Cutting police costs, tracking police thefts among Winnipeg mayoral candidate promises

Winnipeg mayoral candidates continued making promises Wednesday with two weeks to go until election day.

Kevin Klein announced proposals which he says would make Winnipeg police more efficient, such as having the service manage its own properties and lease its own vehicles, rather than renting them from the city.

“We will end this practice of shell-game accounting, as I call it,” Klein said at a news conference at his Stafford Street headquarters.

Currently, the police pay the city’s municipal accommodations department for renting buildings, and the fleet management agency for vehicles.

“I will ensure that every nickel that is given to public safety goes to properly resourcing our streets to ensure that we have boots in the right area of our city, to make sure that we are responding to your 911 calls when necessary.”

Klein also wants to have police cadets writing some reports.

“When people come into a police service, we have officers sitting there and I’m saying, can we reallocate cadets to that?” Klein said.

He repeated his proposal to have cadets or sheriffs waiting with people held in custody while they are in emergency departments. He also proposed placing some police officers closer to the communities they patrol to reduce fuel costs and travel time, and speed up response times.

Track bike thefts: Bokhari

Rana Bokhari released a number of proposals to curb bike theft in Winnipeg.

She wants the city to partner with a bike theft tracking app, 529 Garage, which connects bike registrations with police across the country.

“If bikes are being stolen in Winnipeg and moving across the province, we need to know that,” she said in a phone interview.

“This isn’t going to stop bike theft, but it’s going to allow us to know whose bikes are being stolen, where they’re being taken.”

A woman is standing looking into the camera.
Rana Bokhari wants the city to partner with a bike theft tracking app. (Cameron MacLean/CBC)

She also proposed making bike registration free, and mandatory for all new purchases.

Other candidates have made curbing bike theft a part of their platform.

Shaun Loney also proposed eliminating bike registration fees. He and fellow candidate Rick Shone have also called for the city’s bike registration system to be replaced with a national one.

Rebate cheques for water and waste surpluses: Woodstock

Don Woodstock wants to turn surpluses at the city’s water and waste department into rebates for Winnipeggers.

“You know like MPI gives you a rebate? The City of Winnipeg, for the first time, will hand out rebate cheques and stop … taxing your water bill,” he said at a news conference at an office near Confusion Corner.

Don Woodstock proposed sending out rebate cheques whenever the city’s water and waste department runs a surplus. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

The city’s budget for 2022 forecasts a water and waste surplus of more than $17 million.

Woodstock says he would give that surplus back to ratepayers. 

Repair relationship with province: Gillingham

Scott Gillingham released a list of ways that he thinks he can improve the relationship between the city and provincial governments.

For example, he would seek a deal to link provincial operating grants to growth in provincial sales tax revenue or urban gross domestic product, his campaign announced in a news release.

He also pointed out that Winnipeg is the last major city in Canada to have a standalone business tax, which he said makes it harder for provincial officials to attract investment. 

Gillingham proposed either eliminating the tax entirely or merging it with the commercial property tax, a proposal fellow candidate Idris Adelakun has also made.

Motkaluk releases cartoon campaign ad

Jenny Motkaluk called a news conference to highlight a new ad she launched last Friday.

The two-and-a-half minute animated video summarizes key points of her platform, and she said it’s a unique approach to connecting with voters.

“And especially with people who have no faith left in City Hall and who don’t think that the vote counts,” she said.

“When they see the cartoon video, they can see that my policies are relatable.” 

A cartoon figure of a woman stands with her hands on her hips, frowning at the camera while a machine with the words "Permit Machine" printed on it has smoke coming out of it.
Jenny Motkaluk released a cartoon ad summarizing key parts of her campaign platform. (Jenny Motkaluk/YouTube)

The video was produced by Hamilton, Ont.-based company Infinity Forge. Motkaluk did not know how much the ad cost when asked by a reporter.

As of Wednesday, the video had more than 100,000 views on YouTube.

Adelakun, Bokhari, Gillingham, Klein, Loney, Motkaluk, Shone, and Woodstock are among 11 candidates running for mayor. Chris Clacio, Glen Murray and Robert Falcon Ouellette are also on the ballot.

Advance polls in Winnipeg are open until Oct. 21. Election day is Oct. 26.