“I’m done playing nice with the federal government.”
That’s how Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne expressed his frustration over what he calls a lack of support, in an interview with the Spotlight.
“I think the federal government forgets there’s anything on this side of the frigging Rocky Mountains, and you can use the word frigging,” he said.
The municipality has been pressing Ottawa for weeks, trying to secure a commitment for $2 million to pay for the town’s share of $10 million in emergency flood repairs, approved by the province.
The federal government has promised $5 billion to B.C. for flood relief, yet it hasn’t materialized.
“That $5 billion is in a committee somewhere between the federal and provincial governments, and they are trying to figure out how to spend it, apparently,” said Coyne.
The mayor recalled that shortly after the Nov. 14 flood he was contacted by the Prime Minister’s Office and given a phone number he could use as a direct link to Ottawa.
He last tried that number Jan. 7 and was directed to a staffer who told him to talk to the province.
“When does the Prime Minister become responsible for the rest of the country? If this is because we are in Conservative ridings out here, that’s a pretty poor attitude.”
MP Dan Albas has been an ally, Coyne noted.
“Dan’s trying. You watch him in the House and he’s not getting anywhere either. The Prime Minister side steps when he brings it up.”
In response to a question from the Spotlight, Albas promised to highlight Princeton’s needs once again.
“Prime Minister Trudeau was clear that he would ‘be there’ for the people of Princeton and ‘have their backs,’” he stated.
“I am currently in Ottawa, with the House of Commons sitting again next week. It will be one of my top priorities to hold the Prime Minister to his word on this.
“The people of Princeton deserve no less and I commend Mayor Coyne for being clear in what the needs, are as well as the urgency of them.”
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