Prince Rupert is now the third BC municipality to reject the Enbridge pipeline

In a unanimous vote, Prince Rupert City Council made a motion to formally oppose the proposed Enbridge pipeline. The council has adopted the same resolution that the Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District (SQCRD) did over a week ago:

 “Therefore, be it resolved that the City of Prince Rupert be opposed to any expansion of  bulk crude oil tanker traffic as well as bitumen export in Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait  and Queen Charlotte Sound in British Columbia.

 “And be it further resolved that the City of Prince Rupert petition the federal government  to establish a legislated ban on bulk crude oil tanker traffic and bitumen export through  the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound in British Columbia.”

Council determined a motion opposing the pipeline was the best way to express their opinion to The Enbridge Joint Review Panel. Read more in The Northern View

CETA’s municipal implications “ringing alarm bells across the country” (Toronto Star)

An article in today’s Toronto Star warns that municipal procurement provisions in CETA are “ringing alarm bells across the country” and  that the proposed Canada-EU trade deal’s “effects on Toronto could be serious.”

The Star article quotes a recent City of Toronto staff report warning that CETA could impact Toronto’s hiring, local food procurement, strategic procurement and transit procurement policies, especially in regards to any requirements for local or Canadian content.

To read the full Toronto Star article, click here

To download the report on CETA from the City of Toronto’s general manager, click here


In Metro Vancouver, a reinterpretation of census data reveals the suburbs are not “booming”

Reporter Frances Bula has taken a closer look at recent census data which appears to suggest that Surrey is the fastest growing suburb in Metro Vancouver. Bula argues that when one takes into account the fact that Surrey is actually 3 times as large as Vancouver, and larger still than other cities in the region, and that it has more space to develop, Surrey’s growth is less spectacular. She has provided a reinterpretation of the data looking at growth per square mile and has concluded that in fact New Westminster is the leader in growth, despite already being a dense city; Surrey comes in at 3rd place. Read her blog here. 

The Future is Local workshop descriptions

Pre-Conference sessions:

Persuasive Communication 

Don’t educate, persuade! Persuasive communications training teaches concepts of message delivery in an intensive, interactive session. It equips spokespeople to understand the principles of persuasion, to define their message and key contrasts, to get their message out in non-supportive environment, to connect with their audience, and to win over peers, senior staff, stakeholders and the public. On-camera practice prepares you for the hot seat.  NOW’s trainers have worked with elected people at all levels of government from municipal candidates to Premiers to the late Jack Layton.  The fee is $100 to cover lunch, resources, and trainers. NOW Communications

Aboriginal Education

Within Aboriginal Education there is an emphasis on the importance of place.  Building on our Successful Practices in Aboriginal Education event this past fall and previous workshops at Civic Governance forums, the Centre for Civic Governance offers a pre-conference event focused on incorporating place into education. We are partnering up with members of the Chehalis First Nation for a boat tour of the local territory and an experience of the ways that understanding the sacred nature of a place can strengthen appreciation for culture and learning. The tour will include viewing pictographs, hearing stories and legends, and a traditional salmon barbeque lunch.  The fee is $25 for forum participants (sponsored by the Columbia Institute) and $85 for guests. Sasquatch Tours – Chehalis First Nation

Friday Early Afternoon:

Funding Formulas: When More is Less and Less

Before 1990, School boards could supplement provincial funding through direct taxation.  Not anymore.  Public education now depends on a   provincially determined public education funding formula which features in multiple stories of controversial cuts to education services.  This workshop covers a brief history of public education funding, explores the recent changes to the funding formula and the challenges districts may face as a result of these changes. It will address key budget information and explore how budget and financial reporting piece together for good decision making. Joan Axford

Friday Late-Afternoon:

More Advocacy Case Studies: Making Schools Safer

School Board leadership on Anti-Homophobia is stepping up.  Edmonton School Board tabled a brand new policy, the first in Alberta, this fall.  Burnaby’s School Trustees rolled to victory in BC during the November municipal election despite a virulent opposition campaign.  Prince George launched an active education campaign when their students told them that homophobic remarks hurt all vulnerable students, gay AND straight.  Why isn’t it enough to have a generic discrimination policy?   What’s a good way to engage parents, community, staff and students?  Detailed case studies spur discussion. Larry Hayes, Christopher Spencer, Sarah Hoffman.

It Takes a Plan

OK, so it’s important to take action on Climate Change and Municipalities are at the forefront.  How does a municipal leader go about it?  Like most initiatives that stand the test of time, planning is key.  This workshop will lay out the advantages of developing an Integrated Sustainability Community Plan –an overarching path of action that other planning tools — think Official Community Plan or Strategic Plan or Community Energy Plan — feed in to.   This workshop includes an overview of the leadership role that municipal leaders can play in climate action, legislative requirements in British Columbia, common planning frameworks, tips for establishing a community advisory committee, selected best practices and resources to get you started. Cheeying Ho

Living Wage

There is nothing inevitable about inequality and child poverty. Locally calculated to determine what it actually costs to live in a particular region, a Living Wage policy can help to ensure that those working in a region can afford to live there.  In this workshop you’ll get a chance to network with leaders bringing forward a living wage policy, get an overview of what defines a living wage and hear how Living Wage Policies are being advanced in British Columbia.  You’ll hear an update from New Westminster, the first municipality to introduce a Living Wage policy in Canada and get the administrative nuts and bolts from Living Wage employer Vancity……and you’ll leave the workshop with inspiration and a tool kit. Michael McCarthy-Flynn, Jaimie McEvoy, Ellen Pekeles

Saturday Afternoon:

Case Studies in Trustee Advocacy

School Trustees in British Columbia have been stepping up to the task of advocacy in bold and creative ways. Some School Boards in British Columbia have assumed their own communications work, composing their own press releases and managing media on issues related to education in their region. Building from a well-established district culture of public engagement, some trustees have effectively stood their ground on budget needs despite pressure from the Province.  How do trustees nurture that culture and how does that culture nurture their advocacy?  Two detailed case studies provoke discussion. Trina Ayling, MaryLynne Rimer

Working with the Media

Love it or dread it, strong local leadership invariable means working with the media. And a little training can go a long way. Come learn about, or be reminded of, the basics of traditional media, from Press Releases to pitching stories to interview skills. As well, we will explore new media platforms and talk about their potential for enhancing your ability to reach constituents and moving important issues forward. David Beers

More workshop descriptions to be added. Check regularly for updates.

Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030 – A technological roadmap for a low-carbon, electrified future

Imagine a world with abundant, clean energy. How different would our human civilization be with fewer energy limitations – less risk of climate change, no peak oil, and more renewable ways to provide power to an exploding global population?

To explore this future, the Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) launches the Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030 – a detailed roadmap of the highest impact energy technologies with a set of implementation strategies, applying the latest scientific and technological thinking. Read more at Waterloo Global Science Initiative.

Click here to download the Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030

Canada’s First Nations want languages officially recognized

There is a move afoot to have several First Nations languages, those covering large territories and populations, to be recognized under the Official Languages Act. Official recognition would likely result in additional long-term funding to incorporate indigenous languages into school curriculum. So far the government seems unwilling to concede; “news reports revealed that documents obtained through access to information legislation suggested the federal government has been preparing to defend against a possible lawsuit to get aboriginal languages recognized alongside English and French.” Read more in the Nanaimo Daily News. 

Ontario’s early childcare programs on the verge of collapse

The success of all day kindergarten in Ontario appears to be undermining funding for early childcare programs for children aged 0-3. Daycare in the province is so critically underfunded that in Toronto, 21,000 parents are waiting for daycare subsidies and those with the means to pay in full are still faced with year long waitlists. The Province has yet to address the issue. Parents and childcare advocates in BC are worried that all-day Kindergarten in that province will similarly result in underfunding of early childcare spaces. Read more in the Toronto Star.

Letter to the Editor: CETA will rob cities of vital tools

Kristyn Wong-Tam’s, Councillor for Ward 27, Toronto Centre – Rosedale has written a letter to the editor of iPolitics, outlining the likely impacts of the proposed CETA agreement (Canadian European Trade Agreement) on Canadian municipalities. Drawing from detailed research on the trade agreement, including a paper published by the Columbia Institute, Councillor Wong-Tam argues that vital tools to stimulate local economies and to protect jobs and the environment will be lost should the agreement go through.

UBC students of architecture and planning band together to envision Vancouver of the future

Fourteen UBC students studying architecture and planning have been working on a project that projects Vancouver into the future – 2050 to be precise, and asks the question what would Vancouver, as a sustainable city look like? The students have taken into account a number of factors including population growth, an aging demographic, migration and birth patterns, and energy consumption. Over the next six weeks the Tyee will publish the results of their findings/musings on a city that hopes to be “the greenest city.” 

Find the Tyee series, Making Vancouver Work for Everyone here.

Catalyzing Conversations: Innovative Strategies for Engaging the Public

The Centre for Civic Governance presents:

Catalyzing Conversations: Innovative Strategies for Engaging the Public

Saturday, March 17th, 2-4pm

Delta Bessborough Hotel, Kelsey Room

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 

Tickets $30

Featuring presenters:

Philippe Leclerc, Interactive Communications Manager, City of Regina

Phillipe Leclerc has been working in the Interactive field for 13 years. His work as Interactive Communications Manager for the City of Regina has been to help implement a full scale social media program as part of its regular communications operations. The City’s social media strategy is to use the tools to extend and complement existing communication channels and customer service initiatives. The tools have also proved to be a valuable resource for citizens when a story or event is not “big” enough to gain the attention of traditional media.
Today, the City of Regina maintains a thriving Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube channel.

Click here to listen to his presentation!


Dan Meades – Director, Vibrant Communities Calgary

Dan is originally from St John’s, Newfoundland where he studied English and Business at Memorial University before starting his career in community development and poverty reduction. Dan’s work has led him throughout Canada, Europe, the United States and West Africa; all the while his focus has been on community change and civic empowerment. Dan is driven by the thought that our world can be a better place for everyone in it and prides himself on working to give a voice to populations that are not always heard. Dan is currently the director of Vibrant Communities Calgary an organization that “works to achieve a substantial and sustained reduction in the number of Calgarians living in poverty” and “to grow the social, economic and political engagement of Calgarians in their community.”

Click here to listen his  presentation!


City of Terrace votes to oppose Enbridge pipeline

Northern BC’s city of Terrace voted 5-2 vote to formally oppose the proposed Enbridge pipeline, Northern Gateway. The city’s vote was motivated by two earlier UBCM resolutions which read, “B140 Opposing the shipping of tar sand oil in pipelines across northern BC for loading onto crude oil tankers and; B139 opposing any expansion of bulk crude oil tanker traffic in Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound, British Columbia.”

The Councillors who voted in favour of the motion are urging other affected communities to take a stand.

Read more in the Terrace Standard 

Mayor Ford’s transit proposal defeated by council

Toronto mayor Rob Ford has been hard at work trying to scrap the city’s long standing transit plan which would see an expanded light rail network. Calling the plan a “war on cars” the mayor put forth a new plan that would see all new transportation improvements buried underground. Yesterday his motion was defeated by council. Read more in the Globe and Mail.