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municipalities

The District of North Vancouver is now investigating council after it passed a bylaw targeting a councillor's neighbour and pet pigeons.
We were outraged when we became aware that companies had quietly claimed the subsoil under our feet. Bill 106 not only acknowledges this legalized burglary, but gives those companies legal priority over the owners of the land. Though Bill 106 is now legal, it is immoral and illegitimate.
We know that climate change will continue to have major impacts on Canadian infrastructure, which is already aging and in need of re-investment. Moreover, we will soon see a wave of new, renewable energy infrastructure being put into place across the country, and it is essential that these innovative developments be implemented with resilience to climate change impacts in mind.
In Ottawa, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) will once again convene a meeting of its 21 big city mayors. FCM is assembling the Big City Mayors' Caucus in advance of the federal budget, building on discussions which have been underway ever since the new government took office in late 2015.
Despite a falling crime rate, policing costs have nearly doubled in Canada over the past 25 years. In this context, it makes absolutely no sense to soak up police officers' time with tasks that should not logically be included in their job descriptions. Why not refocus the work of police officers on their essential duties, and employ other categories of personnel for auxiliary or administrative tasks?
On December 4, over a thousand mayors from around the world will meet in Paris to accelerate the work of local governments on climate change. Many Ontario mayors attending this event will arrive with a starting advantage.
They say all politics are local. Nothing could be truer about this election. This campaign did not begin 10 weeks ago, it began nearly one-year ago when 2000 municipal leaders came together and made a united call for a new approach. A new era of cooperation between all orders of government focused on our most pressing challenges: jobs, the economy, our quality of life
There was a very telling disconnect earlier this week between what passes for priorities inside the Ottawa bubble and the issues that really matter to Canadians. While federal leaders and backroom organizers debated the debates, Canadians were still stuck in traffic. They still worried about finding a home they could afford. They still faced the frustration of trying to be globally competitive with inadequate and aging infrastructure. These issues are critical to the quality of life of Canadians and they need to be front and centre in this election campaign.
Asking for more money is common among municipal officials. Despite soaring transfers from higher level governments, municipalities repeatedly claim they need more because their revenue sources lack growth potential. So how has municipal revenue actually performed over the last 10 years in Metro Vancouver?
Don't hold your breath hoping mayors and councillors will come home from this month's Union of B.C. Municipalities conference with a stack of cost-saving ideas and strategies. In 2011, cities in B.C. combined to bring in $7.87 billion in revenue. Regional districts added another $1.6 billion. Throw in TransLink and its $1.3 billion and you have a combined annual budget of $10.77 billion to run everything from Abbotsford to Zeballos. To put that into perspective, if local government were a provincial government ministry, it would be bigger than anything except health, and more than double the size of education.
Imagine if your city government decided to take a public vote to determine whether you and your family members should have access to health care. Based on what the public decides about your mother and her illness, and not what her doctors think, your city government says it will pass a bylaw that prevents her and others in her situation from receiving that treatment in their home community. Preposterous and unreasonable? Absolutely.
Spreading money around for things like community centres, water treatment plants, and social housing is a common practice for the federal government, and is rarely met with opposition. It's hard to oppose dedicating money to good causes. However, those are clearly issues of provincial and municipal responsibility.
Our towns and cities do not function in isolation. They do not exist in a vacuum. Municipalities can learn from one another's experiences. More importantly, citizens can too.
Section 436 of the Ontario Municipal Act allows municipalities to pass bylaws that give their officers permission to walk into your backyard, and onto your private property, without having to give the property owner notice, and without a warrant.In short. Don't we have a reasonable expectation of privacy in our backyards?
Did you know that while a police officer must have a warrant to enter your home, a by-law officer can come by any time without so much as a hello? No notice to the landowner is required, no warrant needed. Apart from a requirement that the officer present "proper identification" upon request, there are no hoops to jump through whatsoever. By-law might argue that it's because by-law offenses are minor -- typically resulting in nothing more than a fine -- that power of entry is warranted. But this reasoning is precisely backward.
On the right, Drummond didn't go far enough and the cuts should be made regardless of their impact on lower-income and working-class families. To the left, Drummond's recommendations are a recipe for disaster that will decimate our workforce, our economy, and cripple our already struggling labour force with additional costs.
A town can try to sell itself on its charm, its appearance, its vaguely beneficial "lifestyle" -- but none of these can compete with the lure of a tax moratorium or free, serviced land; the attractive offers of yesteryear. Is charm worth more to a company than easy access to the transportation network? Or lower taxes? Not likely.
Just like your personal insurance, municipal insurance costs keep escalating, and it's you, the taxpayers, who pay these spiralling premiums. You're getting hit by a double whammy: home and town insurance.
To absorb costs, the province either has to cut services or raise taxes. Maybe both. The gloomy economic reality means that most provincial funds for local projects will dry up after the election while the debt gets tackled. That's more money municipalities have to get from local property owners.