Why Elect Our Regional Chair
The road to building a better Niagara Region - it starts with electing a Regional Chair. Have your say!
Why a Regional Chair elected at large is better for Niagara than current Chair elected by council ?
Regional Chair should be elected by the people of Niagara, just like a city/town Mayor because:
Property tax for the average home in St.Catharines is broken down like this: Region 50%, City 39.5%, Education 10.5% (2020), (transit shift to the Region).
- Regional Council spends 50 % or more of the Property tax bill
- Regional council sets the limits of the Police Budget
- Public health is a Regional Council responsibility
- Public housing is funded by Region
- Garbage pickup and disposal, and recycling is a regional responsibility
- Social assistance is managed by the Region
- Water and waste water treatment is owned and managed by the Region
- Major roads and bridges are owned and maintained by the Region
- Ambulance and paramedic, Emergency Medical Services are Regional
Currently the Regional Chair is elected within 30 days of the election of a new council, by the new council.
Some Councillors are new, some are veterans of a local councils, some are veterans of Regional Council, some are newly elected Mayors. The Chair is elected by a simple majority of councillors and must be an elected councillor themselves.
12 councillors are Mayors of a Niagara Municipality, whose first priority is their own city or town.
16 people can elect the Regional Chair. Allan Caslin was elected by 18, Jim Bradley was elected by 19, both in first ballot “landslides “.
It is human nature to focus on winning the support of 16 to win the chairs seats and it is human nature that private discussions and agreements are made to secure those 16 or 17 votes, Those discussions colour the actions and direction of the chair for much of the next four years.
Our current system is somewhat like Provincial and Federal politics whereby the Prime Minister becomes Prime Minister based on the election results in each of the ridings ( the Prime minister also has to get elected to their own riding). Where it differs is, the citizens of the province or Canada know who the leader of the party is and who will govern the province or Canada should the leader of the party receive enough votes. On a local level, the public , nor the councillors know who the 'party leader' (in this case the Regional Chair) will be in a municipal election until after the voting process for regional chair.
The Regional Chair is the head of council, and with the transfer of Transit budgets from the city to the Region, the Regional portion of the property tax bill is now larger than the city/town portion.
A Regional Chair should be accountable to all the people of the Region, well beyond the 16 votes needed to be elected Chair under the current system.
A regional Chair , , as stated by former Pelham Mayor David Augustine and several others,
“an election at large would mean having candidates talk about their vision for the Niagara Peninsula, work across the entire region talk to people about it and gain cross-community support in order to do that “
The voters elect Regional Chairs in Halton and Durham and Waterloo Regions. Those Chairs have more weight when speaking to the Province, the Federal Government and the Corporate world. They are in a better position to bring corporations and jobs to their Regions and a stronger voice for Provincial and Federal support because they have a mandate of their population, and at least 4 ridings in the respective legislatures.
Former Mayor of Welland Damien Goulborne said in july of 2018 ,
“like all citizens of Niagara, we want to actively participate in the governance that exists within our community, so whether i be votingon a regional chair or voting on a referendum, it gives power back to the people and allows the people to have a voice, so I’m a strong fan of that.”
What Supporters Are Saying
- It seems to me that the public, the people in Niagara, were in favour of directly electing the char.
Have Your Say
Are you in favour of the Council of the Regional Municipality of Niagara passing the necessary resolutions and bylaws to change the method of selecting its Chair from appointment by members of Regional Council to election by general vote of all electors in the Region?