Leaders of municipal associations from Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba met in Regina on Friday, April 27 to discuss topics of common concern for the prairie provinces.
The annual Western Canadian Municipal Association meeting brought together elected officials and staff from the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA), the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM), Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA), and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA).
“While each province has its own challenges, common concerns of funding, aging infrastructure, and increased municipal responsibilities tie us all together,” said SUMA President Gordon Barnhart. “These meetings provide a wonderful opportunity to discuss common difficulties and find joint solutions.”
At this year’s meeting, hosted by SARM and SUMA, representatives discussed nearly 20 topics.
“We had great conversation on many shared issues of concern,” stated Maryann Chichack, Vice-President Towns with AUMA. “Some of these included the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Species at Risk (Caribou Range Planning) and how we can work together to achieve consensus and common messaging.”
Carbon tax was also a topic of conversation.
“Although Saskatchewan is the lone province still challenging the federal government’s imposition of a carbon tax, other municipalities across the prairies also recognize that a carbon levy is not the solution to climate change,” said SARM President Ray Orb.
With municipalities owning 60 per cent of Canada’s infrastructure, the importance of funding was another priority topic.
“I’m pleased to see the support of the other provincial associations for a greater share of the funding allocated to municipalities under the Investing in Canada plan,” said AMM President Chris Goertzen. “Municipalities own 60 per cent of the nation’s infrastructure while receiving only 8 cents from every tax dollar. We look forward to working with our provincial government on investing a fair share in Manitoba municipalities.”
The meeting allowed the associations to come and work together.
“The Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) values the opportunity to collaborate with other municipal associations to discuss issues and opportunities that have municipal and inter-provincial impacts,” said Al Kemmere, RMA President. “The insight provided from our other provincial counterparts provides valuable perspective and we look forward to advancing our advocacy to support municipal interests on important issues across our provinces moving forward.”