Across BC voting is decreasing in all levels of elections—federal, provincial and municipal. Voter turnout in federal and provincial elections is now below 60 per cent, but more dramatically we are seeing many municipal elections in which only 20 to 30 per cent of people go out to vote. What is happening in communities where 70 to 80 per cent of READ MORE
Metro Vancouver is a powerful purchaser in the region. In 2012, the total payments to Canadian suppliers by the regional district – over 750 – was over $800 million. The regional district’s current Sustainable Procurement Procedures and Green Procurement Procedures, focus on the conduct of suppliers and contractors relating to environment attributes of READ MORE
More and more local governments and education institutions are facing questions about the impacts of climate change, and the risk of having money invested in fossil fuel companies. Mike McGinn, Mayor of Seattle, recently wrote a letter to the President of Harvard, outlining why Seattle decided to persue fossil-fuel divestment. You can read the full READ MORE
By Robert Duffy Read this article on The Tyee at: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/05/03/Secrets-of-CETA/ The proposed Canada-Europe Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is generating serious questions and concerns from local governments across Canada. CETA, a sweeping trade and investment deal, is currently in its tenth round of negotiations, and the Canadian government believes it could be READ MORE
Submission to the BC Local Government Elections Task Force by the Centre for Civic Governance at Columbia Institute April 15, 2010 Click here to download a PDF version of the report including sources . Introduction The Centre for Civic Governance appreciates this opportunity to present our perspectives and research on electoral and campaign finance reform to the BC Local Government Elections Taskforce. About the Centre READ MORE
The Trustees of British Columbia’s School District 5 (Southeast Kootenay) recently passed the following motion, and wrote an explanatory letter to the Honourable George Abbott, BC Minister of Education. The motion, and letter, communicate challenges they face within the current structure of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act, and suggests improvements that would help their district READ MORE
Listen to our webinar on Tools for Fair Taxation, with economist and CCPA research associate Hugh Mackenzie, that happened Tuesday, Oct 29th, 2013. Click here to watch and listen to the full Webinar. Click here to download Hugh Mackenzie’s Powerpoint. Click here to read Hugh’s article on Local Government Finance in Ontario, in our Innovative Strategies Leadership Handbook. Hugh Mackenzie is principal READ MORE
Local government officials meet at the Union of BC Municipalities the week of September 24th through 28th. Climate change, increased social challenges and aging infrastructure will be hot topics. The public is on their side. Polling by the Columbia Institute Centre for Civic Governance shows that British Columbians trust their local politicians twice as much READ MORE
Listen to our webinar on Tools for Fair Taxation, with economist and CCPA research associate Hugh Mackenzie, that happened Tuesday, Oct 29th, 2013. Click here to watch and listen to the full Webinar. Click here to download Hugh Mackenzie’s Powerpoint. Hugh Mackenzie is principal in an economic consulting business, Hugh Mackenzie and Associates, based in Toronto. He has worked for over 35 years in a variety of capacities related to READ MORE
“Canadian trade minister Ed Fast says negotiations with the Europe Union are re-launching early next month in a final push to complete a comprehensive deal, adding all that is needed is a “little flexibility” on both sides. He gave no specifics but sources have said the major stumbling blocks include the EU’s reluctance to READ MORE
“Coastal flooding could cost the global economy $1 trillion a year a few short decades from now due to the rise in sea levels caused by global warming if action is not taken now to stem the flow and Vancouver is one of the cities most at-risk for losses, says a new study.” To read the full article on the Vancouver Sun click here.
“Some good news for a change when it comes to global warming: A new bipartisan poll shows strong support among young voters for taking action about climate change. That’s incredibly encouraging. And it gets better: 79 percent say they are more likely to vote for someone who supports action on climate change, and 73 percent say they would voteagainst someone READ MORE
“Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr brought forth a bankruptcy filing that would give current and future retired city workers 10 cents on the dollar of pension benefits they had accrued.” “Experts feel the biggest threat to Canadian municipal pension plans is a looming bill of about $200 billion to replace aging infrastructure. If money is READ MORE
In July 2012, Premiers agreed to renew “A Shared Vision for Energy in Canada”. At the July 2013 Council of the Federation meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Premiers leading the Energy Strategy discussions tabled a report on their progress . The Premiers are targeting the summer of 2014 for release of the final product and say they are exploring further stakeholder READ MORE
“With political will, modern techniques and the latest ideas from cities and governments around the world, we have the capacity to reduce emissions and adjust to climate change at the same time. But we do need to act, and now would be a good time to start.” An op ed from David Miller. David READ MORE
Jamie Biggar’s Dinner Plenary at the Deepening Democracy Civic Governance Forum 2013: “In order to be able to address the massive challenges that are facing our society, we have to work on this crisis of declining trust. We need to bring people together, and build social trust, so that we can take collective action, and move from READ MORE
Newly updated weather benchmarks from Environment Canada show that Canada’s national average winter temperature has risen 3.2 degrees. Canada is getting hotter faster than ever before and at a faster rate than almost any other country. This also means that rain, snow, sleet and hail storms are becoming more erratic. As Canadian insurers and other economists have READ MORE
Canada is the only country out of 33 developed and developing nations to have taken a step backward in terms of climate legislation over the past year, ending 2012 with fewer policies related to climate change than it had last January, according to an international study published on January 14, 2013. Click here to read a Wall Street Journal article on the study. Click here to read the full study from GLOBE International.
