SASKATOON – The 2016 federal budget released Tuesday afternoon will “certainly help” Saskatoon in a number of areas, according to the city’s mayor.
“There’s a tremendous amount in this budget that appears to be very positive for us,” said Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison, less than two hours after the budget was announced in Ottawa.
“We look forward to the details from the administration over the next week to two weeks.”
The federal budget proposes sending $29 million to Saskatchewan to go toward public transit investment. Atchison said he expects around $15 million of that will come to Saskatoon.
“We have one of the older fleets, so consequently I think we’d be looking more to replacements at this time,” said Atchison, after qualifying that any funding measure would have to be approved by city council.
The budget also allocates money toward re-opening Saskatoon’s veterans service office and extending employment insurance for those out of work in the region.
“I can tell you any family that is … unemployed, I think any type of relief is certainly welcome for them,” said Atchison.
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron also expressed his contentment with the federal budget. He said a proposed $8.4 billion investment in indigenous people and communities was “a really good start.”
“It’s a good investment and we look forward to the future,” said Cameron in a phone interview from Ottawa.
Cameron added that the investment proves the federal Liberals were in fact serious about building a new nation-to-nation relationship with Canada’s First Nations people.
However not everyone was pleased after their first look at Canada’s new federal roadmap. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said he was disappointed that, on first glance, the province didn’t receive extra funds to make up for its struggling energy sector.
“I don’t think that speaks very well, frankly, of the federal government’s view of the importance of western Canada,” said Wall to reporters.