One Month to Go: Ranking the Candidates

electionThe vote for a new Mayor for Winnipeg is in one month. Like many people in Winnipeg I have not made a final decision on who to vote for. None of the candidates have convinced me that they can lead our beautiful city into a better future for all citizens. There are a few candidates however that under no circumstances will garner my support. Everyone has to make their own decisions on who to vote for. In a democracy it is important we vote. It is also important that we have our voices heard not only on election day but during the mandate of the next Mayor and Council. We have just experienced what happens when most of us quit paying attention. For as much as we want to lay all the blame on the politicians, some of it is attributed to an electorate that has become a little complacent, myself included.

Of the seven remaining candidates for Mayor I have totally removed four from the list.

Gord Steeves: I have tried hard to understand his policy statements and how they would move Winnipeg forward but of all the candidates I am most fearful of the future of Winnipeg if he is elected. Here is why:

  • Proposal to sell off Green Space: Public Golf Courses and Parks are some of Winnipeg’s most valuable assets. Research clearly states the importance of parks and green space for a healthy city
  • His stand on Rapid Transit and or Light Rail: I understand the cost implications but it is clear that we need to enhance our alternate public transportation options. This stand shows clearly a person who lacks the vision to move our city forward.
  • Urban Sprawl: There seems to be no real plan to stop sprawl from bankrupting our city. No vision to develop livable walking communities.
  • A Politician: It seems he looks for what to say to get a vote rather than have a clear plan and vision of what needs to happen. His flip-flop on issues don’t seem to be the result of new learnings but rather on what he sees as public opinion.
  • Lastly he doesn’t seem to have a plan for fixing City Hall. Doesn’t seem to be aware of what recommendations from the Audit need to be implemented. He wants to remove more red tape when the audits clearly indicate that was a big part of the problem.

Judy Wasylycia-Leis: To be fair she didn’t have a chance to get my vote. If you have read any of my previous posts it is politics that is getting in the way of addressing the problems and coming up with the solutions needed to move our city forward. Do you ever just get this feeling she wants to be Mayor? I wish I could get the sense she wanted to make Winnipeg a better place. She just sounds too much like a politician for my liking.

  • Politician: It is the last thing Winnipeg needs another politician. We need someone to step outside of politics and find a way to bring Winnipeg together. We don’t need right-wing or left-wing solutions. We need solutions that work based on research, not ideology.
  • Vision – Doesn’t have a clear articulated vision to move Winnipeg forward in regards to city planning, addressing the issues in the audit, as well as the serious public transportation issues plagueing our city.
  • Will keep Winnipeg divided: She is viewed as favouring the perceived left. She hasn’t been able to articulate her ideas in a way that will get us all working together.
  • On the plus side she recognizes given the City’s financial situation a tax freeze is out of the question.
  • Don’t see her being able to address the tax fairness issues that need to be resolved provincially and federally in order to get the infrastructure money needed to really impact Winnipeg.
  • She is a politician – we need a leader.

Paula Havixbeck: She has really tried to distance herself from our current Mayor and for good reason. The trouble is except since the audits she was part of the problem being a member as stated on her website: Paula currently holds several posts in the Mayor’s cabinet

  • City Hall: Without a doubt City Hall has been dysfunctional. She was not just a councillor she was in the Mayor’s cabinet.
  • The audits: Mistakes in process and huge cost overruns are without a doubt the legacy of our current Mayor and Council. Although blame can’t be put to her alone she was there and part of what happened.
  • Don’t see a vision for the city or a strong desire to implement the recommendations of the audits.

Michel Fillion: Well he is not a politician so that is a plus.

  • Have not heard one big picture or a new or visionary idea


Who is left:

Brian Bowman: Well he is on the bubble. It is hard to put my finger on it as he has said a few things that I could support but what he says seem to be words. His words just don’t seem to come from the heart. It’s like he is saying what he is told to say, not what he believes. I could be wrong, but it is just the feeling that comes over me when I listen to him talk. If you are not passionate about your direction, then you are susceptible to the politics of government.

  • Shows vision in the area of public transportation-like it or not we need to do something different.
  • Promotes development in the downtown – the negative is we need development of walkable communities in all our neighbourhoods
  • Have not heard the passion I need to hear on cleaning-up city hall, implementing the recommendations of the audit
  • Opening up Portage and Main – that is bar talk at closing time. We have at least six months of winter more lately and when it is -30 no one wants to walk across the windiest intersection. Cities like Minneapolis have made glass walkways above the streets. Besides when people go to the Jets game in the winter they are walking indoors and underground, not outside in the cold. It would be a traffic nightmare. A cross walk at the busiest intersection. Come on really….

