In this CityTalk, we explored what’s next for cities across Canada post election. Our panelists joined us from coast to coast and included Merran Smith (Victoria), Founder and Executive Director of Clean Energy Canada, Carol Anne Hilton (Victoria), Chief Executive Officer at Indigenomics Institute and Founder of the Global Center of Indigenomics, Mayor Mike Savage from the City of Halifax and Dale McFee, Chief of Police (Edmonton).
A new normal: What’s next for Canada’s cities post election?
A roundup of the most compelling ideas, themes and quotes from this candid conversation
1. “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of better, but let’s strive for perfect” – Mayor Mike Savage
The impacts of climate change are a huge issue that needs to be more of a priority in Canada. The mayor of Halifax, Mike Savage, talks about different cities having to deal with different concerns. Halifax being a coastal city, major storms and hurricanes are common and addressing these issues along with all others, the relationship with the federal and provincial governments is very important. We must balance taking a realistic approach to climate solutions and pushing ourselves as much as we can—in fact, Halifax’s aims to be zero emissions by 2030. Mayor Savage discusses the importance of taking risks and finding innovative solutions moving forward. The support of the federal government is essential to creating real change. It’s all about the relationship, and he emphasizes that the pandemic showed us how quickly the federal government can create change, so we shouldn’t waste this opportunity to continue that trend in finding solutions to homelessness and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
2. Canada’s future is depending on indigenomics
Carol Anne Hilton, Chief Executive Officer at Indigenomics Institute and Founder of the Global Center of Indigenomics, emphasizes that it is vital “for this country to shift gears and stop seeing Indigenous people solely as a cost or a burden to the fiscal system and start seeing generative Indigenous economies.” The Indigenous relationship is extremely important for Canada’s future and building an annual $100 billion Indigenous economy is very possible. It’s all about shifting from old perceptions of Canadians seeing Indigenous people as a cost in society towards the generative side of things, for example, as having generative economies. Hilton goes on to explain that despite the lack of action by the Liberal government to truly reconcile the Indigenous relationship in Canada, this $100 billion Indigenous economy is happening anyway and the new government supporting Indigenous economic growth and design will be essential to its success.
3. “Climate action really hits the ground in cities” – Merran Smith
One positive change after the election is the acknowledgment that climate change is a real issue. Each party actually had a climate platform which is a significant step forward for Canada and the elected Liberal party set ambitious goals for combatting climate change. A large issue being that the transportation sector is responsible for 25% of carbon emissions and the government has committed that 50% of cars being sold will be zero emission by 2030. A lot of their commitments, including procuring low-carbon steel and concrete will provide cities with a manageable path forward in making climate action real. In moving towards renewable energy and all of the federal government’s ambitious goals, a lot of jobs will be created which offers opportunities for people experiencing homelessness and Indigenous communities. A vital part to this is ensuring that the government commits to their worker transition strategy which includes training and transition opportunities. Ms. Smith discusses the important role cities will have in successfully realizing the government’s climate change commitments and moving Canada forward towards a better and sustainable future.
4. “How we get better outcomes for people” – Chief Dale McFee
Edmonton Police Chief, Dale McFee reflects on the pandemic response and says, “we’re at a point right now where we can lead change that we’ve never led before”. What we’ve lacked in the past is outcomes and that is what the focus should be on now, getting to the root cause of our problems. One major problem he sees is that Indigenous people are overrepresented in the justice system and this is because Canada hasn’t built a system to fix the problems rooted in trauma and systemic racism. It’s essential that our federal government finds ways to give Indigenous people and all people in need a real opportunity to succeed in our society. Chief McFee says, we can save $1.5 billion dollars by reducing the number of people in the justice system by 20 percent. Fostering individual independence instead of dependence on the system is the way forward along with dedicating budget towards helping communities in need and investing in their well-being. The importance now should be put on “reduc[ing] intake and mak[ing] sure every offramp works” such as income assistance, social services, mental health and addiction services, housing and homelessness services, etc. Each of these has to function properly in helping those in need.
5. Calls to action for the newly elected federal government.
The panelists identified the main interventions that should be a priority for our new government. Merran Smith though that what Canada really needs is quick and decisive action by the federal government in actually realizing their climate change commitments, policies, and regulations. She went on to say that we need to “stop the bickering between us because it slows us down …, perfect is the enemy of the good. And we have no time.” Mayor Savage discussed how crucial it is to take real steps towards bringing people out of poverty and giving them an opportunity to succeed. All orders of government need to work together in building functional and sustainable solutions for Canadians in need including national housing and homelessness strategies. Chief McFee thinks the focus should be on a continuum of services that can help all Canadians in need. Finally, Carol Anne Hilton believes the government’s main priorities should be to implement the truth and reconciliation calls to action and structuring Canadian affairs to allow for Indigenous economic growth and design.
Note to readers: This video session was transcribed using auto-transcribing software. Manual editing was undertaken in an effort to improve readability and clarity. Questions or concerns with the transcription can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org with “transcription” in the subject line.
Mary Rowe [00:01:02] Hi, folks, it’s Mary Rowe from the Canadian Urban Institute, very pleased to be welcoming you to this Canadian discussion about what’s the implication for cities post the election on Monday night. Hard to know what that election actually what impact that has had, but I’m very pleased that my colleagues are joining me to have this conversation because it’s a very important topic. And one of the things that we just said at the beginning is that, you know, the experience in Canada is not the same. And certainly the experience of Covid is not the same and our cities are obviously not the same. And so part of the richness of City Talk has been that we hear from practitioners across the country who are engaged in various aspects of urban life to give us their perspective of what they’re seeing. And we always use this phrase: ‘what’s working, what’s not and what’s next’. And so we wanted to have something this week because we felt that people’s attention would have been very focused, obviously, on the outcome on Monday evening, but now we’ve got all sorts of other circumstances. This government is now, this new government is going to come into a whole series of challenges in the sort of what we hope will eventually be the post-COVID period. That is, you just remind me, it’s sure as hell not post-COVID in Alberta and in lots of places in this country, it’s still, we’re in the midst of covid. So, I happen to be in Halifax today, this is actually, I shouldn’t say that I’m in Dartmouth, the mayor will remind me, I’m in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, which is across the river, part of the regional municipality of Halifax. Behind me, I’m in the, one of the public libraries here, magnificent facility where we’re doing meetings all week with different stakeholders across the the regional municipality of different folks talking about those three questions: what’s working, what’s not and what’s next. As part of the CUI local program, we’ve had one of these in Edmonton, we had one in Calgary, we did one in Windsor. We’re very pleased to be in Halifax this week and then next month we’re in Victoria. And it’s part of our attempt to try to stitch together connective tissue for us to learn from each other about how we’re addressing challenges into urban life, how do we learn from each other? How do we learn what works, what doesn’t? Can we, can we fail quickly and then recover and try new stuff and all that kind of thing? And Halifax is the ancestral traditional lands of the Mi’kmaq people. And we have had a really great opportunity to engage with indigenous communities here and also with other heritage communities, including the black community that has a rich, rich history here in Atlantic Canada, in various neighborhoods in the HRM constituency, also known as Halifax. Thanks everybody who’s checking in from where they’re viewing in from. It’s always interesting for us to see where our audience is. And we know that we have a lot of Americans joining us. Increasingly, City Talk is actually expanding this year, this fall and next year with the support of TD. We’re expanding into the US and having more and more listeners coming in from American cities and resource people coming in, which is tremendous. We’re very appreciative of that. Halifax has a number of treaties, the Peace and Friendship Treaties that have been signed in the territory. And it is very cognizant that that we are a treaty people, we’re all treaty people living in these lands and hopefully treading as lightly as we can. And today we have, as you can see on the screen, a terrific panel is coming really from coast to coast. I’m on the East Coast with the mayor, Mike Savage, the mayor of Halifax. On the other coast, Merran Smith is here from Victoria, who is the founder and executive director of Clean Energy Canada, Carol Anne Hilton, also in Victoria, who leads the Indigenomics Institute and the founder of the Global Center for Indigenomics. And joining us today, Mike McFee. Sorry, Dale McFee, sorry not to be confused with Mike Savage, Dale McFee, who is the chief of police in Edmonton. And we’re appreciative that you all have different viewpoints, different perspectives, different histories. I know you Chief McFee have been in Saskatchewan for a large part of your career, so I’m looking forward to bringing that perspective in. I know Merran you’re getting ready and heading off to Glasgow. And so there is a, we know the climate is going to be very important, which is why it was important for us to have you with us today to talk about that. Carol Anne is continuing to to signal to people the importance of Indigenomics, the importance of the Indigenous community in creating wealth and different kinds of economic opportunity in urban environments and rural environments across the country. And Mike is going to now talk to us about his perspective, not only as the mayor of Halifax, but also as the chair of the Big City Mayors’ Caucus of the FCM. Mike was a federal politician, he’s been on City Talk before. He was a federal politician for a number of years. I’m not going to remind him how many. And and then he’s now working at the local level and who knows what’s next after he finishes being mayor. So Mike I’m really glad to be with you. Glad to be in your town. We’re learning a ton. And I look forward to you just giving us a bit of a heads up about what you think the priorities need to be for urban Canada in this new era, whatever we’re going to call it, this next mandate that Justin Trudeau’s liberal government seems to have eked out. So over to you.
