Election Education # 6
This week is Truth and Reconciliation Week and Sept 30th is Orange Shirt Day and National Day of Truth & Reconciliation. Our municipal leaders are responsible for taking leadership on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission: we encourage you to take the time to reflect, listen, and learn about the Calls to Action
- The Nawash Ezhiwebag has a listing of Truth and Reconciliation Day ceremonies and activities happening at Neyaashiinigming First Nation.
- Saugeen First Nation also has a full day of events planned in partnership with GC Huston Public School including a Zgaa-biig-ni-gaan renewal ceremony (11am) and events with various programs in the afternoon. They will have booths on site during the day. Their focus of the day is “Our Children – Past, Present and Future”. They are looking at what is needed today and moving into the next 7 generations to ensure the safety, protection, good health and wellbeing of their children and further, the support of the families.
- M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre will be supporting a ceremony at the Giichi-Name-Wiiwedong Reconciliation Gardens.
- Many municipalities, towns, schools and libraries are holding events this week and on Friday.
Housing remains a critical municipal election issue as municipalities play an important role in facilitating the development of affordable rental housing. We have updated the Poverty, Voting and Election page with recent reports and questions for candidates and voters to consider:
- The Municipal Role in Housing studies (Munk School, 2022) emphasizes the role of municipalities in setting zoning policies and approval processes that can help meet the need for housing in their regions.
- Grey County has announced updates to its official plan. Some of the changes include allowing for more Additional Residential Units (ARUs) in existing dwellings, as well as a separate structure on a property. Currently, you can have one or the other, not both. This would allow for tiny homes, employee housing and co-housing.
- Bruce County Housing announced a new Municipal Housing Allowance program that enhances housing security and helps vulnerable residents maintain their rental units.
- Grey County Affordable Housing Task Force September report on surplus public land available for housing.
- Grey County Housing launched its new Short Term Shelter Program effective Sept 21st, 2022. Contact 211 for intake if someone is or at risk of being homeless.
- Welcoming Communities Grey Bruce poses 5 questions for candidates and voters to consider. Municipal councils can ensure their local policies and programs do not discriminate against people with diverse backgrounds and can set the tone through welcoming and inclusive policy initiatives.
What is your candidates’ strategy to address housing & homelessness?
Councils play a role in the public messaging on how to show respect and compassion for people who are experiencing homelessness. We encourage you to look up candidates in your municipality and ask about their position on housing & homelessness.
- 34 Mayoral candidates are running and 4 have been acclaimed. Many candidates are publishing their housing plans as part of their platform. For example, Ottawa Mayoral candidate Catherine McKenney proposes building vibrant, mixed-income neighbourhoods that offer affordable housing in her Plan for Housing Affordability. https://www.mckenney2022.ca/housing
- Rebound Owen Sound and NDP party members took action in front of the City Hall of Owen Sound and posed questions to the current council on their housing strategy.
- Grey County Life/Rogers TV: we recently spoke with Grey County Life about housing & homelessness as an election issue and the launch of the RentSafe Tenant Survey. Go to the 10 minute mark for the interview. As of Sept 26th, 547 people have completed the survey.
Representation on the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force
The Poverty Task Force has been coming together for 10 years to collectively address poverty-related issues across Bruce County and Grey County. We have benefited from the leadership and core support of both Counties. We have had many Wardens, Mayors and Councillors actively involved. Recently the City of Owen Sound passed a motion to have a permanent representative to the Poverty Task Force. This is another way for our discussions to be formally reported to the Council and the public.
When complex issues such as homelessness are very visible in our communities, we must work together to reduce the Not-In-My-Backyard approach and look at our local responsibilities. Everyone deserves a safe home and access to services where they choose to live.
ALL CANDIDATE DEBATES
Some debates have already taken place in communities such as Kincardine, Lion’s Head, Meaford and Wiarton but here are more coming up!
- Ayton – Thurs, Sept.29, 7 pm, Normanby Arena Auditorium, Ayton hosted by
- Kemble – Wed, Sept 28, 7pm, Kemble United Church
- Mennonite Corners – Oct 4th, 7pm, Canadian Reformed Church
- Meaford – Thurs, Sept 29, 7pm, (for Mayor, School Board Trustees), Bognor Hall, Bognor
- Owen Sound – Thurs, Sept 29, 6pm – Meet the Candidates, 7pm – Debate, Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound
- Shallow Lake – Oct 12, 7pm, Shallow Lake United Church – hosted by Georgian Bluffs Climate Change Action Team
- Tobermory – Thurs, Oct 6, 7pm,. Tobermory Community Centre, Tobermory
- Walkerton – Wed, Sept 28, 7:30 pm, Victoria Jubilee Hall, Walkerton
Many libraries and other outreach services are offering support to voters:
- The SOS Mobile Outreach will be at the Owen Sound Farmers’ Market on Oct 5th, 1-4pm. The City Elections team will be attending to assist people to register to vote.
- Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library: offers computers to vote online. Staff will take a confidentiality oath to allow them to assist people to vote online.
- Simply Voting has released an instructional video for those municipalities voting by phone or online.
- A Date of birth is critical to register to vote. If a voter gets a letter with a warning of an incomplete date of birth they will need to contact their election help desk.
Stay well, Jill