Municipal leaders gather to move Canada Forward
Posted in: News Item
Date Posted: 2021-06-07
Organization Name: Federation of Canadian Municipalities
Municipal leaders from across Canada gathered online May 31 to June 4 for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) virtual 2021 Annual Conference and Trade Show – engaging national party leaders, shaping policy priorities, and gearing up to carry our communities forward into a strong post-COVID recovery.
“In cities and communities of all sizes, local leaders have been on the front lines of this pandemic, and they’ll be key to driving the recovery Canadians deserve,” said incoming FCM President Joanne Vanderheyden. “Building that stronger Canada will require unprecedented partnership among orders of government, and as the governments closest to people’s daily lives, we’re here to say: we’re ready.”
Over five days, nearly 1,000 local leaders from every province and territory shared that message with federal counterparts – hosting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Official Opposition leader Erin O’Toole, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, Green Party leader Annamie Paul, and Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet in a series of keynote addresses and meetings. Themed Forward, FCM’s conference also featured FCM’s AGM, a virtual trade show, and workshops sharing tools and ideas to promote recovery on the ground. The plenary sessions focused on a variety of topics including rural growth, housing affordability and dealing with online abuse, and featured guests such as Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development Maryam Monsef, and CMHC President and CEO Romy Bowers.
In elections, Joanne Vanderheyden was acclaimed as FCM’s new president. The long-time mayor of Strathroy-Caradoc, ON, succeeds Prince George, BC,’s Garth Frizzell. Delegates also elected FCM’s 75-seat board of directors and its three vice-presidents.
- First Vice-President: Taneen Rudyk (Councillor, Town of Vegreville, AB)
- Second Vice-President: Scott Pearce (Mayor, Canton of Gore, QC)
- Third Vice-President: Geoff Stewart, (Deputy Mayor, Colchester County, NS)
In a separate process, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage succeeded Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson as chair of FCM’s Big-City Mayors’ Caucus, and he will be supported by two vice chairs: Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante and Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark.
“President Frizzell has been an extraordinary leader for us in extraordinary times,” said Vanderheyden. “Through these difficult months, FCM has secured vital progress for municipalities at the federal level—from funding to protect frontline services to rapid housing solutions to recovery-supporting investments in transit, rural broadband and infrastructure. That’s a testament to Garth’s leadership and it sets a high bar for FCM’s work in this crucial year ahead.”
Delegates brought local realities to discussions of emerging national issues. They passed four resolutions calling for national action on four priorities: supporting inter-community passenger bus service; strengthening Canada’s hate speech laws; expanding targeted funding for rural homelessness initiatives; and protecting 911 emergency services. As speakers reflected on the horrific discovery of 215 children’s remains at the former Kelowna Indian Residential School, FCM also recommitted to the urgent implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation’s calls to action.
“After 14 months on COVID’s front lines, municipal leaders leave this week united and ready to move this country forward,” said Vanderheyden. “After everything we’ve learned and tackled in this pandemic, returning to the status quo isn’t good enough. We are determined to work with our federal partners to drive a strong, sustainable and inclusive recovery – from coast to coast to coast to coast.”
FCM unites more than 2,000 member municipalities, representing more than 90 percent of Canadians living in every province and territory.