Edmonton mayor Don Iveson addresses municipal issues at Liberal convention

Iveson said municipal governments play a 'critical role' in reducing emissions nationwide.

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Mayor Don Iveson acknowledged the "excellent" work done by provincial and federal governments to support Fort McMurray evacuees while attending the Liberal convention in Winnipeg this weekend.

Iveson was there participating in a panel discussion on climate change with four other mayors from the Big City Mayors' Caucus that he chairs. 

He was hoping to draw attention to the role cities and small communities play in addressing climate issues across Canada, and in achieving national social development, reconciliation, immigration and economic development goals. 

The Big City Mayors' Caucus (BCMC) is composed of 21 Canadian mayors who are members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. They bring municipal issues to a federal audience. 

Iveson said local governments influence numerous conditions that result in greenhouse gas emissions.

"We play a critical role because as we bend the curb downwards in emissions, it's going to be in cities where that leadership is going to occur first, but only if we have the alignment of all three orders of government," Iveson said.

Iveson said municipalities also play a major part in providing energy-efficient buildings, and in reducing emissions associated with transportation by investing in public transit and cycling and walking accessibility.

Iveson praises provincial, federal assistance for Fort McMurray

Iveson spoke highly of the co-ordinated response to help the 90,000 people who were forced to evacuate Fort McMurray this month when a wildfire tore through parts of the city.

He said co-operation between provincial and federal governments in designating Edmonton as a primary reception point for evacuees was "excellent."

Evacuees are preparing to begin returning home on June 1, if five safety conditions are met.

"The timely move to re-enter Fort McMurray starting next week I think has exceeded all of our expectations for when that would happen," Iveson told CBC.

"It also speaks to the role of local governments, and not just Edmonton, but Lac La Biche, Boyle and other small communities in Alberta who stood up. It just goes to show that you really do need all orders of government working together, including First Nations… in order to deal with the complex challenges of modern life in a country like this."

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