Mayor Kerry Cook has returned from the 75th Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) annual conference held in Saskatoon June 1-4, confident that communities across the country are standing united to lobby government for funding opportunities.
With the theme being “strong cities, strong communities, strong Canada,” the conference highlighted that Williams Lake is on the right page, Cook says.
“That whole piece around long-term financial planning and sustainable infrastructure funding, of which our city has put a resolution forward to the Union of BC Municipalities, which was also the focus of the BC Mayors Caucus, was really one of the main focuses of this whole convention.”
Former NDP leader Jack Layton was honoured on Saturday, with his widow Olivia Chow there to hear the tribute.
“Jack Layton had been a keynote speaker in the past,” Cook explains. “He was honoured for his past involvement with municipal governments.”
While Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed the 1,600 conference delegates via video conference, other political leaders such as Bob Ray, Thomas Mulcair and Elizabeth May were there to give keynote speeches. Cook says there were different meetings throughout the weekend, including a short session for resolutions, and individual caucus meetings for each province.
“What was exciting for the B.C. caucus this year is that Vancouver city councillor Raymond Louie was elected third vice-president on the FCM board. It was a highly contested position, because once you get in you can move up into the presidency. He was the successful candidate out of four campaigns.”
The conference also saw Cook spending a lot of time networking with mayors from other communities.
“Having the BC Mayors Caucus a few weeks ago, it was great to have the opportunity to catch up with many mayors within the province, even sitting on the plane talking with a mayor from Salmo and a councillor from Port Moody. It’s so valuable to be able to find out what’s working in other communities,” Cook says.