EDITORIAL: Networking is key at UBCM meetings

Looking at what each of the West Shore communities can get out of this week's UBCM meetings in Victoria.

In today’s edition of the Gazette, we’ve given readers the lowdown on the resolutions our five West Shore local governments are bringing forward to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention this week in Victoria.

At the community level, each of these requests for action – either from the province, the federal government or both – has passionate backers who have convinced their councils to take their ideas to the next step.

Of the 10 separate resolutions sponsored or co-sponsored by West Shore municipalities, however, only a few actually relate directly to the jurisdiction that is bringing them forward.

Some have argued that municipal politicians should not waste their time meddling in areas where they have no jurisdiction – Colwood’s request that PSA testing be made free for men keeping track of their prostates comes to mind.

But that is the whole idea of these meetings and the UBCM gathering, to share ideas and get conversations going around how to make our communities and society better.

Representatives with the Province of British Columbia, as well as certain cabinet ministers, are attending sessions this week, which gives local politicians the ear of influential people for at least a short period of time.

As Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton pointed out, the kernel of an idea can sit for a while but grow into a better resolution that has more chance of achieving action from the province, as changes are made and improvements are made to its wording and makeup.

In a way, one can compare the work of the UBCM resolution committee and the endorsement of ideas by the general UBCM membership to the work of committees that toil away behind the scenes in Ottawa. Much of the grunt work gets done in all-party groups, but frequently the ruling government takes credit for the idea.

Most local politicians would gladly see the provincial or federal Liberals take credit for ideas that grew out of UBCM discussions or in town or city council chambers if it helped create positive change for people in their communities.

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