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Public services are critical to local democracy. We need public ownership for citizens to have control of their water, hydro, roads, and human and social services. Thats why keeping services public is central to our vision of stronger, healthier communities.

All forms of local authority must become more accountable. Municipalities should not be reduced to being businesses that treat citizens as customers and consumers. As the level of government that is closest to people, municipalities are in a unique position. Municipal politicians can be connected in an immediate way to the day-to-day pressing needs of communities and their citizens. Municipalities can play a role in reinvigorating the notions of citizenship and the value of our common wealth. Local governance, strongly guided by real democracy and real accountability, must be the cornerstone of our community action plan. We must work to elect representatives of workers to local boards, increase measures for citizen involvement and ensure that our voices are heard in the many levels of municipal governance.

But keeping services public is not enough. We must push for more public and community involvement in local governing bodies. This is becoming a major problem as local governments grow in size through amalgamations and mergers, and as a result of population growth and development.

Increasing access to an expanded range of public services means improving the quality of life in our urban and rural communities. We have to reclaim the services weve lost, but also modernize local services so that communities are meeting their new, diverse and ever-changing needs.