The Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee (IRAC) met on April 7, 2011, at 11:05 a.m. in the Council Chamber, 5 th Floor, Regional Administrative Headquarters, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Suite A, Brampton.
P . Foley; E. Kolb; E. Moore; M. Morrison; R. Paterak; P Saito*; J. Sanderson;
R. Starr; A. Thompson; J. Tovey*
Members Absent: S. Hames, due to other municipal business; G. Miles, due to other municipal business
D. Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer; S. VanOfwegen, Acting Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Corporate Services; J. Menard, Commissioner of Human Services; J. Smith, Commissioner of Health Services; C. Reid, Regional Clerk; G. Malhotra, Director, Strategic Planning, Policy and Partnership, Human Services; D. Arbuckle, Manager, Public Policy; L. Rubin-Vaughan, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor; C. Thomson , Committee Clerk
Chaired by Councillor Thompson.
1. DECLARATIONS OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST - Nil
2. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
That the agenda for the April 7, 2011 Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee meeting, be approved.
3. DELEGATIONS- Nil
a) Rural Ontario Municipal Association/Ontario Good Roads Association (ROMA/OGRA) Annual Conference Summary (Oral)
Discussion led by Allan Thompson, Chair, Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee
Councillor Thompson extended his appreciation to Mayor Morrison and Councillors Foley, Sanderson and Tovey for their support at the Rural Ontario Municipal Conference/Ontario Good Roads Association (ROMA/OGRA) Annual Conference, stating that the meetings with Ministers and other provincial officials were more effective as a result of having representatives from the Region of Peel and its three area municipalities.
*Councillor Tovey arrived at 11:07 a.m.
Meetings were held with the Minister of the Environment, Minister of Community and Social Services and the Minister of Infrastructure. Additional meetings were held with the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation. Councillor Thompson noted that the Ministers and provincial staff were knowledgeable about the issues affecting Peel.
Councillor Sanderson acknowledged the work of staff from the Office of Strategic Innovation and Policy for preparing the Region of Peel delegation for the meetings and providing up to date issue briefings.
Councillor Tovey noted that he was impressed by the professional and knowledgeable manner in which political representatives presented the Region of Peel positions and for the excellent support provided by staff.
Councillor Starr suggested that the importance of having representation from all three area municipalities as well as the Region of Peel at upcoming conferences should be communicated to Regional Council.
Discussions took place regarding the upcoming Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Annual Conference in Halifax scheduled for June 3 - 6, 2011 and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Annual Conference in London, Ontario scheduled for August 21 – 24, 2011. It was suggested that delegations from the Region of Peel at the conferences should not be too large.
Regional Chair Kolb suggested that Mayor Fennell be invited to the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee in her capacity as an FCM Board Member and Chair of the Ontario Caucus of FCM, to provide an update on the plans of other municipalities with respect to election strategies and to ensure the issues identified by the Region of Peel are consistent across the province.
Councillor Morrison suggested that if all Ontario Regions are dealing with the same issues, there may be opportunity to have all Regions represented at meetings with Ministers at the FCM Annual Conference which would demonstrate to the federal government how important the issues are.
Councillor Thompson suggested that a press release be issued subsequent to each conference to describe what the Region of Peel delegation accomplished.
David Arbuckle, Manager, Public Policy, undertook to invite Mayor Fennell to the May 5, 2011 meeting of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee.
4c was dealt with.
c) Federal Election Strategy
That the recommendations identified in the report of the Regional Chair; dated March 28, 2011, titled “Federal Election Strategy,” be approved.
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, noted that the all-Peel candidates briefing session is scheduled for Thursday, April 14, 2011 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. in the Council Chamber, Regional Headquarters, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Suite A, Brampton.
Councillor Paterak stressed the importance of including climate change as an issue of importance in the upcoming elections and suggested that a Peel position paper is required on the issue of climate change. He stated that governments in Canada need to collectively make sacrifices for the protection of future generations.
David Arbuckle, Manager, Public Policy, advised that a position on climate change has not been developed and suggested that discussion take place at a future meeting of the IRAC on ways to influence the newly elected government on climate change issues.
Councillor Thompson requested that staff provide all Members of Regional Council with a one page list of priority issues prior to the all-Peel candidates meeting.
Councillor Tovey noted that the increased costs related to transit is a significant issue for the City of Mississauga and that if more people utilized public transit, gridlock and emission levels would be reduced, to the benefit of the environment.
David Arbuckle confirmed that staff from the Region of Peel has discussed the linkage of issues at the Regional/municipal level, noting that the issue of the “movement of people and of goods” is one that relates to goods movement and transit.
Regional Chair Kolb noted that improved immigration policies would benefit all municipalities and requested that it be included in the Region of Peel issues documents.
