March 2019

Home rule

Autonomy becomes a permanent option for West Virginia cities

CHARLESTON, West Virginia — A West Virginia Municipal League official predicts West Virginia will be much better off once the Home Rule pilot becomes a permanent program later this year.

Governor Jim Justice signed into law SB 4 of the 2019 Regular Legislative Session which establishes the Municipal Self-Government Agenda.

Since its launch in 2007, the previous pilot program has been extended several times.

Currently, 34 of West Virginia’s 231 towns operate under autonomy.

“Every city in West Virginia could eventually be under self-government,” said Travis Blosser, deputy executive director of the West Virginia Municipal League, of the new law’s potential for expansion.

His organization was celebrating the upcoming law change.

Overall, Blosser said local self-government allows local leaders to respond more effectively to the needs of their local communities.

“At the end of the day, it’s not empowerment of local government, it’s empowerment of the local constituency that lives in this city,” Blosser told MetroNews.

Under local self-governance, participating cities can implement changes in many areas of local governance as long as the changes do not violate the United States Constitution, the West Virginia Constitution, and federal law.

In the law, there are certain restrictions on the degree of control that house rule gives cities in specifically defined areas, including federal highway funding, firearms facilities, and firefighter certifications.

The legislation limits home rule additions for Class IV cities, the smallest in West Virginia, to four per year.

Cities of all sizes are under the scrutiny of members of the Home Rule Board with required annual assessments that will continue.

“They have the ability to reject amendments to current plans or they have the ability to reject plans that are new plans for new communities,” Blosser said.

Blosser used Huntington, one of the first pilot towns of autonomy, as an example of the potential for development under autonomy.

“Huntington is very different than it was 12 years ago,” Blosser said. “A lot of it has to do with the autonomy and flexibility that Huntington has had to make certain decisions locally.

The new home rule law comes into force on June 7.

Without action, the municipal autonomy pilot program would have ended on July 1, 2019.

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Nunavik Inuit to review self-government based on Inuit values, heritage and language

Nunavik Inuit have given their birthright organization the green light to begin a new round of self-government negotiations.

Delegates passed a resolution to that effect last week at Makivik Corp’s annual general meeting. in Aupaluk.

And to guide this process, Makivik has appointed Mary Simon as the new chief negotiator for Nunavik self-determination and the Inuit government, according to a March 21 press release.

It has been eight years since Nunavimmiut voted on a proposed model of self-government called the Nunavik Regional Government.

The NRG provided for a merger that would have joined existing regional bodies such as the Kativik Regional Government, the Kativik School Board and the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, placing them under the authority of a new elected body called the Nunavik Assembly.

The proposal was ultimately rejected by 66% of voters in a referendum in 2011.

But under Charlie Watt, founding chairman and former chairman of Makivik Corp., talks to hammer out a new self-government agreement were reignited last year.

And while the last proposed model was for public government, Makivik now seeks to establish Indigenous government based on Inuit values, heritage, identity, culture and language.

In October 2018, Makivik Corp. says it has entered into negotiations with the federal government on a draft memorandum of understanding to facilitate this process.

And then, in February 2019, participants in an all-organizations meeting gave Makivik the mandate to set up a Nunavik Constitutional Working Group.

This group will create a constitution for the region, in consultation with the Inuit.

“We’ve been engaged in this process for decades, and it has gained tremendous momentum over the past year,” Watt said in a statement.

“The legal framework that has evolved over the years, including our Aboriginal rights in the Canadian Constitution, and more recently the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, is the foundation upon which we build our self-determination.

Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution also recognizes the self-determination of Aboriginal groups: “The inherent right of self-government is recognized as an existing Aboriginal right,” he says.

Watt said he was “proud” to count Simon as the leader of the negotiations.

Simon, originally from Kuujjuaq, is a former president of Makivik; she has also served as chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and served as special advisor on Arctic issues to the federal government.

She was Canada’s first Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs and was the lead negotiator for the creation of the Arctic Council in the 1990s. She later served as Ambassador to Denmark.

Simon’s role going forward is to keep Inuit and Nunavik organizations informed and involved in the progress and status of these negotiations.

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Self government

Are the English ready for autonomy?

