NEWS

Big city mayors talk Canada Post, infrastructure and housing funding

02/26/2014 11:36 EST | Updated 04/28/2014 05:59 EDT
If the mayors of Canada's largest cities feared Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford would steal the spotlight from today's gathering of 22 mayors in Ottawa, Ford validated their concerns by holding an impromptu news conference this morning before their meeting got underway.

"I'm not here to ridicule the Federation of Canadian Municipalities," Ford said about the group that is organizing the event.

"I don't believe it's productive to get together and bash, provincially or federally, whatever your political leanings are," Ford told reporters gathered at city hall in Ottawa.

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, as chair of the big city mayors' caucus, is speaking to reporters in Ottawa. He is accompanied by Ottawa mayor Jim Watson and Claude Dauphin, president of the FCM.

Montreal mayor Denis Coderre and Quebec mayor Régis Labeaume will also address the media immediately after.

You can watch the mayors' news conference on CBCNews.ca live starting at 11:30 a.m. ET.

On mobile? You can watch the mayors' news conference here.

Ford is not expected to attend the mayors' news conference.

The mayors will spend an hour later this afternoon meeting with Candice Bergen, the federal minister of state for social development.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi told CBC News the mayors are expected to spend a "fair bit of time" discussing the growing housing crisis with the federal minister.

The federal government's key infrastructure plan will also be a main topic of discussion as numerous questions remain on how the federal funds will be used to meet local needs.

The federal government recently announced the details of a 10-year, $14-billion New Building Canada Fund designed to provide both small and large communities with predictable infrastructure funding.

Of that $14-billion fund, $10 billion has been earmarked to fund provincial and territorial infrastructure projects.

Under the new plan, each province and territory will receive a base funding amount of $250 million per year, plus a per capita amount based on the 2011 census figures.

As it is, Ontario will receive $2.7 billion over 10 years from Ottawa, the most federal dollars of any province. Quebec will receive $1.7 billion and British Columbia just over $1 billion over 10 years under the new plan.

The question on the mind of the mayors who intend to apply for funding under the new federal infrastructure plan is who will receive what share of the federal dollars.

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