Meet Mayoral Candidate David Sanders

by Chamber Staff 29. August 2014 10:57

Winnipeggers are prepared to pay more for city services, but city council will not get their support because they have lost the public trust, mayoral candidate David Sanders told the BOLD Winnipeg caucus.

“I’m concerned. We must rebuild, re-earn that trust,” Sanders said, indicating he started showing up at City Hall because he was disturbed at the decision-making.

“If you look in the Decision Making Information System, my name comes up 574 times. Personally, I’m trying to create a city that works. I believe I can do the best job.”

A former journalist, lawyer, certified management consultant and deputy minister of urban affairs, Sanders said he’s been following what’s been happening at City Hall since 1965.

More recently, he’s been making presentations at City Hall, hoping the media would pick up on the issues and start questioning things, he said.

“We need to be more open. We can learn a whole lot from everybody else’s mistakes and successes. It’s too easy to say: ‘To hell with it.’ I’m trying to make a difference.”

He said he is in full support of rapid transit and the leg out to the University of Manitoba, but he is opposed to the Parker lands route.

“Dillon should stop work … while we review the case and various options. We should take a little longer and do the right thing.”

When asked about the BOLD idea of a municipal income tax, he said he would not rule it out.

“It’s constructive to encourage serious debate. I’m open to changing things.”

He added that many people do not understand the scope of our current infrastructure problem.

The problem is not just the roads, but water and sewer as well.

“We need to understand the type of community we want and find a way to finance it. We need to research well,” he said.

 

 

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Meet One of Our Newest Members

by Chamber Staff 21. August 2014 11:19

We are pleased to introduce one of our newest members,Guy Sinclaire, owner of Cardioscreens.com

What does your company do?

We’re a mobile service that does cardiovascular screening right in a person’s home or office. Cardiovascular screening is done across the border, but not normally in Canada because our healthcare system is not as focused on prevention. The technology itself is more than 20 years old.

Approved by Health Canada, the medical device is portable - about the size of a fax machine. A finger probe provides information on the condition of your arteries/capillaries, of which there are more than 60,000 miles in the body.

I’m certified as a technician by a well-known naturopathic doctor. I don’t diagnose, but I can say what has worked for me. I’m also starting to sell the machines, which cost about $8,000, and to train more people on their use.

What company or business person most inspires you?

I’m attracted to people who are enthusiastic about being healthy.

How did you get the idea for your business or why did you choose to go into this business?

I’ve always been concerned about bettering my health and preventing health issues through natural means. Last year, I asked my doctor about the condition of my arteries – he replied that I looked good and not to worry. Meanwhile, a fitness trainer I knew was told by his doctor that he was in perfect health and a month later, he had a massive heart attack. If my machine can alert people to a problem, they can work at correcting the problem naturally and come back in 90 days to see if things are improving.

What’s the most difficult part of your job?

Talking to people who aren’t well and telling them what I do, but they have no interest. It’s frustrating.

What’s the most important issue facing business today?

Stress. A lot of people don’t know how to handle stress and end up going on medication, which is just a bandaid … it doesn’t fix anything.

Why did you join The Chamber?

I know there are a lot of business people who could use my services, but they don’t know where to go. I like meeting new people and being part of the business community. I like being plugged into Winnipeg.

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Meet Mayoral Candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette

by Chamber Staff 13. August 2014 13:36

Quebec City is a model for how city planning can be used to redevelop our landscape, mayoral candidate and U of M professor Robert-Falcon Ouellette told the BOLD Winnipeg caucus.

Quebec City’s lower town, once populated by homeless people, drug sniffers and prostitutes, is now, some 15 years later, one of the hippest areas of that city, Ouellette said, citing how old buildings were turned into artists’ communes and the university was encouraged to establish a campus there.

“The homeless people are still around, but there’s better interaction today.”

Walking through Winnipeg’s North End, he saw a community that had some similarities and that’s what decided him to run for mayor.

“We are a divided city – based on the economy, poverty and race. Many of the issues are hard to solve, but we’ve got to create change, so we’re not still talking about those issues.”

He himself grew up in abject poverty – no food on the table and no father around, Ouellette said, adding that as a child, he was homeless for five months, camping out in city parks with his mother, who finally decided she had to go on welfare.

Half a century ago, if you had a strong back, you could get a job and support your family. Today, you need an education, but there are those who can’t access an education and that is going to impede the long-term success of Winnipeg, he said.

He discussed a young mom who was trying to get an education, but could not take a full-course load because it took her 1 ½ hours by bus to get to the Fort Garry campus and another 1 ½ hours to get home. She couldn’t afford to move into social housing near the university and couldn’t afford to put her kids in daycare.

“That’s a sad indictment of city planning.”