As global climate negotiations wrap up in Doha, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the science behind the push for climate action. You can view the video on our YouTube channel, by clicking here. Dr. John Fyfe is one of 150 Scientists contributing to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. The fifth “assessment report” will be published in 2013-2014. The forth “assessment report” was published READ MORE
There’s news on the CETA front, and it’s not so good. We’ve been following the CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) negotiations between Canada and the European Union since 2010, starting with a legal analysis of early leaked documents, commissioned by our Centre for Civic Governance at Columbia Institute. That analysis, by trade lawyer Steven READ MORE
Civic Governance ForumRequest for Workshop Proposals The Centre for Civic Governance’s dynamic BC Governance forum is happening March 23 & 24, 2013. We are requesting workshop proposals that are relevant to locally elected leaders, particularly workshops about climate action, social inclusion, social justice, citizen engagement, and the cultural economy. Proposals should include: An overview of READ MORE
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is calling on the Government of Canada to develop a twenty year plan with predictable funding to fix its crumbling infrastructure. In it’s recommendations to the Governmentof Canada’s Long-TermInfrastructure Plan Consultation , the FCM is calling for measures that include long-term and predictable infrastructure funding; investment to leverage additional funds; renewal and improvements to the Gas Tax and the Building Canada READ MORE
Kington Ontario’s City Council will be voting this week on a motion calling for the city to begin work on a Living Wage policy for city employees and contractors. The motion from Councillors Bill Glover and Rob Hutchison follows up on recommendations from a CCPA Ontario report from 2011 . Living Wage policies are already in place with a number of local governments across READ MORE
In this Tyee article , Past North Vancouver School Board Trustee Crawford Kilian writes about potential implications of the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling that the North Vancouver School Board must reimburse the family of Jeffery Moore, who put their son into private school in order to get adequate support for his learning disability. As the READ MORE
E-Voting was used in the 2012 Halifax Municipal Election Electors received municipal notices in the mail before the start of advance voting. Security codes and other information were in those letters, which included the site of community voting stations for those who plan to cast ballots in two weeks. The civic and school board elections READ MORE
Mordenites will again be getting more opportunities to share their views with the mayor and council in the months ahead. In addition to the weekly meet with the mayor sessions, Morden’s municipal leaders will offer another open forum this fall providing a chance for residents to speak with council without the formalities of a regular council READ MORE
Abbotsford principal Dexter Horton is cancel-ling his school’s monthly newsletter as part of an effort to improve communications with parents buy delivering more frequent messages to Clayburn middle school parents using Face-book, Twitter and school blogs. He hopes these messages will draw more parents into the school to find out what’s going on, meet the teachers, discuss their READ MORE
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Nova Scotia (CCPA-NS) releases its first ever Alternative Municipal Budget for the HRM today during the election campaign and well in advance of the normal budget cycle. The Alternative Budget contains 65 action items and their estimated costs. It includes strategic investments in community centres and recreation programs, in early READ MORE
The sale of shark fin may soon be banned in Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby as the three cities work together on a bylaw to have the Chinese delicacy removed from restaurant menus. Vancouver City Councilor Kerry Jang says it’s important the three cities put in a ban at the same time saying, “We wanted to make READ MORE
Applications are now being accepted for Next UpA Leadership Program for Young People Committed to Social and Environmental Justice Columbia Institute is a national partner for the Next Up Leadership program for young social change activists between the ages of 18 and 32. The program is offered in four cities across three provinces; Next Up BC READ MORE
Inspired by Toronto civic activist Dave Meslin’s TED Talk The Antidote to Apathy, Pemberton villager staffers set out to dramatically redesigned its public notices covering development applications, zoning and Official Community Plan amendments so residents can more easily understand them, and respond. “We’ve received a lot of feedback from different community groups with compliments saying how they READ MORE
India has put in place a $5.4-billion policy to provide free generic medicine to its people. The decision could change the lives of hundreds of millions in a country where public spending on health was just $4.50 per person last year. Under the plan, doctors will be limited to a generics-only drug list and face punishment READ MORE
