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Mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette promises reform at city hall

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Robert-Falcon Ouellette candidate for Winnipeg mayor 2014 says voters can't trust the old guard at city hall.

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Robert-Falcon Ouellette candidate for Winnipeg mayor 2014 says voters can't trust the old guard at city hall.

Mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette took a swing at two other candidates as he promised to reform city hall to end the abuses cited in the damning real estate audit.

Ouellette said city hall needs to break from the politicians that have governed in the past.

"Why were there no alarm bells not raised by present and former city councilors," Ouellette said, in direct reference to Coun. Paula Havixbeck and former councillor Gord Steeves.

In a written statement released late Monday afternoon, Ouellette, an administrator and occasional lecturer at the University of Manitoba, said the EY audit demonstrates voters can't trust the old guard at city hall.

But Ouellette's charges against Havixbeck, at least, are without merit. While Havixbeck and Steeves both spent time on Mayor Sam Katz's powerful executive policy, Havixbeck was booted from EPC because of her constant criticism of recent moves at city hall.

Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo) has been the harshest critic of Katz and senior administrators as details emerged about the fire hall replacement program and the new police headquarters building.

Ouellette's list of reforms echoes similar pledges made by two other city hall outsiders — lawyer Brian Bowman and NDP veteran Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

Ouellette promised to create an "ethics conflict of interest commissioner who will have authority to advise rules on conflict of interests and ensure a fair and open process."

Ouellette, part Cree, also promised to create an Elders council, "to better connect our city’s indigenous residents to their urban government."

Included in his list of reforms for open government, Ouellette said he would create a "cabinet"-style governance model where councillors would be held responsible for portfolios and require councillors to attend quarterly neighbourhood meetings.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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