SARM Kicks off 2021 Virtual Convention

·2 min read

On Tuesday, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) kicked off its 2021 Virtual Convention.

In his address to convention delegates and observers, President of SARM Ray Orb addressed the criticism that there are too many municipalities with too small populations. He said, while that may seem true, SARM sees this as an advantage as people recognize that rural Saskatchewan is a great place to live and enjoy the rural lifestyle.

Addressing the controversy surrounding the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) name change to Municipalities of Saskatchewan (MOS), Orb said they have continued to voice their concerns regarding the name change. He noted Minister Don McMorris’ comments at the SUMA convention in February, where the Minister suggested that SUMA stop using Municipalities of Saskatchewan until a consultation had occurred. Orb said, “SARM is of the same opinion and has already spoken to President Hayward [SUMA] and relayed our concerns and options we have at our disposal. President Hayward has already stated that he wishes to mend the broken relationship between SUMA and SARM, and so do we. Our relationship rebuilding will require dedication and understanding from both associations.”

He also addressed what he called ‘rhetoric’ from the federal government on their ability to access and provide timely, adequate COVID-19 vaccine supplies. He said, “One overriding principle has surfaced that we should view as a priority; we desperately need a made in Canada solution and in the future need vaccines to be made and distributed from within our country’s boundaries.”

“Our province has been struggling to access vaccine on a timely basis and we feel that credit should be given to our Premier and to the Province who had to develop a vaccine rollout strategy under markedly adverse conditions.”

Orb said SARM would take on a roll improving communications, ensuring rural residents are notified when local vaccine clinics will be held.

On Wednesday, Premier Scott Moe will address the convention, followed by a Bear Pit session with the provincial cabinet. The Virtual Convention runs from March 9-10.

Jennifer Argue, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Last Mountain Times