News

County wants in on cannabis dialogue

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

Norfolk County

Norfolk County

SIMCOE - 

Norfolk council recognizes there is strength in numbers.

Norfolk County has teamed up with hundreds of other municipalities to lobby the province on key issues as part of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

And, now, Norfolk intends to do the same with Ottawa as part of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Council took the leap this week at the urging of CAO David Cribbs.

Cribbs said that AMO and FCM are effective advocates and that Norfolk should have input with both.

The cost of a one-year membership in FCM is $10,000.

In approving the resolution this week, council also approved a $3,800 budget so Cribbs and Mayor Charlie Luke can attend FCM’s upcoming general meeting in Halifax.

Cribbs said that it’s important for municipalities to speak collectively because the federal and provincial governments have the lion’s share of taxing authority in Canada.

Provincial and federal governments regularly make decisions that have consequences for municipalities. An immediate example, Cribbs said, is the pending legalization of marijuana from coast to coast.

As such, Cribbs said that it is important to have the attention of senior governments when money is needed to accommodate their policy decisions.

“FCM is engaged with the federal government about cannabis the same way AMO is engaged with the province,” he said. “It’s important for us to have a seat at that table.

“This opens incredible opportunities. It gets Norfolk talking national issues on a national stage.

“FCM is fundamental to the relationship between municipalities and the federal government. We really are the future of governance in this country. I believe this will offer good value.”

Nearly 2,000 municipalities across Canada belong to FCM. Local members include the City of Brantford, Elgin County and Middlesex County.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com