Winnipeg mayoral candidates present reconciliation plans at First Nations forum

Winnipeg mayoral candidates addressed Manitoba First Nations leaders on Saturday afternoon, sharing their plans for reconciliation, economic partnership and addressing the city’s homelessness and addictions issues.

Ten out of 11 candidates attended a forum hosted by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak at the Wyndham Garden Winnipeg Airport Hotel, owned by Long Plain First Nation.

« Reconciliation is global, and they have to move in this direction and we want to be part of it. If we want to solve any of these problems, they must include us in their decision-making, » said the top MKO leader. Garrison Settee, who addressed the candidates before the start of the discussion.

« Homelessness and addiction are the biggest visible issues, and those are things we really need to work on. We need to commit to putting those words into action. »

The 10 candidates in attendance pledged, in their own way, to partner and work alongside Manitoba First Nations leaders. Jenny Motkaluk, whom AMC denounced after she made critical comments about the organization, did not participate.

Candidates answered questions about housing, harm reduction, treaty relationships, economic development and public safety.

What the candidates said

Robert-Falcon Ouellette is committed to getting “our brothers and sisters off the street” by making detox and treatment accessible to people when they need it. He pledged to lobby the federal government for more funding to extend Jordan’s Principle, which guarantees equitable access to health care for Indigenous children, to all First Nations people living off reserve. .

Rana Bohkari acknowledged the « deep-rooted, systemic racial issues » that divide the city and create barriers for Indigenous peoples at every turn. She said if elected mayor, AMC and MKO would lead municipal initiatives, similar to what they did with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine for First Nations people.

Bokhari, along with Ouellette and Shaun Loney, is committed to setting up a safe consumption site in the city.

Kevin Klein said he would establish an Indigenous council committee that would lead discussions on mental health supports, housing and addictions, as well as an economic agent to create business partnerships. He gave an impassioned speech on youth engagement and investing in sport and recreation as part of an anti-gang strategy.

Scott Gillingham, former finance chair while serving on city council, highlighted his past eight years of experience working with Indigenous leaders on various projects. He pledged to adhere to the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, nine of which relate specifically to municipal responsibilities.

Gillingham and Klein voted ‘no’ to the idea of ​​a safe injection site in Winnipeg at CBC’s mayors’ forum on Wednesday. On Saturday, Gillingham pledged « healing partnerships » focused on drug addiction and access to health services for Indigenous people, as well as support for the city’s libraries and archives to preserve Indigenous languages ​​and d other cultural and historical documents.

Glen Murray highlighted his past work as Mayor of Winnipeg in creating Thunderbird House. He promised to listen to Indigenous leaders and pledged to make economic development opportunities more accessible to Indigenous peoples. He said if elected he would meet with indigenous leaders to « answer questions and listen to you ».

Chris Clacio and Rick Shone highlighted their past volunteer work with inner-city youth, and Shone said he would create an office of Indigenous relations if he became mayor.

Loney also spoke about fulfilling the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and spoke about the importance of creating and enhancing more urban reservations.

Idris Alelakun promised to work with various social service agencies, the province and the federal government to build 800 homes.

Don Woodstock said if elected, he would join residential school survivor Peter Yellowquill on various initiatives and respect the human rights of all citizens equally, while creating more accessible urban spaces for children and young people. He also suggested that Manitoba could become the world’s largest exporter of farmed fish.

« Be ready to work »

« Our Indigenous Peoples are the fastest growing demographic and the questions to be addressed at this forum are what we wanted to hear – what is their plan, what is their vision for Indigenous Peoples – and I think that there have been a lot of ideas put forward,” Settee said after the forum.

« Whoever wins, he will have to sit down, the first day, the second day, be ready to work, » he added.

« We need to work together because these issues won’t go away on their own. »

Saturday’s forum was one of the last mayors’ forums before Winnipeggers head to the polls for Election Day on Wednesday.

Adelakun releases plan for senior citizens and the environment

Earlier on Saturday, Adelakun unveiled his plans for the environment and the elderly, as well as for reconciliation.

He has issued a number of commitments around the environment, such as working quickly to improve the sewage treatment system to prevent raw sewage from being discharged into Winnipeg’s rivers and encouraging the use of rain barrels.

As for the elderly, Adelakun said he would develop a « home-sharing strategy » in which university students would live in the homes of elderly residents at reduced rents in exchange for helping landlords with chores. housewives. He also pledged to cut property taxes by 5% for residents age 65 and older.


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