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Rollins to stay on EPC amid federal candidate bid: mayor

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Mayor Scott Gillingham expects he’ll be able to keep a Winnipeg city councillor eyeing a federal government seat within his inner circle, for now.

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Mayor Scott Gillingham expects he’ll be able to keep a Winnipeg city councillor eyeing a federal government seat within his inner circle, for now.

Gillingham doesn’t plan to shuffle his executive policy committee to replace Coun. Sherri Rollins, chairwoman of property and development committee, as she seeks the nomination to become the Liberal candidate for the Winnipeg South Centre byelection.

“I wouldn’t be removing her from EPC. The rules are such that, for a federal nomination, a councillor does not have to step down… What’s important for me is to make sure that all the EPC members, including Coun. Rollins, are able to fulfill their workload… At this point, I believe Coun. Rollins can continue to do her work as chair of the committee,” the mayor said Wednesday.

City councillor Sherri Rollins announced Tuesday that she is seeking the federal Liberal nomination in the Winnipeg South Centre byelection (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

In a followup statement, Gillingham noted further conversations may be had on the matter should Rollins win the nomination.

When asked for his thoughts on the Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry councillor’s decision to explore a federal opportunity, just a few months after Winnipeg’s Oct. 26 election, Gillingham noted the seat became unexpectedly open.

Veteran Liberal MP Jim Carr, 71, died of cancer in December.

“I think the timing of this nomination process, of course, nobody could have predicted. I chose Coun. Rollins as an EPC member because of what she brings to the table, her ability to lead her files,” said Gillingham.

He is confident Rollins will inform him if the campaign conflicts with her work at city hall, the mayor said.

On Wednesday, Rollins said if she wins the Liberal nomination, she plans to keep her current council position until after the byelection.

“You can continue working a job while you are seeking nomination and even while you are running. My intent is to continue working… If I receive a new job, through the byelection, then I’ll leave,” she said.

Rollins was first elected to council in 2018.

The City of Winnipeg Charter does not require a councillor to resign from EPC or give up their council seat to seek a federal nomination. Felicia Wiltshire, the city’s communications director, said a council member who wins a federal seat is disqualified from remaining on council at that point.

“The member of council would automatically lose their seat on council when they are sworn in as (a member of Parliament), but they are not required to give it up prior to that point to participate in a federal election/byelection,” Wiltshire wrote in an emailed statement.

Had Rollins opted to run for a seat in the Manitoba legislature, election rules would require her to quit her council position before filing nomination papers, Elections Manitoba confirmed Wednesday. That process would take place after a political party’s nomination process concluded.

Mayor Scott Gillingham doesn’t plan to shuffle his executive policy committee to replace Rollins, chairwoman of property and development committee, as she seeks to run for the federal Liberals. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Rollins said she was not seeking out new political opportunities after her recent re-election in Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry, but considered doing so after others encouraged her to enter the federal spotlight.

“I appreciate that there is a cynical story here in the trope of someone always eyeing the next seat, (but) that isn’t the case. Each and every time (I run for political office), it’s been about defining the job and making sure that I can deliver on it,” she said.

If she wins a federal seat, the councillor said she would build on her current efforts to secure affordable housing and addiction services for Winnipeg.

“The opportunity to advance some of the files that I do work on is the impetus for this.”

The date for the Liberal nomination meeting for Winnipeg South Centre has not yet been set. The byelection is expected to take place this summer.

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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