THE REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF PEEL

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS COMMITTEE

MINUTES GRC-2008-6

The Government Relations Committee (GRC) met on September 11, 2008 at 12:30 p.m. in the 5th Floor Boardroom, Regional Administrative Headquarters, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton.

Members:

G. Carlson; A. Groves ¨ ; E. Kolb ; P. Mullin; C. Parrish; J. Sanderson; A. Thompson

 

 

Members Absent:

S. Fennell; G. Miles

 
Also Present:

Councillor M. Prentice; Councillor G. Gibson; C. Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy; J. Menard, Executive Director, Transition and Integration – Human Services; M. Hood, Director, Communication Services; N. McLeod, Manager of Strategic Social Policy; D. Hodkin, Acting Project Manager, Strategic Policy; C. Thomson, Committee Clerk

Chaired by Councillor C. Parrish.

1. DECLARATIONS OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST - Nil


2. APPROVAL OF AGENDA

RECOMMENDATION GRC-11-2008:

That the agenda for the September 11, 2008, Government Relations Committee meeting be amended to include an oral report from Anthony Irving, Senior Consultant, The Devon Group, regarding the Federal election campaign;

And further, that the agenda for the September 11, 2008 Government Relations Committee meeting be amended to include a communication from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), referred from the September 11, 2008, General Committee meeting;

And further, that the agenda for the September 11, 2008 Government Relations Committee meeting be approved, as amended.

See also Reports – Item 3d and Communications – Item 7a

3. REPORTS

Additional Item – Item 3d was dealt with.

d) Oral Report Regarding the Federal Election Campaign

Received

Anthony Irving, Senior Consultant, The Devon Group, provided an overview of the current status of the Federal election campaigns with respect to recent polls which was undertaken to ascertain voter opinions. He noted that issues affecting municipalities do not appear to be resonating with voters and suggested that in many cases, voters are not aware of how responsibilities are shared amongst the three levels of government.

Councillor Prentice suggested that educating voters about the impact Federal policies and decisions have on municipalities should be a focus of the Government Relations Committee.

Councillor Parrish stressed the need to support the themes that have been advanced by Mayor McCallion with respect to infrastructure funding as well as to build on messages from Premier McGuinty with respect to a fair share for Ontario. She noted that if the Province is not receiving its fair share of funding supports from the Federal government, then municipalities will not receive their fair share either. She suggested that the Government Relations Committee reinforce the messages conveyed by our local Mayors, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), supporting the positions with hard data.

Councillor Groves departed at 12:45 due to other municipal business.

Item 3a- ii) was dealt with.

a) Federal Election Readiness Plan

ii) Peel Information Booklet

Received

A booklet titled “Strengthening Peel and All Municipalities – Working Together for a Stronger Canada” was distributed. Councillor Parrish advised that the previous workbook that was developed and distributed prior to the provincial election has been updated to reflect Federal issues and includes proposed positions for federal support. Members of the Government Relations Committee were requested to review the booklet and provide comments to Curry Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy, by Monday, September 15, 2008, prior to its distribution to all members of Regional Council on September 18, 2008.

Councillor Prentice suggested that the booklet be amended to include a request that the Federal government recognize that immigrant settlement funding should be used only for immigrant settlement supports and services.

Councillor Prentice further suggested that the term “newcomer” be replaced with “immigrant” in the booklet as the term may be confusing to readers.

Janet Menard, Executive Director, Transition and Integration – Human Services, advised that generally the term “newcomer” refers to residents who have been in Canada for five years or less, however, many immigrants who have been in Canada longer than five years are still struggling.

Upon concurrence from members of the Committee, it was agreed that the term “newcomer” would be replaced, where relevant, with the word “immigrant” throughout the booklet.

Regional Chair Kolb suggested that the graph depicting declining federal housing subsidies, which was part of a presentation by Roger Maloney, Chair, Social Housing Services Corporation to the September 11, 2008 General Committee meeting, be included in the booklet.

Councillor Mullin stated that the updated booklet is excellent and very well presented. She suggested that after the election, the booklet be revised to place the “quick fixes” up front and move the background information to the back.

Councillor Parrish stated that the amended booklet will be circulated at the September 18, 2008 Government Relations Committee meeting for final review and then distributed at the September 18, 2008 Regional Council meeting for endorsement.

