I have had no greater honour in my life than being elected to Kamloops City Council. City councillors get to discuss and work on an amazing range of issues. And, on your behalf, we all have the ability to influence policy and action. There are no “backbenchers”.
I have been doubly honoured by my local government colleagues across the province to have been elected to the board of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). Every September, there is a lot of media attention on the UBCM because that is the month of the annual convention.
It is quite an amazing convention actually - the one place, every year, where all levels of government, all BC political parties, many companies and non profits converge. At my first UBCM convention in 2006, I was struck by the amazing diversity and richness of the event. The whole province is represented at a UBCM convention.
The UBCM, however, exists for much more than a convention. The UBCM board and staff represent BC local governments in a multi-faceted relationship with Provincial Government. We also facilitate the sharing of information among BC local governments.
I just arrived back from our last board meetings in Victoria. Along with our own meetings, we also met with provincial MLAs and Ministers. We highlighted the issues of mental health and policing, land based spill preparedness and response, and funding for infrastructure projects.
Also serving on the UBCM board from Kamloops is Councillor Marg Spina. Additionally, Thompson Nicola Regional District Vice Chair Willow McDonald was elected to the board last year. They have been amazing colleagues who thoughtfully and actively participate.
The three of us also serve on the UBCM First Nations Relations Committee. The committee has been active in promoting reconciliation efforts that recognize the great wrongs done to Aboriginal Peoples and foster a desire for us all to move forward in a good way.
With recent court decisions, it seems pretty clear to me that all levels of government, and those we represent, will have to work very hard to create and maintain strong and positive relationships with BC’s Aboriginal Peoples. Their inherent rights can no longer be ignored.
For more on the work of the UBCM, visit www.ubcm.ca.