Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Outsider hopes to woo voters from all parties

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A lawyer stressed his outsider status Tuesday as he announced he wants to be the next mayor of Winnipeg.

Brian Bowman made his campaign official, with the pledge he is the best candidate to break with the past at city hall.

"Today is about moving forward and giving Winnipeggers an option to embrace new-generation leadership for a stronger Winnipeg," said Bowman, accompanied by his wife Tracy and their two young sons during a news conference in the city hall courtyard.

Bowman, a lawyer specializing in privacy issues and intellectual property, characterized himself as an outsider who is not tainted with any of the scandals that have plagued city hall in recent years.

'What I offer Winnipeggers is... the ability to move forward'

-- mayoral hopeful Brian Bowman

"What Winnipeggers are looking for is something new, they're looking to move forward. What I offer Winnipeggers is... the ability to move forward.

"A lot of the other candidates, whether (Sam Katz) is in or out, and many of the others do represent the same old. We do represent something different."

Bowman is considered the second mainstream candidate to formally declare for the mayor's race. Last week, lawyer and former St. Vital councillor Gord Steeves registered his campaign.

Also in the race is funeral home owner Mike Vogiatzakis, who is not a Winnipeg resident, and controversial blogger Gordon Warren, who is dogged by accusations he is an anti-Semite.

Bowman said while he is fiscally conservative, he is not linked to any political party and will appeal to voters of all political stripes -- a reference to former NDP MP and MLA Judy Wasylycia-Leis, who is expected to also run for mayor.

While Bowman has a low profile in Winnipeg, he has strong links to the community's elite and powerful: He was former chairman of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and on the board of the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Bowman dismissed the findings of two public opinion polls that found he has little popular support.

"As someone new to the political process, I know I have to work really hard to build and earn the support of Winnipeggers."

Bowman said he'll release a full policy platform at a later date but said he supports rapid transit and the completion of the second phase of the dedicated bus corridor, and bringing openness and transparency to city hall operations.

Bowman said he supports modest tax increases.

"It's dangerous to say we're going to absolutely freeze (property taxes) or jack them up," Bowman said. "What we need to look at is a plan that is well-costed."

Bowman said he's disappointed city hall has opted to postpone the hiring of a new chief administrative officer until after the Oct. 22 election, adding that will be one of the most important decisions of the new mayor.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 7, 2014 B1

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