Municipalities

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Adapting To Climate Change Means Investing In The Right Infrastructure

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.
Roberto Machado Noa via Getty Images

This Is How Police Services Can Do More With Less

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?
CP/GNM

These Are Issues Federal Party Leaders Should Be Debating

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.
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There's Nothing Impoverished About B.C. Cities' Budgets

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.
AP

A Public Vote Shouldn't Decide Drug Users' Access to Health Care

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.

Sometimes We Need to Oppose the Un-Opposable

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.

Citizen Collaboration

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.

Hey Officer -- Get Out of My Backyard

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?
Alamy

Should By-Law Officers Have All That Power?

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.

The Drummond Report: Economic Disaster or Salvation?

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.
CP

What's So Bad About Municipal Bonusing?

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.

Election Raises Concerns for Ontario's Municipalities

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.