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Who Said EPC fosters division on council & mistrust among the public

Winnipeg City Councillor Kevin Klein

I made several commitments to the residents I serve when I asked for their vote. Some of those commitments were to communicate more often and ask tough questions of the City. I stated I would hold powerful people accountable and put in a full day's work to represent my community and City.

I recently resigned as Chair of the Winnipeg Police Board because, during my tenure, I've found that the legislative boundaries are seldom adhered to by the Civic Administration and the leadership, making it difficult for the Board to lead the Service effectively. When some are skirting the rules at that level, nothing positive will happen, and I remembered my commitment, hold people accountable.

I also served as a member of the Mayors Indigenous Circle. Being a recognized Metis person, I was proud to serve on the committee. Then one day, I was removed from that committee and replaced by Councillor Orlikow.

How did I found out? When the Mayor asked for Council support for changes he made to committees during a City Council meeting. Mayor Bowman never called, he didn't send an email or letter. I was the only elected official on his committee officially recognized with Metis heritage.

I confess that during the election campaign, I publicly supported Brian Bowman for a second term, and I was the only candidate who did. I thought he made some mistakes, but we all do. I felt looking in from the outside that he seemed sincere in his commitment to work with all councilors. In less than a year, I learn I was wrong.

There is division, a lack of trust, conspiring behind closed doors, and public confidence in this Government is eroding daily.

What happened?

Step back in time when then-candidate Brian Bowman said he would not follow the EPC model. He would be different. In fairness, he is, the Mayor increased his majority government, which remains a violation of the Winnipeg Act and Charter, by three more.

Fast forward to the present.

Winnipeg City Hall has a handpicked majority Government. The Mayor's soldiers are paid more in salary and/or enjoy increased expense accounts. Full transparency, when I was Chair of the Winnipeg Police Board, I did not take an extra salary, but I did have $4000 in additional expenses. I utilized the expense funds for police board governance training, out of province meetings ( two a year), business cards, and support staffing needs as necessary per year.

Last week Mayor Bowman changed the playing field by increasing his majority control over City Council. The Mayor increased his EPC + 2 by 1. The two Deputy Mayor's remain on the team. He has now added a third to his inner circle, former Deputy Councilor Chambers as the new WPB Chair. The new EPC + 3 majority Government ensures a win for each of the Mayor's agenda items that he will direct one of his members to champion.

The committee chairs of each standing policy committee will be as follows:

  •  Councillor Matt Allard (St. Boniface): Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works

  •  Councillor Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan): Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Innovation and Economic Development

  •  Councillor Scott Gillingham (St. James): Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Finance

  •  Councillor Cindy Gilroy (Daniel McIntyre): Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage, and Downtown Development

  •  Councillor Brian Mayes (St. Vital): Chair of the Standing Committee on Water and Waste, Riverbank Management and the Environment

  •  Councillor Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge - East Fort Garry): Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks

The new Deputy Mayor is a longtime EPC member for this Mayor, Councillor John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry), and continuing in the role of Acting Deputy Mayor is Councillor Vivian Santos (Point Douglas).

At one time Councillor Orlikow was very vocal against the EPC model, Winnipeg Sun Story - Click Here.

The new Chair of the Winnipeg Police Board will be Councillor Markus Chambers (St. Norbert - Seine River).

Mayor Bowman said the appointment would need to be approved by Council, but that's not entirely true. The Mayor's handpicked majority Government already knows the outcome.

I remain committed to working with my colleagues; "Coming together is beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success" - Henry Ford said that and I remain open to collaborating.

I also remain committed to asking tough questions, holding decision-makers accountable, and defending the interests of the residents I serve in Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood.

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