He also talked about how other jurisdictions have seen a need to educate their politicians and to clearly define the role of elected officials.

“The politicians aren’t the experts. We should allow civil servants to do their jobs without interference. Politicians should have general oversight – which way we want our city to go – and then the civil servants, who are the experts, can do their jobs,” he said.

He also indicated he’s in favour of keeping EPC because the mayor might have a vision for the city, but needs to have some leverage to implement that vision.

But a change that he’d advocate for is to increase the size of council because he feels there’s currently not enough depth.

He’s also in favour of lowering the voting age to 16. In the Manitoba curriculum, Grade 9 students discuss voting, but they have to wait for the opportunity to vote, he said.

In keeping with BOLD, he’d also support a different tendering process, not solely based on cost.

The BRT infrastructure is already crumbling after two years, he said, indicating he’s been told that some contractors would use less experienced crews and not as good products to come in at a lower cost.

 

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Meet Mayoral Candidate Gord Steeves

by Chamber Staff 8. August 2014 09:23

As a policy-type of guy, mayoral candidate Gord Steeves said he likes the ideas proposed by the BOLD Winnipeg Caucus and will spend time with the BOLD platform document.

“It’s important … anyone who’s talking about the city and coming up with ideas, that’s good,” Steeves said during a two-hour meeting with the caucus.

Having been in politics for 20-plus years, he knows change happens in increments, and he feels we’re getting closer to where we need to go as a city.

However, it’s a source of consternation for him that voters are not as engaged as they should be.

“Youth, and I’m talking 18 to 45, voted about 18 per cent. And the percentage overall is dropping – 40 per cent for all Winnipeg. It’s a problem. In an age of information, it’s going the other way. Why?”

It seems younger people are “completely oblivious” that the process exists, Steeves said, suggesting that the school curriculum should be amended.

“All the important parts of life are excluded. Budget, household finance … are pushed off to the side. In the olden days, it was seen as your duty to vote. Today, it’s become OK not to vote. I don’t know how to change that, but I think a lot has to do with education at an early age.”

Australia has gone as far as making it illegal not to vote, he added.

He also expressed concern that the issues aren’t being covered indepth by the media.

At one time, there were only two TV channels, so they had a captive audience and would dig deeper into the issues. Now, with hundreds of options and fiercer competition, the media doesn’t take the time to explore the problems.

It’s also hard to get complex ideas across in today’s world, he said, after hearing about tax increment financing and using personal income tax as a revenue source instead of property tax.

“Change is tough. It’s too divergent out there to move ahead straight forward. But I commend you … you’ve gone through quite an approach.”

 

 

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Meet Mayoral Candidate Brian Bowman

by Chamber Staff 5. August 2014 05:51

“It’s time to put BOLD talk into BOLD action … that’s the reason I put my name on the ballot,” mayoral candidate Brian Bowman told the BOLD Winnipeg caucus.

Through his experiences with BOLD, Bowman discovered the depth and creativity of Winnipeggers.

“There’s no shortage of leaders and new ideas, but the problem is City Hall is on the wrong track. We need to infuse not just business sense, but common sense,” Bowman said.

There needs to be a new approach – fresh ideas, new ways of thinking and new generation leadership.

“New generation leadership is not about age, but a new approach to politics – a more open, accessible and optimistic style of politics … an ethical approach to politics.”

One of his first major policies deals with open government and public engagement, and includes pro-actively releasing how council voted – with results searchable by councillor, he said, adding cities such as Regina, Toronto and Hamilton are leaving us in the dust when it comes to open data.

His goal would be to reduce the number of FIPPA (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) requests by 25 per cent in the first year.

“But the biggest challenge (in this election) is re-engaging the public in a meaningful way.”

To address that, he would create an Office of Public Engagement, which would establish benchmarks for voter turnout in an attempt to get more of the Aboriginal community and a more diverse age group to vote. Such an office could also look into electronic voting and job descriptions for councillors.

Along with job descriptions, he wants training for councillors, he said.

“Would you hire them to operate a $1 billion business? They legitimately won, but nobody knows everything. Aggressive training would mitigate some bad examples of council not functioning.”

In a wide-ranging discussion, he indicated he will:

  • Look at property tax because it's counter-growth, not equitable, overly bureaucratic and discourages investment in the community.
  • Create incentives for increased infill and greater density downtown.
  • Attempt to depoliticize transportation issues, getting everyone working together on long-term plans.
  • Seek serious investment in incubators to ensure innovative minds stay in Winnipeg.
  • Support Our Winnipeg, the City’s development plan, but update some of the secondary plans.

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Meet Mayoral Candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis

by Chamber Staff 31. July 2014 11:29

This election is a critical moment in time, a real turning point, mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis told the BOLD Winnipeg caucus.

