Should the City of Winnipeg close Plessis Road during construction? If you’re not from Winnipeg, you likely don’t have an answer. It’s exceedingly unlikely that any more than 14 federal MPs have the slightest clue. Yet, the entire national electorate has essentially (and unknowingly) made this decision in the affirmative. Local businesses warn that this will cause them severe financial hardship, and provincial politicians argue that a temporary road could alleviate problems. Unfortunately, as one city councillor pointed out, this project needs to be finished before a federal Building Canada grant expires in the spring of 2015.
That is yet another example of why cities need a greater portion of overall government revenue, which can only happen if the federal government is willing to reduce its tax haul in exchange for ending transfers to municipalities. That would give the voters who know best – Winnipeg voters – the ability to determine whether a project is worth funding, how much it is worth, and on what terms it should be undertaken.