Strathmore joins anti-discrimination network

·2 min read

The Town of Strathmore will be working to improve its policies against discrimination after joining a network of Canadian municipalities.

On Jan. 20, Strathmore town council voted to join the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities, a group of 82 member communities advancing initiatives to promote social inclusion, eradicate racism and discrimination, and further human rights and diversity.

The Canadian Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has called upon municipalities to join this coalition and become part of the organization’s international coalition. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has endorsed this call and encourages its members, which includes Strathmore, to join.

The motion to join the coalition was made by Councillor Denise Peterson and passed unanimously.

Joining the coalition provides the Town of Strathmore access to the other municipalities and to federal grants running through the coalition and through FCM, said Peterson. It also provides the town and its counterparts an opportunity to present its anti-racism activities federally and provincially.

“Most importantly, it gives us access to resources to help eliminate racism and other forms of discrimination in our community, and it gives us more power to bring inclusion to our community,” said Peterson.

Upon receiving the report from council, Mayor Pat Fule will sign a declaration, inform the Canadian Commission for UNESCO of the decision, and announce the town’s involvement to partners and community members.

During the meeting, Councillor Jason Montgomery inquired about the cost of joining the coalition.

“It sounds like a good thing, but things are tight right now and I would just have to know where the money was going to be coming from and then what staff resources were going to be allocated toward this,” he said.

Strathmore town council has already enacted relevant commitments, by committing to working with representatives from Siksika Nation to address racism, and by hiring a new assistant chief of diversity, inclusion and recruiting in the fire department, said Peterson. “The plan already exists going forward,” she said.

Any additional priorities that might be adopted under joining the coalition that would have funding implications would have come forward to council through separate bylaws or policies, she said.

“There will be no cost to the town at this time,” said Doug Lagore, town chief administrative officer. “At this time, we’ll develop a policy, and if council wants to undertake a specific initiative pursuant to that policy, then council would debate that and would have to find funding for that.”

Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times