“We have to get rid of the cloud hanging over city council. The first challenge is to rebuild trust … there’s a big barrier between citizens and council,” Wasylycia-Leis said, suggesting she’d put in place an oversight and accountability mechanism, such as conflict of interest guidelines and a code of ethics and conduct.

“We’ve got to stop the blaming and the lack of respect.”

Her BOLD idea for Winnipeg would be to give “life” to Our Winnipeg, the City’s official development plan guiding growth and change.

The document seems to be gathering dust on a shelf. Going forward, there must be a real dialogue with key players in the community, she said.

“Different pockets of people are doing things ‘inspite’ of City Hall. We need to collaborate and the mayor can act as a facilitator … a cheer leader.”

The challenge is how to implement neighbourhood and secondary plans, and to avoid developers looking to bypass these plans based on their own free-will.

She also indicated enough is enough … the City has been letting Winnipeg’s infrastructure slowly erode to the point there’s an $8-billion infrastructure deficit.

“It can’t be solved overnight, but my BOLD idea would be to have a plan … no bandaid approach. Over the next 20-30 year, this is how we’d address it. Funding would go to things that really matter and we’d get away from the legacy of neglect.”

She alluded to a proposed New Deal strategy from 10 years ago, which looked at new revenue sources, because cities today are taking on more responsibilities without having the dollars. She also expressed interest in the BOLD platform suggestion to look at other sources of revenue than property tax, including a municipal income tax and community bonds.

She added that should she be elected in October, she would like to have a small business roundtable within her first 100 days to talk about business-related issues, plus she’d like to establish a business advisory council.

“My other big concern is how do you enlist the untapped potential of Aboriginal youth,” she said, adding they represent a huge potential labour force, ready to be trained and contribute to growing our economy.

“We need to ensure people get a foot up … buy local, use local labour.”

She also pointed to Merchant’s Corner, a redevelopment project that is converting the Merchant’s Hotel on Selkirk Avenue into a multi-use community facility, as a model of how you can bring the community together.

In listening to the BOLD platform, she also expressed interested in plans for Innovation Alley and the West Exchange.

 

 

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Meet Mayoral Candidate Mike Vogiatzakis

by Chamber Staff 31. July 2014 08:33

Compassion and caring are the values mayoral candidate Mike Vogiatzakis wants to bring to City Hall.

“It’s not just about infrastructure … it’s people. It’s about us and our kids,” Vogiatzakis said in the first scheduled mayoral candidate meeting with members of the BOLD Winnipeg caucus.

“I want to be a people’s mayor. People are struggling. Our kids need hope … to see a future. Why spend $590 million for a transit system when people are falling apart, when our infrastructure is falling apart,” the general manager of Voyage Funeral Home said.

The city is getting a bad reputation for crime and gangs. People need to feel safe, he added, referring to his plan for Safe Zones – areas monitored by surveillance cameras.

He called for an expansion of the Cadet program, which would provide training, then allow the Cadets to take over the enforcement roles of the Winnipeg Parking Authority and the traffic division of the Winnipeg Police Service, lowering costs.

In a wide-ranging discussion of issues related to the BOLD Winnipeg platform, he suggested the creation of a tax-free zone downtown, which would give businesses two years to establish themselves before paying taxes.

He suggested a tendering process, whereby the City would post tenders online, so the public would know why a proposal was picked.

When asked about accountability at City Hall, he stated that if there’s wrong-doing, charges should be laid, and if projects come in over-budget, the process should be investigated.

He added there should be no such thing as closed-door meetings and that a record of how council voted should be available online.

For the next generation to understand and get involved in politics, he would create a junior council, he said.

On transportation and infrastructure, he said the city must consider new technologies and products to extend the life and durability of our roads, and to speed up construction, crews should work round-the-clock.

The City must also have long-term plans and budgets. Complete details of w  hat the City spends each month should be available on its website, not unlike a bank statement.

“If we run the city efficiently, we don’t need to raise taxes,” he said, adding it would be a “great idea” for the City to adopt ISO standards.

Other suggestions for making Winnipeg a better city were pedestrian-only corridors and 24-hour bus service.

 

 

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Meet One of Our Newest Members

by Chamber Staff 28. July 2014 05:18

 

We are pleased to introduce one of our newest members, Jordan Molaro, owner, Interactive Design

What does your company do?

Using my experience as an independent filmmaker doing short films, documentaries and music videos with a cinematic flair, I am currently transitioning into broadcast … it really is great to wake up each day and love what you do.

What company or business person most inspires you?

I’d have to say Steve Jobs. The thing about him is he pushed boundaries and went against the grain when needed.

How did you get the idea for your business or why did you choose to go into this business?

