Civic Election 2014
Media and mayoralty: race matters4 minute read Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014
Last week, Winnipeggers elected Brian Bowman as their mayor. Bowman's official biography mentions his working-class background, his love of the Jets and the family dog, Indiana. Not mentioned is the fact Bowman is also Métis, something that was rarely referred to during the campaign, either by him or the media.
Nonetheless, in the coverage that followed his election, many outlets shifted gears, calling the win "historic" and noting Bowman is the city's first aboriginal mayor.
Contrast this to Robert-Falcon Ouellette, the mayoral race's third-place finisher.
Ouellette is Cree, something he mentions on his website. While referencing his ethnic identity, Ouellette touted unity in his platform, and his policy booklet was entitled Policies for Everyone. Nonetheless, his aboriginal status was frequently mentioned in his media coverage, and Ouellette referred to Winnipeg as a city divided by race.
Let’s remove the barriers to voting4 minute read Preview Monday, Oct. 27, 2014
Voter turnout in the latest civic election once again climbed following 2006's disastrous levels. In that sense, city administrators should be congratulated because the improvement in voter turnout can likely be seen as a result of the extension of advance polling. But overall, it is clear the way elections are conducted in this city, province, and country is antiquated, cumbersome and needs serious improvement.
In 2010, city administrators expanded advance polling locations and the number of days available to vote. The ease of being able to vote while shopping for shoes meant voter turnout increased to 47.1 per cent from 38.2 per cent in 2006. This year, even more people took advantage of the convenience with 30,619 votes placed from Sept. 29 to Oct. 17 -- a 20 per cent increase -- and our overall voting turnout was just over 50 per cent.
Despite the fact Winnipeg outshines other Prairie cities such as Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary and Edmonton in terms of voter turnout, more can and should be done to attract voters and make it more convenient.
First, any barriers preventing individuals from voting must be removed. The requirement of having an address and identification with that address can be difficult, particularly for persons living in poverty and those who move a lot.
Let’s fix the city’s social infrastructure4 minute read Preview Monday, Oct. 27, 2014
During this election, our physical-infrastructure deficit got substantial attention as it is a concern to many Winnipeggers. The social-infrastructure deficit is also important but got less attention. Now that a new mayor and council have been elected, it is important to stress the needs of both our physical and social infrastructure.
What city hall can do to help meet the needs of individuals, families and diverse communities, is as important as providing for our pavement, pipes and police. Funding social supports, cultural events, housing, recreational facilities and community development is important to the quality of city life, and therefore the economic life of the city.
By incorporating social equity (a fair sharing of resources) and inclusion in all planning and developments in the city, we can better meet our social needs and tap into our social capital -- the community assets and resources needed for effective community-building. Social equity and inclusion are both a means and an end for a safe, healthy and prosperous community.
During the election, some ideas were proposed to foster equity and inclusion.
Ouellette attracted unlikely voters to make inroads into downtown neighbourhoods4 minute read Preview Monday, Oct. 27, 2014
Bowman has chance to take city forward4 minute read Preview Friday, Oct. 24, 2014
In late 2009 and early 2010, there was a dream that became known as the Winnipeg Citizens Coalition.
This diverse group of political organizers and operatives formed around the idea that in any given election, a single progressive civic candidate, properly supported and well-organized, could not only take down some listless lifers on council, but also likely defeat incumbent Mayor Sam Katz.
The result, the coalition promised, would be a wholesale change in culture at city hall. A new spirit that would replace the expediency and cronyism of the Katz years with an urgent, forward-thinking age of civic enlightenment.
The WCC elected an executive, raised some money, released a poll and started looking for a mayoral candidate. The person they were looking for was not necessarily an established politician from centre-left parties such as the NDP or Liberals. A candidate who had little or no political baggage, a condition that would give them a credibility that would cross partisan lines.
Morantz aims to clean up city hall2 minute read Preview Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014
FOR newcomer Marty Morantz, the joy of winning the seat in Charleswood-Tuxedo was tempered by the tragic events that unfolded in the nation's capital Wednesday.
As volunteers and supporters cheered, Morantz thanked his supporters and volunteers, then expressed his condolences to the family of the Canadian soldier shot dead in Ottawa Wednesday.
"It's been a very exciting day and I'm thrilled with the outcome," said Morantz, 52.
"It's been a difficult and very serious day in our country," he said, reminding his audience about the sacrifices members of the military have made over time to protect Canada and its democracy.
Minister to preach at political pulpit4 minute read Preview Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014
HE is used to preaching to the masses and Scott Gillingham will now have the chance to speak to the entire city.
Gillingham, an ordained minister, was elected the new councillor in the open St. James-Brooklands ward Wednesday night and his supporters had no doubt what swayed the vote his way.
"It's his integrity," said Carole Tattersall, a Gillingham campaign volunteer. "He's just such an honest person who really wants to hear your concerns and do something about it. People could see that."
Only 45 minutes after the polls closed, Gillingham was declared the winner in the St. James-Brooklands ward and will be a first-time councillor in the open ward.
Voter turnout1 minute read Preview Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014
VOTER turnout this year was Winnipeg's highest since 2004, when Sam Katz won a wide-open byelection race for mayor.
On Wednesday, 235,454 of Winnipeg's 468,713 eligible voters voted in the 2014 general election, Senior Election Official Marc Lemoine said. That translates into a voter turnout of 50.2 per cent.
"We always want 100 per cent, but that's not realistic. We had over 50 per cent and long lines to vote at some locations, so I'm happy," Lemoine said.
This year's turnout edges the 47.1-per-cent turnout in 2010, when the incumbent Katz went head-to-head with Judy Wasylycia-Leis. It is not as high as the 58.8-per-cent mark achieved in 2004.
Progressive candidates win big in WSD3 minute read Preview Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014
The right-wing revolution didn't come to Winnipeg School Division's board Wednesday night.
With six incumbents not returning, and a new single-seat ward system in play, anything could have happened.
But voters returned a majority of trustees likely to carry on the progressive policies and programs of the province's largest division -- educating more than 18 per cent of Manitoba's public-school students.
Maverick Mike Babinsky will be back for a sixth term, along with left-leaning Mark Wasyliw and Cathy Collins.
Capital-region voters send law-and-order message2 minute read Preview Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014
Voters sent a strong law-and-order message in capital region municipalities on Winnipeg's northeast flank.
In St. Andrews, voters elected ex-cop George Pike. Incumbent Don Forfar did not stand for re-election.
Pike is the former superintendent of District 3 in Winnipeg's North End, and was then head of security at Canad Inn.
In East St. Paul, Shelley Hart, the former deputy chief with the Winnipeg Police Service, was leading Barry Schreyer by about 150 votes at press time. Incumbent Lawrence Morris was running third.