City mayors call for gridlock to be on the federal agenda. Good luck with that

City mayors call for gridlock to be on the federal agenda. Good luck with that

Toronto’s infamous gridlock (Image: Michael Gil)

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has a problem: it’s all about cities, but cities are off the electoral radar. Considering that 80 per cent of Canadians live in urban areas, it seems a bit odd that “city” issues are seen as less of a campaign-winner than catering to the very old or the merely old. The FCM isn’t standing idly by, though. According to the Globe and Mail, the organization is attempting to put cities on the agenda by addressing a problem most voters deal with on a daily basis—gridlock.

In an attempt to capitalize on the growing role of social media in the federal election, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is launching an online campaign aimed at forcing federal parties to address long commute times for Canadians living or working in cities.

The group hopes the Cut My Commute campaign will urge people fed up with lengthy commutes to voice their concerns via social-networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

“So far these issues have been conspicuous in their absence,” said Carl Zehr, mayor of Kitchener, Ont. He’s also the chair of the Big City Mayors Caucus, a group within the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

The website for Cut My Commute is good enough, we suppose, but aside from tallying how much time and money commuting is costing Canadians, there’s not much there. The big three “asks” that the FCM have include two requests for transit funding and one for businesses to be forced to provided tax-deductible transit passes to their employees—the latter being part of the NDP platform [PDF link]. In other words, if we wake up on May 3 to Prime Minister Jack Layton, the FCM might get its wish. Otherwise, we expect political parties to continue Operation Urb-Ignore straight through to election day.

• #CutMyCommute [Federation of Canadian Municipalities]
• Gridlock should be election issue, mayors say [Globe and Mail]