North Vancouver is joining in the growing campaign against the sale of shark fin. Councillor Craig Keating introduced a motion asking for the preparation of a bylaw that would ban the possession, sale and distribution within the municipality. The motion also calls for the city to lobby the provincial and federal governments to ban shark fin outright. READ MORE
After producing a comprehensive study of where Canada is at reducing greenhouse gas emissions requested by Environment Minister Peter Kent, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) goes out of business next March after losing funding in the 2012 budget. The report produced by NRTEE shows that Canada is nowhere near on target READ MORE
Ontario is proceeding with it’s Provincial budget discussions on an eerily similar path to budget discussions in Ottawa this week. Included in Ontario’s budget bill is a section called Schedule 28. Citizen groups, including the Ontario Health Coalition, the Council of Canadians and the Social Planning Network of Ontario are raising alarm bells. The groups READ MORE
The City of Edmonton Aggregate Recycling Programs recycles concrete, asphalt and other similar materials from reconstruction projects, private demolition and household renovations free of charge. The program provides an economical source of recycled material Edmonton then uses to construct and maintain streets and sidewalks, saving the city more than $15 million. Read more at the Municipal Information Network.
Public health care, garbage pick up, safe food, clean water, public parks, emergency services, higher learning, the chance to live in great communities with the hope of reaching our personal dreams. It’s time to start having the conversation about what our taxes contribute to a healthy society. See the video from the CCPA .
Edmonton’s Mayor Stephen Mandel signed a memorandum of understanding on June 4, 2012 to put in place a new state-of-the-art closed-loop paper and cotton recycling process that makes professional grade paper without using any chemicals, producing any harmful emissions or any by-products. Read more at the Edmonton Sun .
Toronto joins San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles as cities that have banned single-use plastic bags. Toronto city council passed a motion to ban the distribution of plastic bags effective Jan. 1, 2013. Read more at the Huffington Post .
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has released a report to help understand the underlying health of Canadian cities and communities. Read more at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities .
Port Moody City council voted unanimously on May 22, 2012 to ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fin products, a move mayor Mike Clay hopes paves the way for other municipalities to follow suit. Read more at canada.com .
Richmond city council has unanimously passed a motion banning genetically modified plants and crops from being grown in the city making Richmond the first predominantly agricultural jurisdiction in B.C. to enact such a ban. Read more at the Vancouver Sun.
The recently formed BC mayor’s caucus calls for reform to the current ad hoc municipal funding system. Mayors from 86 municipalities insist the current system need to be replaced with one that gives cities more certainty over funding so they can partake in long term planning that will better communities. Read more at The Globe & Mail.
Eighty-six British Columbia Mayors are meeting in Penticton this week to discuss the increase in costs being downloaded to cities, and how they can respond. Canadian cities only receive 8% of the tax base, and as budgets get cut elsewhere, they are having to deal with more and more costs in their communities. Not only READ MORE
B.C. engineers have now expressed concern that Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) will result in poorer public infrastructure. Read more at The Tyee .
City counsellors call for a united voice in requesting the provincial government review the Residential Tenacy Act. Politicians from 33 municipalities agreed the act subjects tenants to a costly, time-consuming, and ineffective system that is difficult to navigate due to its bureaucratic and legal complexity. The resolution put forward by Judy Villeneuve, Counsellor from Surrey, calling for READ MORE
Canada-Europe Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is generating serious questions and concerns from local governments across Canada. Municipalities, local government associations and school boards have passed resolutions expressing concern about the CETA’s potential impact local public services and decision making which could undermine public control key municipal services. Read more from the Columbia READ MORE
Citizens are encouraged to take advantage of the City of London’s efforts to gather input when it comes to creating a vision for London’s future through the ReThink London project. The city is asking London residents to share their ideas on how to make the city a better place to live, work, play and visit through READ MORE
A recent decision by Victoria’s city council is making councillor voter records easy to access. All votes are now recorded into the minutes and posted shortly afterwards on-line. To view records of votes visit https://victoria.civicweb.net .
More and more Canadian municipalities are raising concerns about the impact of Canada-EU trade negotiations (CETA) on local government decision making and economic development strategies. In the last two weeks, Mississauga , Welland and Niagara Falls joined Hamilton, Toronto and a growing wave of Ontario local governments in asking the province for a “clear, permanent exemption” of their muncipality READ MORE