Mr. Speaker, coming from a riding in Toronto, the good riding of Willowdale, the ability for the province and that particular municipality to participate is welcome. I give credit where it is due. The public transit needs in Toronto are significant.
However, there are many more municipalities across this country, most of which are not as large as Toronto. Municipalities across the country have been making it clear to us that although some municipalities, generally the larger ones, are in a position to take advantage of some of these funds, the majority of municipalities, particularly smaller ones, are simply unable to do so. Although there may be some credit available, they have made it very clear to us that even with that facility they are simply not able to participate.
I am not making this up. We are responding to repeated pleas from municipalities all across the country saying that they understand the needs in their community, that they know how to fill those needs but that they need to be able to address those financially but that the federal government, by insisting on matching funds and, even worse, knowing that the matching process has not worked, is of real concern.
I will repeat that the municipalities have made it clear that they are ready to build and to get these projects going but they would much prefer a process of funding that was much more similar to the gas tax fund that was not matching.