One of the most important responsibilities of being Mayor is to make sure our city's priorities are reflected in the Parliament of Canada and BC Legislature. I am proud of the progress we have made over the past two years to secure important federal and provincial commitments to help achieve the five goals we have established for Vancouver.
Over the past three weeks, I have traveled to Ottawa and Victoria to press the case for Vancouver. I also visited Toronto to promote the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games and traveled to New Orleans to address one of the largest international drug policy conventions in the world this year.
This communiquÃ© includes a summary of my recent meetings and identifies some priorities for action to achieve these goals.
Councillor Suzanne Anton and I traveled to Victoria to follow up on our October pre-budget submission. As we come to the end of the year, many people have asked me who I think made the most significant impact on our city's life over the past year. Without hesitation I have responded by recognizing the leadership of Premier Gordon Campbell on the big issues of the day.
On homelessness, our governments have launched the development of more than 2500 units of social and supportive housing in Vancouver. On the environment, we have established ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gases and increase access to public transportation. And our governments are working together to ensure Vancouver is completely prepared to welcome the world in 2010.
While tremendous progress has been made, there are a number of outstanding issues. During this visit, we discussed:
While in Victoria, I also had the honour of meeting British Columbia's new Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable Steven L. Point and participate in a special ceremony to recognize the contribution police officers make to our community.
Last week, I traveled to Ottawa and followed up on many of the conversations we had in Victoria. During this visit I had the opportunity to meet with many Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament from all parties to discuss:
While in Ottawa I also had the opportunity to speak to the Governor General of Canada and representatives of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to discuss the housing and community health challenges we face.
Following these meetings, I confirmed plans to host a national housing summit in Vancouver in the New Year. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.
From Ottawa, I traveled to Toronto for two days. During the visit I met with Mayor David Miller, Members of the Ontario Legislature, the Lieutenant Governor and business leaders to discuss:
While in Toronto I also participated in a special event with members of the Canadian Paralympic Committee to promote the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and gave a keynote address to the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association on how Vancouver is using 2010 as a catalyst for social, environmental and economic change.
Earlier this year, I was invited by the New York based Drug Policy Alliance to attend their 2007 International Conference in New Orleans to speak about what Vancouver is doing to address drug addiction and mental health. I was pleased to accept and deliver a keynote address to help close the convention - which was attended by more than 1000 delegates. During my speech I, promoted:
At the conference - and during my visit to Ottawa - I reaffirmed Vancouver's intent to be an active participant in the Government of Canada's new anti-drug strategy. Federal officials have confirmed Vancouver can expect to receive as much as $10 million from the new $64 million national fund that was announced in October.
While a formal announcement on the details of this investment is forthcoming, I want to recognize the support of the Government of Canada on this important issue. We look forward to using these resources to support prevention and new treatment options for people with drug addiction in the Downtown Eastside. Personally I have expressed an interest in making sure that women in the survival sex trade are treated as a top priority for funding.
In the coming weeks I will be inviting Provincial, Federal and local health officials to meet and discuss how we can use these resources and accelerate action. I have also asked the Provincial government to match any Federal contribution we get under the new national strategy. I look forward to promoting more progress in the months ahead.
Statement in response to last weekend's verdict
Finally, I have made a statement in response to the announcement of last weekend's verdict the verdict in the case of six of the women that went missing from the Downtown Eastside, and it is posted at www.samsullivan.ca.