What is the Regional Government Initiative?
The Regional Government Initiative is an MNL plan to initiate and encourage a debate on regional government in Newfoundland and Labrador. More broadly, it is an MNL effort to spur discussion on reforming municipal government. Our current municipal system is not sustainable. It is outdated and is not reflective of the current capacity and status of many municipalities. Therefore, it needs to be reformed. Regional government is an option for reform – it may not be the final result.
Why are there three individual papers?
The simple answer is that one paper would be too long, and as a result many people would be discouraged from reading it. We also thought, however, that there are natural breaks in our analysis of the municipal system that allowed us to break the study into three different parts. If you are interested in reading the entire work, the chronological reading order is:
Vol. 1 – Continuities and Discontinuities: this provides a brief history of municipal government and regional governance in Newfoundland and Labrador
Vol. 2 – Searching for a Purpose: this volume provides a current assessment of the state of municipal government and regional governance in Newfoundland and Labrador. The volume also provides a detailed explanation of our proposed municipal stress tests.
Vol. 3 – The Umbrella of Protection: this volume contains MNL’s reasoning for regional government and explains the general characteristics of a regional government system. This volume also explains and analyzes 7 regional government models that exist, either in practice or theory, in other jurisdictions in Canada and in other countries.
Do I have to read all three papers?
No. Of course we encourage everyone to read all three papers, but if you only want to read one, we strongly encourage that you read Volume 3, “The Umbrella of Protection.” It is this volume that explains and shows that regional government can be the protector and promoter of municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador. This volume also presents the various options for the future. During our consultations, we will be asking municipal leaders to imagine how their municipalities will look using the various regional government models. The better you understand these models, the easier it will be for you to imagine how they would look.
Did the provincial government ask MNL to write the Regional Government Paper?
No. The papers are an MNL led and created effort. The provincial government provided no specific guidance on the paper. The Community Cooperation Office of MNL, which wrote the papers, does have an advisory committee that contains representatives from the provincial government, but this committee also has representatives from municipal government, municipal administrators, the federal government, and Memorial University. The provincial government had no greater say in the content of the paper than any other group represented on the committee.
How can I receive a copy of the Regional Government Papers?
If you are a municipal councillor, we will be mailing out copies of the papers to your council over the coming weeks. Other relevant stakeholders will also receive copies of the paper. If you are not involved in the municipal sector but want a copy of the paper, we are currently only making the papers available electronically. Copies of the papers are available for electronic download either in the main page of this section, in the resources tab, or in the documents section of the Community Cooperation pages.
How can I provide feedback on the Regional Government Papers?
We are encouraging anyone who has read the papers and wishes to provide feedback to do so. We want to hear your complaints and suggestions. Every comment is worth hearing and we will read and consider everything. We intend to respond to as many comments as we possibly can. You can submit to us written submissions, and can be addressed to:
The Community Cooperation Office
Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador
460 Torbay Road
St. John’s, NL A1A 5J3
You can also contact us via email: email@example.com
Given that this is an ongoing debate, we will post all comments and our responses on the website for everyone to see. Often times, people have many of the same questions and it is helpful if they could see our reply to these questions.
We will also be conducting consultations with our member municipalities.
When will municipal consultations occur?
Our current plan is to begin municipal consultations in the Fall of 2010 and conclude them in early 2011. We plan to conduct consultations in every region of Newfoundland and Labrador. After the consultations, we intend to develop a document that will encompass municipal feedback on municipal reform, regional government, and the regional government models. Dates and locations for the consultations have not yet been finalized, but will be posted on the website when they are.