Come Sail Away: Styx serves as the soundtrack as Winnipeg's 15th council is sworn in

Winnipeg's elected officials took their anti-corruption oaths on Tuesday night as they were sworn into office at the inaugural meeting of the city's 15th council.

Devi Sharma re-elected as council speaker; Bowman repeats themes from his campaign

Mayor Brian Bowman, adorned with the chain of office, presided over the inaugural meeting of Winnipeg's new city council. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Winnipeg's elected officials took their anti-corruption oaths on Tuesday night as they were sworn into office at the inaugural meeting of the city's 15th council.

After every election, all 16 members of council pledge not to receive "any payment or reward or the promise of payment of award" as they execute their duties over the next four years.

Five new members of council made that pledge on Tuesday: Couns. Markus Chambers (St. Norbert-Seine River), Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo), Shawn Nason (Transcona), Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) and Vivian Santos (Point Douglas).

"Those of you that are elected and the newly elected officials, we know that the journey that you embark on is not going to be an easy journey," elder Norman Meade said as he blessed the new council.

Mayor Brian Bowman, presiding over his second inaugural meeting, joked he looks forward to unanimous agreement about every issue that comes before this council, "right after the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Grey Cup and president Donald Trump deactivates his Twitter account."

Bowman thanked all the candidates in the 2018 election, the officials who presided over it and all of Winnipeg's public servants. He also acknowledged the friends and family of council members who filled the gallery at the invitation-only affair.

During the meeting, council re-elected Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan) as council speaker and elected Janice Lukes (Waverley West) as deputy speaker.

Couns. Vivian Santos (Point Douglas), Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) and Brian Mayes (St. Vital) watch the proceedings. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Bowman also issued a 10-minute speech, during which he repeated several of the themes from his election campaign, including his claim that Winnipeg voters chose a politics of inclusion over more divisive politics. 

During the campaign, that was Bowman's primary rhetorical attack against mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk, who finished second in the race.

After the meeting, the mayor was asked to explain why he repeated his campaign rhetoric during council's inaugural meeting

"I earned a stronger mandate with a clearer platform and vision to continue building the city for the future," said Bowman, referring to his election-night capture of 53 per cent of the popular vote.

The mayor did not, however, offer any explanation for the choice of song performed at the end of the meeting. Choral group Enharmony sang an acoustic version of Come Sail Away, by Styx.

The song is about an alien encounter.

"I thought that they were angels but to my surprise, they climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies," intones the 1977 ditty's protagonist.

"Welcome to city hall," laughed the mayor. "It's a great song, beautifully sung. I'll let you opine on what it says but there could have been even worse lyrics." 


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