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2015 Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference opening ceremony speech

"We all believe that tomorrow can be a better day. And that we must work hard to make it happen."

Check against delivery

Thank you very much, Dennis (Trudeau), and good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

It’s a pleasure to share the stage with such distinguished guests, as we welcome municipal leaders from across the country to Alberta for the 2015 conference.

And I’d like to thank the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for the invitation to be here.

It’s wonderful to join you today for the opening ceremony.

I’m especially happy to see so many dedicated public servants ready to roll up their sleeves and get down to business.

Your commitment matters, because municipal government is the level of government with which most people have the closest contact.

So exchanging tried-and-true practices, learning from each other, and speaking up for local concerns in national circles is all critical work.

For over a century, your organization has been doing exactly that, in one form or another.

I admire your dedication.

And I’m just as excited as you are about finding fresh solutions and securing growth and opportunities for those we serve.

I know these aren’t the only things we agree on.

Despite the geography that separates us and the unique communities we each represent, we have a great deal in common.

We all believe that tomorrow can be a better day. And that we must work hard to make it happen.

We also share an appreciation for the challenges municipalities are confronting.

And we recognize that many of these dilemmas are similar nation-wide.

How should governments provide affordable, accessible public services to increasingly diverse populations?

How can we keep up with the demand for infrastructure?

How do we create good jobs and sustain the resilient, diversified economies they depend on?

And how do we accomplish all of this in an environmentally responsible way, so that we don’t trade short-term achievements for long-term liabilities?

These are more than issues – they are moral imperatives.

And success means all the difference in the world.

It means the difference between the vulnerable receiving the help they need or suffering in silence…

… between small businesses driving growth or struggling to survive…

… and between Canadian municipalities flourishing or floundering.

Speaking for Alberta’s new government, we are ready to start on these priorities.

And our focus will always be on improving all Albertans’ quality of life.

We will invest in services, supports and sustainability, to build strong families, strong communities and a healthy environment.

Alberta’s municipalities will get stable funding, and a voice at the table.

They will see the province adopt a careful, balanced approach to its finances, so essential services like health and education grow with the populations that use them.

And they can expect thoughtful measures to enhance Alberta’s economy and protect its natural beauty.

These are not only the smart things to do. They’re the right things to do.

However, we won’t make choices in isolation.

My government will establish a respectful relationship with Alberta’s municipal leaders and community builders at the grassroots level.

They are our partners. And we will turn to them for advice, drawing on their hard-won knowledge as we set the province on a new path.

I have no doubt that their expertise will be enriched tremendously by this year’s conference.

And I look forward to hearing about the decisions you reach, through my own discussions with Alberta’s municipalities…

…and through our new Minister of Municipal Affairs, Deron Bilous, who is very capable and very knowledgeable about municipal issues.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is shaping the brightest of all possible futures for Canada.

And I wish you the very best in that, because there is no higher duty for public servants.

Please enjoy your stay in Edmonton. I hope you come away inspired.

Thank you.