Statements from the 2018 Mayoral Election Candidates

With the 2018 Winnipeg Mayoral Election quickly approaching, the Youth Parliament of Manitoba asked candidates running to be Winnipeg’s next mayor to take stances in regard to two key issues that are prevalent in our city.

First: It has been reported that 14% of non-Indigenous, and 35% of Indigenous Winnipeggers live in poverty, for a total of over 100,000 people living below the poverty line. Cities such as Edmonton and Calgary have recently taken mayor-driven action to reduce their poverty, such as transportation, housing, and employment reform. What are some actions you’d take as mayor to address financial disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, and the high rates of poverty at large?

Second: The City of Winnipeg offers many services for youth, such as public swimming pools and skating rinks, Youth Action Centres, community centres, and library programs. What are some improvements you’d like to make to these services, and how will you prioritize the funding of these services in the municipal budget?

Below are the responses made by Brian Bowman, Don Woodstock, and Tim Diack:

Brian Bowman:

In regard to poverty:

“The Mayor has an incredibly important leadership role in working toward Reconciliation, which is part and parcel of closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Winnipeggers. As Mayor I worked with my Indigenous Advisory Circle, in consultation and collaboration with numerous community leaders and organizations, to create the City of Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord. The Accord is a living document to guide our shared commitment to the Journey of Reconciliation in Winnipeg. Through our work together, we hope to effect a positive change in Winnipeg through our knowledge and perceptions of Indigenous history, culture, and peoples, through understanding the state of the current relationship between non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples, and through creating partnership-based initiatives that recognize and respect the rights of Indigenous peoples.

As we grow, so too will our diversity and our need to ensure we’re building a more inclusive and city for all Winnipeggers. I am committed to working with a range of community organizations to reduce poverty in our city and improve the lives of all Winnipeggers. I acknowledge that poverty is complex and that poverty reduction can be effective only when all levels of government and community stakeholders work collaboratively. The City of Winnipeg, given its jurisdictional and fiscal limitations, cannot reduce poverty alone.

The City of Winnipeg tackles poverty on many fronts, including grant funding to numerous community organizations as well as the Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation, and a Fee Subsidy Program for recreation and leisure for families falling below the Low Income Cut Off, all of which I continue to support. During my term in office, I supported multi-year funding to End Homelessness Winnipeg and the Community Homelessness Assistance Team (CHAT), and I will continue to support their good work into the future. I also facilitated the creation of an Unsafe Panhandling Steering Committee made up of numerous stakeholders, including those with lived experience, to connect panhandlers to a continuum of services. I recently supported a pilot project that will see Mother Earth Recycling divert discarded mattresses and spring boxes from the landfill and employ individuals with multiple barriers to employment. Finally, CentreVenture is currently accepting Expressions of Interest from non-profit housing developers to build affordable units at Market Lands where the former PSB and civic parkade stand.

But there is still more we can do. That is why I will work with the new Council on specific measures to further reduce poverty in Winnipeg and on introducing a new low-income bus pass. Moreover, I am committed to having the City of Winnipeg continue funding End Homelessness Winnipeg into the future.”

In regard to youth services:

“We are a growing city and we need a positive vision and balanced plan today for a future we know will impose greater demands on our city infrastructure and services. For many years, City Hall allowed infrastructure and services to languish and deteriorate. Over the last four years, we have been playing catch-up to compensate for those lost years. A stable, balanced approach focused on strategic investments will ensure that our city infrastructure and services are responsive to Winnipeggers’ needs and are no longer lagging behind. That is why, for example, we have invested in our city-owned public libraries, swimming pools, and spray pads.

Building and preparing Winnipeg today for a population growing toward one million people strong requires additional investment in community centres as well as the thousands of volunteers committed to running them. If re elected, I would increase the budget for the city’s existing Community Centre Renovation Grant Program from the current level of $965,000 a year to $2 million annually for five years. Furthermore, I have committed to working with Council and key stakeholders to identify additional funding for a new recreational centre in Waverley West.

I will also continue to support the $1,250,000 in grant funding provided by the City for the Indigenous Youth Strategy, important funding that supports community-based organizations that provide employment development programs to Indigenous youth.”

Tim Diack:

“I work as a police officer in the poorest postal codes in Canada. I am married to a WSD teacher who has worked with under supported children. I can go on and on about the horrible conditions I’ve seen children in. I also hear the “not my problem, who pays for that” people. Ok, I simply put it as “feed them now or feed them in prison” Blunt, not kind, but puts perspective to those who resist doing the right thing. Which is helping those with less resource. I have forwarded a proper breakfast program and paying teachers for after school activities.

Calgary’s pro-rated fees for public services. This is a structure I would like to follow. I would also fund a return of Police and Pal which would provide opportunity for disadvantaged, impoverished youth to experience things like scuba, canoeing, camping, sports, and other activities. This program was destroyed by the WFP twenty years ago and no one wants to volunteer since.

