Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante gives thumbs up to federal budget

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said she was pleased with the newly unveiled 2019 federal budget. Staff/Global News

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante is welcoming the Trudeau government’s latest budget, saying it recognizes the essential role that municipalities play across Canada.

“I see the intention of the federal government, and it’s really aligned with our priorities as well,” said Plante at a press conference in Montreal.

READ MORE: Federal budget 2019 coverage 

Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s budget was presented Tuesday before the upcoming election in the fall. The plan, which is aimed at Canadians’ pocketbooks, is ripe with funding for young adults and seniors alike.

“We just went through the first read and we are satisfied with the federal budget this year,” said Plante.

Plante said she supports the federal Liberals’ plans to make home ownership more accessible, including $10 billion for affordable housing. Among the benefits are a plan to spend $885 million over five years to make homes more affordable to first-time buyers and funding to tackle homelessness.

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READ MORE: Who are the winners and losers in the 2019 federal budget?

As the mayor of a major city, Plante said she was also pleased with a $2.2-billion transfer from the federal gas tax fund to municipalities to help improve public transit across Canada.

Morneau’s budget meets a “long-lasting demand” from municipalities when it comes to public transit and infrastructure, she added.

“It continues to invest into infrastructure and public transport, which is something, as mayor of Montreal, that I did ask for, and I’m not the only one because there is a lot of need across the country for public transport,” she said.

WATCH: Finance Minister Bill Morneau presented the 2019 federal budget in the House of Commons on Tuesday

Click to play video: 'Federal Budget 2019: Bill Morneau presents budget in House of Commons' Federal Budget 2019: Bill Morneau presents budget in House of Commons
Federal Budget 2019: Bill Morneau presents budget in House of Commons – Mar 19, 2019

The Fédération québécoise des municipalités (FQM), which represents municipalities across the province, also applauded the gas tax fund. The FQM said it will be a gain of $500 million for Quebec municipalities.

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The federation said it was also pleased with an investment of up to $6 billion over 10 years to connect households and businesses with high-speed internet by 2026. The federal budget also pledges high-speed internet for all Canadians by 2030.

“It’s staggering that, in 2019, the issue of high-speed internet connectivity is not yet resolved,” said FQM president Jacques Demers. “And the significant investments announced today by Minister Morneau to remedy the situation are more than welcome.”

—With files from Global News’ Amanda Connolly, Elysia Bryan-Baynes and the Canadian Press

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