WHEREAS rural municipalities across western Canada are members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) which is a collective of 2000 local governments of all sizes across Canada; and
WHEREAS FCM’s purpose is to advocate on behalf of all types of municipalities with influence and access to key federal-decision makers within every federal Canadian political party to drive investment in municipal priorities; and
WHEREAS FCM has established the Western Economic Solutions Taskforce (WEST) to address municipal priorities and challenges specific to western Canada; and
WHEREAS rural municipalities in Alberta, while appreciative of the creation of WEST, believe sufficient western, rural representation does not exist within the group; and
WHEREAS attendance at the 2019 FCM conference resulted in disappointment for many western rural municipal leaders because the issues impacting them were not accurately represented at the conference; and
WHEREAS rural municipalities in Alberta believe there is opportunity for improvement in FCM’s representation of western, rural Canadian issues and perspectives, specifically in the WEST;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) urge the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) to address the lack of western, rural representation within the Western Economic Solutions Taskforce (WEST) by advocating to FCM that membership to WEST reflect a balance between urban and rural mayoral perspectives, while keeping the size of the Taskforce at a manageable level.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) currently represents approximately 2000 municipalities across the country, which collectively serve about 90% of the Canadian population. Approximately 80% of FCM’s member municipalities are classified as rural.
Rural municipalities are generally characterized by low population densities and large geographies. However, rural municipalities provide the essentials of daily life including the production of grain and meat for food, gas and oil for cars and industrial vehicles, gas to heat our homes, and wood to build our homes. In fact, the vast majority of major value-added commercial and industrial projects (oil and gas), agriculture, forestry, and the manufacturing sector happens in rural municipalities. While significant residential, commercial and industrial development occurred throughout the country over time, recent economic conditions have significantly restricted growth for municipalities in western Canada.
In turn, the economic downturn has done significant damage to western Canada, with the impact resonating throughout the entire country. In response to this crisis, FCM formed a special taskforce to ensure western Canadian perspectives could be communicated more clearly to Ottawa. This Taskforce, called the Western Economic Solutions Taskforce (WEST) has been mandated with addressing this pressing national concern.
WEST brings together urban and rural leaders from across western Canada so they may collectively focus on the economic downturn, generate solutions and partnerships with the Government of Canada, and ensure the western Canadian perspective is well-represented nationally.
The composition of WEST includes:
|Chair, Randy Goulden||Chair of FCM’s Prairies and Territories Regional Caucus|
|Co-Chair, Al Kemmere||President of Rural Municipalities of Alberta|
|Co-Chair, Charlie Clark||Mayor of the City of Saskatoon|
|Michael Fougere||Mayor of the City of Regina|
|Don Iveson||· Mayor of the City of Edmonton
· Chair of the Big City Mayor’s Caucus
|Naheed Nenshi||Mayor of the City of Calgary|
|Brian Bowman||Mayor of the City of Winnipeg|
|Bill Karsten||President of FCM|
|Darren Hill||Third Vice-President of FCM|
|Ray Orb||· President of Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities
· FCM Rural Forum Chair
|Gordon Barnhart||President of Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association|
|Barry Morishita||President of Alberta Urban Municipalities Association|
|Ralph Groening||President of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities|
|Maya Tait||President of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities|
|Garth Frizzell, *ex-officio||First Vice-President of FCM|
|Joanne Vanderheyden, *ex-officio||Second Vice-President of FCM|
|Vicki-May Hamm, *ex-officio||Past President of FCM|
Two out of 17 members on WEST are rural-focused, and the group contains no rural mayors (yet there are five urban mayors). This warrants action to ensure that important rural, western perspectives are more effectively represented. The reason why rural municipalities exist, their priorities, their values, their opportunities (economic, environmental and social), and their challenges are fundamentally different from those of their urban neighbours. Having both the urban and rural municipal perspectives is vital to effectively meeting WEST’s mandate for western Canada.
8-19F: Opportunity for Improvement in FCM Representation of Rural Issues and Western Perspectives
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) use their collective strength and understanding of the rural municipal perspective and priority issues to promote accurate inclusion of rural and western Canadian issues and perspectives at the annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference, and in FCM communications and advocacy efforts; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that RMA send a letter to FCM identifying areas of alignment and concern with the content of the 2019 annual FCM conference and requesting that planning committees for future annual conferences include appropriate representation from rural western Canada to ensure that conferences are relevant and meaningful to all member municipalities.