Thanks to the Youth and Municipal Succession program of the Quebec Federation of Municipalities (FQM), I had the chance to participate in its last annual convention. It is an initiative open to young people aged 18 to 35, set up to “promote intergenerational dialogue around municipal policy while promoting the next generation”.
Currently a master’s student in public relations at Laval University, working in federal politics and having several relatives working in municipal politics, I had the opportunity to discover this universe in more depth.
In the shadow of federal and provincial orders, municipal policy is nevertheless the one that has the most repercussions in the daily life of citizens: urban mobility, leisure and culture, land use planning and development, public safety, waste management, etc.. While having only a limited power of taxation, municipalities cannot run deficits and must face enormous challenges faced with the scarcity of resources, whether human, budgetary and technical, to meet their responsibilities and duties. towards their citizens.
During a workshop on remuneration, I was able to observe the immense workload incumbent on mayors and mayors who, in exchange, only receive a meager salary in the vast majority of municipalities in Quebec. Moreover – it should be specified – these people do not exercise these functions to enrich themselves. On the contrary, they invest in their community and it is their sense of duty that prevails.
I was shocked to learn that mayors often earn little more (and especially less) than me who works part-time during my studies.
What is striking is the gap that exists between the salary received and the legal and administrative responsibilities, the number of weekly hours devoted to municipal affairs and the sacrifices imposed on their families in the exercise of this function. Today, there is also intimidation, harassment, threats and sometimes even violence, from both social networks and their living environment, making this function even less attractive in terms of their remuneration.
The upgrading of the role of municipal councilor should not be limited to a public relations campaign inviting people to apply when the time is right, that is, once every four years.
It depends on the voters’ respect for the people who represent them and who very often do so for poor salaries and under difficult conditions of success in several municipalities in Quebec. Moreover, if a candidate promises a reduction in the salary for a mayor position that he covets, in my humble opinion, he is showing an ignorance of municipal political life and the inherent responsibilities that await him.
We must therefore develop and promote municipal policy. Thus, we would have a greater presence of candidates with knowledge, know-how and interpersonal skills to perform municipal functions. We could also see more young people trying their luck.
If you want to ensure that your municipality is an active and attractive place to live in which it is good to live, know how to encourage the people who sit on your municipal councils and who carry out their duties with energy and dedication, even if you don’t. did not vote or that you will not vote for them. These deserve our respect.
What do you think? Express your opinion