Winnipeg councillors react following mayor’s surprise announcement

It wasn’t news many were expecting on a blustery, fall Friday.

The announcement that Mayor Brian Bowman would not seek re-election came as a surprise to many, especially those in Winnipeg’s City Hall.

While the next civil election isn’t for two years, the statement left the city buzzing — who will be the next mayor of Winnipeg?

Read more: Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman won’t run for 3rd term

Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood Coun. Kevin Klein, who first heard the announcement through the media, said that shouldn’t be the focus.

“He’s got two more years at the helm. It’s interesting that he would make that announcement so far out,” said Klein.

When asked if he would run for mayor, Klein said there is too much work to do right now to focus on becoming the next leader of the city.

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The laundry list of tasks the city is facing has only grown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have a financial crisis that’s looming, we have small businesses that are in danger of closing,” said Klein. “We have contracts that are to be negotiated, we’ve missed deadlines to put in proposals for contracts that could cost us millions.”

Read more: City councillor proposes 10% tax break for Winnipeg restaurants

Klein said when the time is right, he’ll leave it up to the people of Winnipeg to let him know if he’s the right man for the job, but in the meantime Klein said he doesn’t think anyone should be talking about the next mayor.

“We’ve got some serious problems at City Hall,” Klein said. “They’re not going to be fixed overnight.”

Over in the south end of the city, Deputy Mayor, chair of the Winnipeg Police Board and St. Norbert-Seine River Coun. Markus Chambers said the news came right out of left field.

“Totally caught all of us off guard,” said Chambers.

He adds as someone who entered a life of politics later in life, he applauds Bowman’s decision particularly due to the mayor having a young family.

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Watch: Police Board Chair Markus Chambers on calls for changes to policing

While Chambers doesn’t know the exact reason for Bowman’s future departure, he said if it’s an opportunity for Bowman to spend quality time with his sons, he congratulates him.

However, the deputy mayor said he’s still weighing his options before thinking about putting his name on the ballot, but not ruling it out.

“There’s lots of time, I do want to be effective in my role and that’s what focused on right now,” said Chambers. “I also have to talk to my family and see if they’re ready for that life in a fishbowl.”

Chambers echoed Klein saying it’s time to roll up their sleeves and move Winnipeg forward now

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