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Kaufmann on Veolia

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I heard yesterday that former city councillor Peter Kaufmann was a little perturbed about the city’s top-secret sewage treatment deal with Veolia. Turns out he is.

In short, he thinks councillors are getting "shanghaied."

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"I have difficulty being told ‘trust us, and we’ll explain it to you later,’" said Kaufmann, who also ran for mayor twice. "We’re talking about the biggest expenditure I’ve seen in the city in my lifetime."

When Bill Norrie was mayor and council was nearly twice as big as it is now, every politician would gather in a meeting room at the convention centre for briefings from city staff on big issues.

That’s when councillors could ask tough questions and get all the facts, including confidential ones. He said there is no reason a similar process couldn’t be followed this time: get all the councillors in a room, show them the details and ensure they sign a confidentiality agreement and don’t leave with any documents.

If nothing else, then the public can be assured their elected representatives are making informed decisions.

"This is our city council. They are supposed to run the city," said Kaufmann.
 

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About Mary Agnes Welch

Mary Agnes Welch joined the Free Press in 2002, first as a general assignment reporter and then covering city hall and the Manitoba legislature before moving to her current post as public policy reporter.

Before Winnipeg, she worked at the Windsor Star and the Odessa American, a small daily newspaper in West Texas. There, in addition to covering more than 20 counties, she took high school football scores from coaches all over West Texas by phone every Friday night.

Mary Agnes is a graduate of Columbia University’s journalism school, has won several Western Ontario Newspaper Awards and has been part of two teams of reporters nominated for a Michener Award. In 2011, she was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the beat category. She is also the former national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

She once misspelled "Shih Tzu" in the paper and received 37 emails from angry dog-owners.

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