June 2, 2019

Breaking all attendance records, delegates to FCM’s 2019 Annual Conference engaged national party leaders, discussed crucial municipal policy, and ignited their campaign to make Canadians’ local priorities a centrepiece of the next federal election. 

“Whether it’s better roads, transit, housing or water systems, local governments are building better lives. We make the most of the tools available, but this next election needs to empower us to get even more done for Canadians,” said incoming FCM President Bill Karsten.

Over four days, more than 2,000 local leaders from every Canadian province and territory took that message directly to their federal counterparts—including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, and Green Party leader Elizabeth May. Themed Building Better Lives, the conference also featured panel discussions, policy workshops, study tours, FCM’s annual general meeting, and a trade show with 177 exhibitors. 

In elections earlier today, Bill Karsten was acclaimed as FCM President. The longtime Halifax Regional Municipality councillor succeeds Mayor of Magog Vicki-May Hamm as she completes her one-year term and moves into the role of past-president. Delegates also elected members to FCM’s 75-seat board of directors, and the following FCM Table Officers:

  • First vice-president: Garth Frizzell, a councillor from Prince George, BC
  • Second vice-president: Joanne Vanderheyden, Mayor of Strathroy-Caradoc, ON
  • Third vice-president: Darren Hill, a councillor from Saskatoon, SK

“President Hamm has led FCM through a period of game-changing progress,” said Karsten. “Our influence, reach and determination have never been stronger, and that’s a testament to Vicki-May’s leadership. It’s a real honour to take the reins in this vital election year. And I’m inspired to see thousands of local leaders returning to our communities energized—and ready to seize this opportunity to build better lives for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.” 

FCM delegates also celebrated extraordinary contributions by local leaders. This year’s Roll of Honour inductees were Pauline Quinlan (longtime Mayor of Bromont, QC), Maurice Cohen (nine-term councillor for Saint-Laurent, QC) and the late Roger Anderson (two decades as Chair of Durham Region, ON). Former Scotstown (QC) Mayor Chantal Ouellet received the Ann MacLean Award for outstanding service by a woman in local politics. International program awards went to Michel Pineault (Granby, QC); the District of Elkford BC; and Joan Westland (Bolton-Est, QC). 

Like every FCM conference, this one provided opportunities for delegates to bring their diverse realities to discussions of some of our most pressing national issues. On Saturday, they passed seven resolutions calling for federal action on key issues, from housing affordability to a national broadband strategy. And this morning, showcasing their trademark mutual respect, local leaders explored ways to advance energy infrastructure—to build better lives by strengthening local economies while protecting our environment. 

“Canada’s local leaders leave here united behind a single goal. We’re going to seize the opportunity of this next election to modernize our federal-municipal relationship—to drive the quality-of-life and economic progress Canadians deserve,” said Karsten. “We’re the governments closest to people’s daily lives, and we’ll work with every party to make those lives better and more affordable

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of local government, with nearly 2,000 member cities and communities representing more than 90 per cent of Canadians.

For more information: FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395, media@fcm.ca

© 2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities