CALGARY, AB (June 10, 2014): With the first batch of new Gas Tax Fund scheduled to arrive July 1, the government’s unwillingness to get an agreement done is getting in the way of municipalities receiving funds, Wildrose Municipal Affairs Critic Jeff Wilson said today.
Wilson last brought up the PC government’s failure to access Government of Canada funding through the New Building Canada Fund and the new federal Gas Tax Fund on May 27. Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith originally raised the issue in Question Period on May 8th, more than a month ago. Since then, municipal leaders have expressed growing frustration over the governmental gridlock caused by the PC leadership race, which has left the executive impotent and unable accomplish even the basic functions of government.
“Without a signed new Gas Tax Fund agreement and without an application mechanism for the New Building Canada Fund Alberta municipalities will be shortchanged. This is money our municipalities desperately need for infrastructure projects, yet the PCs are selfishly focused on themselves and have let the clock run out on this year’s construction season for municipalities,” Wilson said.
Municipal Affairs Minister Greg Weadick blamed the delay in creating a portal where Alberta’s small municipalities can apply for the funding on vague “good reasons” and indicated the government would resume its regular functions and finally sign off this fall, which is after the PC Leadership race ends.
“Municipalities will lose the entire 2014 construction season due to the PC leadership race and chaos within the PC party. Ministers, I implore you to pick up a pen and sign off on these federal agreements so municipalities can receive the federal funding they are entitled to,” Wilson said.
“Municipalities and Albertans shouldn’t be held hostage by the PC party’s internal instability. PC ministers need to put down the partisan placards, stop cheerleading for leadership candidates, and get back to the business of government.”