Climate change mixes with everyday concerns for Mississauga-Streetsville incumbent
Photos by Daniel Calabretta/Government of Canada

Climate change mixes with everyday concerns for Mississauga-Streetsville incumbent

What’s on the minds of people in Mississauga–Streetsville? After a “Weekend of Action” organized to jump-start Gagan Sikand’s campaign for re-election in the riding, the Liberal incumbent said he’s noticed “an increase in awareness and attention to climate change,” as well as personal pocketbook issues. Residents are “thankful” for things like the Canada Child Benefit and regulations meant to lower the price of medications, he said last Saturday. 

“Basically, everyday living is being addressed, and that’s what’s on their mind. How are they going to get by, day-to-day?” Sikand said of what he’d learned during the event, which consisted primarily of door-knocking and phone-calling. “Are they going to have to now pay out-of-pocket for something that a government like ours would help with? Or, are we going to be able to get around, for example” — a concern that relates to federal infrastructure spending. It’s “those everyday things that you run into that people are concerned about.” 

Sikand, who was elected for the first time in 2015, is running for the Mississauga–Streetsville seat against Conservative Ghada Melek, Samir Girguis for the NDP, the Greens’ Chris Hill and Thomas McIver of the People’s Party. 

During the 2015 federal election season, the Liberals pledged to add $60 billion in new funding over 10 years to an existing fund meant to help cities repair and replace infrastructure that was falling apart. In Mississauga, budget numbers show that the city currently has an infrastructure gap — money needed for repairs and replacements — of $260 million. Mississauga has received $77.3 million from the federal Investing in Canada Plan fund so far — much less than, say, Edmonton, which has received commitments of more than $1.9 billion from the federal fund. Mississauga is supposed to have $32 million coming its way in spring 2022, to help pay for modernizing the QEW-Dixie Road interchange. 


Gagan Sikand, seated second from left, is running for reelection for the Liberals in the riding of Mississauga-Streetsville.


Despite the gaps, Sikand said he doesn’t think the Liberals are shortchanging the city when it comes to infrastructure. “No, not at all. If anything, there’s been money that’s been earmarked from the previous governments that hasn’t been rolled out. And you’ve just named one vehicle,” he said. “At the federal level, you also, at times, have to go through the provinces [to access federal cash]. And if the provinces aren’t aligned with what you’re trying to accomplish, we have to figure out a way to get the money to the municipalities, so that those gaps don’t exist.” 

Sikand said “a perfect example” of how to do that is the Federal Gas Tax Fund, a “permanent source of funding provided upfront, twice a year, to provinces and territories, who in turn flow this funding to their municipalities to support local infrastructure priorities,” as described by Infrastructure Canada’s official website. The program disburses a share of more than $2 billion annually, derived from the federal tax on gasoline, to 3,600 communities across Canada. 

“That was one avenue, or vehicle, that our government really utilized [to] flow money from the federal government straight to the municipalities — because they’re often in need and can’t really have that lag time,” Sikand said. 

Asked about infrastructure issues in Mississauga, specifically the three-stop downtown loop that the province cut from the Hurontario LRT plans back in March to save money, Sikand didn’t have a definite response as to whether a Liberal government might step in to restore the lost funding.

“We were very supportive of the municipalities and our mayor, recognizing that we need to move people,” Sikand said. “We are a government that’s going to invest in infrastructure, because we know that not only is it important to move our goods, we have to get our people moving as well. It benefits the economy.”


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