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POLS 3270 – Week 1 – Wednesday January 8th 2014 .doc

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University of Guelph
HIST 1150
Tim Mau

POLS 3270 – Week 1 – Wednesday January 8 2014 th Setting the context  Most municipalities in canada are small and rural  Focus is on urban municipalities o Rapid urbanization – 18.3% urban in 1871; 80% in 2001; 85-90% by 2020 o Urban growth regions  1) toronto/golden horseshoe  2) montreal & area  3) vancouver & lower mainland  4) calgary-edmonton corridor o Projected growth for guelph o Economic well-being tied to local level (e.g., toronto = 44% of ontario gdp)  Most of our lives are grounded in the municipal level yet all of our news in international o Social problems rooted in urban environment  Drugs and crime, homelessness  Its not surprising that people feel very alienated from cities  Neighbourhoods are trying to reconnect with their communities like they were in the past  The current urban cities have made that difficult ( parking your car in the garage and not seeing your neighbours)  Its that human connection that makes a huge difference  Cities are large and congested, ( 4 mill people will come to Toronto in the next few decades  Urban cities fail to capture the interest of most people  Lack of interest in local government o 30-40% voter turnout  “city as the hope of democracy” (howe) o Wrote about the city as a hope of democracy o Power of citizens in rossland, bc  Passed a bylaw – gave citizens a more direct role – if you didn’t like something that was decided by council, you would have a say – council would have to make a necessary change - gave the electorate 30 days  “Citizens Hall” – book written by government power of the time – citizens must be treated as owners of their government  Guelph bus system example ( never used to run on Sundays)  Globalization o ‘global city’ or ‘city-region’ (e.g., toronto; vancouver; kitchener-waterloo-cambridge (technology triangle); guelph (life sciences/biotech) o We become more and more alike with the things we value o National boarders are becoming more and more irrelevant o Has led to some calls of global involvement – you cannot stop terrorism with one country o You need to have more control over local politics in order to get more involved o We used to have several different municipalities, but now the provincial government has created larger ones o Vancouver and Toronto are known as the Hollywood of the North – but also china  Where does loyalty reside – nation-state or city-state? Local government in Ontario • Municipal government – mayor, council & administrative structure • Municipality – 4 characteristics  Corporate entity  Boundaries- shift over time, downtown Guelph is now by stone road  Elected council- can vary in size  Taxation power- limited • Local government – comprehensive term • Roles of local government • Incorporates many different organizations • More then 2000 different organizations and boards, such as various police boards i. Boards of education, conservation authorities, agencies – all outside direct control but they do play an important part at the local level  Provide services  Representational role i. They do have a political role and are important because they resolve local issues and concerns ii. If you think this way, your going to be much more troubled at the lack of voter turnout  Tool of senior levels of government i. Can be seen more in recent years, municipalities are owned by the province so they act in the interest of the province as a whole Typical municipal service provision role  Protective services – police & fire  Transportation services – roads & public transit  Environmental services – sewers, garbage, water & waste water  Social & health services – welfare administration, day care, homes for the aged, public health programs  Recreation & cultural services – arenas, arts centres & parks  Land use planning Public education Importance of demographics  David foot article – wrote “ Boom, Bust, and Echo”  Demographic changes will determine important urban policies  The only way Canada is going to prosper is for Canada to increase immigrants  Age structure – young vs. Ageing o Baby boom – born 1947-1966 o Baby bust – 1967-1979 o Baby echo – 1980-1993  ‘dependent groups’ – 0-14 & 65+  ‘producers’ – 15-64  Urban policy debates o Post-secondary education o Daycare o Crime & drugs o Leisure & recreation o Health care Key urban government issues 1. Importance of economic development • We need to focus on attracting new businesses • Employment densities, don’t want to put people in a community and have no jobs • Communities need to find new opportunities • With globalization, its no longer small scale, its more global • Communities need to recruit new businesses and these businesses are on an international scale 2. The challenge of financing urban government • Municipalities have a limited ability to raise profit for themselves – like things like property tax • They are now being asked to provide things they don’t have funding for like transportation 3. Fostering and sustaining livable cities • Municipalities want to develop communities that are livable and people want to live • Its not one simple community, but it’s a provincial imperative • Its things like dealing with waste- such as Guelph not having a landfill – trying to foster more recycling and waste management • Communities need to take management on these kind of issues • Early 2000’s -Ex. Ontario launching the “ Smart growth project” in order to concentrate on the sustainability of the province • Sustainable transportation, 4. Promoting democracy • A massive undertaking, only 1% even cared to participate, much needs to be done • Whether or not local government is more democratic then other forms • There are many opportunities (even more then other areas of government) that individuals can get involved in the system • Single vs two teer • Technological innovations • Having smaller constituencies • Having the local representatives here, where provincial representative are always out of the country 5. Need for political and administrative reform a. Affordable housing, transportation, providing financial assistance – Jean Cretan took it and basically threw it out Approaches to study urban governance issues 1. Public choice o Individuals are “rational”/self interested actors – trying to get the best service for the least amount possible o Public goods (parks, you cant really prohibit or charge for them, policing and fire, highways (except the 407) vs. private goods – no one wants to pay for public goods so they want someone else to pay, this is why there are taxes for these goods. o “Tiebout hypothesis” – suggested that if people are not pleased with their municipality, then go to another municipality that has goods that they want. i. This is unrealistic because you cannot think that everyone can simply move whenever they are not happy o See the government as inefficient  For the reason that they have monopoly over services  Politicians/ bureaucrats- “ budget maximizes” • Departments will try to expand their budgets and try and create their own empires • For this reason they favour smaller services o Predominant perspective- amalgamations/ new public management  Ex. The community policing model – police are able to become part of the community where there image is improved 2. Community power theories 1. Elite theory  Power concentrated in hands of prominent local individuals  Based on property owned or business position  Thwart democratic process- simply having a group of elite individuals that run the community  “Friends of Guelph” – headed by Ted Camel- an elite group in Guelph that involves itself with politics - 2. Pluralist theory  Power is distributed  Deconcentration is beneficial  Examine each specific decision  In order to understand issues, you need to look at all actors in the issue, its not simply based on one person or organization  All groups have the ability to influence the political process 3. Growth machines  Property industry plays a key role  Promote economic development- residential areas are not valuable compared to industrial areas because they make more money  Capitalize on land use- we used to own all the land near stone road and we leased it to the mall – now its not university of Guelph land anymore – its sold off 4. Regime theories  Business still pre-eminent  Develop “communities of interest”  Interdependence – government, industry & voluntary sector  Theoretical approach in the 80’s  Ex. Development of the river run centre in Guelph Other Theories • Political economy – one cannot look at policy outcomes • Feminist perspectives- how the institutions construct gender relations Foundations of local government  Federal system of government  Constitution does not refer to local government  S.92(8) – municipal institutions in the province  Courts of the quarter sessions – judicial, administrative and legislative responsibilities  Baldwin act (1849) – first municipal act o Very significant because it represented the first attempt to get a municipal government in a province o It was at one point 1100 pages in length, so the conservative government made some changes- this is how we get the municipal act of 2001  Municipal act, 2001 – first comprehensive review and overhaul in 150 years o Came into effect on jan. 1, 2003 o Natural person powers o 10 spheres of jurisdiction – highways; transportation systems; waste management; utilities;
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