Scott Gillingham was elected mayor of Winnipeg with 53,663 votes for him out of 194,853 voters. With a low turnout (37%), Scott Gillingham will have work to do for his first four-year term as head of the City of Winnipeg.
By Ophélie DOIREAU and Jonathan SEMAH
Local journalism initiative – Réseau.Presse – Freedom
While 521,291 people were called to vote at the polls on October 26 to choose a new mayor and a new municipal council, only 37% of them asserted their right. A figure that should already give pause to Scott Gillingham, who was a St. James councilor for eight years, as Michel Durand-Wood, a resident of the Elmwood district who is interested in municipal politics, thinks. “What was interesting was that it wasn’t a two-horse race. There were a lot of votes for Kevin Klein, Shaun Loney and even Robert Falcon-Ouellette. Seven out of 10 voters voted for someone other than Scott Gillingham. It is therefore not a strong mandate for the new mayor. »
Same observation for Brian Pincott who, in general, was disappointed with this municipal campaign. The former Calgary city councilor and observer of Winnipeg political life reflects on how Scott Gillingham was elected. “Politicians are really good at quickly forgetting the results. The figure that worries me the most is the participation figure. Only 37%. Out of more than 500,000 people called to vote, he received around 50,000 votes. We can say that 10% of them voted for the new mayor. 10%. It’s quite worrying. We have a problem of participation and commitment. It will be up to our elected officials to seriously look at this problem. They must lead the discussion in our communities. »
Besides this reality, the city council does not seem to have really moved. Michel Durand-Wood raises this point. “With the election last Wednesday, it feels like a sort of status quo has taken hold in the City of Winnipeg. Not just at the mayor’s level. But also at the level of advisers. There are no big changes. All outgoing councilors were re-elected except Shawn Nason who was ousted by former councilor Russ Wyatt. Same for St. James, the vacant seat was filled by Shawn Dobson who was already an adviser before.
“It’s advice that is almost identical to before. So there are not going to be any major changes to the City of Winnipeg. »
Same concern on the side of Brian Pincott. He points to the lack of freshness of this new advice. “It’s a step back. It’s a continuation of former mayor Brian Bowman. Scott Gillingham represented security. He is completely known by the community. Winnipeg decided not to change anything. »
| Different issues to watch out for
No big changes according to Brian Pincott and Michel Durand-Wood, except that the issues before the elections are still present. “They are going to have a hard time. There is a financial decline in the City of Winnipeg, things will have to be addressed,” announced Michel Durand-Wood.
The author of the Dear Winnipeg blog continues: “Based on Scott Gillingham’s platform, infrastructure management issues are not going to be a priority. He wanted the expansion of Kenaston and Chief Peguis. As a reminder, a road expansion brings in between $1.30 and $1.90 for every $
spent. Except that this return is shared between the different levels of government up to approximately 40%. If we take the return of $1.90, the government will receive $0.76… It’s a waste of money.
“Whereas an investment in public transport allows a return between $3 and $4 for each $ invested. 40% of these amounts is a return of $1.60. So we make money and that’s what we need for the other issues. »
Executive Director of Vélo Canada Bikes in Manitoba, Brian Pincott also takes the subject of infrastructure very seriously, particularly with regard to public transport. “Scott Gillingham supports the Transit Plan. He said he wanted to speed it up. It’s a 25 year plan, I think it should be a 10 year plan. It will be up to us, the public, to say that it is important for the sustainability of the city and to deal with climate change. The question of the environment has also, in my opinion, been the great forgotten of this campaign. We cannot wait another four or eight years to address these challenges. »
Despite this reality, Michel Durand-Wood emphasizes the importance of taking an interest in municipal politics, and like Brian Pincott, he believes that the public must take these issues into their own hands. “Democracy is not just one day every four years. It’s monitoring what’s going on every day. Citizens must continue to engage and work with this council for the next four years. »
“For an elected official, it serves him well to have a people who are not very committed. Once again, what mandate do our elected officials have with such a small portion of the population voting? concludes Brian Pincott.
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