November 21st, 2019

‘Spoiled child attitude’ reflects across country

By Letter to the Editor on May 11, 2019.

So, it begins. Divisive politics. Medicine Hat city council has unanimously voted not to attend the annual FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) conference because it’s being held in Quebec City. Well, boo hoo. It is well known that the current Quebec provincial parliament is opposed to pipelines from Western Canada. Now our city council has chosen to boycott this conference because of this stand.

First this is a conference of municipalities not provincial governments. Yes, some provincial and maybe national politicians will be there, but the focus of these conferences has always been on municipal problems and possible solutions. I read in the News that one focus will be on federal/municipal relationships in view of the upcoming federal election. Would not our council learn something on this topic alone or have they already made up their collective mind?

Secondly, would it not be beneficial to have the opportunity to sit down with folks to discuss the very issue you are boycotting? Stay away at your own risk, city council. Have we come that far that when we have a disagreement on anything, we just pick up our ball and go home?

Our mayor (and council) represents all citizens of Medicine Hat and not just those who agree with him(them). He has shown this bias previously.

Thirdly, did our councilors think about the damage this may do to tourism in our city? The spoiled child attitude reflects across the country and could give cause for potential tourists not to stop in our city.

It is interesting to see (at this writing) that no other jurisdictions have chosen to boycott this conference.

This style of divisive politics is growing. Fasten your seat belts folks. It’s going to get worse.

Tom Rooke

Medicine Hat

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One Response to “‘Spoiled child attitude’ reflects across country”

  1. Les Landry says:

    I agree with AUMA President Barry Morishita.
    Why AUMA will not boycott the FCM Conference in Quebec
    Message from AUMA President Barry Morishita
    For the past several weeks, I have heard a lot of chatter about municipalities considering boycotting the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference taking place in Quebec, including the City of Medicine Hat, who recently announced their decision not to attend.

    While I respect their decision, it is unfortunate they have chosen to forego the event based on the comments made by Quebec Premier Francois Legault. We should not assume Premier Legault’s words hold true for the municipal leaders in Quebec. There are many times municipalities in our province disagree with the provincial government. In fact, much of the advocacy work we do at AUMA is based on trying to get our own government to understand the municipal perspective, to acknowledge our role, to realize how the decisions they make impact our communities, and that the provincial voice is not our voice.

    Attending FCM in Quebec is an opportunity to have peer-to-peer conversations with leaders across Canada about responsible resource development – both renewable and non-renewable. It’s not just about oil and gas. It’s not just about pipelines. AUMA, along with Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA), Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA), and other municipal associations across Canada are coming together to coordinate the Support Canadian Energy campaign as part of the FCM conference. We are doing this to set the framework for us to engage in two-way conversations with other leaders across the country, not only to hear the Alberta perspective but for us to hear their perspectives as well.

    A respectful debate cannot happen if we are not all at the table. We cannot learn and understand from each other if we shut down the conversation before it can even occur. Boycotting FCM is taking a firm position and saying there is no interest in participating in a respectful debate in pursuit of achieving a common understanding about how resource development – not just oil and gas – benefits and impacts our communities.

    From my travels last summer, I saw how different the communities are within the province, and yet in many ways, we are the same. The same is true in communities across this country. We all have unique perspectives that are important to share, and some of those perspectives will differ greatly. But we need to understand those differences so we can create an understanding of how we – as municipal leaders – can support a responsible energy industry that benefits our communities and Canada as a whole.

    That the FCM conference is in Quebec is merely location. What is key is coming together to have these conversations, regardless of where they occur. We need to build bridges, not walls. Everything that happens in Canada happens in our communities, and it is important we have a role in the conversations regarding all resource development.

    Barry Morishita

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