Mayor Mike Savage [00:05:56] Well thank you very much. For those that weren’t in the warm up before this, I’m still laughing at the fact that at one point in time, you said you were going to be mute on something, and I, I still have to chuckle at that one. Mary, welcome to the Halifax Regional Municipality. You are the best part of it, in sunny Dartmouth, where the sun always shines as part of the Halifax Regional Municipality. You know, yeah, we know we have gone through, you know, an election and the results are not much different than before except for the fact we now have a clear track. We have some period of time where there won’t be threats of elections, potentials of elections. And we can actually, I think, you know, get down and look at the issues that really matter. And, you know, for me and as as the mayor of a city, it’s really it’s all based on the relationship that we have with the federal government. And I must say that the relationship we’ve had with the feds has been pretty productive for municipalities over the last number of years, but there’s a lot more to be done. And so I think at the very least, we saw a federal election where the major parties all addressed housing in the first week. And I think that’s a major step forward. Housing is is for me and I think for a lot of mayors the number one issue. We we saw my predecessor as the chair of the Big City Mayors. Don Ivison, who will be stepping down unfortunately, is the mayor of Edmonton, that he put out a plea last week on crisis housing, on homelessness. And so I think that that’s, for a lot of us, that’s the issue now that we’re all caught in this period where there is growth, but there’s a lot of people who are not benefiting from the growth. Halifax is a city that’s grown tremendously in the last number of years. But we have people sleeping in tents and sheds and we have other people who are working who can’t afford the kind of housing they need. So the housing piece is is paramount. The environment continues to be the challenge of our lifetime, of our time, and making sure that we address those challenges as cities, provinces and nationally is going to be very, very important, obviously, as well. So I think just in terms of opening up, I would say it’s the relationship really being seen as an order of government, along with the feds, the province and First Nations, and recognizing that we’re all in these issues together. And I would say housing, transit, making sure that we take this the challenge of climate change seriously, urban and rural broadband across across the country. These are the big issues and they are issues of how do we manage growth, how do we make sure that everybody is really part of this and that it’s a sustainable growth.
Mary Rowe [00:08:20] I want to I want to get us to define sustainable growth, which might take me right over to Carol Anne, we’ll go from one end of the country to the other. And also just to just to remind people in the chat, if closed captioning is useful to you, then please keep it on, we’re delighted we offer it and it’s important to have it. But if it’s driving you crazy and you do not want to see that go down to the bottom of your screen, I think in most cases all it depends what device you’re using and you should be able to elect to take it off. Carol Anne, over to you in terms of the perspective that you’re bringing and maybe just remind people what Indigenomics is and what the Indigenomics Institute is doing and what your perspective would be going, navigating with a new, with a new Federal government. Go ahead
Carol Anne Hilton [00:08:58] For sure. Thank you very much, Mary, and thank you for the invitation. I’m signing in from the Lekwungen territory here in Victoria. As the CEO and founder of both the Indigenomics Institute and the Global Center of Indigenomics. My work is centered around inclusion and designing Indigenous generative economies. And what I think is important within this election is and we’ve seen this building over time, but I see that Canadians didn’t want a change in government at the at this point within a pandemic. And I find interesting really of particular interest is the ongoing development of the debt to GDP ratio and how much that plays into the conversation of the future of Canada right now. What the language suggests to me is that we’ve seen this Liberal government take on a debt ratio in very specific ways and then playing into the pandemic itself. What is important to me from an Indigenous perspective and driving Indigenous economic design, my work at the institute is facilitating the structure, visibility, and narrative that a hundred billion dollar Indigenous annual economy is possible. And what we saw in the lead up to this election was the downplaying of the significance of the Indigenous relationship in this country. And I bring that up specifically because when we look at the narrative at the national level in terms of spending and costs, the Indigenous relationship is significant to that. For this country to shift gears and stop seeing indigenous people solely as a cost or a burden to the fiscal system and start seeing generative Indigenous economies, that is an essential that our collective economic and social well-being is directly connected to Canada’s GDP. So my work in Indigenomics is really highlighting that and realizing that in a country that is going to be looking at five to ten years recovery, being able to establish the generative equation from an Indigenous perspective is now more essential than ever moving away from this concept of socioeconomic gap. And just in closing, seeing the examples of an increase in understanding of the visibility of inequality and the structures of inequality and how those have expressed themselves specifically through the pandemic and the expectations that were built in terms of establishing a response to them within this election is particularly important to pay attention to. And again, as Mayor Mike Savage referred to, the high level commitments and focus on sustainability and housing. I think the last piece to add to that would definitely be innovation. How do we foster innovation within our response to now and to our relationships and to where Canadian mentality is right now? Thank you.
Mary Rowe [00:12:15] Thanks, Carol Anne. You know, federal elections are not known for platforms that deal with complex issues very well. But but I was interested, as you suggested, that you’re suggesting that Indigenous opportunity was sort of invisible. Is that what you’re suggesting it was? I mean, I was conscious that it seems as if the only trope that we could get talked about was boil water advisories. And that’s really all I heard anyway. And similarly, Mike, when you talked about housing, I’m going to come to you next Merran. When you talked about housing and housing finally being on, I think, all three platforms, but it’s but it’s never really at a level of specificity that we can actually understand if they’re going to deliver anything. So I want to I’m going to come back to both those things, the visibility and visibility of Indigenous opportunity and housing. And then Merran you add in on climate I’m assuming. And then I’ll come to you, Dale. Go ahead, Merran.
