Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/5/2003 (5208 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The lobbying effort includes newspaper ads, a Web site, conferences and public forums slated for next year.
"It's not just about money, it's about having the autonomy, the authority commensurate with our responsibility. It's what (Canada's first prime minister) Sir John A. Macdonald called responsible government," said Murray. "We have this retarded, underdeveloped, immature municipal government system among cities."
For the next year, "kickstarting an urban renaissance" is expected to be the biggest political priority in the mayor's office and will dominate a meeting later this month in Winnipeg of the country's big city leaders.
Since the last civic election, Murray has pushed the plight of cities onto the national stage with frequent lobbying trips to Ottawa and media appearances. His list of backers includes the country's big city mayors, labour unions and chambers of commerce.
The campaign's first salvo is a one-day conference, called the Creative Cities Coalition, to kick off the Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting that starts in Winnipeg in two weeks.
Several heavyweights are expected to attend, including federal Liberal leadership contender Paul Martin, the mayors of Ottawa and Halifax, and perhaps even urban affairs guru Jane Jacobs, a world-renowned author and thinker about urban issues.
The FCM is picking up the tab for half the cost of the Creative Cities conference, but Winnipeg is paying for the rest, and for the development of print ads by a Winnipeg media company.
Those cost about $30,000 and the template will be handed out to any city, chamber of commerce, civic union or agency willing to pay to run them in local newspapers.
The Manitoba Heavy Construction Industry is also running a series of radio ads calling on the federal government to dedicate part of the federal gasoline tax to street repair -- another of Murray's demands.
Murray and the FCM have two demands.
They're asking for $2 billion from the federal government and $2 billion in total from the provinces to start nibbling away at the $60 billion gap in spending on urban infrastructure.
In Winnipeg, that would help pay for rapid transit, pothole repair and sewage treatment.
And Murray is demanding each province create a new charter for its cities, clearly laying out who has power over what.
Murray says cities are hamstrung by their provincial charters.
The City of Toronto can't raise its commercial tax rate or charge for public health inspection because the province won't let it.
In Winnipeg, everything from the look of the tax bill to its ability to reorganize city government is controlled by the province, said Murray.
"I have more power to enter into contracts as Glen Murray, citizen, than I do as the mayor acting on behalf of 630,000 people," he said.
Manitoba's NDP provincial government has done the first phase of revamping the city charter and the second, more important phase, is expected to follow later this year.
Taxing power is the biggest bone of contention since cities rely almost exclusively on property taxes and don't have the right to levy more progressive taxes. Murray and other mayors are demanding the ability to levy consumption taxes such as gas taxes or hotel taxes.