Local and Urban Politics
Session: E7 - Municipal Adaptability in a Global World
Chair/Présidente: Elizabeth Schwartz (University of British Columbia)
Discussant/Commentateur: Martin Horak (University of Western Ontario)
Participants & Authors/Auteurs: (Click titles for Abstract and Paper.)
Judith Garber (University of Alberta) : Values, Federalism, and the Political Economy of Policing in US Cities
Marc Yvan Valade (Ryerson University) : Jobs matter when attracting immigrants to Canadian non-metropolitan cities
Abstract: This exploratory investigation sought to test whether ‘welcoming’ attributes of a geographic community, such as the presence of settlement services and higher education institutions, facilitate immigrant settlement in non-metropolitan cities (NMC). Statistical analysis of census data from a sample of 131 NMC was conducted. Specifically, descriptive statistics, correlation tests, and linear regression were used to study the variation in the proportion of the foreign-born residents in those communities between 2006 and 2011. Control variables included the size of NMC, their distance from major immigrant-attracting metropolises, immigrant networks, median earnings, human capital value, and a labour activity index that emphasized full-time employment rates. Labour activity and the valorization of human capital were found to be strong predictors of variations in the immigrant population, while the ‘welcoming’ variables only proved to be a correlate. Among the 50 NMC that showed an increase in their proportion of immigrants, 38 were among the lowest within the sample in terms of population (10,000 to 60,000). And 20 of those were located in the Western provinces, with few to none of the welcoming amenities measured but with the most robust labour activity. Results suggest that for NMC looking to attract immigrants, focusing solely on improving newcomer-friendly services and attitudes without promoting economic development and creating jobs may be an ineffective strategy. Moreover, contrary to the main stream notion (see Hyndman, Shuurman and Fiedler 2006), the size of cities did not appear a significant factor in attracting immigrants to Canadian NMC.
Paper or Poster / Communication ou Présentation visuelle
Kate Daley (York University) : Growing together: The inseparable successes of smart growth and regional government in the Waterloo area
Abstract: The Region of Waterloo has been unusually committed to provincially-favoured growth management approaches often described as ‘smart growth.’ They aim to curb urban sprawl by growing up instead of out, protecting environmentally sensitive areas and prime farmland while improving the density and liveability of existing urban centres. While it is tempting to examine growth management as a specific and isolated policy area, this research shows that the story of growth management in the Waterloo area is inseparable from the story of local government reform. Local municipal institutions and growth management efforts have changed together. I describe three main periods in growth management and municipal government, namely:  the period immediately prior to the creation of a two-tiered regional government structure in 1973,  the period from regional amalgamation to the turn of the century, when the upper-tier government was strengthened, and  from 2000 to the present. I highlight the major issues in and changes to both growth management and local government in these three periods, and show how they are interrelated. Questions of jurisdiction, municipal and geographic representation, and intergovernmental and intragovernmental relationships have animated both issues. This project suggests that research into specific policy outcomes may be a rewarding extension of the already rich Canadian literature on municipal government reform, particularly in Ontario. It also suggests that evaluation of regional governments and other municipal arrangements should include both the various policy outcomes they facilitate or impede, and the local conditions that connect government arrangements and policy outcomes together.
Paper or Poster / Communication ou Présentation visuelle
Joseph Garcea (University of Saskatchewan) : The Positions and Initiatives of Canadian Cities Related to the Syrian Refugee Crisis
Abstract: The overarching purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and analysis of the progressive and proactive positions and initiatives of the FCM’s Big City Mayors Caucus and various major cities in relation to the Syrian refugee crisis between 2015 and 2016. In keeping with some themes in the extant literature the paper devotes attention to factors that may account for the positions and initiatives of the CFM’s Big City Mayors Caucus and various cities. Special attention is devoted to the extent to which both ‘policy rationality’ and ‘political rationality’ account for their respective positions and initiatives. The paper also provides a general assessment of the scope and significance of the municipal roles and responsibilities in the settlement of Syrian refugees and whether a new Syrian refugee crisis has established models for a ‘new normal’ for municipal involvement in the settlement of refugees that is likely to prevail in the future. The paper concludes with some observations on whether the progressive and proactive stances of the Big City Mayors Caucus and of individual cities is indicative of a new era in municipal governance in which cities and other types of municipalities are recognizing both their centrality in governance matters in the “global village” and the importance of them being more attentive to social issues, including those in the immigration and integration sector, than they have been, or at least have been perceived to be, in previous decades.