New Mayor Scott Gillingham, council officially sworn in

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Winnipeg’s next city council is now officially in place, while the executive policy committee will soon be named.

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Winnipeg’s next city council is now officially in place, while the executive policy committee will soon be named.

Mayor Scott Gillingham was sworn into his new role, along with 15 city councillors, during an inaugural meeting of council on Tuesday evening. During a brief speech, he urged the entire group to make improving Winnipeg a shared priority.

“Let us unite to build a stronger Winnipeg together. Winnipeg is a great city and, like all great cities, we face great challenges. We need to house our homeless, we need to do more to keep people safe all across the city… we need to protect, modernize and expand our city’s infrastructure. We need to grow our city’s economy so that we can afford the future that we want,” said Gillingham.

New Mayor Scott Gillingham looks to his family as he and the rest of Winnipeg city council are sworn in at city hall on Tuesday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

The new mayor was elected with 27.5 per cent of the vote on Oct. 26, narrowly beating runner-up Glen Murray, who claimed 25.3 per cent. During his speech, Gillingham acknowledged the narrow margin of victory.

“As a former mayor himself, Glen Murray came very close to defeating me in a tight race and I want to pay respect to him and his supporters… As Glen put it last Wednesday night, ‘There is only one Team Winnipeg’ and he’s right,” said Gillingham.

During a scrum after the meeting, the new head of council told reporters he will name his executive policy committee on Wednesday, a group widely referred to as the “mayor’s inner circle.”

A two-term St. James councillor prior to his mayoral bid, Gillingham will work with many familiar colleagues on council, since 10 incumbent councillors beat their competition last week and two others were acclaimed.

In addition, two more councillors rejoined city council after holding seats prior to the 2018 election: Russ Wyatt, who was elected in the Transcona riding he held from 2002 to 2018, and Shawn Dobson, who was elected in St. James after previously representing the former St. Charles ward from 2014 to 2018.

The sole first-time city council member is Evan Duncan, who was elected to represent Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood. That race was left open when incumbent councillor Kevin Klein launched an unsuccessful mayoral bid.

Mayor Scott Gillingham swears in the only new face in the city council chambers, Evan Duncan, who will represent the Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood riding. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Gillingham noted the experience of the new council as a strength during Tuesday’s meeting and joked about its only rookie.

“Today, we have a great advantage. Everyone on this new council is a veteran of this place, with the single exception of Coun. Duncan, who gets to use that as a free pass for two, maybe three weeks,” he said.

Duncan, who previously worked for Manitoba Justice, said he’s excited to bring a new perspective to the council table.

“It could be an advantage, coming with some fresh ideas and not having any past… with the council here. I’m really looking forward to just getting to know people and seeing how best I can help but, first and foremost, serving the Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood ward,” he said.

Council members also re-elected Coun. Devi Sharma as speaker and Coun. Ross Eadie as deputy speaker, both of whom served in those roles prior to the election.

In-person attendance at the event was by invitation only, though the proceedings were streamed online for public viewing.

Mayor Scott Gillingham welcomes Russ Wyatt back to council. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

All council members took a standard anti-corruption oath, promising not to receive “any payment or reward or the promise of payment or reward” as they carry out their duties over the coming council term.

joyanne.pursaga@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga
Reporter

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.

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Updated on Wednesday, November 2, 2022 8:21 AM CDT: Adds related posts

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