#WPG22 Candidates: Part 2

I covered the top two candidates in my last post. There are 9 more, and unfortunately I don’t have time to cover them all. I probably don’t have time to do any of them justice to be honest, but I feel compelled to at least post something because many of them are worth consideration. Below are my thoughts and observations of the next six candidates in the election pecking order, based on last month’s Probe poll:

Shaun Loney

I’m not sure how he pulled it off, but of the candidates will little-to-no name recognition, Shaun is the only one who has managed to pull himself into double-digit poll numbers. Good for him. Perhaps it’s an indication of importance that people place on social issues plaguing Winnipeg — Shaun’s bailiwick.

If you don’t know by now: Shaun is in the social enterprise business, having co-founded or been associated with several non-profits that help to assist and provide employment for people who are on the margins of society. Non-profit enterprises play a starring role in Shaun’s plan to fix the city’s problems. Probably his most notable plan is one to employ non-profits to address homelessness, and use a results-based model to fund them from the budgets of emergency services like the police.

The plan is a novel one: emergency services will identify people who frequently require help, driving up costs and consuming resources; they “determine the actual value of the staff time used annually to respond to this group” and “agree to compensate nonprofits for the value of avoided workload achieved” as the non-profits achieve success in housing and employing the target folks.

Novel though it is, I am not completely sold on it. As someone who has administered the reallocation of funds between programs in a professional capacity, this sounds like a giant headache to me, and I told Shaun that too. I understand it conceptually, but even after Shaun attempted to explain it to me — twice — I still don’t understand how the actual mechanics of it will work without a great deal of administration.

There is no question, however, that Shaun is in the game to make the city a better place. His platform includes transit improvements (including implementing the Transit Master Plan), AT improvements, electric vehicle chargers, and tax reforms among other things.

I heard a concern that, being in the social enterprise business, Shaun would stand to benefit personally from becoming mayor. I asked him about that and he pointed out that he has no financial interest in any of the non-profits he started. He does not take a salary from them or own them. (He earns an income from a consultancy called Encompass Co-op).

I should note that, like me, Shaun has a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Manitoba. That does not influence me one way or the other — I know people who have gone through that program who I would not vote for in a hundred years. I just offer that for full disclosure.

Kevin Klein

Like Gillingham, Klein is an experienced city councillor who is a bit right-of-center. I know this isn’t fair, but the thought occurred to me that Klein only entered the race to take votes away from Gillingham. He registered late, after it was clear Gillingham would be the top challenger to Murray, and he is likely to compete for many of the same votes. I personally know people who are deciding between the two.

His website is a mess. Though it has 13 choices in the menu bar (including My Mom – a story about domestic violence) none of them link to a platform per se. ‘Klein Talks About Issues’ has some videos you can watch (but I did not) and ‘Announcements’ has three items — two videos and one post about city finances … that includes six videos.

There are several other links right on his home page, if you scroll down past the giant banners and 10 videos. If I were to simplistically characterize his platform, I would say it’s about crime and city governance. Even his post about green space and the environment turns into a bit of a rant about EPC and fiscal responsibility.

I don’t think many AT advocates will be voting for Klein, but he actually has a pretty robust Active Transportation program, with a doubling of funding, bike anti-theft measures and improvements to the city’s AT network.

His policies don’t align with the objectives I outlined earlier in some respects — including safe injection sites. He addresses police budgets, not by shifting money out of the WPS, but by using resources better — which I do not doubt is necessary, but I don’t know that he really gets at the root cause of crime any where in his platform. Perhaps it’s buried in a video somewhere. Did I mention he likes videos? There are a lot of videos.

On the issue of city governance and fiscal responsibility, I don’t feel I understand the problems well enough to properly evaluate solutions, so this isn’t on my short list of things to look for in a candidate. But if it is for you, Klein might be your guy.

Robert Falcon-Ouellette

Some, probably not many, may remember that RFO once had a blog that took the form of letters written to Louis Riel. I get the sense that RFO sees a little bit of Riel in himself — a man of some importance and a leader of others, whether as an MP or a mayor or something else.

