The evolution of local government is often accomplished across Canada in intense periods of activities, followed by periods of little activity. The related discussions and considerations can be about matching geography and performance of any new municipal unit. Currently a municipal amalgamation initiative in Manitoba is bringing attention to rural municipalities, which is at the heart of the proposed Bill 33 in Manitoba. As a result of recent research, RDI is releasing two reports: one regarding the geography of where people live and work (Identifying and Explaning Self Contained Labour Areas in Rural MB); and the second regardingindicators of strong rural municipalities (Indicators and Criteria for Strong Rural Municipalities in Manitoba). Both reports are funded by The Province of Manitoba and are released by the Province of Manitoba and Brandon University Rural Development Institute (RDI). Dr Ashton, the director of RDI, notes: “Both reports are intended to inform discussions about rural municipal amalgamations in Manitoba. One report suggests that functional economic areas point to the geographical ‘foot print’ of where people live and work. The other report helps to inform how to describe a strong municipality with key indicators.” Strong rural municipalities are not islands, rather engines of growth and economic development, and provision of services.
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