County officials part of delegation to Vietnam
Warden Bruce Morrison and District # 2 Councillor Perla Macleod are back on Canadian soil after a one-week trip to the cities of Hanoi and Can Tho, Vietnam.
Morrison and Macleod were part of a Cape Breton delegation chosen to head up the Vietnamese portion of the Partnerships for Municipal Innovation: Local Economic Development (PMI-LED) program. PMI-LED is implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and seeks to increase sustainable economic growth by strengthening the capacity of municipal governments in several overseas countries- Mali, Burkina Faso, Côte d’ivoire, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bolivia and Nicaragua. The Victoria County officials were joined by Cape Breton Partnership chief operating officer Carla Arsenault and Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-beaton. It was memorable trip for Warden Morrison. “You see it all at once, it’s very intense when
you get there, the busy-ness, the size, the heat. I’ve been a Councillor for twenty years, and when I reflect back after I’ve left this business, it will certainly be one of the highlights.”
Morrison was acting as both a municipal official and a representative of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities (UNSM).
“As a municipal official, I explained how our elections work, how long our terms are, what our roles are, warden vs. mayor. We weren’t there to convert them, we were just there to explain how our municipal process works. I would look at it as information sharing rather than similarities between Hanoi and Cape Breton.”
Morrison says he and his Vietnamese hosts share common concerns around economic development, specifically tourism development. Morrison says that fees collected from municipalities by the UNSM go towards training newlyelected and seasoned representatives as well as administrative staff. He says the Association of Cities of Vietnam currently don’t appear to collect fees but appeared intrigued by this arrangement.
The week-long visit involved meetings with officials of the Association of Cities of Vietnam with whom PMI-LED has officially entered a 4-year partnership. The initial mission was comprised of series of meetings, workshops and discussions to lay the groundwork for the four-year partnership.
Over the next four years, UNSM and Cape Breton Partnership officials will help the Association of Cities of Vietnam strengthen its capacity to plan a community-led economic vision, to offer effective economic development projects and services to their communities, and to adopt policies and practices that promote inclusive and sustainable economic development. Specifically, they will be focused on institutional strengthening, training development, strategic planning, advocacy capacity building, policy development, and supporting programs for women elected at the local level.
“At the end of the day, it is about helping them build capacity within their organization. Specifically, they’ve asked for assistance in further developing their strategic plan. The Association of Vietnam Cities has a training centre and they’re looking to expand the scope of services they offer there. So that will be a key component of what they’re looking for assistance with,” said Arsenault.
The FCM annual conference is begin held in Halifax next June and Arsenault and Morrison are hoping it will be an opportunity for Vietnamese officials to visit the province and the island.
Arsenault says she doesn’t know at this point who will be involved in subsequent trips to Vietnam, but she says Morrison and Macleod will be involved throughout the next four years.
All direct program costs, including travel, accommodations and meals, are covered by Global Affairs Canada, which funds the Partnerships for Municipal Innovation: Local Economic Development program that is implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Participating municipalities and organizations, both in Canada and abroad, provide some in-kind contributions, including staff time.
Pictured above (L-R): Carla Arsenault, Chief Operating Officer for Cape Breton Partnership, Victoria County Warden Bruce Morrison, an unidentified staff member, Nguyen Thi Kim Son Vice-general Secretary of the Association of the Cities of Vietnam...