Winnipeg city hall: What should happen next?

On Monday morning, in our news run, we ran a clip of local political analyst Chris Adams who said it was hard to tell what political damage the fire hall land swap review might do to Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz.

On Monday morning, in our news run, we ran a clip of local political analyst Chris Adams who said it was hard to tell what political damage the fire hall land swap review might do to Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz.

"To date, the scandals coming out with Sam Katz have not been at the same level of scandals facing mayors down east," said Adams.

I don't think Adams is necessarily wrong, but when I heard that quote, all I could think was, “Really? That's the standard for civic leadership in Canada right now -- to compare scandal against scandal? Other mayors are charged with gangsterism and fraud and allegedly being crackheads and so our mayor will be fine?”

It didn't take long for me to find an online poll that was launched this summer that found Katz is one of the top seven worst mayors in Canada.

Fantastic. That's just the kind of national attention we want for our city.

So now that the fire hall review is out, what is the political fallout?

As you likely know by now, the audit was scathing.

It shows that Winnipeg's former CAO Phil Sheegl mishandled the project. He pushed to ensure Shindico would get the contracts. He made sure city council would be kept in the dark. Favouritism confirmed.

The mayor, however, denied knowing anything about offering favours to Shindico despite his close relationship with Sheegl and the fact he and Shindico president Sandy Shindleman were co-owners of the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball club for years.

On Monday, Katz said he is no longer a business partner of Shindleman.

I really want to ask the mayor how well he thinks he has performed in his role as leader of the City of Winnipeg.

If he didn't know anything about this, then is he spitting angry at his buddy for the way he's spending our money? Does he feel betrayed by Sheegl?

When Sheegl resigned Katz speculated it had to do with "pressures of the job." What does he think now?

Just so you know, Katz has been asked at least five times by CBC for an interview on our morning show, and we are still waiting.

What is really hard to wrap your head around is the number of times the question about conflict of interest has been asked of the mayor over the past year and a half regarding his relationship with Shindico.

On at least eight occasions, Katz was present when Shindico business was on the city hall agenda and has repeatedly stated that his relationship with the Shindlemans does not constitute a conflict of interest.

I think it's important for the sake of transparency that the Mayor speak candidly about all these things.

Political analyst Brian Kelcey said Katz should resign.

He also said the Chamber of Commerce and the rest of the city councillors shouldn't be standing by as land swap deals are being floated through city hall, leaving auditors to do reviews.

Kelcey said councillors should be proactive and pour over concerning documents themselves.

He said there aren't enough tough questions being asked.

Some CBC viewers and listneres also have some very pointed criticism of the events.

Read a few of their comments left on our website below:

Ruralreader wrote:

"Wow, and we laughed at Toronto's Mayor...I'm thinking the following should take place:

1) Re-hire Douglas, he was a pawn in this "game".

2) Reverse Sheegl's severance pay. It is evident he did not act in the best interests of the public. Let Shindico pay him, they have the cash and then some.

3) Expropriate the Taylor property from Shindico at a fraction of its value.

4) Bar Shindico (and any of its owners/partners) from any dealings with the city for 10 years.

5) Demand an apology from Sam before he resigns (with no severance or benefits).

6) If Sam does not resign, fire/impeach him (again with no benefits or severance)."

Kachina 1 tried to be positive:

"I think it's a very good day for City Hall. This is the day they can start moving forward in a meaningful way because they finally have some clarity about what the starting point is. If you don't know where you are, you can't head out to where you want to be. And they might want to have a look at the travelling companions assembled for the journey forward. Some of them will need a lot of help, and may not be up to the challenges ahead."

Maschine, however, isn't ready for a bright side:

"It's a sad day for city hall. We are seeing longtime employees stick their head in the sand. It's sad."

And finally on our CBC Manitoba Facebook page Parmeet Bedi Shaw just sounded fed up, writing:

"Something has to change. I have had enough as a tax payer. I am speechless to see how our hard earned money is mismanaged. This should not be even a discussion, no severance for such people. News such as this is very disheartening. Politicians are public servants and need to be answerable to public. No exceptions!!!!"

On Thursday morning, at 7:40 a.m., our provocative question on 89.3 FM will be "Is it time for the mayor to resign?"

Provocative question

I promised myself when we started the "provocative question" that I would never ask something so personal and pointed just for the sake of a radio discussion, but this week it's for the sake of the city.

What do you think? Tweet @cbcmarcy or @cbcinforad

About the Author

Marcy Markusa

Host, Information Radio

Marcy Markusa hosts Information Radio on CBC Radio One 89.3 FM / 990 AM in Winnipeg. Born and raised in the Manitoba capital, Marcy is passionate about the future of our community and loves how it's growing in both confidence and prosperity. She thrives on getting honest and straight-forward answers for listeners and infuses the show with her energetic warmth and sense of humour.


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