I’m not soft on reconciliation which is suggested when Indigenous ethnicity is referenced as a measure. I want this issue to go away. I want to know how to measure progress, no over representation in CFS, health care, corrections, and truancy. I want the suicide rate to drop. I want my grandkids to wonder why it took so long to fix it. As a mayor I’ll fix what I can and get the other levels of government; Indigenous Provincial and Federal to fix what I can’t.

This is a key issue for Winnipeg’s future. I’m a community police officer in Point Douglas. These programs have a significant impact on these kids lives. I’ve been inspired to run for public office because of my experiences with this issue.”

Don Woodstock:

“First, I will cut-off ALL corporate welfare. No more taxpayers’ dollars given to millionaires. Let them go to the bank and borrow their own money.

My first campaign pillar is – ending homelessness – A ‘Housing First’ action will be undertaken by my administration, which will see the Planning Dept fast-tracking all applications that addresses affordable, low income housing. Securing the needed funds for many projects.

The next pillar is “Sports Capital not crime capital” – this will see a $250-$350M annual investment in the core neighbourhoods for recreational centres, sports activities, music, arts, etc. as this is the one way that we will increase the outlook of the city from the investor’s perspective, hence business will grow, investment will come in, and jobs created. Safety & a robust neighbourhoods will bring investment. I want to our children playing hockey in an arena, then sitting in a jail cell.

The Final part of this is my Human Rights policy that all levels of employment at the City will be opened equally regardless of race, colour or creed, which is not the case today. I hope as the City leads by example – other businesses will follow.

When our core is healthy – our city will be healthy.”

We at The Youth Parliament of Manitoba are all very excited for the upcoming election, and hope these responses help readers learn more about the potential future leader of Winnipeg. Furthermore, we would like to stress just how important it is for young people LIKE YOU to get engaged and vote in elections. So get out there, voice your opinion, and make a difference in creating a better and brighter Winnipeg!

WCYP Has Come to An End

Western Canada Youth Parliament has come to an end. We had the pleasure of having the delegates from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Alberta participate in our House! These last few days we went through bill presentations that led from chill to some heated debate. The bills presented were as follows: The Food Security Act and The Rights of the Dead are Dead Act. Both bills had a considerable amount of controversy but this is what invited members from the other parliaments to speak.

Western Canada Youth Parliament is special. It’s an event that happens once every 8 years in Manitoba and Youth Parliament of Manitoba couldn’t be prouder to host it this year. We commend our Cabinet and Exec on help making such an event come into action.

Signing off,

The Minister of PR

The Final Words

This is it, no more all nighters, or morning breakfasts with friends. All have gone their separate ways, and #YP96 is now a memory for all 90 members. From the 26 – 31 of December, 2017, we were immersed in public speaking, parliamentary procedures, and debate about our province. Youth were given the unique experience of discussing their concerns, both though debate in the legislative chamber, and through conversation with politicians. We were provided opportunity of having lunch with members from the Liberal, PC and NDP parties. During these luncheons, members are able to discuss their views and pose questions to current and past members of parliament. YPM strives to create an immersive political environment for youth, helping to foster the leaders of today.

At session, one main attraction is the diverse group of individuals you meet. We all come from different backgrounds and with different viewpoints. This year, we had members who enjoyed sports, video games, art, reading, one member was really passionate about recycling. She really encouraged us to recycle our soda cans, or to throw paper in the right slot of the garage bins. It is incredibly encouraging to see young students who are passionate about our world: be it the rights of animals, or taking care of our precious environment.

Leaving YPM really makes one reflect upon who they are and what they believe in. Even though the bills debated in Youth Parliament do not hold real legislative power, this exercise fosters an interest in the political process and its real world impacts. It is a place where friendships begin and grow, where individuals can voice their opinions, and most importantly, learn to engage with others and listen to their opinions. Attending YPM is a transformative experience, and few leave without being changed for the better.

My first encounter of YPM was the 95th Winter Session. I went with an acquaintance who was really a stranger. As time progressed, that acquaintance grew quite dear to me. They would speak up in the House and my mind would be blown! The bills presented were absolutely outstanding, and the their convictions, morals, and beliefs of members all contributed to the debate. Once the 95th Session ended, my friend and I both applied for cabinet, and as would have fate had it, we became ministry partners. Cabinet is an opportunity for others to come together in a unique way, merging friendship with professional development. Cabinet is a chance to give others a chance. I encourage all members to apply, you will not regret it!

Thank you again for all who participated in the 96th Winter Session, till next year my friends!

The End

December 30, 2017

We announce with both sadness and joy that today is the last day of session. This week was filled with excitement, joy, fear, nervousness, and laughter. As the 96th Winter Session comes to a close, we say good-bye to the Speaker who was a part of this amazing organization for 8 years. Farewell!

YPM Executive and Cabinet would just like to start off by saying thank you to all the backbenchers. Without you, we would not have had a such a wonderful and diverse session. Many of you came with fears of what would and could happen. If you think about what happened this week, every individual is extraordinary, and each and every member has so much to be proud of: daring to speak in front of fifty or more people, many of whom were strangers, debating complex topics with nuance and intelligence, developing public speaking and communication skills.

