Local governments send strong messages to B.C. Liberals at convention

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VICTORIA – As this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention comes to a close, New Democrats are applauding the hard work of municipal leaders, and resolving to work together to achieve the goals set out at this year’s event.

“This week, local government leaders came out in force to work together, and to represent the interests of their unique communities,” said New Democrat local government critic Selina Robinson. “They have also spoken loud and clear on a number of important provincial issues, and the B.C. Liberals need to make sure they are listening.”

Robinson commended the UBCM for their leadership as local governments faced a chaotic transition to a producer-pay recycling program. Delegates asked the province to step in and ensure that municipalities receive a fair deal from Multi-Material B.C., the industry group formed to take over collecting and recycling packaging and printed paper in May 2014.

“Local governments have asked for more time to consider the deal they have been offered, and for the government to come to the table to help facilitate these important negotiations,” said Robinson. “It is essential that the government review its commitment to reducing packaging, and make sure the local governments that are best poised to collect recyclables are part of the solution.”

Robinson said New Democrat MLAs were also pleased to see local governments take a strong position on a number of issues that they have supported, including bullying-free workplaces, accessible mental health services, an independent seniors advocate, an effective and affordable ferry service, the protection of agricultural land, and the curbing of excessive vehicle noise.

New Democrat MLAs have worked hard on these issues in their constituencies, in their critic roles, and in the legislature. For example, New Democrats have introduced legislation such as the Workplace Bullying Prevention Act and the Representative for Seniors Act, but the B.C. Liberals have failed to implement them.

“These are issues that go beyond partisanship, and the strong support for many of these common-sense resolutions shows that,” added Robinson. “We look forward to working with municipal leaders to keep these important issues on the provincial agenda.”