Robert-Falcon Ouellette: Robert shows the most potential. His inexperience is showing. On instincts alone he has the most potential.

  • Needs a clearer vision for the future
  • Needs to surround himself with some strong non-political people
  • He is not a politician this is a plus
  • He wants to make a difference, but needs to adopt a more comprehensive plan
  • This is just based on a feeling but I think he wants to make a difference and could

David Sanders: He stood up to City Hall while the rest of us were still asleep. That is a big plus because even when he didn’t have to, he was working to make our city a better place. That scores big points.

  • He is the best person to restructure city hall so we can get back to running Winnipeg in an effective manner. Perhaps that is what we need right now. It is a mess and it must get cleaned up.
  • He is an Urban Planner and also understands taxation, both areas that need to be addressed. If we don’t develop a plan for our city, our communities in regards to infrastructure, sustainability, transportation and development in four years, as hard as it is to believe, Winnipeg will find itself with a larger infrastruture deficit than we do now.
  • We need to change our current tax systems. We need to start the conversation with tax payers as well as the other two levels of government.
  • My concern: He just seems to have a hard time bringing everyone together. Could be the candidate with the best qualifications and knowledge for what we need but can he bring us all on board to work together for the common good.

Without a doubt lots could change in the next month. There will be people who totally disagree with me and my thoughts and that is okay. In the end, this election is important and we must have the discussions. We must start the conversations about the big issues, the complex changes and decisions that need to be made. Change will require a committment from everyone in Winnipeg. We must open up our democracy to people again. That part is up to all of us. So someone will get my vote, that is the only thing I am 100% sure of. All of us must vote and not only vote, but vote with a vision to make our city a better place.

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About jameswhoddinott

My novel 'When Eagles Dare to Fly' represents my belief that good will always triumph over evil and by developing who we are on the inside we will find our way. My newest novel 'The Fates' was released earlier this year that examines a society that discovers immortality. I have a blog called an 'Author, blogger and his musings' which talks about my writing, political issues as well as other areas of interest like education, art and photography,
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7 Responses to One Month to Go: Ranking the Candidates

  1. Liv says:

    I like how you rounded this up. I’ve taken the position that I had to filter out everything candidates were saying, and focus on their single biggest platform issue. For now , Sanders has my vote. As you said, he was fighting for us (more for Winnipeg – if that makes sense ). He has the gravitas and experience to communicate and navigate with senior levels of all governments. More important – his biggest platform, clean out the mess that City Hall and the administration has allowed to become. – and that is my single biggest issue.

    I am prepared to give him 4 years to right the ship before we make more costly mistakes.


    • Sanders and Oullette seem to be the two that are most independent and give Winnipeg the best chance to take politics out of our Municipal Government. They also both seem to be able to look at issues head on and have some thinking that allows us to look at other options rather than the traditional ones which is good. Hope they both get the press they deserve. Hope the people of Winnipeg are willing to give change a chance


  2. Liv says:

    Agree on RFO – He’s shaking it up. I think one 4 year term on Council would help him on his quest for a mayoralty. He would work well ( he is a soldier ) under a senior person like Sanders . He would learn and make good connections. He would also provide strength to a Mayor who is out to change things.

    Four years passes quickly. But it would be better for him to be on Council rather than out of it. He should realize this and make a move if he can.


  3. Marcia Collins says:

    For the most part, I agree with your perspective . Sanders will get my vote because he is the only candidate that I’m aware of that directly addressed the human crisis this city is in. It was more than lip service; it seemed to come from the heart. He acknowledged that Winnipeg has a responsibility to bring swift action to protect vulnerable aboriginal girls and women that visit and live in this city. Quite frankly, given the number of deaths and incidents of violence against women in Winnipeg, I am surprised that this is not one of the top political issues that candidates are speaking about. We need a mayor who will make the time to read and respond to the studies that have been done on this issue. Our new Mayor will need to spearhead the search for solutions, implement recommendations, and bring together all level of government including aboriginal leaders, our police chief and the community at large to share this responsibility for action. Both an immediate and long term action plan is needed. This is not a glamorous issue .Do any of the other candidates dare to go beyond superficiality? I hope so.


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