One of the most important partnerships in government is the one that exists between the Province of Ontario and our local municipalities.
While municipalities exist and function under laws, regulations and policies which have been passed by the Ontario Legislature or determined by the provincial government, I have always viewed our local councils as accountable and responsible governments in their own right.
Whether we are talking about regions, counties or local municipalities, I do not refer to them as “creatures of the province,” as we hear sometimes at Queen’s Park. That viewpoint is not one that I share.
In fact, for the past 24 years as a Member of Provincial Parliament, I have sought to advocate for “local autonomy” for local councils. This means driving more decision-making authority into our local council chambers, and empowering mayors and councillors to make the important decisions on local matters. In turn, they are accountable to the voters for the decisions they make.
On a daily basis, I also see the high standards of professionalism and effectiveness of the staff of our municipal governments.
I try to never interfere in decisions that are rightly the prerogative of our local councils. Instead, when a council needs the help of the provincial government, I want to go to bat for them, based on the belief that if I can help a democratically elected council, I am helping the entire community.
Having just returned home from the recent Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in London, and knowing the current term of our local councils is drawing to a close, I want to express my sincere thanks to all who serve in elected public office on council. Their dedication and hard work on behalf of our communities is valued and appreciated.
In many respects, our local councils are the order of government which is closest to the people. Partisan party politics, in most cases, is kept out of the discussions, and the debates are usually focused on what is best for the community as a whole.
We need good people to continue to run and serve in these vital roles. The health of our democracy depends on strong public participation in the process, leading up to election day on Oct. 27.
Let’s all stay engaged and involved.
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In small town Ontario, the autumn season is “fall fair time.”
These annual celebrations of our rural way of life and agricultural heritage are always interesting and fun. Hundreds of volunteers give countless hours to plan and organize our fall fairs.
In Wellington-Halton Hills, the Georgetown Fair runs Sept. 5 to 7. That same weekend, the Aberfoyle Fair is on the 5th and 6th. The Fergus Fair runs from Sept. 12 to 14. The Acton Fair is Sept. 19 to 21. And, the Erin Fair overlaps Thanksgiving weekend, from Oct. 10 to 13.
Hope to see you at the fairs!
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Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott welcomes your comments. He can be reached at 1-800-265-2366. His website address is www.tedarnottmpp.com.