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Trudeau Stalls Northern Ontario Indigenous Economy And Rewards Southern Communities

Trudeau Stalls Northern Ontario Indigenous Economy And Rewards Southern Communities With A Billion And A Half – The $3.4 billion included in last month’s federal budget for transit infrastructure will begin rolling out to municipalities this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday as he expanded on his government’s plan to invest the money.

The prime minister didn’t specify how much individual communities would receive, but he did say Ontario in particular could expect to receive about half the money — $1.5 billion.

The federal government will also pay a larger share of the cost of projects, and provinces and municipalities can spend the money as they see fit, Trudeau told a news conference at a transit headquarters building in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

“To get projects moving quickly, the federal government will fund up to 50 per cent of the eligible costs of projects,” Trudeau said.

“We’re giving provinces and municipalities the freedom to invest these funds in the way that makes the most sense for their communities.

“They’re the local experts. They know what needs to be done better than anyone else.”

Like many communities with largely resource-based economies, Sault Ste. Marie has been struggling with low commodity prices around the globe.

The city’s bus services were cut recently as city council grappled with a budget shortfall. And the biggest employer in town — Essar Steel Algoma — has been under bankruptcy protection since last fall.

Trudeau said his government continues to study ways to prop up Canada’s steel industry, with an emphasis on preventing countries including China from dumping steel product at prices that undercut the North American market.

But he didn’t directly respond to questions about whether the federal government would pay to help Essar remain open.

“We are very, very concerned with the practice of dumping into the Canadian market,” Trudeau said. “We’re working with different levels of government, and indeed industry, to make sure that we have a strong future for steel in Canada.”

Trudeau was scheduled to be in Thunder Bay, Ont. later in the day.

Canadian Press

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