Mayor Bowman delivers inaugural State of the City address

Released: March 20, 2015 at 2:03 p.m.
Announces five upcoming ventures to create Winnipeg's successful future

Winnipeg, MB - Today, hosted by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce at the RBC Convention Centre, Mayor Brian Bowman delivered his inaugural State of the City address as Winnipeg’s 43rd Mayor, focusing on a greater vision for the city as well as announcing five new upcoming ventures and a renewed request for Winnipeg’s fair share of the PST.

“When I was elected last October, I promised change, and we’ve already been making big improvements with the changes I’ve made during in my first 150 days in office,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Streets are seeing an unprecedented investment of $103 million dollars for renewal, and we’ve stood firm on our commitment to keep moving forward with Rapid Transit.”

“All of this keeps us looking ahead, and keeps Winnipeg moving forward in a way that supports our greater vision for the city: a city that works with an open and transparent City Hall, a growing, thriving more modern city that we are all proud to call home, and a city that no longer relies on the regressive, outdated property tax - a city that receives its fair share of the PST.”

An audience of more than 1,100 attended the State of the City address to hear Mayor Bowman deliver his vision for Winnipeg’s future.

“I’m focused on getting down to work for Winnipeggers. Action is the true heart of change, and action requires a plan - that’s why I am proud to announce five new upcoming ventures that will redirect our focus on the brass ring of change and where it is we want Winnipeg to be in four, 10, 20, or even 50 years from now.”

Mayor Bowman announced:

  • The implementation of new participatory budget planning activities to involve Winnipeggers in a grassroots approach to budget planning in 2016. A centralized 2016 budget task force will be implemented under the leadership of the Mayor’s Office, in partnership with the Finance department at the City of Winnipeg;
  • The creation of the Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, chaired by musician, broadcaster, University of Winnipeg administrator, and Aboriginal leader in Winnipeg, Wab Kinew. The Circle will collaborate and advise City Council through the Mayor as the Secretary of Urban Aboriginal Opportunities on policies that will assist in building a bridge of understanding between indigenous and non-indigenous people to ensure Winnipeg’s continued success as a city we are all proud to call home;
  • The National Anti-Racism Summit being held at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in September 2015, in partnership with the CMHR. The conference, occurring one year after the museum’s official opening and eight months following the Mayor’s press conference against racism, will bring Canadians together to brainstorm about how to eradicate racism as a think-tank of compassion and inspiration;
  • A small business summit in partnership with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, scheduled for October 2015. The summit, as well as round tables that will occur quarterly throughout the year, will allow Winnipeg to hear from local small business regarding policy and initiatives that will help them grow and thrive;
  • And the BuildWINNIPEG partnership task force, the starting point for a 10-year plan to repair and build roads, public transit, and active transportation networks, to be chaired by former City of Winnipeg CAO and President and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba Foundation Annitta Stenning.

The Mayor also renewed his call on the Government of Manitoba to honor a request for Winnipeg’s fair share of the PST.

“Over half of Manitoba’s population lives in Winnipeg, and our population continues to grow - yet Winnipeggers pay $150 million in PST annually as a result of the one per cent PST increase, and only receive one-third of that money back to invest in our infrastructure,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “The old way of doing things is not effective for Winnipeg and cities across Canada - our funding relationship needs to change. Winnipeg needs our fair share now.”

“We are standing on the edge of bigger dreams for Winnipeg, and we will make progress. Council is committed to meeting the goals of Winnipeg, and I look forward to strengthening our future partnerships so we can keep moving the city we love forward over the next four years. Winnipeg’s best days are still to come.”

In keeping with the tradition created by former Mayor Sam Katz, $3,000 from the proceeds of the event ticket sales will be donated to support Habitat for Humanity Manitoba. Local businessman and philanthropist Albert El Tassi, CEO of Peerless Garments, was applauded for his matching contribution.

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