Merran Smith [00:13:12] Sure. Well, you know, people are saying that nothing really changed out of the election, but I would say from a climate perspective, things really changed in a very significant way and that’s that for the first time ever in Canada, we had an election where we weren’t debating if climate change was real. We weren’t fighting about the tools, specifically carbon pricing. We’ve moved past that. That is a huge step forward for the country. And even more important, every party had a climate platform that they put out that had information about policies. And so that’s a huge step forward for the country. What we saw was, in fact, some parties like the NDP got taken to task because they didn’t have enough detail in their climate platform and that became actually a negative around, for the NDP. I think we’ve moved to an era where parties really need to outline what they’re going to do to tackle what’s been called the issue of our time. So that was it, I would say a good step forward for the nation and for the work that we’re trying to do here. Significantly, the party that won, the Liberal Party, they had some very clear policies as to where they were going to go on this. They’ve increased their ambition over the last year. So our new Paris target is even more ambitious and they outlined the tools they were going to use to get there. So I would say for cities, as we know, a lot of climate action really hits the ground in cities if we talk about transportation as a great example. Twenty five percent of Canada’s carbon emissions are from transportation. It’s a huge issue. This government committed that by 2030 half of the cars being sold in Canada would be zero emission cars. And that means infrastructure for cities. They also committed to an ambitious transit plan and an active transportation strategy, which again, is really made real in cities. And so success or failure is going to depend on implementation of these. All of those areas are, you know, what I like to say is those the technologies are ready for prime time. We can start implementing them now and, you know, some some areas of climate, of carbon emissions. We’re still working out hydrogen and some of these new technologies. But transportation, we know walkable cities, transit, bike lanes, etc. We know how to do that. So that’s one significant thing. A second significant thing is this government actually had started a national infrastructure inventory, again very critical for cities. And looking at, they committed to a buy clean policy, which is around procurement, greening government, procurement, procuring lower carbon goods. So low carbon steel, low carbon concrete, all of that is going to actually hit the ground, a lot of it in cities, building roads, building sidewalks, building bridges. And that’s going to be, you know, a path forward for cities to actually make some climate action real. I would also say adaptation. There was an outline around how are we going to actually prepare cities as climate’s changing, Canadians are living and experiencing climate change right now. As we know from fires and floods across the country, people are experiencing it this summer. Poof, we have in the town of Lytton that burned up in in less than a day after it experienced the highest temperatures on record. We’ve seen flooding. So I think there’s a lot at stake. The government’s actually identified climate change as such a key priority for itself that there’s a, they need to be seen to be actually moving the dial forward here on these commitments. And cities are going to be a key part of their success.
Mary Rowe [00:17:28] It was literally poof, as you said, it was poof. I mean, it is interesting, as you suggest, that there were platforms. I mean, I am old enough to to remember when the conservative government wouldn’t talk about climate change. So I hear you that that was some level of accomplishment, that it was actually being articulated. But the question, I guess, as you say, is the proof is in the pudding. But you sound quite hopeful based on what this government has at least said it’s going to pay attention to. I’m hoping that Carol Anne will reappear. She’s on a phone dealing with a bunch of technology. So hopefully she’ll reappear. Dale, you must be at a, oh there she is. Dale you must be at a standing desk. Are you?
Chief Dale McFee [00:18:03] You got it.
Mary Rowe [00:18:05] I know, I know, and I have a standing desk when I’m at home, and then and then you and I read the same memo that says, weight transfer from one side to the other is healthy when you’re at a standing desk, because I can see you either. I thought when I first saw that with either the boat is really rocking here in Dartmouth or you’re at a standing desk. So talk to us about I mean, I’m going to circle back on what everybody has been saying when we once everybody in, but but talk to us from your perspective about. I mean, obviously, one of the points that Merran just raised is that the visibility of these challenges has become much higher, much higher. And so suddenly we have fires, we have floods. Mike was mentioning the visibility of people that are homeless, for instance. We’re seeing it, it was maybe always there, but we’re now seeing it much more. And I think that’s part of what Carol Anne’s objection is, is that it wasn’t as visible as it needed to be, the opportunity for Indigenous. You know, you are a steward of of community security and community safety. And through the pandemic, there’s been a tremendous uprising of people, particularly people who are marginalized or experienced racism and and their expectation that the way that we do community safety in in urban Canada isn’t actually working. So talk to us about what kind of things you expected, I guess, out of this election that I guess also what do you see as the challenge going forward for people in jobs like yours?
Chief Dale McFee [00:19:28] It’s a great question Mary. And I think before I start, I think the first thing that we need here is a little bit of calm post-election. I mean, we need some leadership and some decisions in relation to Covid. I mean, we can’t continue to go 14 different ways. And I mean, at the end of the day, we have to make some decisions. We have to obviously take this seriously. If people are going to follow the evidence, let’s follow the evidence. And I think that’s really probably the biggest opportunity we’re at a point, and timing’s everything in the markets. We’re at a point right now where we can lead change that we’ve never led before. And I just like to back up a step and just kind of match Carol’s stuff with Mike’s piece, that whole economic piece, that whole piece in relation to do things differently. I think it’s never been at a point where we can do it differently. And and, you know, as Carol mentioned, the economy between the social net or the GDP, when you actually look at that and you think of it in, in crime it’s like this, hard on crime, soft on crime, and there’s people because it’s a political decision to go one way or the other, nobody ever goes smart on a community safety or which is bigger than policing. So when we talk about that coming from my last job, 80 to 90 percent of all government money spent at six ministries, most of them the Human Services Ministries. And when you actually dig that deeper into the cities and we’re going to Edmonton, seven point five dollars billion a year spent on the social safety net. And what we really lack is outcomes. And so when we talk about that in as Carol’s articulated, and me certainly being Metis as well, is it’s time to be innovative. Let’s not double down on all the same stuff. You know how many cities have a poverty strategy, homeless strategy, housing strategy. You know, and the strategies go on and has anybody ever actually stopped and looked at it’s mostly the same people in every strategy? We don’t have a strategy for people in need. So when we start to think about that and we look beyond housing, there’s a whole thing right now that’s going to be going on that we’re going to be faced with mental health and addictions is going to go through the roof. Domestic violence is starting to go up. People with loving each other don’t really like each other and and invest in child abuse because they’ve been at home. So I think right now is the time where we actually need to step back and get the questions right. What is it that we’re trying to solve? How do we take the economy, and we know the domestic economy is what wins elections, the social economy’s what loses elections. How do you make it about the net economy, where your resources, your financial and your human resources are actually getting outcomes for people. For us what does that mean? Does that mean we have to police different in some sectors? You bet. For us, what we’re doing is starting to defer some of our budget in the community sector while being in partner with the right agencies. But I think we’re past the collaboration phase and coming from government for a while. Collaboration always is the point where, you know, it’s kind of like the bacon and eggs for breakfast. The chicken, he was the collaborator. The pig, he was the partner, he was committed. We need partnerships that are willing to measure together, do things together and get things done together. And we’ve heard this thing where silos are a big thing and all levels of government. And honestly and I think Mike hit it hard, I think the biggest step that we have in cities and cities to broker the deal, to make it a local solution for themselves, the worst thing that happens is all different levels of government and private sector dump money into thinning. And you go fourteen different directions and it becomes playing the game of risk, where all of a sudden you have an army on every country and you wonder why you’re first out of the gate. We’ve never been in a position, in a better position, with what we’ve been faced than what we’ve been exposed with. In the data that we now have access to refocus our efforts to get better outcomes, but it’s not about jumping to the solutions before you get the question right. And that’s what we’re trying to do with the Edmonton Police Service and certainly the police service working with our partners locally to actually get some outcomes for people. So let’s not just focus this as a bad thing. This might be the biggest opportunity that we have, but how do we get governments to stop pointing fingers at each other and blaming each other and actually focus on the thing at hand? This isn’t about politics. This is about doing some of the things that we’ve needed to do for many years.
