Mayoral candidates promise new taxes, safe spaces for youth and new integrity measures

Winnipeg mayoral candidate Glen Murray proposed a package of new taxes and fees on Friday that would raise as much revenue for the city as a 4.9-per-cent property-tax hike.

Murray promised Friday to bring in new measures that together, would bring in $33.2 million next year.

While he was taking part in a mayoral debate in front of an audience of business leaders, Murray proposed to raise an additional $13 million by adding one per cent to the city’s business tax.

“That would cover more, or as much as a residential property tax,” Murray said in a scrum following the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce event at RBC Convention Centre.

In a statement published on his campaign website, Murray also promised to raise $9 million by levying a 25-cent tax on commercial parking spaces every day.

This pledge is identical to a measure promised by mayoral candidate Shaun Loney on Oct. 10 and would require the province to amend legislation.

Murray also pledged to raise $8 million through development fees and another $3.2 million by applying a 10-per-cent tax on short-term rentals.

The revenue measures were announced two days after Murray promised a property-tax freeze.

Candidates criticize each others’ plans

Like previous debates, the Chamber event featured a number of shots between the candidates over their policy positions.

Shaun Loney repeated his criticism of Scott Gillingham’s plan to go forward with major infrastructure projects like the extension of Chief Peguis Trail and the widening of Kenaston Boulevard.

Gillingham responded by saying Loney wants to “stifle” the city’s economy.

“His plans are to, I think, something about making Kenaston a greenway, and I don’t even know frankly what that means,” Gillingham said.

“You wouldn’t know,” Loney said, which earned a laugh from the audience.

Gillingham also ripped into Murray’s financial plans, including his call for a slice of the PST.

“What is most concerning is that you’re saying to Winnipeggers, ‘Just trust me, elect me, and then give me a year to figure it out… That’s not credible, that is irresponsible. And I think certainly Winnipeggers see through that.”

Klein promises ‘safe spaces’ for youth

Mayoral candidate Kevin Klein promised Friday to make it more difficult for criminal youth gangs to recruit new members.

Klein says if he’s elected mayor next week, he’d devote $1.75 million a year to “safe spaces” in vulnerable neighbourhoods to offer youths sports and arts programming.

Winnipeg mayoral candidate Kevin Klein (right, with Const. Tim Diack) has promised to spend $1.75 million a year to create “safe spaces” for youths in vulnerable Winnipeg neighbourhoods. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Klein also said he’d like to place cadets at community centres.

“I will work with Winnipeg Police Board and the police service to financially support the cadets regularly patrolling the high-risk areas, giving information to our trained police officers that can work to put an end to organized crime in our city,” Klein said at his campaign office.

Ouellette wants to restore trust in city hall

Mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette promised Friday to introduce more measures to improve transparency at city hall. 

Ouellette said if he’s elected mayor next week, the city would keep track of contracts awarded to people who donated to mayoral  or council campaigns and expand the conflict-of-interest disclosure to include assets and real-estate holdings outside the province.

“We will modernize conflict-of-interest rules so that the financial relationships and holdings are not limited within Manitoba’s borders,” Ouellette said near city hall.

Winnipeg mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette spoke alongside supporters south of city hall Friday. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Ouellette also said he would create “integrity certification” for contractors and limit campaign contributions to $500, with the exception of the candidate and their immediate family members.

The existing contribution limit is $1,500 for a mayoral candidate or $750 for a council candidate.

Clacio promises to hire woman to lead police

Mayoral candidate Chris Clacio promised Friday to hire a woman to be the next chief of the Winnipeg Police Service.

The Winnipeg Police Board oversees decisions on hiring a police chief.

Clacio also promised to sit on the Winnipeg Police Board and appoint a woman on city council to the board.

Record voting in advance

Clacio, Ouellette, Klein and Murray are among 11 candidates running for mayor. Idris Adelakun, Rana Bokhari, Scott Gillingham, Shaun Loney, Jenny Motkaluk, Rick Shone and Don Woodstock are also on the ballot.

Advance voting ended on Friday at 4 p.m.  A total of 41,895 voters voted ahead of election day, the City of Winnipeg announced in a statement.

That represents a 5.1-per-cent increase over the previous advance-poll record of 39,840, set in 2018.

Election day is Oct. 26.

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