His mayoral campaign got off to a slow start in my opinion. He struggled to effectively communicate why he was running and what he would do differently.

However, his performance in the forum on the environment and in the second half of the televised debate (I missed the first half) bumped my view of him up a couple notches. He had some of the better and more precise answers. In his answer regarding transit in the televised debate, for example, he quoted facts and figures that demonstrated a problem and spoke to how he was going to solve that problem. He seemed better prepared than most other candidates, who tended to speak in generalities, and in some cases seemed caught off guard by questions that anybody could anticipate being asked.

I’m not a fan of his website, though it’s less overwhelming than Klein’s. In order to find his platform you have to know to clink on the link for The Purple Book … which also happens to be the name of a Bible study guide as well as an FDA guide to biological products.

Once there, you’ll find a list of priorities with links to full statements. Some highlights:

  • A Community Safety fund, funded by freezing the police budget, with the goal of crime prevention. It’s a different take on similar concepts from Rana, Shaun, etc, in that funds would in some way be redirected from the cops to community groups to tackle the root causes of crime and homelessness, but in this case community groups would apply for funding to do the work. The organizations involved and what they will do are TBD.
  • A review and reorganization of the Winnipeg Paramedic Service “within the city’s Fire Paramedic Service”. I’m not sure what this entails exactly, but I think there is room for improvement in this space.
  • Safe injection site
  • Free transit for kids and “a-buck-a ride” fare plus cap monthly passes at $53 (why would you buy a pass for $53 when you can pay $1 per ride?)
    Note: I recall plugging $1 fares on twitter once, the idea being that vastly increased transit ridership will pay for itself through reduced traffic and infrastructure costs. I don’t know if $1 or $2 is a magic number, but I suspect that there is an elasticity inflection point somewhere whereby revenues may increase as fares decrease because ridership levels will increase by an even greater degree. Some Econ grad student should look into that.
  • Commitment to the Transit Master Plan .. with 2 “buts”: 1) it won’t be a top funding priority, and 2) it will be updated to include rail relocation
  • About that .. RFO has a commitment to complete the rail relocation study and change the Transit Master Plan to accommodate relocating heavy rail outside of the city.
    Note: I won’t tell you what I do for a living, but I can tell you that I have a better idea of rail infrastructure costs than most, and large scale rail relocation will not happen. If you want to complete the study, knock yourself out, but don’t delay projects like Transit Master Plan because of it, and be prepared to take the hit for wasting the money on the study.

Jenny Motkaluk

Jenny, Jenny, Jenny. What should we say about Jenny.

She’s certainly stirred up some controversy by appearing to court the anti-mask/anti-vax freedom crowd, and making various questionable remarks. This may be a move of desperation as initially she was all “let’s make this city better” but then poll numbers did not come out very favourably for her, and her tone changed. I believe she saw the change of tone as a way to build support. I’m skeptical that it will work as I don’t think the whole Freedom thing translates to civic politics very well.

A link to her platform is easy to find, but it takes you to a screen full of 20 screenshots with tiny print that you have to look through for specifics about what she will actually do. There are very generic things like “create high performance city departments”, but upon tracking down specific measures I found I was not a fan of most of them. Some examples:

  • Fire the police chief and abolish the Police Board, neither of which the mayor as authority to do.
  • Freeze taxes, which is not realistic in this blogger’s opinion.
  • Review all transit routes, which has already been done in the Transit Master Plan, which is not mentioned.
  • Stop increasing property taxes when home improvements are made. This is a populist sort of policy — sounds great if you don’t think about it. One problem is that it will create inequities: person A and B have the exact same house but person B pays more because their pool was built before this policy was implemented. At the end of the day, the city has a certain budget and if you tax one person less then you have to tax another person more.

There are also a few things that I could get behind, like stream-lining permitting, but for the most part Motkaluk and I aren’t on the same page.

Rana Bokhari

Rana is best remembered from her stint as leader of the provincial Liberal party and her unsuccessful 2016 run for office. It started promising enough with the Liberals polling in the 20s, as I recall, but stumbled into election day with promises that didn’t always seem well thought-out, finishing with something like 14% of the vote and Rana herself finishing third in her riding. (I think I still owe Luc Lewandoski a beer from a bet related to that.)

