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Katz asks Chief for clarification on ethics commissioner

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The Selinger government is watching what’s happening at city hall but is not prepared to call an inquiry into municipal construction projects along the lines of Montreal’s ongoing corruption investigation.

Point Douglas MLA Kevin Chief, the new provincial minister responsible for the City of Winnipeg, said the province is monitoring the events at city hall but will not take any rash action.

Earlier this week, an external review of Winnipeg’s fire-paramedic station replacement program concluded the construction of four new stations in Winnipeg was plagued with mismanagement, cost overruns and unfair contract awards.

Chief said Friday the province has noted council voted in favour of accepting the recommendations of the review, which suggested tightening up the rules governing sole-sourced contracts. Chief also noted council also voted to have external legal counsel review whether anything illegal transpired – and a broader audit of city real-estate transactions is coming within months.

Earlier Friday, Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz said he has asked the province to clarify whether the City of Winnipeg can create an ethics commissioner.

In 2009, in the wake of the Riverside Park Management affair, city council voted to create an ethics commissioner. The province told the city to go ahead, but the city believed it lacked authority.

Chief said the city has all the tools it needs to create such a commissioner. The province will do whatever it can to support such a move, he added.

History

Updated on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM CDT: updates with full writethru

6:22 PM: Corrects typo.

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