Program Funding, Campaign Finance Reform Highlight Oakes’ Speech

Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development address to convention delegates on Wednesday was highlighted by the topics of Strong Fiscal Futures, the Building Canada Plan and local election campaign finance reform.

Minister Oakes spoke to several provincial actions over the course of the past year that affirmed objectives within UBCM’s Strong Fiscal Future policy paper from 2013.  At several points during her address, the Minister spoke to the importance of the province and UBCM working together on shared priorities.

Oakes announced the Small Communities Fund – part of the renewed Building Canada Plan – would open for applications by the end of October.  The program will deliver $218 million in federal and provincial funding over the next 10 years to communities with populations less than 100,000.  Communities will be required to provide a 1/3 matching contribution. Oakes also announced the Government of British Columbia will provide $1.5 million for the Asset Management Planning Grant Program, which will be administered in collaboration with UBCM.

Minister Oakes also said that the government would seek approval of the Legislative Assembly to appoint a Special Committee this fall to make recommendations establishing expense limits in time for the 2018 local government elections.  

Noting upcoming opportunities to showcase British Columbia in 2015, she also announced, on behalf of the Canada Games Host Society, that Terrace, Fort St. John and Quesnel will host the 2015 Canada Winter Games Regional Community Torch Celebrations.

In closing, Minister Oakes thanked all B.C.’s elected representatives for their dedication to building strong, vibrant communities throughout British Columbia.

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