No regrets about storming out of council meeting, says Russ Wyatt
Transcona councillor walked out of meeting when amendments to bike, pedestrian plan rejected
Winnipeg city Coun. Russ Wyatt says he has no regrets about storming out of Wednesday's city council meeting and taping 20 rejected amendments to the mayor's door.
The Transcona councillor was criticized by Mayor Brian Bowman for his "antics" at the meeting, which came after debate wasn't allowed on amendments from him and four other councillors to change the city's pedestrian and cycling strategy.
"I would suggest to you that the mayor is the one who is playing the antics in terms of what's been done and what's been manipulated," Wyatt said Thursday.
"The mayor has a tremendous amount of power. The mayor really holds most of the cards in terms of the city that we have."
The 20-year, $334-million strategy was eventually passed by a vote of 12-3.
Wyatt was not present for the vote. Instead, he walked to Bowman's office and taped the motions — with the words "democracy denied" written on each one — onto the door.
Wyatt says he can work with Bowman
After the meeting, Bowman called Wyatt's actions bullying at worst and, at best, "unbecoming of an elected member of Winnipeg city council that is here to represent the citizens."
"I can't speak to the behaviour of one councillor who chose not to ultimately be there to represent his citizens," Bowman told reporters.
"That's really a decision that he made and that he'll have to answer to the residents in Transcona."
On Thursday, Wyatt argued that other cities in Canada invest less power in the office of mayor.
At the same time, Wyatt said he believes he can still work with Bowman.
Another critic of the cycling and pedestrian strategy, Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie, said he expects to butt heads with the mayor more often.
Eadie argued that Wednesday's vote shows that nothing has changed at Winnipeg city hall, despite Bowman's election pledge to make the civic government more open.
Eadie voted against the strategy on Wednesday, along with councillors Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) and Shawn Dobson (St. Charles).
Elmwood-East Kildonan Coun. Jason Schreyer, who had also criticized the strategy, ultimately voted in favour of it.