So, I have been particularly interested in what Rana would come out with in this election. I am going to start by saying that Rana has by far the best web site of any of the candidates. Seriously go to Klein’s website then go to Bokhari’s — it like they’re from different internets. It is clear, well organized, and ridiculously easy to review her platform. One click gets you the highlights, 2 clicks gets you the detail.

I like a lot of what she has to say:

  • A five per cent accommodations tax to short-term rentals like AirBnB. One of the few candidates to address this. Gillingham’s plan is a little more in-depth but at least she’s recognizing an issue.
  • Her transit plan is possibly the best of the crew:
    – Replace buses that age out with electric (this is the way it should be done, vs ‘all buses by X date’)
    – Transit Master plan
    – $20 bus pass (see earlier commentary about fares)
  • Safe injection sites
  • Open up P&M

I also like that she had a Coffee & Talk with Rana series held at local coffee shops, although I missed them all. They were held at Joe Black (west) Mountain Bean (north) and Tim Hortons (Pembina). I think Pembina Highway needs a better coffee shop. That’s my take-away from this.

One plan confused me a little: in cracking down on surface parking lots, she proposes a $100 annual levy on the required number of parking spots for businesses & $350 above that. My question is why put a levy on required spots? There is no incentive involved because they are required. It just becomes a tax at that point. Either remove parking minimums entirely and apply a $100 (?) levy for every spot and let the business decide how many are needed (my preference), or keep the minimums and just apply a levy above the minimum.

One of her hallmark policies is to reallocate 10% of the police budget to “local social groups” to help prevent crime. Similar in concept to other candidate’s plans, but in a much simpler form. I don’t mind it, but detail is lacking and there is also a chicken-and-egg problem — you have to reduce crime before you can cut the police budget by 10%, but you can’t engage the social groups until you source the funding.

Overall I mostly like what Rana has to offer at a high level.

Rick Shone

Last (on this blog post) but not least: Rick Shone. It’s funny (in a non-funny kind of way) how Rick is stuck at 3-4% in the polls while Shaun Loney is up in the teens, as I was getting them mixed up for the first couple weeks of the campaign. He must be frustrated that his message is not resonating.

If I were to play word association, I would match Rick with “bicycle”. his platform skews towards the urbanist/active transport priorities. Winnipeg Better has 13 bullets under Active Transportation on their Rick Shone voter guide. If that’s your priority, he’s your guy …. if you don’t mind voting for someone who probably won’t win.

He (and Rana) were top performers in the Equate Debate for the second tier candidates, and he really came across as reasonable and competent in my view. Having said that, I don’t like everything I see in his platform.

  • I do like more flexible zoning for increased density.
  • I like incorporating AT infrastructure “into all street renewal and reconstruction projects” and fixing gaps in the AT network, although some streets do not need AT infrastructure if there are good alternative routes.
  • I don’t see a commitment to the Transit Master Plan. I do see a pledge to add a bus route to Bird’s Hill Park which is (or should be) outside the scope of Winnipeg Transit and would not be good bang for the buck.
  • He wants to phase out gas powered yard equipment by the City of Winnipeg by 2025 – that’s 3 years for the city to replace all of it’s mowers and such. That’s a pretty ambitious .. perhaps unrealistic .. timeline in my mind.
  • He wants to attract more festivals, concerts and events to Winnipeg, which would be great but how do you do that?

Side note: I have learned in this election that Rick is one of team responsible for organizing the Swamp Donkey Adventure Race, which is a fantastic experience.


There are several candidates in this election who have plans that are as realistic or even more-so than the front-runner, but but are hampered by a lack of name recognition and a crowded field that makes differentiating oneself very difficult. I don’t blame anyone for voting strategically. I’ve done it, but I have also voted on principle for a long-shot candidate. I suspect many people will be faced with that conundrum in this election.

Should be an interesting one. Get out and vote!


Apologies to the candidates that I did not include. At least you escaped having a terrible picture drawn of you.


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