TORONTO, February 27, 2007 – Ontario’s three biggest political parties got an early start on the 2007 provincial election this week, delivering campaign style speeches to municipal delegates at the at the annual ROMA / OGRA conference in Toronto.
“All three political parties recognize that Ontario’s flawed municipal funding arrangements threaten the competitiveness and prosperity of our communities and the province as a whole,” said AMO President Doug Reycraft.  “It is now clear that the upcoming election campaign will involve substantive discussions of how best to achieve fiscally sustainable municipal government that benefits us all.” 

On Monday, Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing outlined the progress that his government has made to consult with, empower and provide increased revenue for municipal governments during his government’s term.  

On Tuesday, Progressive Conservative leader John Tory promised to negotiate new funding arrangements between the federal, provincial and municipal orders of government, and to enter into long-term funding agreements with Ontario’s municipalities.  Immediately afterward, New Democratic Leader Howard Hampton advocated the uploading of health and social service costs, and outlined his plan to reduce energy costs. 

AMO is providing links to these three speeches on its web site – www.amo.on.ca – along with remarks that AMO President Doug Reycraft presented to conference delegates earlier today.  

Currently, about half of all municipal property tax dollars fund education and provincially mandated health and social service programs.  This funding model is unique to Ontario and it undermines the ability of our municipalities to deliver core municipal services and invest in essential infrastructure.  

“Expectations are high that the Province’s 2007 Budget, expected next month, will provide some of the substantive fiscal relief that all three parties are advocating in principle,” added Reycraft.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 445 municipal governments.  AMO supports and enhances strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.