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Tuesday campaign wrap

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Helping the mentally ill

PAULA Havixbeck wants to help individuals with mental illness and reform governance at city hall.

The mayoral candidate expanded on her community-support platform at a news conference Tuesday and took a swipe at opponent Gord Steeves at the same time.

Havixbeck outlined a series of supports she says city hall must provide to help individuals living with mental illness, including transit subsidies and offering space in the city's community and leisure centres for workshops and courses for individuals with mental-health issues and their families who are supporting them.

"Having police remove them from downtown is not the answer," Havixbeck said. "We need to do more and we can."

Havixbeck's platform was welcomed by the executive director of the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba, who said the councillor is the first mayoral candidate to recognize the problem faced by a large number of Winnipeggers.

Tara Brousseau Snider said she was alarmed when Steeves said he would direct police and police cadets to remove panhandlers and homeless people from the downtown.

Brousseau Snider said one in four Winnipeggers suffers from some form of mental illness, adding forcibly removing individuals from the streets is not the solution.

Havixbeck held her news conference in front of the association's Fort Street offices, a similar setting to an event last week near Winnipeg Harvest's facilities where she endorsed a food-distribution initiative to help reduce hunger in the city.

Brousseau Snider said Mood Disorders is not endorsing Havixbeck or any other candidate but it welcomes and encourages candidates to consider positive measures to help individuals living with mental illness.

 

Elect EPC, cut their pay

BRIAN Bowman wants the mayor's cabinet to be elected by council and take a pay cut.

As part of his plan for a more cohesive, "high-performance" council, Bowman pledged Tuesday to allow councillors to choose his six-person executive policy committee if elected mayor. But, those coveted posts won't be as lucrative. A top-up to their regular council salaries means members of EPC make about $115,000 a year. Bowman pledged to cut the top-up in half, worth about $10,000, and also cut the mayor's salary by the same $10,000.

Bowman would not ask the province to change Winnipeg's charter, which says the mayor must appoint EPC members. Instead, Bowman pledged to make his appointments based on a council vote, saying he will work with the city council Winnipeggers elect.

He said EPC has traditionally been a "breeding ground for patronage and comfortable top-ups" that fosters divisions on council and mistrust among the public. Asked whether cutting EPC salaries will further erode the quality of candidates who run for office, Bowman said he believe most people join council because of a belief in public service, not for the money. And he said most Winnipeggers believe councillors make a reasonable wage.

Bowman also pledged Tuesday to recreate the EPC secretariat, the office of policy experts who advise council and manage issues.

Bowman's plan is a step further than similar reforms proposed by Mayor Sam Katz and passed earlier this summer. Council agreed to elect half of EPC and allow the mayor to appoint the remaining three members. Most members of EPC also chair a standing committee of council, which allows them some agenda-setting power.

At the time, Coun. Paula Havixbeck also proposed a wider-reaching set of reforms. She favours shrinking the current five committees to four and creating a system of rotating chairmanships so every councillor has a chance to chair each committee. She also proposed distributing the EPC salary top-ups among all councillors and holding full council meetings four times a month.

 

Chipman backs Bowman

IT may have been the worst-kept secret of the 2014 mayoral campaign: Mark Chipman is in Brian Bowman's corner.

The executive chairman of True North Sports and Entertainment made his support for Bowman official Tuesday, with a formal announcement on Bowman's website.

"Brian Bowman is the breath of fresh air our city needs right now," Chipman said in a statement. "I am proud to offer my support for his candidacy as Winnipeg's next mayor."

Chipman's endorsement was all but certain at the end of June, when he co-hosted a closed-door fundraising reception event at the MTS Centre.

 

Sharma seeks re-election

DEVI Sharma is seeking re-election as a Winnipeg city councillor.

The first-term councillor registered her campaign Tuesday morning, seeking to hold onto her Old Kildonan ward.

Running against Sharma are Suzanne Hrynyk and Donovan Martin.

Sharma is the last city councillor to indicate their electoral plans. Couns. Justin Swandel, Scott Fielding and Dan Vandal are not running for re-election. Paula Havixbeck is running for mayor.

Last fall, Sharma became the first woman on Winnipeg council to be elected as Speaker.

 

-- Mary Agnes Welch and Aldo Santin

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 27, 2014 A5

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