It’s UBCM week, a week that I look forward to all year long. Just like so many organizations that were looking forward to being together in person, we had to move through the disappointment of one more virtual convention. Somehow though -despite online fatigue -we have 900 delegates online with us!
Resolutions are one of the more important things we do at UBCM, it is what informs the Executive of our direction annually and shows us the areas of importance to our membership. This morning the executive asked for support for three Special Resolutions; SR1 CARIP Replacement Funding, SR2 Forest Management in BC and SR3 Strengthening Responsible Conduct.
The Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program has provided local governments across BC with funding to achieve their commitments under the Climate Action Charter that helps us build staffing capacity, develop policy and plans, and leverage capital to achieve projects that help us advance local climate action plans. When the government cancelled this meaningful program without offering to replace it, and without consulting local governments the UBCM Executive took this issue on. We are asking for a new non-competitive fund to be implemented immediately that supports local governments as we try to advance climate action.
We felt strongly as an Executive to bring forward a consolidated resolution that asks for greater engagement and consultation with local governments and Indigenous communities on forest policy, which includes matters related to old growth designations and deferrals. BC local government have been calling on changes to ensure sustainability of the resource, protect old growth and improve accountability in tenure management. Fernie is the perfect example of a community that is vulnerable to forest policy.
The third special resolution was about strengthening responsible conduct of elected officials. Over the past several years we have heard from local governments that they want tools and resources to assist them with responsible conduct, and ensuring all elected officials have a safe and inclusive opportunity while they take on the important work of community service is incredibly important. Not just to those serving, but to those thinking about running for public office.
Resolutions take more than one day; we receive hundreds of them. They are where we meet in debate and it is absolutely where I learn the unique perspectives of my colleagues. The heat dome this summer is the perfect example, how it impacted Fernie was fundamentally different than how it impacted New Westminister. In New West, one of my colleagues told us that within five minutes of his family home, thirty people passed as a result of the heat. Resolutions are where we really learn from each other. Coming together to appreciate and support our colleagues around the province is what makes UBCM such a powerful organization.
We considered Parental Leave for Elected Officials, RCMP costs, funding for Fire Services, 911 Dropped Calls. We supported the policy paper and recommendations for the Ensuring Local Government Financial Resiliency Report. We supported a resolution important to all cycling communities, a Safe Passing Law.
If anyone would like to see the Resolutions past and present, please take a look at the online library. Please visit UBCM.ca and search Resolutions. There you will find a wealth of supported and not supported resolutions, and direction UBCM has taken. If you are going to bring an issue forward to your local government for consideration, an excellent first step is to look at the database to see what potentially has already been done in advocacy.
As I write this, I have just finished greeting Sonia Furstenau Greens, and she is sitting next to me waiting for the opportunity to address UBCM.
Right now, Shirley Bond is on stage speaking about the challenges local governments faced this year.
The truth is, local governments are the work horse of this province. Baring the