August 23, 2019

Winnipeg
14° C, Clear

Full Forecast

Early provincial election call would be 'a disservice to voters:' Bowman

Add the threat of an early provincial election to the list of things causing friction between the city and province.

At a breakfast speech to the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association Thursday morning, Mayor Brian Bowman did not mince words about what he thought about Premier Brian Pallister's hints that he may call an early election.

“The fact the we are even contemplating an election this year is a disservice to voters. They have another year in their mandate and I don’t think anyone would argue they have gotten the job done,” he said.

Pallister has dropped hints, most recently that he'd heard from "a lot of Manitobans" who said they don't want an election to get in the way of the celebration of Manitoba's 150th birthday next year.

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Add the threat of an early provincial election to the list of things causing friction between the city and province.

At a breakfast speech to the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association Thursday morning, Mayor Brian Bowman did not mince words about what he thought about Premier Brian Pallister's hints that he may call an early election.

"The fact the we are even contemplating an election this year is a disservice to voters. They have another year in their mandate and I don’t think anyone would argue they have gotten the job done," he said.

Pallister has dropped hints, most recently that he'd heard from "a lot of Manitobans" who said they don't want an election to get in the way of the celebration of Manitoba's 150th birthday next year.

Mayor Brian Bowman on the prospect of Pallister calling an early election: 'I think it's a little weak.'

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Mayor Brian Bowman on the prospect of Pallister calling an early election: 'I think it's a little weak.'

Bowman is not impressed.

"I think it's a little weak," he said. "I have not had anyone urge me to bend the provincial government's ears to say that that is the pressing matter. People are more focused in on the services they need from government. They received a strong mandate. I would urge them to focus on the work of government and not on the political opportunities of a political party."

Speaking in front of an audience of officials connected to the construction industry, Bowman said there are many areas the city and provincial governments need to collaborate on and effectively using any available funds to put towards the city's $6.9 billion infrastructure deficit is an important area.

The city is still looking for an explanation from the province as to why it is not dispersing $40 million the city expected this year as part of a multi-year agreement with the province to cover road work.

And while that caused lots of problems for the city's road-work budget for 2019 Bowman said he was "incredibly happy" when the federal government's budget doubled the carbon tax payouts to municipalities which means about $44 million for the city.

Mayor Brian Bowman

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Mayor Brian Bowman

There are not many strings attached to that money but Bowman said he favours that it be spent on roads and said that he believes most of the council members do as well, "But not all them."

"Roads are primarily what that money should be used for," he said. "We have other priorities and council will have different views. We will discuss and debate how the money should be used."

Chris Lorenc, president of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, has an obvious preference as to how that federal carbon tax windfall should be used.

"Council ultimately has the right to make the allocation," Lorenc said. "Our view is that the bulk ought go to roads to fill the $40-million gap that has been left the city by the provincial government's decision to renege on a payment it owes Winnipeg."

He said there is no doubting the fact that residential streets are in a bad state of repair.

Chris Lorenc, president of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Chris Lorenc, president of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association

"So it's not like we're making work." Lorenc said. "It is filling a need that taxpayers have identified as a priority so we think that should be its priority."

The federal government has not yet passed its budget and funds may not be dispersed to the city until June, but Bowman said it is important that council gets its plan in place.

"Time is of the essence for sure," he said. "I would like to have council move as quickly as possible so that when the federal government budget is passed we are ready to go."

The city's executive policy committee meets on April 9th and if a motion is supported it would go to full council on April 23rd.

"That would be more than sufficient time for the public service to ready the tenders, advertise the bid opportunities and for the industry to do the work," Lorenc said.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Martin Cash

Martin Cash
Reporter

Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.

Read full biography

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.