11/20/2015

Remarks by: Gary McNamara, AMO President and Mayor, Town of Tecumseh. Ontario West Municipal Conference, London, Ontario
Remarks by:
Gary McNamara, AMO President and
Mayor, Town of Tecumseh

Ontario West Municipal Conference
Best Western Lamplighter Inn
London, Ontario

Opening Remarks, 8:30 a.m.


(Check Against Delivery)



Good morning.  

If this is Friday, it must be London.   It has been a busy week for AMO.

We’ve spent the last two days in Ottawa – working with colleagues from across the country to begin the discussion on how the new federal government’s platform commitments could take shape from a municipal government lens.  

There are a number of commitments that we are anxious to action – infrastructure, housing, immigration and child care are just a few.

We are not homogenous across the country or for that matter within this province.

But we are linked – motivated to achieve ‘real’ outcomes that make sense locally.

AMO and the province are also linked in this work – through our Memorandum of Understanding.

The MOU sets out that AMO is to be at the Federal-Provincial table to provide assistance and input to the province on federal initiatives that have an impact on municipal governments.

I wrote the Premier recently about our eagerness to roll up our sleeves and I hope that we will connect very soon on how this MOU commitment will unfold.  

 
I know our Minister is supportive of this collaboration.
 
I also know that over the last year, meeting with municipal governments on his ‘building bridges tour’, has been instructive of how diverse this province really is.   
 
I want to sincerely thank Minister Ted, in this public forum, for his time and energy in crisscrossing the province.   I believe you have clocked the highest number of municipal governments ever visited by a Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.  

I know municipal governments have not been shy about their local challenges and local opportunities, or the conditions needed for the latter.

AMO brings those matters and more to our work and in our discussions with the province.

Some of those discussions are easy and some are not – but for sure they are frank.

This Minister appreciates our frankness.

I think frankness can help us work through an issue to an outcome that is better for us and the province, particularly before the policy is approved.  Municipal governments bring a wealth of implementation experience to the table and it is invaluable to any policy success.    

Going forward this is even more important as the province works to balance its budget.

We know that it shouldn’t be at the expense of the upload agreement – let me acknowledge this agreement again.  

I’d hate to think what the property taxes would be without the upload.  

I’d hate to think how much further behind we would be in fixing our infrastructure if we were still subsidizing the provincial treasury with property tax dollars to pay for provincial social programs.
 
One of the things that AMO did in 2003 was to look forward.  

We are doing it again because even with the upload, property taxes and user fees are not going to be enough to build and enhance our communities – to be the backbone of a successful province.  It requires us to make the effort to envision the future – today.

Speaking of today, I look forward to the sharing, questioning and learning that will happen in this room and the hallways.

 It is all about relationships and connecting – it is about linkages.

Today, I wonder how many of you felt chilled and eager to get inside to the warmth of a heated building.  Imagine, if all you had was a tent as your refuge.  How do you comfort infants and children and equip them to become giving, caring adults when you are living in a tent settlement, let alone huddled along a railway.

I want each of us to say – we can help.  We will welcome refugees to Ontario.  We will walk the talk of a caring country.  

AMO will help in whatever way we can.  I know that we can count on you, your community groups and others in your communities.

Enjoy and make the most of today’s gathering. Thank you.