Police budget, bike thefts, government co-operation: mayoral roundup


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Mayoral candidate Kevin Klein wants the City of Winnipeg to stop clawing back cash from the police and redirect such money toward officers on the street.

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Mayoral candidate Kevin Klein wants the City of Winnipeg to stop clawing back cash from the police and redirect such money toward officers on the street.

The outgoing Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood ward councillor claimed the city could reallocate more than $20 million in the existing police budget to street-level law enforcement, if the city stopped charging the Winnipeg Police Service rent for its downtown headquarters and leasing fees for its fleet of vehicles, among other expenses.

“We need to make sure when someone calls 911 that we have the resources to respond, that they don’t have to wait or be afraid that nobody’s coming,” Klein said at a campaign event Wednesday, flanked by St. James council candidate and WPS Const. Tim Diack and Const. Rob Carver, a former police service spokesman.

Lighten cops’ loads: Klein

Klein also said, if elected Oct. 26, he’d like to see cadets take down citizens’ reports of crimes instead of sworn officers, and direct the Winnipeg Police Board to work with the WPS to possibly add more civilian support staff to lighten officers’ workloads and get them working on the street.

He amended a past promise to work with the province to have sheriff’s officers watch over accused people waiting for medical treatment to include the possibility of using cadets for the same purpose.

Klein also promised to further support the pilot Alternative Response to Citizens in Crisis program, which has a plain clothes officer and a specialized mental health clinician responding to 911 calls involving people experiencing mental health crisis.

Further, the mayoral candidate said, he’d like to co-ordinate officers to be closer to the areas they patrol to reduce fuel costs, as well as travel time.

“I would like to see more funding and resources put toward dealing with crime on the street,” Klein said, adding he would work with a hand-selected police board to achieve those goals.

Bokhari to crack down on bike theft

Elsewhere on the municipal campaign trail, mayoral candidate Rana Bokhari said she wants to crack down on bicycle theft.

“I don’t know a single Winnipegger who hasn’t experienced a bike theft at some point in their lifetimes, myself included,” Bokhari said in a statement Wednesday.

“Thousands and thousands go missing every year, and only a small percentage are ever recovered, never mind returned to their owners.”

She pledged to make bicycle registration free, and mandate it for all new bikes bought in the city.

Bokhari also promised to partner with a free bicycle theft tracking app, 529 Garage, to connect bike registration numbers to police across Canada.

According to Bokhari, the app gives police services the ability to search more than 2.4 million registered bikes.

She said five bikes are reported stolen daily, but few people even report such thefts, as the chances of cops finding bikes are small.

Bokhari also said she’d explore more long-term bike storage options on city property.

New relationship for province, city: Gillingham

Meantime, mayoral candidate Scott Gillingham said he’d rethink the relationship between the city and the provincial government, aiming for collaborative and co-operative dealings, rather than combative ones.

The outgoing St. James councillor (2014-22) said his “real deal for growth” would find common ground on city and provincial issues.

Among those intergovernmental ideas would be:

  • phasing out or merging the city’s anomalous business tax;
  • inking a long-term deal to link provincial operating grants to PST revenue or GDP growth;
  • permitting and development approvals;
  • redundancies in services;
  • a direct economic deal; and
  • common performance indicators on services the city provides based on provincial mandates.

Gillingham also pledged to get both governments to agree to monthly meetings between key officials.

Motkaluk touts animated ad

In a release Wednesday, mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk highlighted an animated campaign platform commercial she posted on YouTube, which has racked up more than 100,000 views since Oct. 6.

“Running a political campaign at the municipal level has become a challenge because of the way social habits have changed,” Motkaluk said in a statement.

“In a crowded field (there are 11 names on the mayoral ballot), we wanted to make sure my message found a way to voters.”

The municipal election is Oct. 26.


Twitter: @erik_pindera

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.

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