Minister Bennett "In Conversation" with UBCM

At the September Convention, the Honourable Bill Bennett, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, addressed UBCM delegates and spoke to many issues that are currently of concern to BC local governments.

Specifically, Minister Bennett committed to seeking UBCM input in discussions with the Government of Canada regarding a new Long Term Infrastructure Program and a permanent Gas Tax Program.  Minister Bennett asked UBCM to assist him in setting up a working group to inform the Province as the process with the Government of Canada unfolds.

The Minister also addressed the work of the Local Government Elections Task Force, which reported out in 2010. He said he wanted to turn the 31 recommendations from the final report into legislation. Though not all of this work will be complete in the next eight months, the Minister committed to do as much as possible so that legislation can be ready in advance of the 2014 local government elections.

To help meet this goal, the Minister then asked for UBCM's assistance in forming another working group to provide input to the Province on local government campaign expense limits.

Lastly, the Minister recognized that the issue of expanded sources of revenue for local governments is of concern for UBCM members, and commented that this is a matter where collaboration with the Province and UBCM will be required to solve this problem over time.

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