Bokhari, Shone pitch promises of equality, financial change in rival bids to become Winnipeg mayor
Former Manitoba Liberal leader Rana Bokhari and business owner Rick Shone held campaign launches Tuesday night
In two different Winnipeg neighbourhoods, two mayoral candidates launched their campaigns with the same goal in mind: become the next mayor.
Rana Bokhari kicked off her run at the Norwood Hotel in St. Boniface, while Rick Shone did so in St. James Industrial at Torque Brewing.
Former and current First Nations chiefs were present at Bokhari's event, as was Feast Cafe Bistro owner and entrepreneur Christa Bruneau-Guenther.
"I can describe my vision for Winnipeg in three words: trusted, connected and envied," Bokhari said in a speech to about 80 supporters.
Bokhari said as mayor, she'd strive to make sure everyone has the same access to services in the city. She used community centres as one example where she sees disparity.
"I'm really going to be focusing on building community centres, building places within communities that people can go when they need something like youth centres, mental health services — those wraparound services," she said in an interview.
"Those do not exist in the city as are needed. And if they do exist, they're on a schedule that's really not suitable or conducive to somebody in crisis."
Bokhari spoke about her family, and how her parents' determination as immigrants inspires her to continue in politics. She said she wants to focus on making everyone "feel welcome" in Winnipeg. She said there's "a lot of institutional racist issues in the city."
She credits Mayor Brian Bowman for bringing conversations about race to City Hall — including creating a human rights committee — but says there's more that can be done.
"Not many people think a committee is going to help them at their back door," she said.
"Brian is an ethical man and he's trying. However, my lived experience is very different than Brian Bowman's lived experience and every other councillor's," said Bokhari.
"I look a different way, I act a different way, I talk a different way. I come from a different world."
During her speech, Bokhari said she'd like to see more sustainable infrastructure, but didn't elaborate on policy. She said she'd spend the summer speaking with Winnipeggers before making any policy announcements.
Finances, trash, transit top of mind for Shone
Also Tuesday night, about 100 Winnipeggers who want business owner Rick Shone to become the city's next mayor joined him at his kickoff at Torque Brewing in St. James.
During his speech, Shone said two city councillors confided in him, telling him the city's "finances are broken." Shone wouldn't say which councillors he spoke with, though he said the city has been cutting services and staff to try and save money.
Shone said that's not sustainable.
"At some point, a big organization just doesn't really function very well anymore," he said in an interview.
"The first thing I would do as mayor is I'm going to get in there and open those books and find out where every dollar is hidden so that we know how in the heck we can make this better."
Shone said new ways to generate revenue "are on the table."
Shone said he would like to see light-rail transit come to Winnipeg, but first he'd like to speed up the rapid transit master plan.
He also said he'd like to leverage existing community groups who are doing neighbourhood cleanups to help pick up garbage and boost the beautification of Winnipeg.
Motkaluk loses campaign manager
While Shone and Bokhari held campaign launch events, another mayoral candidate was looking for a new campaign manager.
Thirty days into her second campaign for mayor, business consultant Jenny Motkaluk parted ways with campaign manager Fred Westphal.
Both Westphal and Motkaluk spokesperson Dave MacKay said it was a mutual decision.
Westphal started working on the mayoral race after managing PC MLA Obby Khan's successful byelection campaign in Fort Whyte.
A total of nine candidates are registered to run for mayor. Manitoba Families Minister Rochelle Squires will make it 10 if she enters the race following the conclusion of the current legislative session, which ends on Wednesday.
As of Tuesday, she had not confirmed or denied an interest in running for mayor, saying only that she would declare her intentions after June 1.
With files from Bartley Kives