Mary Rowe [00:23:40] You know, during Covid, I mean, one of the things that I, that I thought about was municipal governments and municipal staff all of a sudden just that you know, it was very clear that they were doing all sorts of things, they just had to do certain things and they had to improvise and they had to figure out how do we get washrooms into parks and how do we, you know, how are we going to actually get testing into high rises and all that stuff. And and I don’t know if it’s if I’ve had a clearer moment in my professional life where it’s been so visible to me that that the level of government closest to the recipient of the service needs to be empowered to have the resources and the authority to act. And somehow during a pandemic, we stopped doing this and somehow we started doing this. Mike, I mean, can you, you just talked about a different kind of relationship between municipal governments and other governments. Do you agree with Dale? Could we, could this be our moment where we just stop arguing with one another and just get the resources in in the hands of the solution’s finders?
Mayor Mike Savage [00:24:42] Well, of course we could. Sure, we could, yeah we just have to do it.
Mary Rowe [00:24:46] Well what would it take, what would it take.
Mayor Mike Savage [00:24:47] I think, you know, I do think that the pandemic has has forced people to come up with quick solutions. And you know what I mean. The Rapid Housing Initiative of the federal government is an example of something. You know, but the problem with it is it’s so fast that mistakes will get made. But that’s the beauty of it as well is it’s, it addresses problems quickly, what municipalities had to do with transit. We didn’t have months to think about this. We just realized that we had to have people getting to work and people were going to take a chance on getting on a bus. We couldn’t have them loading at the front and putting in their money. We had to make transit free. I think all municipalities came to that realization not in months, but in weeks. But we realized in our case it’s going to cost us two to five million a week. And you know how much it was in Toronto. It was, it was scandalous, but relatively, we all had to deal with that. And if ever there was a test of the theory that, you know, it really doesn’t matter who gets the credit, it’s amazing what you can what can get done if you don’t argue over credit. I’m not saying politicians will ever get to the point that we don’t want our, you know, our names on signs and all that sort of stuff. But I think that, you know, a pandemic is a terrible thing to waste. And, you know, government showed they could do stuff. The feds got money out the door quickly. Again, mistakes will have been made. We will be finding out for years that people got some benefit that they shouldn’t have gotten, but it got the country through a very, very difficult time. So for us as municipalities, this issue of the relationship is really, really important because then it solves some of the other smaller stuff. I mean, on housing, for example, you can talk about, you know, anti-flipping and you can talk about the mortgage rules, the criteria. You can talk about foreign ownership and you can talk about when eviction. You can talk about the impact of Airbnb. What we need is a commitment that we’re not going to be cities and country and a country that allow people to be homeless when there are alternatives available. So working together is the only option that we have. And I think the pandemic showed that we can actually do it if we absolutely have to.
Mary Rowe [00:26:48] Would that be your key intervention point? Would, I mean, this is part of the dilemma is where do we start? And is is mental health, I mean, we at CUI, we’re doing lots of work on Bringing back Main Street and what’s the nature of downtowns? And we can really see that one of the impediments to those areas recovering is that people with mental health challenges, addiction challenges and can’t get into secure supportive housing are now on those streets in much larger numbers or at least more visible numbers. And what is it going to take to be able to actually and what we’re seeing across the country is people say, well, I want to take money out of Dale’s budgets and put it over to the social services budget. But I’m hearing Dale say: ‘not so sure that just putting more money at it is the solution’. So, Mike, what do, what do you think is you’re saying you want it to be the priority. Tell me how that, what would that look like?
Mayor Mike Savage [00:27:40] Well, look, I think that the, you know the, the chief is right that when if you talk about mental health, you talk about homelessness, you talk about social exclusion, you talk about a lack of education, you talk about criminality. It’s the same people, the same people. Those things all affect the same people. In a lot of cases, the person who was homeless in the streets of Halifax may well have mental health issues, certainly addiction issues, they probably haven’t had the kind of education that my, I and my family have before, they likely don’t have a wide circle of friends, the ones they do have the they will stay with during the day and during the night. And it’s long been known that the answers to homelessness, the the investments we make and homelessness now will pay off many, many times down the road. And I think it has become you’ve made the point that it’s become more visible and as things become more visible, they become more urgent. There’s always been homelessness. We gave a little piece of land in Dartmouth, not far from where you are now. That as a city we just gave to a not for profit, the Affordable Housing Association, to build housing. It was determined back in 1986 that they should do that, but it just sat there for years and years because nobody decided to to move on that land. So, you know, the urgent becomes what you work on. And I, I think more and again and even in those things, you know, lack of action on climate change affects those most in need as well. So it all comes down to people who simply haven’t been given the opportunity to achieve in life like the rest of us have. And we have to invest in those people because it will pay off. It’ll pay off for them, it will pay off for for us.
Mary Rowe [00:29:19] And there’s that whole thing about deferred cost. You know, it’s back to where do you invest and where in the cycle is even best. If we if we go to this, the question of of innovation and the individual, the innovation cycle, I was in a meeting this morning with a number of your colleagues, Mike, who were involved in planning or land use development and both in the private sector and and they work in, there are often many of them working in the public sector. And one of the comments that was made there is how do you create a climate, an environment that allows people to take some risks, to try some stuff? And I think about you, Carol Anne, when you’re talking about catalyzing and supporting Indigenomics as opposed to perpetuating a kind of remedial approach to that. Actually, what it could be about is supporting opportunity is that is that, in essence, the advocacy that you’re doing now is to say, I mean, when you first, when you and I first met and you said there’s a hundred billion dollar industry here, you could have knocked me over. I had no idea. And then you convinced me. So is it part of that to just get us to a more kind of robust risk taking approach?
Carol Anne Hilton [00:30:29] Yeah, absolutely. I think that being able to understand, if we take the budget of Indigenous Services Canada, we look at the legal environment and where Indigenous nations are winning significant places, that is creating space within the economy itself. In terms of building on that concept of taking a seat at the economic table, that is very much what indigenous peoples are doing. And to be able to understand the perception of seeing indigenous peoples through the lens of cost, seeing the budgets themselves in that regard, that shift to be able to have Canadians see indigenous peoples as having generative economies, recapitalization of those, the access to pathways in terms of clean energy, participating within equity ownership of major projects, being part of the solution in terms of the infrastructure narrative nationally. All of those things become highly visible and that shift from the cost side to the generative side of things. And that’s essentially what Indigenomics is facilitating.
Mary Rowe [00:31:41] But Carol Anne, what, how do you how do you do that here in Halifax, for instance? The indigenous population is a small percentage of actual population, but it’s a large percentage of the homeless population disproportionately and other in other urban environments. Some of Mike’s colleagues would report similar things, even higher numbers, I think, Mike, like in some of the Western cities, the I don’t know what it is. Dale, what’s the Indigenous, what’s the percentage of homeless in Edmonton that are Indigenous, do you roughly know?
Chief Dale McFee [00:32:10] No, I’d be guessing what it, it would be above and.
Mary Rowe [00:32:14] It would be above the actual.
Chief Dale McFee [00:32:16] It’s overrepresented.
Mary Rowe [00:32:17] Yeah.
