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Municipal Affairs
May 25, 2009

The following statement was issued by the Honourable Dianne Whalen, Minister of Municipal Affairs. It was also read in the House of Assembly:

Minister Encourages Participation in Local Governance

On September 29 of this year, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will go to the polls to elect their municipal representatives for the next four years. Local government is where the action is. Every day, this level of government impacts the lives of just about all residents of our province.

From my experience, I can�t stress enough the level of satisfaction and pride one can gain from contributing to your community by offering yourself for election as a mayor, deputy mayor or councillor.

In 2007, Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, through the Community Cooperation Resource Centre, conducted a survey with municipal councillors where only 38 per cent said that they would run again in the next municipal election. Strong municipal representation is essential for our province's success. This primary level of government contributes to the foundation that strong communities are built upon. And our communities are the foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Therefore, our government will soon announce a campaign to promote participation in our treasured democratic process leading up to the September 29 election. The anticipated launch of this campaign is early June.

Today, however, I will say that the campaign will incorporate means to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas. We will actively recruit individuals who may have been on the fence about offering themselves for election in previous years. Making a contribution in this way can be of great importance not only to the general population, but to their families and friends as well.

One focus of our plan is to encourage the active involvement and full participation of women and youth in municipal government. With the face of local government possibly changing forever this year, it�s time to persuade young people and other potentially interested groups to join this very important democratic institution.

We are excited about this upcoming campaign. At the Department of Municipal Affairs, we see first-hand each and every day how important strong representation is when working to make the communities we call home better places to live and raise a family. I feel it is our duty to encourage as many people as possible to take the next step by offering themselves for election, because where you may see a construction worker � I see a councillor. You may see a school teacher, I see the next mayor of a town.

2009 05 25                                                1:50 p.m.

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