Manitoba

Motkaluk promises Winnipeg police task force 'to catch the bad guys' selling meth

Mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk promised Thursday to direct the Winnipeg Police Service to create a methamphetamine task force aimed at removing as much of the chemical as possible from the streets.

Mayoral candidate also hints at tax plans, while rival Brian Bowman unveils list of campaign donors

Mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk said her proposed methamphetamine task force would not require the Winnipeg Police Service to spend any additional money. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk has made another pledge addressing the presence of methamphetamine in Winnipeg, this time on the policing side.

Motkaluk promised Thursday to direct the Winnipeg Police Service to create a methamphetamine task force aimed at removing as much of the chemical as possible from the streets.

The task force would be charged with redirecting police resources to shut down meth producers, distributors and traffickers, Motkaluk said at her Ness Avenue campaign headquarters.

"I'm not a police officer, so I don't know exactly what they would do every single day to try to catch the bad guys that are selling drugs on our streets, but what I do know is their job is going to be to catch the bad guys selling drugs on our streets," she said.

Motkaluk said a police response is necessary even though she primarily sees methamphetamine use as a health crisis. She also said her pledge would not require the Winnipeg Police Service to spend any additional money.

In August, she said as mayor, she would divert more patients who've consumed methamphetamine away from hospitals to a new secure facility at the Main Street Project.

In order to make that happen, the Main Street Project would require a $100,000 methamphetamine treatment wing and $400,000 in additional annual funding, primarily for nurses, Motkaluk said on Aug. 31. 

That would also free up police resources, she added Thursday, noting two officers must accompany meth patients at hospitals to ensure they don't harm people, property or themselves.

Motkaluk also blamed Bowman for doing too little to address Winnipeg's methamphetamine problem.

"We do have a drug crisis and we do have rising crime and nothing that Brian Bowman says — no pretty picture that he paints, no photo op that he posts — is going to fix a single thing," she said.

Bowman unveils donor names

Rival mayoral candidate Brian Bowman, meanwhile, unveiled the names of his 2018 re-election campaign donors.

Donors to mayoral campaigns may contribute up to $1,500 to each candidate. Bowman's campaign revealed a list of his donors to date but did not state what they donated.

Contributors to Bowman's campaign include former Manitoba premier Gary Filmon, Hartley Richardson of Richardson International and philanthropist Gail Asper, who is also one of Bowman's honorary campaign chairs.

Mayoral candidate Brian Bowman released the names of 2018 campaign donors to date. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Bowman challenged other candidates to release their own donor lists.

"One way in which mayoral candidates can demonstrate how they would govern, if given the chance, regarding openness and transparency is to let people know who is contributing to them financially," he told reporters at the downtown Radisson Hotel.

Motkaluk said she would not release names of her donors during the campaign.

"I am going to respect the expectation of privacy that every single contributor to my campaign has, unlike the mayor, who is in fact a privacy lawyer, who thinks he doesn't have to do that," she said.

Motkaluk hints again at tax plans

While Motkaluk would not reveal her donor names, she acknowledged she has raised a significant amount of money and is planning an ad campaign.

CBC News then asked if Winnipeggers will see her ads on Oct. 11, when she has promised to unveil her property tax plans.

Motkaluk then hinted — for the third time in a month  –​ that she plans to raise property taxes at a rate below Bowman's promised 2.33 per cent a year, if not freezing or even cutting them.

"I will be announcing my tax plan on the 11th and Winnipeggers are going to really like it," she said.

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