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Week 6- Localization/ Municipal Governance

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Week 6- Localization/ Municipal Governance
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  1. Week 6- Localization/Municipal Governance POL 358

  2. Outline • -Evaluations Summary • -Papers • Levels: Global>International> Federal> Provincial> Municipal> local. • Why the fuss about local? • Localizing for the environment- • Government • Governance/Political economy. • Key point: interconnectivity. • Between economic structures and environment (horizontal). • Between levels of government (vertical).

  3. Question What does LOCAL mean to you? Where are the boundaries of your ‘local’?

  4. Why study local? • Canadian Federal and Provincial governments have been offloading or ‘downloading’ responsibilities for services. • Planning choices have important impacts on environmental outcomes. • The level most directly connected to the population- most visible (cognitive issue- Princen). • Participation and democracy (fem) • Decreasing scale/transportation needs • Resiliency • Municipalities are key actors in implementing broader initiatives • From the environmental side, interest in bioregions, reduced scale, appropriate technology- enthusiasm for this level.

  5. Responsibilities- Municipalities Protection of persons and property, which includes the management of local policing and firefighting services Local transportation, such as management of public bus and rail services, as well as municipal roadway construction and maintenance Planning and development, including municipal zoning and industrial/economic development Public utilities, including the management of local sewage systems, water treatment, and electric utilities Local social-welfare services, such as management of local health, library and educational facilities, and social assistance services. Parks, recreation, and culture

  6. Municipal Governments • Constitution Act, 1867, "In each Province the Legislature may exclusively make Laws in relation to... Municipal Institutions in the Province. • Provinces and Feds have enshrined powers, municipal levels do not. • Municipalities have responsibilities without the direct control of funds. • Raise funds from property taxes (incentive 2 develop), permits, p3s and, increasingly, service fees. • Municipalities receive 8% of government revenues via General Purpose or Specific Purpose Transfers. • Rely on provincial legislatures for approval. • Provinces have the right to alter local governments in their jurisdiction at any time, abolish or amalgamate municipalities, change their financial or electoral structures, alter their powers and responsibilities. • Feds interact via projects, CMHC, RCMP, Transport CDA.

  7. Challenges of municipal government • Diversity. Approx. 5000 municipal governments in Canada, and new ones continue to be formed. Just under 2000 in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. • Clashes with Provincial Governments. Very political. E.g Vancouver Charter. Ministry of Municipal Affairs is responsible for overall supervision of municipal activities, particularly anything related to finance and debt, and boundary changes. Powers set out in municipal act. Can be changed by legislature. • Buck-passing. • Local governments ill-equipped to deal with the vast complex problems. Requires resources, imagination, political will.

  8. Opportunities for municipal government • Diversity. Despite challenges there are literally thousands of initiatives across the country. Interesting variation. • Need. There isn’t anywhere to pass the buck down to when services break down. • Increasing focus on resilient cities.resilient cities. Feedback systems that detect and can deal with threats. (e.g. local energy). (Princen) • Planning and Utility Choices. (e.g. Toronto Hydro).

  9. Policy and Planning. • McAllister focuses on planning and the evolution of city development. • ‘good policy’ is both socio-economic and biophysical. • Enter Princen and place-based economies. LETS systems, local markets, community energy. • Other place based initiatives (land trusts, community forests. • A community forest can be described as any forestry operation managed by a local government, community group, or First Nation for the benefit of the entire community. • Provinces and municipalities can designate particular areas for these purposes.

  10. Princen • Key concepts • Distancing (consumption) & Feedback Loops • Shading (production) • Regulatory arbitrage, cut and run, externalize costs, tendency to monopoly. • Intentionality • Information and Cognition • Internalizing costs is part of making the economy more ‘realistic’. Princen argues it doesn’t go far enough. • He looks at outcomes of aggregated individual choices (like Hardin). • His work helps to link political economy with environmentalism. Not about ‘bad corporations’ or ‘good governments’ but institutions, incentive structures. • Good book: Confronting Consumption.(avail online via SFU library). • “if the costs of production can be externalized beyond the state, both the state and the firm benefit.” State via tax revenues and not having to regulate, firm via profits.

  11. Princen 2 • Firms, engaging in standard business practice (proliferation of new technologies and expansion of markets) have these costs. • Nothing that voluntary systems or compliance can do about that. Part of everyday competitive strategy. • This has implications for market liberals who rely on corporate innovation and market structures to auto-correct. • Supply chains: Separation of rights for resource use from responsibilities. Easier to claim rights than force responsibilities. • Princen, along with many sociologists and deep greens, argues that the time horizons of local resources users are significantly different. Place based policies thus result in ‘better’ environmental outcomes. As an issue of structure, rather than solely intention.

  12. Concluding thoughts • Community (or ‘local’ ) not some fix-all idealized notion. Community decisions will be based on the political, economic and cultural realities of each group. • Laird’s anecdotal accounts of developments need to be seen in the context of how global and aggregate markets for energy shape local level choices for what works, what is profitable. • Distance, scale, space and place. • McKenzie16.2 billion dollar project 30 years in the making, & opening of arctic seaways • Partnerships with local levels can take many forms. That strategic bargaining, values, etc diverge. • FILM- BURNS BOG • FEB 8 2010- Delta passes Bylaws 6827 & 6828 re-designating three parcels of environmentally sensitive Burns Bog land Industrial and Heavy Industrial.

  13. Group exercise- Tar Sands • Your team is a group of independent policy analysts hired by and international group to suggest how to ‘clean up’/’green’ development in the Athabasca Oilsands near Fort McMurray. • Identify the relevant level of government that should be responsible. • Come up with two paths. • the ideal path and measures it would take to get there • a compromise path, given the current political-economic context. • Note: your group’s suggestions will depend on factors such as the appropriate level of and role for governments, your conception of ‘green’, etc.