Gord Steeves launched his campaign for mayor by claiming Winnipeggers have lost confidence in city hall -- but refused to blame Mayor Sam Katz for that loss of confidence.
On Monday afternoon, the former St. Vital councillor became the first person to formally launch a campaign to become the city's next mayor when Winnipeggers go to the polls on Oct. 22, 2014.
Steeves, who served on council from 2000 to 2011, told a group of friends, family members and supporters at Assiniboine Park's Family Centre his time away from city hall has provided him with a perspective about it -- and he does not like what he sees.
Steeves, who now works as a lawyer, said he wants to become mayor to return the city to a time when audits were not required to get officials to tell the truth. He also said he wanted to restore a diversity of opinion and mutual respect at city hall.
A former federal Liberal, Steeves left office in 2011 to run as a Progressive Conservative candidate in the provincial riding of Seine River. He lost to NDP cabinet minister Theresa Oswald.
Steeves said in June he was thinking about returning to city hall. On Monday, he unveiled a campaign slogan "Mayor for a new day" and said he will canvass Winnipeggers for specific ideas about how to improve the city. He said he has his own ideas but will unveil them later in the campaign.
Steeves said most Winnipeggers have lost confidence in the processes at city hall and hinted the fire-paramedic station replacement scandal contributed to that loss of faith.
Steeves said he was not aware of problems with the program when he resigned in 2011. The program started in 2009.
Steeves also said he does not blame Mayor Sam Katz or former Winnipeg chief administrative officer Phil Sheegl for the fire-paramedic station scandal, even though an external review said Sheegl conducted most of the oversight on the program.
Steeves, who was among the councillors who supported the move to make Sheegl the CAO, said it was unfortunate he didn't work out in that position.
Steeves was introduced by former Olympic speedskater Susan Auch, a former conservative candidate.
Supporters in the audience included Derek Rolstone, a former policy adviser to Mayor Sam Katz.
Steeves said he is running whether or not Katz chooses to run again.
Other candidates mulling a mayoral run include Couns. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) and Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo), former mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis and lawyer Brian Bowman.