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Local leaders gather in P.G.

Local government delegates gathering in Prince George this week will help lay the ground work for potential provincial policy.

Local government delegates gathering in Prince George this week will help lay the ground work for potential provincial policy.

As part of their annual general meeting, North Central Local Government Association members will debate and decide on nearly 30 resolutions to forward to September's Union of B.C. Municipalities conference.

There are some weighty asks among this year's crop of resolutions, including two coming from the association's executive.

The first is asking UBCM to lobby the RCMP to take action on human trafficking by working with local governments to implement recommendations in a recent report from the National Task Force on Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada as well as B.C.'s own Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.

The national report was commissioned by the Canadian Women's Foundation and published last fall. It sets out 34 recommended actions ranging from providing dedicated safe housing in major urban centres to ending the "municipal regulatory patchwork of Canada's sex industry" to ensuring all first responders have access to appropriate counselling and peer support resources.

In keeping with the theme of looking out for women and girls, the executive have also put forward a resolution for steps to be taken to eradicate rape culture.

Specifically, the resolution calls for the UBCM to petition for an intergovernmental task force that would collect sexual assault victim testimony to determine steps needed to improve reporting, arrest and conviction rates across the country.

"We understand that this is an extremely complex issue with no easy solutions, and that every level of government has some responsibility for various aspects of the solution, hence the task force recommendation with representation from all levels of government, including local government, as well as service providers, educators and sexual assault survivors," said the executive's resolution.

The city of Quesnel has joined those calling for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women by sponsoring a resolution asking the provincial and federal municipal groups to lobby the federal government to establish a national commission.

A Terrace resolution is looking for more support for mental health and addiction issues so that police resources aren't strained so far beyond their primary responsibilities.

Hudson's Hope has sponsored a resolution calling for a review of Site C by the B.C. Utilities Commission, Stewart and the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District are joint sponsors of an ask to waive provincial royalties for mining gravel in flood risk areas and Fort St. John has asked UBCM to petition the government to repeal the medical services plan, thus making health care free to B.C. residents.

Conference attendees were introduced Wednesday to the city through study tours of the Wood Innovation and Design Centre and UNBC's bioenergy plant as well as a golf tournament.

The convention's official business begins this morning with an address from UBCM president Sav Dhaliwhal and nominations for the NCLGA's new executive. Prince George Coun. Susan Scott is in the running for a director-at-large position.

Over the course of the two days, the delegates will also hear from Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad, Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Minister Shirley Bond, Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Coralee Oakes, Opposition local government critic Selina Robinson, Prince George Native Friendship Centre executive director Barbara Ward-Burkitt and more.

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