Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau visited Edmonton on Wednesday, and met with his provincial counterpart Joe Ceci. It was an informal get together, as the two ministers went for an early morning jog in Edmonton’s downtown.
“First of all, he’s a good runner,” Morneau said about Ceci. “He’s fit and in shape and ready to face the challenges in Alberta.
“We talked about a broad range of things including our objective to have a pan-Canadian approach to climate change, but we need to do that in a way that recognizes regional differences.”
Morneau also emphasized that Ottawa does understand the challenges Albertans have faced for more than a year.
“Clearly, the reduction in the expectations for global growth have a real impact on commodity prices – on oil prices – and that has a real impact on people here. And then, when one amplifies that with the forest fires, I understand people feeling like there’s a real challenge.
“That said, our plan is pretty clear: we want to deal with the challenges facing families. The Canada Child Benefit is really about delivering hope to families that have seen real struggle during the last number of years. It’ll help nine out of 10 Canadian families with, on average, $2,300 more per year.”
Significantly increased infrastructure spending , which was a Liberal election promise, will be critically important not only in Alberta, but right across the country, Morneau said.
Also in Edmonton Wednesday was Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, who says an agreement with the province to provide infrastructure cash to municipalities will be completed before the end of the month. Alberta is one of five provinces that have yet to sign an agreement with the feds.
“The signing of the agreement that I’m talking about focuses on investment in public transit and waste water infrastructure projects and the list is being compiled.”
Edmonton has a list of refurbishing projects it wants done, that was approved by city council in July.
“We have been ready since the early July and Minister Mason is working with Calgary and Edmonton and other cities to compile a list of the projects, and with the next couple of weeks we will be able to sign an agreement to get the money flowing all through the province as well as going retroactively to April of 2016 to support projects that are already underway.”
The city is looking at upgrades to several transit facilities. City council approved the list in July.