(Note: An updated booklet, reflecting the comments from GRC members noted above, was electronically distributed to all members of Regional Council on Thursday, September 11, 2008 at 10:30 p.m., in anticipation of a media story published in the Toronto Star on September 12, 2008, about the positions contained within the booklet on Peel’s priority issues. A final updated copy will be reviewed by the Government Relations Committee on September 18, 2008 and distributed at the September 18, 2008 Regional Council meeting.)

3. REPORTS

a) Federal Election Readiness Plan

i) All Cadidate Sessions

RECOMMENDATION GRC-12-2008:

That an all candidates briefing session be held on September 22, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. in the Regional Council Chamber to discuss the positions endorsed by Regional Council.

Councillor Parrish advised that a tentative date of September 22nd has been determined for the all candidates session, based on the availability of Chair Kolb, and suggested that the session commence at 10:00 a.m. as most candidates do not campaign in the morning.

ii) Peel Information Booklet

This item was dealt with earlier in the meeting

iii) Questions for Candidates

RECOMMENDATION GRC-13-2008:

That the questions for Federal election candidates be distributed to all Peel-area candidates;

And further, that responses received from Federal election candidates to the questions posed by the Government Relations Committee be posted to the Region of Peel website.

b) Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Follow-Up to PMFSDR (Oral)

Received

Keith Ward, Commissioner of Human Services and General Manager, Peel Living, reported on the announcement by the Premier to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference participants that a decision on the Provincial Municipal Services Delivery Review will be announced at the end of 2008. Although there was disappointment in the delay, as the announcement was expected at the conference, there was acceptance that due to the significance and complexity of the issues requiring resolution, that more time was needed. The Premier did bring good news by announcing a one-time infrastructure funding of $1.1 billion to Ontario municipalities including $67 million to Peel Region for infrastructure capital needs.

Keith Ward noted the emphasis placed by both Premier McGuinty and Jim Watson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, on affordable housing as a key contributor to reducing poverty; the need for more affordable housing, and both expressed disappointment that the federal government does not recognize affordable housing as a priority. He noted that Minister Watson referenced the Peel social housing waiting list as being the longest in the Province. Keith Ward noted that the presentation by the Minister regarding the provincial announcement of social housing capital repair funds to Peel ($5.5 million over 2008 and 2009), contained a number of slides of the media event that took place at Fletcher’s Creek, a social housing project in Peel.

c) 905 MPP Peel Caucus Update (Oral)

Received

Anthony Irving, Senior Consultant, The Devon Group advised that a letter was drafted and provided to Charles Sousa, MPP, Mississauga South, for his use to engage other Peel-area MPPs in forming a Peel caucus. Ultimately, the decision to authorize the creation of a Peel caucus will be made by the Premier.

Councillor Carlson suggested that funds be requested from the office of the Premier to permit a representative from his office to attend meetings of the caucus, when needed.

d) Oral Report Regarding the Federal Election Campaign

This item was dealt with earlier in the meeting

4. ITEMS DEFERRED FROM PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT RELATIONS COMMITTEE MEETINGS

a) Town of Markham Second Suites and Strategy Options Information Summary Report

Deferred to the October 16, 2008 Government Relations Committee meeting

5. REQUESTS FROM REGIONAL COUNCIL FOR GOVERNMENT RELATIONS SUPPORT


6. STATUS REPORTS ON GOVERNMENT RELATIONS COMMITTEE PRIORITY ISSUES

7. COMMUNICATIONS

Additional Item – Item 7a:

a) Jean Perrault, President, Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Email dated September 6, 2008, Providing Comments on Key Priorities for Canadian Municipalities for the October 14, 2008 Federal Election

Received

See also Approval of Agenda

8. OTHER BUSINESS - Nil

9. NEXT MEETING

The next meeting of the Government Relations Committee is scheduled for Thursday, September 18, 2008, 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., Regional Administrative Headquarters, 5th Floor Boardroom, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton, Ontario.

Please forward regrets to Christine Thomson, Committee Clerk, (905) 791-7800, extension 4582 or to christine.thomson@peelregion.ca.

10. ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 2:04 p.m.