I have always had a passion for film. I was exposed to filmmaking at a young age and at 13, received a scholarship to the Manitoba Theatre for Young People. Later, I enrolled in the University of Manitoba where I discovered a strong enthusiasm for directing films. Now, I work as a full-time director and producer of independent and commercial projects. 

In 2012, I co-founded the Nu Media program with Gord Pertruic, which immersed eight Aboriginal students in the world of film. Each student was able to learn first-hand and work with senior industry professionals. The seven-week, hands-on “all things film” program gave opportunity to these students, who had their films shown at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival.

In 2013, 24 students were enrolled in the Nu Media Program from places such as Peguis First Nation, Ebb and Flow First Nation and Sayisi Dene First Nation. Each of the students stayed in Winnipeg and were offered more than 20 workshops and seminars by our ever-growing faculty of industry-leading professionals, non-profit organizations, broadcasters and production companies. This enabled the students to create six fascinating and creative films. They also interned with companies such as CBC, Mid-Can and Buffalo Gal.

It became clear after, that there are few on-reserve opportunities because of limited access to equipment. As a result, we are taking the Nu Media Program on-tour and striving to get a camera in every community across Manitoba.

Apart from training, we have started working on a 13-part documentary broadcast series with APTN – our first - and we are very excited.

What’s the most difficult part of your job?

Not having the environment/capacity to support what we do. As I result, we’ve just moved into new space in The Exchange, 201-245 McDermot Ave. It’s beautiful.

What’s the most important issue facing business today?

Maintaining the entrepreneurial spirit.

Why did you join The Chamber?

Winnipeg is truly a word of mouth town. The Chamber is a community and it’s good knowing we’re all connected … The Chamber provides accessibility to businesses in all sectors in Winnipeg and beyond.

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Meet One of Our Newest Members

by Admin 16. July 2014 11:34

We are pleased to introduce one of our newest members, Gary Gervais, president of Heartland International English School

What does your company do?

We do English language training for international students here on a visitor or study permit. We recruit them to come to Winnipeg. In Manitoba, international education has a $230-million economic impact, but many people don’t know anything about the industry.

What company or business person most inspires you?

Within my industry, I’d say a company out of Australia, Navitas, which is a good 15-20 years ahead of Canada – they’re more savvy and cutting edge. In Australia, the international education industry is a $16-billion industry annually compared to $8 billion in Canada – it’s Australia’s largest export service industry. However, last year, the Canadian government came out and said they want to double the number of international students by 2022.

How did you get the idea for your business or why did you choose to go into this business?

I had been teaching English in Japan. When I came back to Winnipeg, I started the language school. It’s fascinating dealing with cultures from all over the world. Most of the students are in their 20s, starting their careers, and they see English as a big part of their career advancement – they’re highly motivated.

Since I opened in 1999, I have had students from 73 different countries. Last year alone, I had students from 34 countries.

What’s the most difficult part of your job?

It depends on which day, which hour. But I’d have to say the biggest challenge is the issue of visas. A few years ago, the federal government announced at 4 p.m., that effective at midnight the same day, Mexicans had to have visas. It gutted the market for us. After June 1 this year, students can no longer enter Canada through a language co-op program. That represented about 20 per cent of our business, but we saw it coming and made adjustments. It’s definitely a forever shifting landscape, which is a challenge.

What’s the most important issue facing business today?

In my world, it’s again visas. However, there are always issues if you want to grow and finance your business. Unlike other businesses, we have no worker shortages.

Why did you join The Chamber?

To raise the visibility of my industry and to network. 100 per cent of my business is selling overseas, so locally people don’t know about Heartland. When I go to lobby government, nobody knows about the industry, so I want to change that.

 

 

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Meet One of Our Newest Members

by Chamber Staff 14. July 2014 08:34

We are pleased to introduce one of our newest members, Susie Parker, owner of Sparker Strategy Group.

What does your company do?

We do social media, marketing and public relations.

What company or business person most inspires you?

Arlene Dickenson – I admire her because she has a successful communications company and did what she did as a single mom with four kids.

How did you get the idea for your business or why did you choose to go into this business?

Ever since Facebook and even before with LinkedIn, I’ve been involved with social media … helping my Mom-preneur friends. When I was on mat leave, the company I was working for was bought out, so I decided to start my own agency because no one was providing professional help. It was the perfect time to enter the marketplace … that was three years ago this week.

What’s the most difficult part of your job?

Social media changes so fast, it’s hard to stay on top of the various platforms and new networks and to maintain my knowledge base for clients.

What’s the most important issue facing business today?

Being digitally intelligent – managing your online real estate.

Why did you join The Chamber?

To network and to learn more about business locally. For a social media firm, it makes sense to be social.

 

 

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