Wynne, Couillard Unite to Demand Infrastructure Funding

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has succeeded in finding an ally with similar interests to reinforce her call for more infrastructure funding from the federation after her first face-to-face meeting with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. Giving her remarks in Quebec City on Thursday, Wynne stated that “we’ve agreed that the federal government’s refusal to work with us and partner with us, particularly on infrastructure, has the possibility of holding Canada’s economy back,” adding that “we can’t let that hold us back as premiers.”

Wynne’s reinforced call is in time for next week’s meeting of premiers and territorial leaders in Prince Edward Island. Previously, Wynne had demanded $12 billion a year in infrastructure funding from the federal government, i.e. almost four times what Ontario gets now, while reiterating that provinces need “stable and predictable” aid in order to upgrade transit systems, roads, bridges, water and sewage treatment facilities. She mentioned that “that is not the case now and that is what we are asking.” said Wynne, who, like Couillard, won a majority government in an election this year.

Whereas on the other hand, Mr. Couillard mentioned in his remarks that this status has given the two premiers a stronger position in dealing with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government. He revealed that “we are signalling today that . . . Quebec and Ontario are back . . . as a very important block of influence in the country.” During a 37-minute appearance with his Ontario counterpart, Couillard stated that “when we have common concerns . . . it’s good that we voice those concerns together.”

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