*Councillor Saito arrived at 11:35 a.m.
Councillor Foley concurred with Councillor Paterak with respect to including climate change issues in Peel’s advocacy efforts, noting that the Green Party is the only federal party to mention climate change in their party platform.
Councillor Foley requested that staff provide a comparison of the party platforms to Members of Regional Council.
Councillor Moore advised that Mayor Fennell suggested that the media be invited to the all-Peel candidates meeting and that the candidates be advised that media will be present.
Councillor Moore suggested that the elected representatives be invited back after the election to engage in dialogue with the IRAC and to demonstrate the Region of Peel’s commitment to building relationships over the next four years.
Councillor Tovey suggested that a delegation from the Region of Peel visit the Queen’s Park Legislature subsequent to the provincial election, to build relationships with provincial representatives.
In response to a question from Councillor Foley, Lowell Rubin-Vaughan advised that the
all-Peel candidates meeting will include an informal meet and greet; a short presentation on key priority issues; the distribution of briefing notes from the Region and area municipalities; followed by a question and answer period.
b) Provincial Election Strategy
Referred back to staff for revisions
Councillor Saito stated that in her opinion, tax dollars should not be spent on print media advertising as it is not effective. She suggested that portable signs be placed at strategic locations throughout the Region of Peel containing concise, clear messaging regarding the provincial election and suggested that they could also be used for the federal election.
Councillor Saito further noted that telephone drops are quite costly and annoying to most people and that it would be easy for the Region of Peel’s message to be lost.
Councillor Saito suggested that a single page information sheet be provided at every candidate meeting scheduled in the Region containing non-partisan information related to the issues affecting the Region of Peel. She further noted that questions to candidates should be posed in such a manner as to solicit the party’s position and not the opinion of the individual candidate.
Councillor Saito stated that Peel’s election tactics should be linked to area municipal issues and strategies to avoid duplication. Councillor Thompson suggested that letters to the editor could be submitted to print media instead of paying for advertising space.
Councillor Morrison suggested that the information sheet include the heading “From Your Regional Chair and Members of Regional Council” to provide assurance to recipients that the information is credible.
Councillor Moore noted that Premier McGuinty recently conducted a telephone town hall meeting regarding the provincial budget that was interactive and allowed the Premier to respond directly to questions posed from participants. She requested that staff investigate the cost of conducting a telephone town hall meeting and stated that the data collected would be useful at future meetings with Ministers.
David Arbuckle, Manager, Public Policy, undertook to look into the provincial government’s data collected from the recent telephone town hall meeting, if available. He noted that using social media will allow citizen engagement to be tracked.
Councillor Foley concurred that print media is not effective at reaching a large audience and suggested that the Region of Peel consider establishing an election blog.
Councillor Saito suggested that the one page information sheet include bar codes to enable people with smart phones to bookmark the Region of Peel election website.
Councillor Thompson requested that the report be referred back to incorporate the feedback received.
David Arbuckle noted that staff from the Region of Peel are also working closely with Fair Share for Peel to ensure unified messaging.
c) Federal Election Strategy
This item was dealt with earlier in the meeting.
5 . GOVERNMENT RELATIONS STATUS REPORT AND CURRENT ACTIVITIES
Discussion led by Lowell Rubin, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, Office of Strategic Innovation and Policy
a) Federal News
b) Provincial News
c) Local News
A copy of the presentation is available from the Office of the Regional Clerk.
David Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer, stated that slide 6 should be amended to reflect that the Region of Peel has benefitted from the $49B Infrastructure Stimulus Fund (ISF), having received $97M through the ISF and $30M under Social Housing.
David Arbuckle, Manager, Public Policy, advised that the Province has announced up to a six per cent increase in long term care funding and that Peel’s allocation has yet to be determined.
Councillor Thompson stated that he received a communication advising that the Liberal Red Book includes a long term housing strategy and requested that staff review the document to determine if it aligns with the Region of Peel advocacy efforts.
In accordance with previous Committee direction, a copy of the Government Relations Status Report and Current Activities presentation will be distributed to all Members of Regional Council with the Committee minutes.
6. COMMUNICATIONS - Nil
7.IN CAMERA MATTERS – Nil
8. Other Business or Current Issues to be Discussed
a) Vote Compass
Councillor Tovey noted that CBC has an online questionnaire titled “Vote Compass” that reveals the political party the respondent most closely identifies with and encouraged others to visit the site.
9. NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee is scheduled for May 5, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. in the Council Chamber, 5 th floor, Regional Administrative Headquarters, Suite A, 10, Peel Centre Drive, Brampton, ON.
Please forward regrets to Christine Thomson, Committee Clerk, (905) 791-7800, ext. 4582 or at email@example.com.
The meeting adjourned at 12:40 a.m.