'An unacceptable level of uncertainty': Iveson at odds with UCP again after new bill could pull funding with 90-day notice
EDMONTON -- Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson is criticizing another decision by the provincial government after the UCP tabled a bill that could take back funding without cause with a 90-day notice.
The city was first "blindsided" last Thursday when the province tabled its first budget and reduced funding for Edmonton and Calgary by $45 million.
And now, Bill 20 puts projects like the $2-billion Valley Line LRT in jeopardy.
"We knew nothing about that coming," Iveson said. "It's an unacceptable level of uncertainty.… You can't take a $2 billion-project to market with a 90-day guillotine in it."
Official Opposition Leader Rachel Notley also criticized the UCP bill and fears the government put it in legislation because they plan on using it.
"We did not have the ability to cancel with 90 days' notice with no liability coming from it, and if we did, why would we need to put it in legislation? It doesn’t make sense," Notley said.
The previous NDP government committed $1 billion to the LRT project from carbon tax revenue. The UCP scrapped the carbon tax as soon as it came into office, but Premier Jason Kenney promised the province would maintain its LRT commitment—just not in the next four years.
"While it's true we're extending the timeframe for funding, the government's overall commitment has not changed."
Iveson wants the province to treat the city "respectfully like partners," and says there's room for growth in the relationship.
City council will discuss the future of the West Valley Line LRT and other major projects next Tuesday.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson