FQM likes new federal budget
The Federation quebecoise des municipalites (FQM) has responded favorably to the new Federal budget, notably to the desire of the federal government to increase its share of financing to 50% for certain infrastructure work, and hopes that an agreement will be reached soon by the different levels of government so that work can begin promptly.
“We are happy to see the federal government reinvesting in the maintenance of infrastructures,” commented Richard Lehoux, the president of the FQM. “We will be watching closely the deployment of these programs so that local and regional communities receive their fair share of the available sums.”
Also in the new budget is internet access worthy of the 21st century for all citizens. To get there, the government will invest $100 million annually in a new program to enlarge and improve wide band services in rural and isolated communities. “We are thrilled with the announcement about quality internet service in the regions. By targeting specifically rural and isolated communities, the government is showing a refreshing awareness with regards to the country’s regions,” added Mr. Lehoux.
Two hundred million dollars annually will go to support innovation in the forestry industry. Promised during the election campaign, this program will help with the modernization and diversification of activities in the forestry industry. The FQM has made several presentations about this and will follow the work to ensure that the funds will favor the economic development of the regions of Quebec.
Many local and regional Quebec communities are caught with port and airport installations that are in need of major maintenance. By investing $148.6 million in the improvement of ports for small boats as well as the permanent wharf installation projects, the piers, the breakwaters and the work to protect shorelines, the government wants to improve the Canadian ports network. The FQM is pleased with this plan which will include $6.7 million to renew the Gros-Cacouna port and $23 million to renew rural and isolated airport structures, notable in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine.
The FQM also hails the government decision to reestablish the federal income tax credit of 15% for those who invest in the workers’ fund. This fund is an important economic lever for many regions in Quebec.
Finally, the FQM supports the Trudeau government in its refinancing of RadioCanada. The quality of the information broadcast by the public broadcaster is intimately linked to its financing, especially when it comes to regional stations that function with limited means. To this effect, the FQM asks that the government prioritize a refinancing of the regional stations in order to maintain local and regional quality content.