The current Municipal Act reads — “A rural municipality may be formed for an area with at least 1,000 residents and a population density of less than 400 residents per square kilometre.”
Nowhere in the act does it state existing municipalities must have at least 1,000 residents to operate.
While the 192 government communicators would have you believe the minister of local government can force smaller municipalities to amalgamate, the act does not give the minister the power to force amalgamation.
This government has raised the spectre of forced amalgamations to distract municipalities, including the City of Winnipeg, from the real issues they face. Some of these issues include: balancing a budget each year, planning to meet infrastructure needs and meaningful flood compensation from the deliberate flooding of Lake Manitoba almost two years ago.
This NDP government is attempting to get its way by intimidating municipal leaders. This self-serving bunch is determined to have functional municipalities jump through hoops while it makes up the rules as it goes along.
This is not democracy and it certainly is not responsible government, but it has become the norm in Manitoba.
Surely we can do better.
Critic for Local Government
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 29, 2013