Chief Dale McFee [00:32:17] In many aspects, including the justice system. But I think you make a very key point Mary. And I want to just articulate it’s not because the Indigenous are First Nations, it’s because we haven’t built the system in place to actually deal with the risk factors which are deeply rooted in trauma. So it goes back to the points about before we jump to a solution in housing, which I support. Just to be very clear, I carried the transformational change file for another government. There’s a whole bunch of other steps in place that we’re missing on that stabilization piece before we can be very effective. So rather than jump to the solution, get the question right. But back to Carol’s point. If you when we did this study, when I had corrections and we reversed engineer with people who are overrepresented by Indigenous in corrections, and they served almost 70 percent of their adult life in jail with no more than six months at a time. The only times they were out for longer periods of time when they had two things, they had a job and a relationship. And that’s what Carol is talking about. Give them the opportunity to succeed and they will succeed. But this is also extending to many members of our immigrant community in in our cities now. And I think that’s what I’m trying to refer to, is let’s get to the questions and let’s dig deeper. Let’s not continue to double down, because what we’ve been exposed to Covid is a good chance for us to actually look at the money in the system as a whole. You mentioned funding money, moving policing to social services. Social Services is a critical piece, but it’s already funded five to one. The issue is to get the people at the center of this and find some solutions and give them the opportunity to succeed. And at the same time connecting our economy, which we’re bringing in revenue to some of the social impact. So an example of that, back to Carol’s point, when you create jobs, do you create a portion of those jobs for those people that are struggling to get jobs? You take them out of the system that they’re counting on government for support and dependents and you make them independent. So I think this is a whole opportunity for us. But we’ve got to go deeper and we have the data to go deeper now rather than just jumping to what we think might be the solution right now and actually could take us further down the wrong path.
Mary Rowe [00:34:42] Merran you’re in the you’re in the innovation business, really. I mean, Cleantech is a is a gateway to this. And one of the questions that came in the chat was and I’m interested whether Mike feels that his mayoralty or mayoral colleagues would agree with this. They’re asking about digital access, you know, is digital access part of and just securing the digital infrastructure network part of unleashing more innovative approach. But what can we learn from the clean tech sector? Because it wasn’t that long ago that you were quite fringe, but you’re not fringe anymore, right?
Merran Smith [00:35:15] Yeah, well, it’s a really good point. We put out a report earlier this year about the the number of jobs already in Canada in the clean energy sector as defined by, you know, the way the US and the EU does it. So it’s not just jobs in solar and wind, but it’s in the whole renewable energy, biofuels, renewable fuels, but also in low carbon buildings. Those who are putting in HVAC systems, doing, building retrofits, those who are, you know, in transit and a whole host. So of that, we’ve already got over four hundred thousand jobs in Canada. If we implement the climate strategy as outlined by the federal government last December, that would grow to over six hundred thousand jobs. And, you know, now they’ve added on more ambition. So there’s more jobs and you know back to Carol Anne’s point and and Dale’s point about jobs and Indigenous. I see a real opportunity here as we build out new new economies. Carol Anne mentioned renewable energy. That’s an area that a lot of indigenous communities across the country are interested in, they’re out in areas where they could put, you know, run of river, solar, wind, they want to get into that business. Same with biofuels fuels, other energy sectors. So as we are moving into new types of industries, there’s new opportunities for new relationships, you know, and for indigenous people. I know that there’s some keen interest. I’m also here on the Lekwungen speaking people. Thank you, Carol, and for helping me pronounce it, because it’s always a tongue twister. In British Columbia, a keen interest, but it’s not just in British Columbia, it’s across the country. So we are going to need in this country two to three times the electricity that we have now as we transition off of fossil fuels, which is the key to addressing climate change and move to electrifying things. There’s lots of opportunities here. I think there’s partnerships and new relationships and working with First Nations, but it’s actually going to take work. There are lots of obstacles. And it’s, you know, I know that there’s many frustrated communities who are want in on that and are not getting access the way they should. So I think, yes, the Cleantech and clean energy sectors and just, you know, retrofitting houses and buildings across the country is going to create a lot of jobs. And there’s opportunities for, you know, people both in rural and urban communities. That’s the great thing about the clean energy economy actually, there’s jobs across the country, they’re rural, urban, they’re blue collar, they’re white collar. They’re in the innovation sector, but they’re also in the trade sector. You know, it’s pipefitters and electricians and welders and carpenters. So a whole host of opportunity there. And that will link back to another commitment of the federal government, they committed it before the election. And we really need to ensure that they move on it, which is a a worker transition strategy, which is going to include, you know, training and opportunities for people. But I think it links in to what Carol Anne’s saying and Dale in terms of how do we actually create the conditions for people to be able to live good lives and not end up on the streets.
Mary Rowe [00:39:03] I mean, there are and there’s a move, of course, to worker owned, a worker owned moving more to worker co-ops and different kinds of structures. I mean, again, here in Nova Scotia, long history of co-ops and worker movements. And Mike, you got a huge electrification project, right? You’ve got a lot of ambition for what you’re going to do with the energy transition. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
Mayor Mike Savage [00:39:22] Oh, my gosh. Thank you. I do. One of the books I keep on my desk Mary, and we didn’t rehearse this is Halifax, which is our our plan for climate change and.
Mary Rowe [00:39:33] Just just happen to have that handy did ya?
Mayor Mike Savage [00:39:35] Well, I actually do because I keep it in the second door down on the left, because it is really a really important piece of work for us. And so we recognize as a coastal city that we’re like everybody else. We have our own impacts from climate change. We’ve had hurricanes here. We’ve had major, major, you know, storms that that people said we’d never have again, and we had them two years later. So, yeah, it’s a big piece for us. And again, it goes to the relationship with the federal provincial government. So, yes, we have an electrification of our fleet plan, which is very important, but it’s all wrapped up in Halifax. So I told you recently Mary I had a conversation that Mike Bloomberg said to a bunch of mayors one time when a mayor talks to you about, you know, being net zero by 2050, tell her or him to go to hell because they likely won’t be alive in 2050 and they sure as hell won’t be in office. So, you know, everybody has a plan for 2050. Our plan from a municipal point of view and municipal operations is 2030. So you have to you have to take a realistic approach to this, but you also have to push yourself. You mentioned earlier about taking risks and being part of the new innovative economy. Halifax has become a major tech center. We never were. And one of the things that occurs to me is if you want to be a tech center, if you want to be an area where innovators and creators take risks, then you’ve got to be better at taking risks yourself because governments are notoriously shitty at taking the risk. They’re afraid we don’t empower our employees to come up with really good ideas. We have to be a little more tolerant of risk and allow people then to feed off that and recognize that they’re the ones who are out there creating the work. We have a great center here, the Volta. You’ve probably been to Volta, our our innovation center here in Halifax Hub. And we’ve got some other ones that are building up here as well. But yeah, you know, we we it’s not a choice for us as a city that is right on the ocean. We can’t we’ve got to change the way we do planning. We have to change the way we build buildings. We have to change the buildings we already have. We have to get people out of cars. We’ve got to get people into electric cars. If they’re going to drive a car, we have to make traffic, we we can’t spend all of our time alleviating traffic. We need traffic to be something that conditions people as to why they shouldn’t be in a car as well. These are all the things that we need to do as cities. And I must say, the feds have been very helpful. The province here who traditionally have not funded transit at all, have helped us on the electrification front. I’m hoping that our new government, I’m quite confident, will be supportive of that as well. That does go out to the nature of the relationship and understanding that those are decisions that we make as municipalities. But as you’ve heard many times, we have 60 percent of the infrastructure. We have less than 10 percent of the tax revenue. So that’s why we need to and we also then have to say as cities, you know, we’re asking for your help. We’ll play too, we have to look at the way we do planning and approvals. We have to look at the way we do zoning. We have to be more nimble to the realities of the marketplace today, and the fact that we need more housing. So, yes, it’s a big deal for us.
