"This fall's Board Meeting took place against the backdrop of an important national discussion about the role of municipalities and their relationship with the provincial and federal orders of government. The FCM Board sent a unanimous message that municipalities will oppose any use of Section 33 (the notwithstanding clause) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that would have the effect of overriding local decision-making and democratic rights at the local level. The FCM Board also reaffirmed its support for the ability of municipalities to govern their own affairs and represent the interests of their residents.
"As federal political parties prepare for next year's election, it is time for a mature and modern conversation about how to strengthen municipal autonomy. We need political will from every order of government to have a conversation about how we work together within the Constitution. With engaged federal partners, we know it can be done.
"Over the course of our discussions, Board members were updated on developments in the federal infrastructure plan, rural broadband connectivity, and the legalization of cannabis. Each of these issues are compelling examples of how local governments can and must be supported with the tools for local decision-making.
"Particularly regarding cannabis, with legalization fast approaching, municipalities have been working hard to get ready for October 17th. Many provinces have yet to outline their plans for cannabis excise tax revenue sharing, and the uncertainty for local governments is a serious cause for concern. Success requires ongoing collaboration and cooperation across all orders of government.
"Local governments are building a more livable, competitive Canada. We are ready to have an important conversation about greater municipal autonomy, and the tools needed to support it.
"I was pleased to gather with my colleagues from across the country in the County of Annapolis, Nova Scotia, to discuss these ambitious goals and objectives of Canada's municipalities for the year ahead."
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is the national voice of municipal governments, with nearly 2,000 members representing more than 90 per cent of the Canadian population.