Canadian cities 'not gatekeepers': Head of mayors' group pushes back on Poilievre

OTTAWA — The president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities says his members are community builders and not gatekeepers, a term Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has commonly used to attack municipal bureaucrats.

Scott Pearce made the comment at a news conference the federation held in Ottawa ahead of the spring budget, as the group calls for more federal infrastructure spending.

In response to a question on Poilievre’s proposed housing plan, Pearce appeared to reject the Conservative leader’s accusation that cities are standing in the way of home building.

He says regardless of who is in power federally, municipalities will need more infrastructure spending to ramp up home construction.

Municipalities have been warning that their communities can’t build enough homes to match population growth without more money for things like pipes and roads.

In his housing plan, Poilievre has promised to tie federal dollars to the rate of home building and withhold funding from cities that fail to ramp up construction by 15 per cent each year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2024.

The Canadian Press