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Municipal government in Newfoundland and Labrador need more study. Can you help?


Yaffle, Memorial's online connecting tool, is full of big ideas looking for someone to take them on. Here's one of them.

The problem:

According to Robert Keenan, "municipal government is the least studied level of government in the province."

And he should know: as the community cooperation officer with Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, it's his job to provide services and support to municipalities all across the province; however, it's hard to do when you've got very few details about the actual workings of how they work.

While Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador has got some statistical data on the communities it serves, when it comes to more nuanced issues, such as governance, communications and cooperation with other levels of government, there isn't much there.

Mr. Keenan is blunt: "At this point, the information just doesn't exist, and without it, we're less able to support the municipalities that we are here to serve."

The project:

Mr. Keenan needs help creating and analyzing a census of Newfoundland and Labrador municipalities.

"We've done general censuses before, but it's an ongoing process. We've realized that there are areas that the older versions didn't touch upon. For example, today, every municipality in the province has a sustainability plan in effect: we want to use the census to find out how they are using them, and whether they're being updated on a regular basis," explained Mr. Keenan.

The analysis element of the project is even more crucial. "We'll take care of getting the survey out to our members, but where we really need support is in assessing what the responses mean. The information won't be useful until someone connects the dots," he said.

The ideal researcher could be a graduate student or faculty-member with an interest and background in geography and politics. The work would be conducted independently, with input and support from Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador.

Interested in helping connect the dots across Newfoundland and Labrador? Contact Bojan Fürst ( at the Harris Centre to get involved with this, or any other, Yaffle project. And don't forget to update your Yaffle profile with any new projects or publications.