As the federal Liberal caucus retreat begins this week in London, Ont., regional and city government officials hope local issues will become a topic of discussion at the meeting.
Starting Tuesday, at RBC Place London, the Liberal caucus welcomed MPs to Forest City as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally left India following technical problems with a government plane, delaying his departure by two days.
The caucus comes as Pierre Poilievre and the Conservatives have seen a summer surge in the polls, with a recent Abacus poll putting the Conservatives 14 points ahead of the Liberals.
Speaking to PKBNEWS on Tuesday morning, London North Center Liberal MP Peter Fragiskatos said he had been pushing for the retreat to be held in London for some time now.
“Reflecting on it over the years, [and] as an MP, why not invite my colleagues, including the Prime Minister, to come to my community? he said.
“He has been here many times before, but this would be an opportunity for the Liberal caucus as a whole to visit London, to understand some of the challenges facing our city, [and] some of the opportunities that exist as well.
Although few details have been released, topics of discussion during the three-day retreat are expected to include, among others, housing, homelessness, mental health and addiction, and the affordability crisis.
Additionally, Fragiskatos believes the city’s proposed homeless centers could also be a topic of discussion.
“I think it will definitely come back,” he said. “The Prime Minister and relevant ministers are already aware of what London is calling for in relation to the hub model in the housing sport attached to it.
“A lot of work has gone into getting to this point, in terms of the overall plan, [and] I think it’s a very thoughtful plan.
The Collaborative Hubs plan was approved by city councilors earlier this summer, marking the first major part of the overall community health and homelessness response to clear a major hurdle in implementation.
As city officials wrapped up resident feedback and engagement opportunities on the plan last week, Fragiskatos said federal funding for the plan could also be a possible topic of discussion at the Liberal caucus meeting.
“I continue to say that there is something in the hub model that we should look at and try, because we need an approach that is tailored to our specific situation,” he said.
Last April, the Ontario government announced an additional investment of $202 million in the province’s Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP) and Indigenous Supportive Housing Program (ISHP), bringing total annual funding to nearly $700 million for these programs.
This included more than $21.8 million to support homelessness efforts in the London area.
Fragiskatos told PKBNEWS that “there will also be a need for federal funding.”
“I am very happy to continue to put this on the agenda of my colleagues [and] I know that the mayor will also dialogue with members of the government,” he added.
Mayor Josh Morgan confirmed to PKBNEWS that he has already had a number of conversations with visiting ministers about the city’s health and homelessness response.
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“When we help this group of individuals, we relieve pressure on many other systems that are under strain,” he said.
“Whether it’s our emergency rooms, police response times, the impacts on businesses and the challenges we see on our downtown streets, when we can provide a solution that gives these people the opportunity not to be outside, but to be inside [and] This is something that I know the federal government is very interested in and actively discussing.
He added that, from a regional perspective, holding the federal Liberal caucus in London represents an “excellent opportunity”.
“Not only because our city is able to host events like this, but also because the presence of the Prime Minister and members of the caucus in town is a great opportunity for us to continue the conversations we are having with them on how to address the challenges we face. as a city, as well as seizing the opportunities available to us,” he said.
Morgan also noted that “London is a city that is a microcosm for the rest of Canada.”
“We have exceptional opportunities; we have strong growth, but we also have challenges around housing, affordability, homelessness, mental health, addiction, and so the conversations that we can have with ministers are conversations that reflect the challenges faced across Canada in cities our size,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fragiskatos expressed similar sentiments, adding: “This is one of the reasons why I decided to put so much effort into having our national caucus meeting in London this year, because it brings London’s priorities to the forefront of the global landscape. .”
“It’s a great place for people to live, work and play, but it’s also a great place to visit,” Morgan continued. “I hope that many members of the caucus who come from other provinces and other cities will be able to discover our city, get to know it a little better and perhaps come back with some ideas for their communities on why it is This is a great place to visit in this country.
The federal Liberal caucus will continue until Thursday.
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