Thinking Big in a Small town

We have a tendency to downplay small towns. The tropes are maybe just true enough to persist: small town folks, the story goes, are sheltered from the big wide world; nothing ever happens in a small town, and young people need to escape to experience the world; and even in reverse, there are a thousandContinue reading “Thinking Big in a Small town”

ROMA Wrapup

After just two nights and three busy days away, my brain took the rest of the week off. Apparently I’m not a young man anymore. The last day of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association 2023 conference was light on learning sessions, and the plenary sessions were sparsely attended as delegates left early. Too bad; theyContinue reading “ROMA Wrapup”

Public Consultations

This week started with a Planning meeting that included a public consultation about a proposed development near a wetland. Before, during, and after this meeting there has been significant public interest: councillors have been receiving emails, addressing comments on social media, and getting phone calls about the development, and through all of this communication we’veContinue reading “Public Consultations”

Municipal Budgets 1: Taxes

It’s that time of year. I suspect that we choose January and February to do most financial activities because it’s the one time of year that there isn’t anything more interesting going on. Can you imagine trying to write a budget document or file your taxes in July, when you’d rather be at the lake?Continue reading “Municipal Budgets 1: Taxes”

The Public Trust

My last three posts here have been about the Council Code of Conduct and the role of the Integrity Commissioner, and this morning I was in a training session with councillors and senior municipal staff from across Northumberland. Out of the enormous binder I was presented with once I was elected, and the numerous trainingContinue reading “The Public Trust”

Integrity on Council, part 3

In the last post I went through the first ten rules of the Council Code of Conduct to try to lay them out in layman’s terms. They’re pretty straightforward, so these posts are more about summarizing them. You can read the full Code of Conduct here. Now let’s pick up at rule 11. 11. RespectContinue reading “Integrity on Council, part 3”

Integrity on Council, part 2

The Council Code of Conduct is a thorough set of guidelines that, if followed, should more than keep us out of trouble; it should keep us respectful, united, and productive. (For more info on what happens if we step out of line, see part 1 on the Integrity Commissioner.) The Code of Conduct The CouncilContinue reading “Integrity on Council, part 2”

Integrity on Council, part 1

Political scandals are so common now that we’ve come to expect them of our elected officials. While federal and provincial political scandals are often personal (allegations of sexual misconduct, prejudicial comments, or other questionable behaviour), municipal scandals tend to be a bit more technical and procedural, usually oriented around a real or perceived conflict ofContinue reading “Integrity on Council, part 1”

Bill 23 and Why It Matters, pt 3

This is the final part of a 3-part series. See parts 1 and 2 for the rest of the story. The text of Bill 23 is here. Undermining Municipalities, Imposing Sprawl We’ve already seen how the Province is consolidating its power to overrule virtually everyone, and how they defunded CAs back in 2020; Bill 23Continue reading “Bill 23 and Why It Matters, pt 3”

Bill 23 and Why It Matters, pt 2

This is the second post in a 3-part series, because there was just too much to cover in one. Read more about it in part 1 here, or part 3 here. The text of Bill 23 is here. Gutting Environmental Protections, Opening the Greenbelt Doug Ford has been talking about opening the Greenbelt for years.Continue reading “Bill 23 and Why It Matters, pt 2”