Most importantly, members have fostered friendships with one another and have joined a supportive, compassionate community. YPM is a space that accepts you for who you are, and you will always have a home here.

December 29, 2017

Fourth day of Session has finished! It was a day of excitement, frustration, surprises, and accomplishments. The bills created by the Ministers of Human Resources, Labour, Finance, and Revenue, were all passed. The Ministers are very proud of the hard work and the positive outcome. Congratulations to all with the wonderful result.

The Member of Yukon stated that our race and age do not determine our path. A number of other members explained and discussed how diversity based on culture, gender, race, background, social status and education are important. This is due to the fact that diversity reflects a wide range of opinions and ideologies.

One beautiful thing about YPM is how we are all different. As a non-partisan organization, we accept all ideologies, values, and perspectives. The members previously mentioned found this aspect of YPM one of the most refreshing and encouraging part of this organization.

Friends for Life

December 28, 2017

Third day of Winter Session began with an outstanding Bear Pit featuring Bill Blaikie, Dorothy Dobbie, Gord Mackintosh, and Bonnie Mitchelson who all served previously in the Manitoba Legislative. Today they gave up some personal time during the crazy holiday season to inform and teach us from their past experiences. YPM is so thankful to let youth hear from knowledgeable parliamentarians on a personal connection on real life situations.

At the start of Bear Pit, one YPM’s Senators spoke about life long friends, and how a simple action can lead to life long happiness. The senator shared how him and two friends encouraged each other to do more in life, and to do more for the organization. It has been several years since they attended YPM as members and they continue to be very close friends, despite being in different provinces.

Around 4:30 pm today, the Minister of External Affairs, Communications, Publications and the P.S. to Alumni Affairs were all discussing on what to do after session was over. How each one would keep in contact with one another. Though they have known each other, only a few months, the moments of planning and prepping for the 96th Winter Session has grown them together.  They are all different ages, backgrounds and have very different view points. Yet, they appreciate, respect and enjoy each other. This is what makes YPM so special. It is the door way to meet others, to accepting others, and being vulnerable enough to let others accept you.

If you come to Session, you will observe members together, speaking and laughing to one another. Now let me tell you a secret, most of the backbenchers have never met before. They come as strangers, but leave as friends.

Letting Yourself Be Heard

December 27, 2017

Today marks the second day of Session! The Executive and Cabinet are in awe of this year’s group of backbenchers. Their energy and the diverse range of perspectives that they bring to the debate is priceless! Today we examined three bills exploring a variety of topics: The First Nations Recognition Act (Minister of Finance), The Standardized Child and Youth Welfare Act (Minister of Revenue), and The Agriculture and Climate Act (Registrar General).

During one of the breaks, the member from Delta made a lovely point that acknowledged a unique aspect of YPM. He noted that those who attend Session are willing to let themselves be vulnerable in the House and just open up about past or current experiences they have lived through, which brings the members closer together in the long run. He also stated that despite being a mock parliament, it is nonetheless successful at drawing out emotions and convictions you thought you never had. Session is a safe environment for all to express themselves, and to hear different points of view.

The Start of Something New

December 26, 2017

The first day of session is always a jumble of emotions: excitement for what the week has in store, and of course, nervousness! We are grateful to report that first day of the 96th Winter Session was absolutely amazing! Year after year, YPM strives to create an engaging and inviting atmosphere for young individuals to debate politics as a group.

We would like to thank all the cadets and bagpipe player, Diana Prince for participating in the opening ceremony. Session could not begin without their efforts, and we are extremely appreciative!

The Executives and Cabinet are very proud of all the backbenchers who spoke in the Chamber on the first day. As Alumni will know from personal experience, it is nerve racking to stand up in the Legislative Chamber and speak in front of dozens of strangers! With such a promising group of backbenchers, we are certain that this will be a week of passionate debate, learning, and friendship!

December 26-31, 2016

One amazing aspect of coming to YPM is the friendships you create. Youth Parliament of Manitoba creates an amazing atmosphere where all feel welcomed. YPM is an organization that transforms a group of complete strangers into a passionate group of young leaders that gather together to discuss and debate pertinent topics. In an environment such as this, friendships are destined to blossom!

Our current PS to Alumni Affairs and The Minister of Communications were placed in the same committee team last year, and that is where it all started. They began to discuss the amendments to bills together, and realized how similar they were in political thought. From there, their friendship grew. The two would stay up chatting about life as a university student, what they liked and valued, and about humorous things that happened during session. In the late hours, they would watch TV shows and comment on what was happening and take snapchat selfies. To this day, they visit each other at university, go out for lunch and of course, go shopping together! Both cabinet members are thankful to YPM, because without it, they would have maybe never met. Attending session is an excellent way of forming lasting friendships!


YPM is excited to announce that we are currently booked to host a full house of members for YPM’s 96th Winter Session! Cabinet is overjoyed to meet and engage with members both new and old. Thank you to each and every one of the 90 members who are scheduled to participate in this year’s session. Without you, we would not be successful. If you have any questions regarding registration, or require further information on session, please feel free to contact our Registrar General at The 96th cabinet members are so excited to meet everyone, and are already counting down the days till session!