“The alleged aptitude of the English for self-government,” writes Bernard Shaw in his preface to Androcles and the Lion, “is contradicted by every chapter of their history. Shaw was, of course, parodying British imperialist rhetoric and his insistence that lesser peoples – including his own nation, the Irish – were not ready to rule themselves. He was villainously provocative, which only the most irresponsible commentators would dare to be in these dire times.

But there is still an element of truth in his words. The ability to be self-governing is not what comes to mind when you look from the outside at what was going on in Westminster last week, when, as Tom Peck so brilliantly put it in London Independent, “the House of Commons was a Benny Acid Hill Race, traversing a Salvador Dali painting in a spaceship en route to infinity.”

Let’s just say that if Theresa May was the head of a newly liberated African colony in the 1950s, Britain’s Tories would have pointed, half sadly, half happily, in her direction and say ‘You see? I told you – they just weren’t ready to rule themselves. At least another generation of guardianship by the mother country was needed.

There is a kind of surreal logic to this. If, as the Brexiteers do, you imagine yourself to be an oppressed colony separating from the German Reich aka the European Union, you may find yourself with a pantomime version of the struggles of the newly independent colonies, including the civil wars that s ‘often follow. national liberation.

And without wanting to touch it, Shaw’s quip highlights two of the deep issues that underlie and undermine the entire Brexit project. First of all, the problem with this imaginary self-government effort is the “self” part. What is the ego of British politics? As in all nationalist revolts, the easy part of “Them versus Us” is Them: in this case the EU. The hardest part is us. Brexit calls for a collective British ego, but it is in itself the most dramatic symptom of the crumbling of this very thing.

Fabulous trip

Westminster Anarchy is the political expression of anarchy in the United Kingdom, the breakdown of a common sense of belonging. Brexit is a fabulous form of displacement – it recognizes a deep and genuine dissatisfaction with the way the British are governed, but sends it back to Europe.

Brexit acknowledges deep dissatisfaction with the way the British are governed, but sends it back to Europe

He simply marked in bright red ink the fault lines that had long been less vivid – the drift of England and Scotland; the economic and cultural divide between what Anthony Barnett calls “England without London” and the rest of the UK (Wales being the obvious anomaly); the social and geographic cleavages between the winners and losers of the long Thatcher revolution. Brexit, in the worst possible time in the world, clears up all of these divisions while doing absolutely nothing to address them. It reveals a regime that cannot create consensus because it lacks a basis in social consent.

Nationalism is a great beast to bring you to the point of independence – and then it becomes a dead horse

The other, closely related issue is English nationalism which is both such a powerful force in Brexit and so poorly articulated. As every former colony knows, nationalism is a great beast in bringing you to the point of independence – and then it becomes a dead horse. Shaw wrote to his friend Mabel FitzGerald (mother of the future taoiseach Garret) in December 1914: sudden and horrible decomposition, that he has been dead for years.

Whipping a dead horse

Brexit is a dead horse, a form of nationalist energy that began to break down rapidly on June 24, 2016, as soon as it entered the realm of political reality. He can’t go anywhere. He cannot transport the British state to a promised land. He can only leave him where he arrived, in a no man’s land between vague patriotic fantasies and persistent irritating facts. But also, due to the result of the referendum, the British state cannot dismount from the dead horse and must continue to whip it.

To fly over this whole idea of ​​English self-government is the myth of loneliness. All independence movements have at their heart the meaning of Sinn Féin – “Ourselves alone”. Being alone is also one of the great motifs of the English self-image, brilliantly visualized in the famous David Low cartoon of June 1940, after the fall of France, showing a Tommy standing on the cliffs of Dover hugging the fist towards the Luftwaffe bombers above their heads. with the caption “Very good, alone”. But Britain was not alone back then (it had a vast empire) and it was never alone. Throughout its history since 1707, it has always been part of a larger multinational entity: empire first, then Europe.

Yet a fantasy of glorious and provocative loneliness is at the heart of making Brexit wishes come true. It’s a great warning to be careful what you want. What we are seeing right now is a taste of England alone. It’s no surprise that this is a preview of a horror show. Cause when you’re really alone, what are you alone with? You are alone with your demons.


A special survey on Brexit and the border
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