Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Approaching cars will be a no-no

Steeves vows to curb panhandling

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Peter Dunn agrees aggressive panhandlers can pose a problem. He says he never runs up to cars.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Peter Dunn agrees aggressive panhandlers can pose a problem. He says he never runs up to cars. Photo Store

Gord Steeves expanded on his public safety platform Friday, vowing to round up panhandlers who approach vehicles stopped at intersections.

Steeves said those people are capable of working but would rather intimidate motorists to raise money for booze or drugs.

"Some people are not bothered by this at all (and) some people are really bothered by this behaviour," Steeves said. "I've had numerous people, particularly women, express to me that when.... a man knocks on their car window while they are waiting at a red light, they are at least somewhat fearful."

Steeves said if he is elected mayor, drivers need not be afraid any longer. He promises to amend bylaws to make it illegal to solicit vehicle occupants.

"We will use our bylaw officers to enforce and remove people engaged in this practice," Steeves said.

Squeegee kids and intersection panhandlers are among Steeves' pet peeves. He tried to stamp them out in 2010 when he was a city councillor, before he quit to run unsuccessfully for the provincial Tories.

Standing on the sidewalk at the intersection of Main Street and Stradbrook Avenue Friday afternoon, a location popular with squeegee kids and panhandlers, Steeves said there is no evidence intersection panhandlers are anything but "healthy, able-bodied men," but acknowledged he had no evidence to back up that claim.

Steeves said intersection panhandlers place themselves at risk by wandering in and out of traffic. Motorists, he said, should be free of this kind of intimidation.

Two weeks ago, Steeves released the first part of his public safety platform when he promised, if elected mayor, police would be empowered to round up homeless drunks downtown.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 30, 2014 A4

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