Donaldson inspired by AMO conference
GRAVENHURST – t Mayor Paisley Donaldson was in Ottawa last week. Along with 1,600 other delegates from across Ontario she participated in the Association of Municipalities Ontario 2012 conference.
“This was my first AMO conference,” said Donaldson in an email to this newspaper. “It was a great opportunity to network with other communities, mayors and councillors. While doing so verifying with other communities how Gravenhurst is progressing and if other communities are facing similar challenges.”
More than 1,600 conference delegates from across Ontario participated in close to 50 plenary sessions and workshops over the three-day event.
One of Donaldson’s first stops was the office of MP Tony Clement who held a reception for all of the delegates from the Parry Sound-Muskoka area.
Premier Dalton McGuinty addressed delegates, reaffirming his government’s commitment to honour its 2008 upload agreement with municipalities.
When asked if she thought the
premier would meet his commitments, Donaldson replied, “I would hope that he does.”
McGuinty also repeated his government’s latest infrastructure news. On Thursday, Aug. 16, Ontario launched the first phase of its Municipal Infrastructure Strategy. It includes a transfer of $60 million over three years to municipalities for municipal asset management planning and critical repairs.
“Ontario is only as strong as its communities, and AMO works to make sure Ontario’s communities are as strong as possible,” said association president Gary McNamara.
“The association’s top priority is to make sure the Ontario government honours the upload agreement that it signed in 2008. It’s essential that Ontario follows through on its promise so that municipalities can make prudent, long-term financial plans.”
Tim Hudak, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, and Andrea Horwath, leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario also addressed the delegates.
There was a keynote address from Michael Adams, the president of Environics and a presentation by Kathleen Wynne, minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Ontario government ministers and parliamentary assistants attended an open session to answer questions from municipal delegates.
Donaldson said she did not meet privately with any ministers.
“I listened to a number of speakers during three days,” said the mayor. “I found all speakers to be very educational and motivating.”
AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments. AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario’s and Canada’s political system.