highway 16, and McCormand Drive and Highway 5 done right away this coming year and a lot of other programs we want federal funding for,” Atchison said.
This is the first meeting with the mayors since the Liberal Party took office.
The mayor also hopes to find out during the final day of the meeting whether the Queen City can expect any more Syrian refugees than what was previously estimated.