The incoming premier of Manitoba and the mayor of Winnipeg had a one-hour meeting at city hall, which indicated the ongoing strong relationship between Broadway and Main Street.
On Monday, Premier-designate Wab Kinew and Mayor Scott Gillingham had a private meeting in the mayor’s office for approximately 20 minutes. They also had a larger meeting with their staff members present.
Later, the two leaders expressed their agreement on certain important issues, such as tackling homelessness, fighting drug trafficking, and finishing the ongoing renovations at the North End Water Pollution Control Centre, which happens to be the biggest sewage-treatment facility among Winnipeg’s three.
“I believe that addressing the problem of homelessness is a priority for both of us, and we are determined to make progress in this area,” Kinew stated to reporters in the entrance hall outside the mayor’s office.
Both the chosen premier and the mayor expressed their desire for Winnipeg to follow Houston’s example in tackling homelessness. They aim to prioritize assistance for the most vulnerable individuals, implement a housing first approach, and facilitate collaboration between non-profit organizations and government entities.
This approach has helped Houston — which sits at the centre of the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the United States — find housing for at least 25,000 people over the past decade.
Gillingham expressed the importance for Winnipeg to explore comparable approaches in order to support those currently facing challenges within our community. These individuals may include those without shelter, battling addiction, or dealing with mental health problems.
Heather Stefanson, the outgoing premier, has visited both Gillingham’s office and the office of his predecessor, Brian Bowman, before Kinew’s meeting at city hall.
Stefanson’s amicable actions towards city hall indicated a shift in approach from her predecessor, Brian Pallister, who had a tense relationship with Bowman, particularly following his PC government’s decision to halt funding for Manitoba’s largest municipality in 2017.
Stefanson put an end to that freeze in 2022. On Monday, Kinew made a promise to also raise funding for the city, but did not disclose the amount or clarify if provincial funds will be provided without any conditions.
“I don’t believe I am excluding many possibilities at this point, even before I officially take office,” he stated. “As we establish our new government, I kindly request your patience.”
Kinew additionally had a meeting on Monday with Jeff Fawcett, the Mayor of Brandon, and Kam Blight, the president of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities.
The anticipated occurrence next week involves the inauguration of the new prime minister.