WHISTLER — Premier John Horgan said he has travelled across the province during the past year to meet with elected officials and discuss their concerns, to get an idea of what’s important in their communities.

“We have been trying to engage with councils, with mayors, with regional district directors, so that we actually hear you, not just listen to you,” Horgan said on Friday in an address to delegates at the close of the Union of B.C. Municipalities annual conference.

Horgan said after his speech that UBCM conventions have in the past seemed to be a revolving door of ministerial meetings with different communities. Speaking to communities in advance is part of the province’s strategy to make the meetings more meaningful by having answers to questions and advancing the discussions.

“We want to make sure that when communities come forward with problems, that we’re working with them to find solutions,” he said.

There were three major themes that were top of mind during this year’s convention, which was held in Whistler and gave delegates from local governments across the province a chance to meet with provincial representatives and each other, as well as take part in sessions on a number of topics.

Cannabis legalization, which will come into effect in just over a month, was the subject of many resolutions and sessions. In a significant development, delegates endorsed a proposal from the union executive that, in the short-term, calls for municipalities to receive 40 per cent of B.C.’s share of federal excise tax revenue — an estimated $125 million over the first two years of legalization — and equally split revenue above that amount.

Horgan acknowledged the resolution, and said discussions are taking place between the finance minister and UBCM.

Taxation was also a concern, from how the employer health tax will hit local government budgets, to …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun – Politics

      

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