Over the past two days I had the privilege to be in Ottawa with my mayoral colleagues from LUMCO (Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario). Mayors with populations over 100,000.
It was packed with meetings from the moment I landed.
1. Social Housing
We were able to connect with many members from different parties. That way we got our message across but at the same time we could hear what platforms are being proposed to tackle the very issues we are standing for.
MP Peter McKay:
LUMCO Chair – Mayor of Barrie Jeff Lehman, (seen hear addressing the crowd of MP’s, Senators and other staff at our evening function), made his case on our behalf to everyone we met and to the media as well.
I talked up Guelph and the University of Guelph several times. I talked about Linamar to Minister of Industry James Moore. I talked about waiting lists for social housing with Minister of Housing Candice Bergen. I talked about exploring new levers or tools from the Federal government to help spur on private sector development and partnership with cities for kickstarting more housing for those in need.
I gave a call to Michael Chong before arriving and he took me under his wing to show me around and introduce me to several members of parliament. By doing so, he enabled me to chat further about our city to several others, even though we didn’t have scheduled meetings with them. (It’s who you know folks!)
One senator I met was amazing. He spent a lot of time with me telling me about trade opportunities with the Caribbean that might work well with Guelph and our Agri-Food sector.
Much of what I enjoyed was the relationship building. Getting to know who’s who at the Federal level. Who I should follow up with if our city needs to be heard, and I learned that there may be some that aren’t interested, so I’ll know not to call them.
Speaking of relationship building, the time over breakfast, lunch, dinner and at our reception, offered me more time to get to know my mayoral colleagues. We shared what’s working in our cities, what’s not, what issues we face, what possible solutions some have tried and what some have implemented.
These people are good folks. Working hard for their communities.
Overall this was a great trip. Not for me, but for Guelph!
P.S I promised I’d always post any receipts of costs for trips, (or anything actually), on behalf of our city for transparency reasons and I will. I will gather them up and post them soon. This trip was worth it folks.