As part of PLEDDG Project, from May 27 till June 5, 2017 mayors of 6 PLEDDG partner cities were in Canada on a local governance study tour. The aim of the study tour was to showcase Canadian good governance models and best practices, with a particular focus on the rule of law, strategic planning of city development, citizen engagement, favorable business climate and local economic development.

The following mayors participated in the study tour: Serhiy Morhunov, Mayor of Vinnytsia, Ruslan Martsinkiv, Mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk, Sergiy Min’ko, Mayor of Melitopol, Ihor Sliuzar, Mayor of Kolomyia, Pavlo Muzyka, Mayor of Energodar, Olha Borysenko, Deputy Mayor of Poltava, Valerii Baranov, Deputy CEO, Association of Ukrainian Cities. They were accompanied by Alexander Kucherenko, PLEDDG Director, and Kadie Ward, PLEDDG Senior Governance Advisor.

In the course of the study tour, a delegation of Ukrainian mayors visited Vancouver and Abbotsford, the province of British Columbia, and the capital of Canada, Ottawa. In Vancouver and Abbotsford, which are PLEDDG partner cities in Canada, Ukrainian mayors met with local officials and public activists. In Ottawa, the Ukrainian delegation had a very busy schedule: a meeting with Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada Andriy Shevchenko on the premises of the Ukrainian embassy, a visit to FCM’s headquarters and meeting with FCM’s staff. The most memorable event for the Ukrainian delegation of mayors was participation in the 80th FCM’s Annual Conference, which gathered an unprecedented number of the country’s municipal leaders. The Conference also celebrated Canada’s 150 years of Confederation. Over 2000 municipal representatives from across Canada gathered together to discuss the country’s agenda, namely local governance, city infrastructure development, environmental sustainability, poverty reduction etc. Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, delivered the keynote address at the opening of the conference.

PLEDDG study tours to Canada serve to deepen cooperation and improve bilateral relations between Ukrainian and Canadian cities.

Below is the review of the study tour by one of the participants, Sergiy Min’ko, Melitopol Mayor.

Mr. Sergiy Min’ko, Mayor of Melitopol, on his Facebook page shared his thoughts on the PLEDDG-organized study tour to Canada:

“The study tour started with a visit to Vancouver. Now we are in Abbotsford. We learned about the practices of good governance and local economic development, spoke with local officials and public activists. Every day we discuss and compare what we’ve seen here in Canada with the similar projects in our own cities. I am convinced that such experience is very useful for us, and that we’ll be able to implement a few such projects in my native Mariupol. Tomorrow we are going to Ottawa, where FCM’s annual conference is scheduled to take place. It is very interesting to learn about municipal governance in Canada’s capital and learn about the scope of on-line services which Ottawa’s municipal government provides for its citizens. To sum up, I would like to point out that the system of municipal governance in Canada is exemplary. There is a minimum number of MPs in Canada who receive their salary while spending in the workplace no more than two hours a day. People know all municipal councilors by sight, many of whom have been re-elected many times. There are prominent municipal representatives who have been in office for 40 years. I did not see young people holding key positions in government there. There are no quick rotations or changes there. The average age of senior officials is between 40 and 70 years. Those people are highly thought of, trusted and respected by all citizens. There is no negativity about them either in media or among people. Local government officials are honest, trustworthy and committed to their citizens. In my opinion, the model of local governance like the one we see here in Canada should be adopted in Ukraine. We need to change public attitudes towards local government. Public officers must prioritize the well-being of their citizens, forget about dirty politics, personal ambitions, and think only about stability and development of their country.

Thanks to a chance to attend FCM’s conference, we could communicate with FCM’s members. An important aspect of such gatherings is that participants can openly share their experience and achievements, discuss innovations, learn from each other and strive to become better with every passing year. All initiatives and changes needed for a specific territory are lobbied through FCM. FCM is a powerful instrument of influence at the federal level”.