The changing dynamics of the municipal-federal relationship
The federal government understands that municipalities are central to Canada’s success – it is the communities where the country-wide initiatives are taking place.
Recently, Clark Somerville, past president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), presented on municipal-federal relations, and how the dynamic is evolving, at the Western University Local Government Alumni Conference.
Almost all federal initiatives regarding immigration/refugee settlement, housing, infrastructure, social services, and more are being executed by municipalities daily. While FMC has a successful history of advocacy for strengthening communities in Canada and trying to align federal and municipal priorities, the work is not complete, says Somerville.
In 2014, FCM launched its #HOMETOWNPROUD campaign to highlight the importance of hometowns and communities. After partnering with Air Canada, the campaign got national recognition. Somerville noted this as a major factor when discussing the need for more local government control at Parliament Hill. And, with a Canada-wide response, the federal government was able to see more from the hometown view.
With a national to-do list longer than ever before, now is the time to make the case for empowering local government. As Somerville suggests, the future of Canada lies within our cities and communities. MW