Voting reforms mean more work
by Roger Varley
In a report by Deputy Clerk Michael de Rond, council learned of several possible changes that could come to municipal elections as a result of new provincial legislation.
Apart from the main theme, which would allow municipalities to move to ranked ballots if they desire, the legislation would shorten the nomination process from 37 weeks to 13, require candidates to be endorsed by 25 voters to get on the ballot, allow municipalities to ban campaign contributions from corporations and unions, ban third party advertising, and set in place other administrative changes.
However, Mr. de Rond recommended that council ask the provincial government to remove a provision that says clerks must review all campaign contributions for each candidate.
Provincial municipalities gang up on OMB
by Roger Varley
"The Ontario Municipal Board has overstepped its bounds."
With those words, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti opened a forum on Saturday morning on the OMB, attended by about 140 elected representatives from about 70 Ontario municipalities, including six members of Uxbridge council.
The forum resulted from initiatives by Oakville and Aurora calling on the provincial government to make changes to the way the OMB operates.
Tom Mrakas, a councillor from Aurora and the man behind the forum, told The Cosmos "we have reached the boiling point."
"We never know if a council decision (on development proposals) will be upheld by the OMB or not," he said. "We want a say in how we grow, how we evolve. We have to develop a unified voice to ensure appropriate development."
The assembled councillors were frustrated by the fact that the OMB can overturn council decisions, even though those decisions are made in keeping with municipal Official Plans, all of which are approved by the province.
The day-long forum began with a round-table discussion, after which the delegates broke off into small groups to come up with suggestions on how the OMB can be changed.