I would like to see a "no call is too small" philosophy put into practice.
Road levy. Recreation and culture levy. Transportation for tomorrow tax. Dedicated road tax. Asset levy. Make no mistake: we want our cities to invest in infrastructure. Sewer, water, roads; these are core responsibilities of local government. But repackaging this spending with a new tax is a slap in the face.
Banff is famous for its beautiful mountain views, its diversity of wildlife and its many, many tourists. Canada's most popular national park gets more than three million visitors a year. Located within the national park, the town of Banff has branded itself as an environmental role model both for its eco-conscious citizens and its visitors.
Not to sound like the grumpy parents of two love-struck teenagers, but there is a whole lot more to consider before taxpayers give their approval to such a wedding.
Coters have been asking me, "What can one councillor do at Vancouver City Hall? How can you make a difference?" I am, after all, the lone candidate for a new party called OneCity -- or "One Dude" as a Province columnist put it -- in Saturday's municipal election. But I'm not lonely. I have a lot of good people backing my candidacy and this wider movement for positive change in Vancouver.
At City Hall, members of council and staff have done their utmost to fill the leadership vacuum. Toronto's non-partisan system, while messy, has allowed its city government to deliver with little disruption. Council and the City's senior management found equilibrium on a wide range of issues from transit to housing to electoral reform.
Think of it as an electoral echo. While many British Columbians are just getting over the election hangover from May's blockbuster BC Liberal comeback win, 13 municipalities are about to head into by-election mode. Four mayors and 10 councillors from 13 different communities were elected May 14th. A dozen BC Liberals, two New Democrats: all will need to be replaced in the coming weeks, triggering a series of expensive by-elections.
It is often said that municipal governments touch the lives of Canadians more directly than provincial or federal governments, yet Canadians appear to be dramatically less aware of their local government affairs than they are with their provincial and federal governments. How can we reverse this trend?
Just over ten years ago, two hundred municipalities all over Quebec were merged against their will. Some were amalgamated into megacities. The governing Parti Québécois had no mandate to do this; moreover, pleading the "urgency" to act, they refused to consult citizens.
It may be a local issue, but Toronto mayor Rob Ford continues to get national attention. After offering citizens an opportunity