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Wasylycia-Leis vows help for youth; Bowman, Ouellette want more PST cash

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In the space of three frenetic hours on Thursday, four out of eight Winnipeg mayoral candidates tried to woo the attention of Winnipeg voters. Here's what happened on the busiest, though certainly not most momentous, day of the 2014 mayoral race:

Wasylycia-Leis looks north

Judy Wasylycia-Leis promised Thursday to extend the hours of a North End community centre to ensure youth programming is available around the clock.

The former NDP MP and MLA pledged to use existing city recreation funds to keep at least one North End community centre open 24/7, based on what she said were recommendations from Aboriginal Youth Opportunities Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking at city hall, Wasylycia-Leis said she would like to see even more community centres open longer hours, but would commit to extending the hours of one, if elected mayor on Oct. 22.

"It will cost some money. It will cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of tens of thousands of dollars to pay for staff to be there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We will find that from within," she said, adding the move will save the city money because access to recreation can divert teens away from crime.

Her announcement came as part of a youth-engagement platform that also included a pledge to create a $250,000 "community enterprise fund" that would offer $10,000 loans to finance pop-up restaurants, small businesses or new arts events.

Wasylycia-Leis also pledged to create a new city office to promote sustainable activities such as car shares.

Bowman, Ouellette want PST cash

Two Winnipeg mayoral candidates stood outside the legislature Thursday and pledged to wrest more provincial funding to help the city pay for infrastructure.

In separate announcements, lawyer Brian Bowman and University of Manitoba administrator Robert-Falcon Ouellette said if they're elected, they'd lobby for a greater share of the revenue raised from the province's one-percentage-point provincial-sale-tax hike instituted in 2013.

Every Winnipeg mayor since Steve Juba has lobbied for more provincial funding. Bowman said he would be successful because he would work collaboratively with Premier Greg Selinger.

Ouellette said he would stress the issue in advance of the next provincial election. Mayor Sam Katz employed a similar strategy.

City salaries on block?

Also on Thursday, Ouellette unveiled a fiscal-policy platform that included a cut for what he described as "upper management" salaries at city hall. He said he would cut the salaries of any public servant who makes more than $80,000 a year.

Senior managers at city hall actually tend to make more than $100,000.

Ouellette also pledged to institute a recruitment freeze at the city, cut spending on both consultants and advertising, consider more ways to use police cadets and civilians instead of police officers and conduct a city-wide performance review.

Sanders registers campaign

Activist David Sanders formally entered Winnipeg's mayoral race on Thursday with pledges to hire a qualified chief administrative officer and sever ties between city hall and developers.

The 67-year-old former provincial bureaucrat and management consultant, a frequent intervenor at city hall, became the eighth person to register a mayoral run. He said if elected, he'd overhaul the senior ranks of Winnipeg's public service, starting with a new person to lead the city's 8,000-person workforce.

Sanders dismissed the idea he could raise issues more effectively as an activist, rather than a politician. He said he believes he can win the mayoral race, even though he has no campaign manager or volunteer corps as of yet.

Sanders said he decided to run in July when he became convinced other candidates would not do what it takes to reform city hall.

What effect on city hall would Ouellette's pledge to cut salaries have?
Join the conversation below.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 8, 2014 B1

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