Mary Rowe [00:42:31] You know, one of the things that strikes me listening to you folks is the unit of change or the unit of how you actually something actually gets realized. And there’s a comment in the chat from let me just see if I can see whether the person is from Craig Windrim, talking about UNDRIP being organized around self organization and and self governance and basically governments getting out of the way so that communities can figure out their solutions. And it’s interesting to be, Carol Anne, to think about this from an Indigenous point of view. You know, I’m a localist, as an urbanist, and as a local community person, I’m interested in subsidiarity. And how do you actually create and get your arms around a neighborhood or a district and create district energy systems and see how much you can push down to local. And that’s, in fact, the unit that Indigenous communities have been operating from for years, for millennia, obviously. And is there something for us? I mean, I’m hearing from you just tell the generative story. Can we shift our imagination to imagine our communities organizing? And is this what Indigenizing cities would mean is a much closer connection to a smaller unit, local unit?
Carol Anne Hilton [00:43:48] And I think that’s happening across the board is that there’s greater expectations of equity and inclusion at the tables that we sit at. So whether that’s at the boardroom, the management levels, it’s happening and it’s happening across, whether it’s in the black population, the indigenous population and the uptake of indigenization. Also, I think is an outcome of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. And I think that I saw that in the chat as well. I don’t think Canadians really understand the potential implications of the full application of the of under of itself into law. So actually building up that concept of Indigenomics it that indigenous peoples are taking a seat at the economic table is fundamental to this government mandate to be able to actualize that in in a relationship and really to be able to understand what that looks like in terms of, you know, we look at the last budget, which described 18 billion dollars of closing the socioeconomic gap with indigenous peoples. Part of that, if we move to this idea of truth and reconciliation, what are the structural causes of the socio economic gap? And again, I refer to this idea, are we going to keep spending or are we going to support the structures of indigenous economic design? And we’re seeing that in very tangible ways in terms of the uptake of indigenous entrepreneurship and whether we see that within urban reserves or the the space that indigenous economic development corporations are taking up within cities. I look at examples here in Vancouver, the Squamish nation is essentially changing the entire skyline of the city of Vancouver as we know it, as the largest land holder, the one of the largest current developers, and actually have the economic power to be able to do that. And I think to be able to re-set a relationships focus on economic power of the Indigenous relationship will be a significant shift in outcome of this current government mandate cycle. Thank you.
Mary Rowe [00:46:09] Interesting. Just as you say, so much of this is about narrative and shifting the way we think. When I made a joke to Merran that, you know, her world used to be fringe and now it’s mainstream. And I think you’re saying the same thing, Carol Anne, that, you know, we’ve had presentations on that extraordinary development of which is a self-determination development that’s going to create hundreds of units of housing. And we leave it all over is the first nation itself. So, Dale, what would what this can we talk about community policing? It’s not it’s in it’s in the parlance. But when you as a chief, look at the challenge of securing and creating public safety and community safety, how how granular can you get in terms of the approach? How local can it be?
Chief Dale McFee [00:46:53] Well, I think that’s the thing with policing. I mean, I equate it when I speak. I’ve spoken actually on this. Think about it as a franchise, think of McDonalds in Japan. Think of McDonalds in Canada, you know, cooking where the software, the brand is the same, it’s the same M, it’s the same Ronald McDonald. But when you actually go to Japan versus Canada, the menu is different and really that’s what it is, you’ve got to have a menu that applies locally. So for us, we’ve shifted 28 million dollars of our budget into a bureau called community safety and while being that’s a long metrics and measurement to take patrol and investigative services, homicide gangs, tax out of business. The only way you can do that, is with the right community partnerships. And the only way that you can do that is to kind of get back to the game of risk going in the same direction, because there’s things that we can’t get into, domestic violence behind closed doors, child abuse behind closed doors. But using that first interaction to connect people to services and keep it out of the justice system, let me just give you an example of the innovation like Mike was saying. We’re starting to look totally different at the problem. I kind of equate this. I think it was Churchill had this saying, Merran was kind of referring to the amount of money that we spent earlier. We’re out of money. We have to think. And when you actually think about that, the first thing about that is you got to start measuring what you’re doing if you don’t measure it, really, what are we doing? We’re building things on what we think feel good, but that actually might have a profound negative effect. So give you an example of something we’ve done. It just got announced today. We’ve created the first ever Social Community Solutions Accelerator. Our foundation is the lead. It’s a partner that’s moving to Edmonton from the Silicon Valley, Alchemist, through the largest creative solutions accelerator in the world. It’s basically designed, if you think about it, it’s always come through oil and gas, it’s comes through mining, it’s come through farming, it’s come through tech where we have to start getting the questions right now and turn it over to the world and let’s see what bright solutions can come up that are going to fit in Edmonton. Because if they fit in Edmonton, there’s a good chance they’ll fit in many other cities. It’s the first ever of its kind in the world. It came out of our own accelerator. And just to kind of give you a tangible example of how this actually impacted us, we had ninety eight hundred liquor store thefts and robberies in the city of Edmonton two years ago. In some of these were profound robberies, stabbed, sprayed. You know, let’s think these are our mothers. These are our grandmothers. These are our kids that are working in these stores. Think of the victim impact that we charged one individual with thirty five of them. He got out the next day or she got out the next day with one condition: don’t go to the liquor store. I knew the judge, I kind of phoned him up. Do you think maybe we didn’t think of that, you know, but but at the end of the day, here’s the point. We had to break down what was driving our liquor store thefts and robberies, and we thought most of it was to support their habit. But when we actually dove into the numbers, that was the smaller portion of it. A lot of it was organized crime, stealing, turn it into cash commodity, focusing on giving it somewhere else. So we turn that over to the world for response. We had five hundred, I think, responses. It was actually one of my university students out of MacEwan locally here. It came down to this, the vulnerable we need to connect them to services, keep them out of the justice system. The organized component we had a GPS tracking device in bottles. We had a media campaign funded to a large amount of money by one of the largest liquor store vendors. Five hundred thousand dollars to design the technology. And at the end of the day, the stores that have both of those that have scanners and they have it all in the stores, they’re down ninety eight percent. Ninety eight percent, why wouldn’t we put that in every liquor store? Those are the things when we get the thing and change it and if we look at it from dollars saved, from through victimization prevention, that’s way better than measuring how many people we put into the criminal justice system in the thing about government. And the thing about how we measure now, right now, it’s two things reduce intake and make sure every offramp works. Income assistance, mental health, addictions, housing, homelessness, the list goes on. All that we actually measure is how many people we put in the system. Think if we could get 20 percent out of the system, we did the math on that in Edmonton, we think that’s well over a billion and a half dollars here. I can just imagine how that compounds, but that talks about a lot of the things we’re talking about. But innovation is never been at a more opportune time and the tech things that we can and using data differently, I think we’re on the cusp of something that we actually got to get a hold of, embrace, and figure out how we get better outcomes for people.
Mary Rowe [00:51:44] We need to tell that story. The liquor store story, we’ll make sure it gets told properly Dale because it’s a perfect example of maybe we were counting one thing, but really we were counting the wrong thing. I I worry a little bit that we fetishize data, oh, just get more data, more data, more data, and maybe, as you said, beginning, we’re not asking the right questions. So just to do that, just to see if we can sort of round this up, if it’s hard, because you’ve you’ve all covered so many interesting topics and you can see it in the chat and other people are reacting strongly to the the provocations you’re providing. But if there was a particular intervention that you would start with or maybe you you want the Trudeau government to start with, that you want to respond to what, is there a particular area? I’m going to come to you Merran first, something simple or some straightforward starting point that you could identify. Is there one Merran? You first.
Merran Smith [00:52:41] Well, my head’s thinking about some of this conversation we’ve had. Which was only about speed, which is about moving things forward quickly. One thing we’ve learned from Covid is how fast we could react
Mary Rowe [00:52:54] Yeah we can, if we have to. Right.
