Winnipeg mayoral candidates weigh in on cleaning up audit mess
Should police become involved? Some say yes, others say no evidence yet crimes committed
In the wake of a scathing report into a number of City of Winnipeg real estate deals, CBC asked the candidates who will inherit the mess how they would deal with it should they win the election, including whether they would ask police to investigate.
The EY (Ernst & Young) report, released Wednesday, found a number of policies and procedures were not followed in some of the city's real estate transactions.
It reviewed numerous deals going back several years, including the acquisition of the former Canada Post building downtown, which is being turned into the police service's new headquarters.
Lawyer Brian Bowman hadn't yet finished reading the audit, but said Friday he hasn't seen criminal wrongdoing so far.
"Certainly under my watch, we are not going to set this aside and continue with business as usual," he said. "We think the status quo is, we are demonstrating it in spades right now, that something has to change."
Charleswood-Tuxedo Coun. Paula Havixbeck said she isn't afraid to call in the police, but it has to be justified.
"If we delve deeper and ask questions, I think that I wouldn't hesitate to take it over to either the police or the RCMP," she said. "But I think we need to hear that evidence. Right now there isn't [any]"
Former St. Vital Coun. Gord Steeves said he understands police already have a copy of the audit, but he said it's up to police, not politicians, to decide what they investigate. He too said he will look at the audit more closely but he does have some genuine concerns.
"I don't mind telling you, I have some real concerns," he said. "There is some specific things in there where there looks to be some sole sourcing. That seems to be at first blush to be inappropriate."
Funeral home owner Mike Vogiatzakis said the police should be looking at the audit right now, whether he becomes mayor or not.
"I think you should even bring in an RCMP investigation," he said. "Bring somebody in to do an investigation and see where this money has gone."
Former NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis, who lost to current mayor Sam Katz in the last election. said the current council still has a chance to get some answers now. But she also vowed if it doesn't, she will if she wins the election.
"If the present mayor and council doesn't deal with this matter and leaves it to the next administration, I will deal with it. And all options will be on the table."
Neither Michel Fillion nor Robert-Falcon Ouellette could be reached for comment.
City council meets Wednesday to take a closer look at the audit.