December 9, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Winnipeg has a new mayor. His name is Greg Selinger, who has picked up where former mayor Gary Doer left off.
Mayor Selinger, who doubles as the premier of Manitoba, announced $7.5 million in grants for recreation facilities, playgrounds and community centres in Winnipeg.
This used to be the job of city council, which was elected to decide which streets, roads and community clubs get fixed, but it's been taken over by the province.
Mayor Selinger said non-profit organizations and even city-owned facilities can apply to him for some of the grant money, but the credit, of course, goes to the province.
Former mayor Doer discovered the benefits of micro-promises and micro-announcements in past elections, when he travelled across the province making similar commitments -- a playground for this community, a rec centre in another.
The problem in the past, when urban councillors made such announcements, was they got all the credit, and there was no way to gerrymander the grants to political advantage.
That's why the NDP promised during the 2007 race to expand the Southdale community centre, which just happened to be in the riding of NDP MLA Erin Selby.
The province should halt this abuse, and return to the practice of awarding global grants to the city, which is the proper agency for managing local needs.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 16, 2013 A12