Northern Sunrise to ‘boycott’ conference

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

It is a waste of time and money to attend the Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference, says Northern Sunrise County.
As a result, council agreed to “boycott” the 2022 annual conference June 2-5 in Regina.
“In the past, we decided not to attend,” said Three Creeks – Wesley Creek Councillor Corinna Williams in opening debate.
“I believe we should boycott this again,” she added, noting the FCM is not a strong advocate for Alberta.
St. Isidore Councillor Art Laurin agreed saying the FCM was “slanted toward carbon reduction” which does not benefit Northern Sunrise.
“I don’t think they really represent us.” he added.
The FCM is billed as Canada’s largest gathering of municipal leaders. More than 1,000 elected officials and staff from across Canada are expected to attend the Regina event.
While most municipal councils in the Peace do not send anyone to the conference, some do. Big Lakes County has approved sending the entire council plus the CAO each year although at is Feb. 10, 2021 meeting they questioned the value of being an FCM member after receiving a letter from M.D. of Bonnyville Reeve Greg Sawchuk.
“The past few years have presented convincing evidence of the continued lack of advocacy and blatant disregard [by FCM] for western Canada’s needs and one of its highly significant industries that impact us all, the natural resources industry,” Sawchuk writes.
“Our council is beyond frustrated with this lack of effective representation that western Canadian municipalities receive,” he added.
Big Lakes Reeve Ken Matthews responded to Sawchuk’s letter by agreeing the FCM does little to support small and rural municipalities in western Canada.
“After discussing this topic with council and reflecting on the level of service our county currently receives from our federal advocate, we too agree that more should be done for western Canadian municipalities,” Matthews wrote.
“We also feel that there is a bias towards the east. . .much of the content is catered more toward urban and eastern municipalities.”

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