Manitoba

Wasylycia-Leis promises end to city secrecy

Winnipeg mayoralty hopeful Judy Wasylycia-Leis pledged Wednesday to publicly release details of all major public contracts with the city if elected in an effort to end what she says is a culture of secrecy at City Hall.

Winnipeg mayoralty hopeful Judy Wasylycia-Leis pledged Wednesday to release details of all major public contracts with the city if elected in an effort to end what she says is a culture of secrecy at City Hall.

Wasylycia-Leis challenged incumbent Sam Katz to share with the public the details of a 30-year-long wastewater-treatment deal with water giant Veolia Canada.

In May, city council approved a 30-year-contract with Veolia, worth $660 million, to design, build and help manage two waste-water plants. Other components of the deal could bring its total value to $1.2 billion. Neither city councillors nor the public were not made privy to the details.

Wasylycia-Leis said that would all change if she is elected on Oct. 27.

"The days of secrecy and backroom deals are over if I become your mayor," she said.

"Winnipeg families deserve better. They deserve transparency and they deserve the truth."

Katz has previously refused to disclose the details, citing privacy concerns.

He said Wednesday that he will do so once the deal is finalized.

Katz brushed aside his challenger's contention that his administration is too secretive, saying that voters he's talked to don't seem to have the same concern.

"I've been out there knocking on doors, talking to people, morning, noon and night. And I gotta be very frank with you. Not one individual has brought that up as a concern," he said.

Katz has also said he believes the Veoila contract will ultimately save taxpayers money.

With files from the CBC's Sean Kavanagh

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