Merran Smith [00:52:56] And the climate crisis is really a crisis and it is happening much faster than anybody anticipated. And we have been very slow in Canada to react. We have been processing and bringing everybody along. And as I said at the beginning, I feel like we’re at a different place in the nation and we we need to go. We we have probably eighteen months to twenty four months of this government. None of us want to go back to the polls, but it’s a minority government. That’s usually how long they last. We need to get these commitments, these policies, regulations through. So to me, that’s a top priority. One thing I want them to do, what I want everybody to do is it was mentioned earlier and I don’t remember exactly the context, but, you know, stop the bickering between us that slows us down and actually implementing things because, perfect is the enemy of the good. And we have no time.
Mary Rowe [00:53:58] I mean, it is interesting that the the bickering was the bickering index was lower at the beginning of Covid, wasn’t it? There wasn’t. And I think people took a break from that. And sadly, this election brought all the bickering back. But Mike, what would be the one thing that you’re going to that you want to sort of be laser focused on? Is there one thing?
Mayor Mike Savage [00:54:18] it’s hard for me not to not to go to housing and homelessness, Mary. I mean, I I do believe I do believe, as I said earlier, that climate change is the challenge before us, that it’s the existential threat to all of us. And I think we have to be serious about that. There’s one thing that bothers me. I know the prime minister. I served in the House of Commons with him and I consider him a friend. There’s one thing that really bothers me in politics these days in Canada and the US beside the incredible polarization. As I told you before, I consider myself a passionate, progressive moderate. And the idea that was just said is my my whole, ask anybody in my office, what’s the mayor’s philosophy? It’s don’t let perfect be the enemy of better, but let’s strive for perfect, but accept what we can get and what bothers me. Is the and not a very popular position is I don’t like this fixation on the middle class, I think that there are people, the middle class vote more than poor people do. And I think we need to have a concerted effort in this country to bring people out of poverty and to give them an opportunity to be part of the success of this country, whether they’re new Canadians or whether they’re Indigenous Canadians and Nova Scotia, whether they’re African, Nova Scotia or or the Great forgotten the people with disabilities. You know, we also have the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We we signed it in 2006 as a country. We ratified it in 2011. That’s how slow we are at some of these key disability issues. But really, I think that if we can have a real we have a national housing strategy, again, for the first time in, you know, 30 years, let’s have a national homelessness strategy, let’s really put all of all orders of government working together to building, you know, just sustainable solutions for Canadians who have been left behind. That that that’s where I would go.
Mary Rowe [00:56:07] Thanks, Dale. One thing.
Chief Dale McFee [00:56:11] You know, I think it would be along the lines of a continuum of services, the root causes, making sure that we’re not jumping to an outcome versus actually on a continuum of services because no two people are the same. And then as part of that, you have to connect the the domestic economy as we know it today to social outcomes. If you can do both of those, you change the game.
Mary Rowe [00:56:36] Right, there we are. OK, Carol Anne, last word to you, one thing.
Carol Anne Hilton [00:56:44] For sure. So because the prime minister has described the Indigenous relationship as the most important one within this country, I’m going to bring two interrelated ones. The first is the full implementation of the truth and reconciliation calls to action. There’s been very little movement. There’s nothing to brag about in terms of the implementation of those even of how many millions of dollars was spent. Describe a new context within this country of that relationship. And within that and equally related is the hundred billion dollar Indigenous economy is happening anyways. It’s happening in spite of the Indian Act. It’s already here. It’s happening. And I think for the government to structure for Indigenous economic growth and design is essential. Thank you.
Mary Rowe [00:57:32] Thanks, Carol Anne, thanks everybody. What an interesting conversation we’ve had. We we evaluate these sessions as best we can, and we’re just getting audience feedback so a survey will come up just before we break. We hope you give us some feedback on these programs that we continue to reflect what people want to learn about. You know, the great thing about each of you, I feel, is it illustrates why Canada and Canadian cities matter, because you’re each bringing a particular perspective, Mike, as a mid-sized city, becoming a much larger city, accommodating tons of population growth. And what are the environmental and social and economic implications of that Merran, in terms of a sector that’s been along in Canada for years, particularly on the West Coast, and is now, you know, its history is as caught up with us now. And we’re now, as I suggested, paying a lot more attention to clean tech, Edmonton which is a northern community with all sorts of cultural assets and post-secondary institution, tons of history and interesting demographic challenges and interesting moments for you to try some stuff as you suggest. It’s one of the things I’m interested in with with smaller cities is you can try some things and you’re doing that in the Community Safety Forum and then a front and then Carol Anne, really bringing us to recognize the generative potential of indigenous communities and and what that means economically and and what the history of Indigenous life and how that reflects in our economy. So thank you so much for being part of the conversation for us as we imagine cities in the future here in Canada, what the priorities should be. And next week, we’re coming back just before National Reconciliation Day, which is Thursday, Orange Shirt Day. We’re coming back on the Wednesday to launch our Restore the Core report, which is all about downtowns. But it touches on all of the interesting issues that you guys have talked about this morning. And we don’t have the report. But I remember Mayor Daley, the first Mayor Daley, saying, why do you focus on downtown? Somebody asking, why do you focus on downtown’s Mayor Daley, former mayor of Chicago? And he said, because an apple rots from the core. And so we’re talking next week about what do we need to do to restore the core in its various forms and scales across the country? And what would that rebuilding look like and you folks have really informed for us a really healthy conversation about it. So that will be next Wednesday. And next Thursday is the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. CUI will be not working, not online that day, but participating in our communities to continue to come to terms with the implications and our obligations and opportunities, as you’ve just said Carol Anne for a new understanding of a relationship. So, Mike, we’ve enjoyed being here. We’re here for a few more days in Halifax. Thanks for having us. Dale, great to see you. Merran, lovely to see you, too. Bye, Carol Anne. Thanks, everybody, for joining us. See you next week.
Chief Dale McFee [01:00:15] Thanks Mary.
Merran Smith [01:00:15] Thank you very much for having us.
Mayor Mike Savage [01:00:15] Thank you.
Mary Rowe [01:00:16] Bye bye.
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13:01:55 From Canadian Urban Institute : Welcome! Folks, please change your chat settings to “everyone” so everyone can see your comments. Attendees: where are you tuning in from today?
13:02:17 From Brad Krizan : Tuning in from Calgary
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13:02:36 From Dana Kripki : Saskatoon, Treaty 6 Territory/Homeland of the Metis
13:03:11 From Vicki Sinclair : Hello from Winnipeg – Treaty 1 Territory
13:03:13 From Alan Kan : Markham by way of Mississauga
13:03:24 From Graham Wilson : Hello, joining from Whitby, Ontario
13:03:35 From Canadian Urban Institute : Learn more about CUIxLocal: https://canurb.org/cuixlocal/
13:03:50 From Bailey Gardien : Hello everyone! Waterloo (The Haldimand Track)
13:03:56 From Kristina McMillan Schwartz : Hello from Calgary
13:04:36 From Anam Khan : Hello from Windsor Essex
13:05:07 From Felipe Canavera : Hello from Edmonton
13:05:16 From Canadian Urban Institute : Merran Smith, Founder and Executive Director of Clean Energy Canada, and Fellow at the Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue @merransmith https://www.linkedin.com/in/merran-smith-64603b63/ Merran Smith is a fellow at the Simon Fraser University Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, and the founder and executive director of Clean Energy Canada—a leading think tank advancing clean energy and climate solutions. Merran serves as co-chair of the B.C. government’s Climate Solutions Council, a member of the independent Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, and a Canadian representative of the C3E International Ambassador Corps. Her 2018 work as co-chair of Natural Resources Canada’s Generation Energy Council helped ideas from a diverse group of stakeholders coalesce into recommendations that will shape Canada’s energy future.
