MONTREAL -- Finance Minister Ralph Goodale is mulling options to aid Canada's cash-strapped cities and hopes to "offer a signal" in his first budget. Dogged by pleas for help from Toronto's David Miller and other big city mayors across the country, Goodale said the feds could top up direct funding programs, waive GST for cities or share a portion of the gas tax. But he cautioned keeping the nation's books in the black is his top priority in next year's fiscal plan.
"I understand the magnitude of the issue. I understand the urgency of the issue," he said after speaking with business leaders in Montreal yesterday.
"I hope that in the next federal budget I will be able to offer a signal to municipalities that the government of Canada continues to be very serious about this."