Mayoral pledges put reconciliation in spotlight
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/09/2022 (241 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
One day before Winnipeggers were to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, mayoral candidates revealed how they would support the path to a more unified city.
Surrounded by a few dozen supporters, including members of the Indigenous community, mayoral hopeful Shaun Loney shared a “reconciliation action plan” that aims to better support Indigenous women, boost the community’s economic prospects and remove barriers to employment.
As an initial step, Loney said, if elected Oct. 26, he would begin consultations on a violence prevention plan to answer calls for justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.Mayoral hopeful Shaun Loney shared a “reconciliation action plan” that aims to better support Indigenous women, boost the community’s economic prospects and remove barriers to employment.
“For a white, privileged man… the most important thing to me is to talk to Indigenous women about what they need in order to feel safe in the city. I think it’s going to mean continuing to modernize policing… There are systemic challenges in the police force,” said Loney.
His plan also calls to develop supports that help all men and boys “act respectfully to women” and suggests the City of Winnipeg offer start-up funds and expertise to help establish a ride-hailing social enterprise that provides safe rides for Indigenous females.
He says this would complement volunteer operations such as Ikwe Safe Rides that already offer such service.
“We just want to take things up a notch and say that’s an amazing business and as a city (we’re) going to help you make that successful,” he said.
If elected, Loney also promised to: “fast-track” partnerships to create more urban reserves; increase Indigenous place making and naming initiatives; ensure the Indigenous community is “at the table” to redevelop Portage Place mall; enhance efforts to employ more Indigenous people as city staff through specialized training; and modernize policing to address systemic racism and increase diversity in hiring.
Loney also proposes to establish an Indigenous art hotel in the downtown that houses local artists and accommodates tourists.
“I want Winnipeggers to know how exciting things can be if we lean into the Indigenous identity that we have in the city.”
The candidate said many of his previous promises, including a pledge to create 1,000 social enterprise jobs, are also part of the action plan, since Indigenous people are over-represented among those who experience homelessness.
While Loney didn’t provide a cost estimate for the pledges Thursday, he promised to release a fully costed platform “early next week,” and to share his list of campaign donors Sunday.
Elsewhere, mayoral contender Kevin Klein focused his Thursday campaign pledge on developing economic opportunities that support Indigenous people and improving consultation with members of that community.
Klein promised to hire an Indigenous economic development officer and create a new Indigenous council committee. He said the committee would include representatives of the Inuit, Red River Métis, Treaty 1 First Nations, Dakota Nations, and Cree Nations.Mayoral contender Kevin Klein focused his Thursday campaign pledge on developing economic opportunities that support Indigenous people and improving consultation with members of that community.
“It is my plan to make sure that Winnipeg is the leader in Indigenous economic development, the leader in Indigenous economic (development) zones and tangible reconciliation goals, with leaders, all of us, at the same table building our new shared future,” he said.
While he delivered his announcement alone at his campaign office, Klein said it followed consultation with Indigenous Winnipeggers.
He said the new committee would hold public meetings, while his door as mayor would also be “wide open” for private discussions related to the topic.
Meanwhile, mayoral hopeful Robert-Falcon Ouellette shared a personal statement on reconciliation Thursday morning, noting his father attended residential school.
“It had profound impacts because it led to issues of alcoholism, addictions… I know what it’s like to go to bed hungry at night because you don’t have enough to eat, and this happens far too often in our city,” he said.Mayoral hopeful Robert-Falcon Ouellette shared a personal statement on reconciliation Thursday morning, noting his father attended residential school.
Ouellette said the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation should focus on ways to make amends and improve relationships, such as by ensuring all governments support the goals of End Homelessness Winnipeg.
“Many of the people who are experiencing homelessness are Indigenous,” he said.
Ouellette said a First Nations leader could bring lived experience to the mayor’s office that may assist reconciliation efforts.
“Maybe it’s time to look for different leadership, someone who… has an understanding of what it’s like to be, not only Indigenous, but what it’s also like to understand and participate and succeed in the general society and to chart a path forward for us all together,” he said.
Advance voting for the Oct. 26 election will begin Monday.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.