13:05:27 From Canadian Urban Institute : For most of her career, Merran has worked to unite industry, government, and civil society organizations to solve pressing social and ecological challenges. Her leadership in the landmark Great Bear Rainforest conservation agreement helped ensure the protection of thousands of kilometres of coastal ecosystem. Merran has received numerous leadership distinctions, including being named to Vancouver Magazine’s 2020 Power 50 List, winning the 2019 SFU President’s Social Media Newsmaker Award, Clean Energy BC’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award, the Vancouver Board of Trade’s 2016 Wendy McDonald Community Catalyst award, and the Clean 16 award in 2014 for leadership in clean capitalism.
13:05:37 From Kary Fell to Hosts and panelists : Kelowna, BC
13:05:43 From Gary Waterfield : Greetings from a rainy Perth Ontario – Gary Waterfield
13:05:45 From Canadian Urban Institute : Carol Anne Hilton, Chief Executive Officer at Indigenomics Institute and Founder of the Global Center of Indigenomics @Hesquiaht https://www.linkedin.com/in/carol-anne-hilton-mba-b4416029/ Carol Anne Hilton is the CEO and Founder of The Indigenomics Institute and the recently established Global Center of Indigenomics. Indigenomics is a design platform for strengthening and building Indigenous economies. The Institute convenes ideas, tools, resources and people to grow Indigenous economies. It offers insight into the possibilities of Indigenous business models and economic inclusion. Carol Anne’s work has been recognized with a BC Aboriginal Outstanding Business Achievement Award, a Creating Wealth Award from the National Indigenous Council of Elders and Business of the Year Award from the Nuu chah nulth Economic Development Corporation.
13:06:03 From cathy parsons : Hello from London ON
13:06:14 From Canadian Urban Institute : Mayor Mike Savage, Halifax Regional Municipality @MikeSavageHFX Mike Savage was elected Mayor of Halifax Regional Municipality for a third term on October 17, 2020. An active member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC), Mayor Savage was selected by his counterparts from across the country to co-chair FCM’s Syrian Refugee response task force in 2015. In spring 2021, he was elected Chair of the BCMC. He served four years as President of the World Energy Cities partnership, an international organization of cities with significant energy sector interests. In March 2016, he was honoured as a Modern Maker of Canada by the Canadian Institute on Governance, recognizing the growing role of civic leaders in driving the economic prosperity for the country.
13:06:26 From Canadian Urban Institute : Prior to his election as Mayor, Mike Savage served three terms as Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, during which time he played a national role as Official Opposition Critic for Human Resources, Social Development and Status of Persons with Disabilities and chaired the Liberal Party Post-Secondary and Research Caucus.Prior to entering politics, Savage was a business leader in Halifax and was involved in numerous community organizations focused on health, the arts, education and humanitarian work.
13:06:51 From Canadian Urban Institute : Dale McFee, Edmonton Chief of Police @DMMcFee https://www.linkedin.com/in/dale-mcfee-00967271/ Chief Dale McFee was sworn in as Edmonton’s 23rd Chief of Police for the Edmonton Police Service in 2019. He has an extensive background in policing , including 26 years as a police officer in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan (nine years as Chief of Police) and six years as the Deputy Minister of Corrections and Policing in the Ministry of Justice for the Saskatchewan government. From 2011 to 2014 he served as President and Past President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. He has previously held the positions of President of the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers, and Director of the Canadian Police Association.
13:07:00 From Canadian Urban Institute : Chief McFee has received several commendations in his areas of expertise, including the appointment and subsequent promotion by the Governor General of Canada to the Officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces. He is a recognized Governor General Leadership alumnus, former citizen of the year within his home community, and the recipient of a provincial policing leadership award for “Leadership in Multi-Agency Community Mobilization”.
13:07:55 From Canadian Urban Institute : Please note: we have closed captioning enabled for today’s session. If you would like to turn it off, please click on the button at the bottom of your screen and disable. Thanks!
13:12:04 From Canadian Urban Institute : We hope this session is as interactive as possible, so please feel free to share comments, references, links and questions in the chat!
13:12:54 From Canadian Urban Institute to cathy parsons and all panelists : Hi Cathy. Thanks your raising your hand. We are not enabling this feature on today’s session, but please share your thoughts or questions in the chat, and we will bring it into the conversation. Thanks.
13:14:34 From cathy parsons to Hosts and panelists : Oh I didn’t realize I did that, my apologies
13:17:08 From Natasha Apollonova : Can you comment about state of digital infra in cities as well?
13:24:52 From Brad Krizan : Thanks for that comment Dale about outcomes and innovation. That’s where the focus needs to shift to….solutions tied to outcomes. And silo’s within government are a huge barrier that needs to be solved.
13:33:51 From Diane Dyson : The City of Edmonton reports that 5% of their population is Indigenous: https://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/initiatives_innovation/indigenous-relations#:~:text=Edmonton%20and%20surrounding%20area%20has,or%205%25%20of%20the%20population.
13:34:39 From Diane Dyson : And growing as more recent numbers show: https://regionaldashboard.alberta.ca/region/edmonton/percent-aboriginal-population/#/
13:38:56 From Craig Windrim : Renewing Indigenous cultures and languages, implementing and committing to UNDRIP principles of self-determination and self-governance, and govts being less prescriptive and seeing Indigenous communities as value-add not burdens are basic steps to enabling Indigenous peoples to succeed. Govts should provide supports but frankly get out of the way.
13:42:44 From Michael Roschlau : Great comments and vision from Halifax Mayor Savage.
13:42:59 From Brad Krizan : There is a fine line between social engineering and government getting out of the way! And that can be an impediment to innovation too
13:45:48 From Diane Dyson : In 2016, the Government of Canada endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) without qualification and committed to its full and effective implementation. The work is beginning. https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/declaration/index.html
13:51:24 From Natasha Apollonova : For Mayor Savage: can you please speak about your tech ecosystem and what interventions / policies may have contributed to such a great success for the sector?
13:53:28 From Trudi Goels : Technology in liquor stores is a bandaid solution. Living in generational poverty and with generational trauma leaves people with fewer choices and organized crime is one of them. That isn’t changing with these solutions. That’s just layering on another bandaid. We need root cause solutions. Policing never addresses root causes. We need to go deeper.
13:56:58 From Canadian Urban Institute : CUI extends a big thank you to TD for their support of CityTalk. Keep the conversation going #citytalk @canurb You can find transcripts and recordings of today’s and all our sessions at www.citytalkcanada.ca
13:57:57 From Michael James to Hosts and panelists : In Edmonton, part of the program in the liquor stores connects those who are vulnerable with the right services. Those who are addicted do not necessarily need to be in jail – they need services which the EPS provides from the CSWB side of the house.
13:58:07 From Canadian Urban Institute : COMING UP: Join us on Wednesday Sept 29 for our next session “Are we talking about a revolution? A case for the core”. You can register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_p2q7kGi0QzSx7APuaVPJXw
13:58:17 From Michael James : In Edmonton, part of the program in the liquor stores connects those who are vulnerable with the right services. Those who are addicted do not necessarily need to be in jail – they need services which the EPS provides from the CSWB side of the house.
14:00:32 From Graham Wilson : Thank you everyone for the big ideas
14:00:36 From Andréa Calla : Thank you, Mary, CUI and wonderful guests, excellent, informative session.
14:00:43 From Michael James : Well done
14:00:43 From Dana Kripki : great session