Restoring Public Trust in City Hall: Accountability, Integrity & Transparency

‘The single largest issue surrounding many of the corruption scandals is the lack of transparency and open government.’ – Robert-Falcon Ouellette


Today we announced and reaffirmed a host of measures designed to restore public trust in city hall. Measures that include exhausting all means available to hold accountable those responsible for the Winnipeg Police Service headquarters overruns, creating a strong leadership culture at City Hall, implementing ranked ballots for Mayoral elections and allowing council to elect the Executive Policy Committee (EPC). (1)


As your mayor I will work tirelessly to restore your trust in City Hall and the departments that serve you. And to city employees, as your Mayor I will work to make the city a great place to work and promise to protect you when you see wrongdoing and want to do what is right and report it.




Your City Hall - Accountable, Honest & Transparent


‘The single largest issue surrounding many of the corruption scandals is the lack of transparency and open government.’ – Robert-Falcon Ouellette


We will continue to hold accountable those who were responsible for the police headquarters overrun and added a commitment to implementing the following changes through the Integrity Commissioner at city hall; (2)

1. Have the city compile and release an annual list of contracts awarded to campaign donors of the Mayor and Council.

2. Create a mandatory registry of the financial interests of the Mayor, Councillors, and their immediate family members, including their assets, liabilities, and real estate holdings.

3. Modernize Conflict of Interest Rules so that financial relationships and holdings are not limited within Manitoba’s borders.

4. Establish Integrity Certification for Contractors: The Government of Canada and many other governments and organizations have established ethical guidelines for contractors, which, if broken, can result in contractors being barred from bidding on government contracts for a period of time.

5. Limit campaign contributions beside the candidate and immediate family members to $500.


The single largest issue surrounding many of the corruption scandals is the lack of transparency and open government. The ideas of accountability, integrity and transparency are indispensable elements of any democracy and the removal of one of these erodes our democracy and can cause harm to both the level of public participation and economic efficiency.



Creating a Strong Leadership Culture in Civic Administration


‘We want to be certain that everyone at all levels can contribute to helping make our city safe, thriving and livable for everyone.’ Robert-Falcon Ouellette



We should not underestimate the power of the mayor’s office, working with the CAO, to create a welcoming workplace and strong culture for city employees who job is to meet the needs of Winnipeggers. Every employee should know that they are essential and important to the wellbeing of our city.


To offer the highest level of service to citizens, city employees must feel they are heard when they have feedback and protected when complaints are made.


I have met countless bus drivers, planners, water and waste employees and call center employees who want to feel that their work is important and essential.


To foster a positive work culture where employees are motivated to give their best everyday, we will offer training to city management, and those identified for succession planning, in leadership and management skills development. We need to develop the next generation of leaders of city administration that have the skills and understanding about how we can make our city a better place for everyone.


We are not here to disparage the current work culture but consider that continual efforts need to be made to see improvements so that employees are excited to come to work to serve the citizen of Winnipeg.


This work culture will also apply to city council where there have been several disagreements between member of council who feel excluded and cut out from decision making. We want to be certain that everyone at all levels can contribute to helping make our city safe, thriving and livable for everyone.



Making Every Vote Count – A Ranked Ballot (3)


‘…a ranked ballot is one way to ensure that the Mayor and Council have the support of a majority of voters.’ - Robert-Falcon Ouellette


With a ranked ballot voters number their choice for candidates, first, second, third and so on. If no candidate has over 50% of the votes, the candidate with the least number of votes has their votes redistributed based on the second choice on those ballots. This process is repeated until one candidate gets over 50% of the votes.


We near the end of this election for Winnipeg’s next Mayor with eleven candidates, who brought a wide range of ideas to the table. Under our current, first-past-the post system, Winnipeggers can find themselves voting against a candidate they don’t want, rather than for a candidate they do want.


A ranked ballot offered several benefits over the current first-past-the-post system.

  1. Winnipeggers can vote their conscience without having to “vote strategically” or worry about splitting the vote.

  2. Because candidates must win a majority, campaigns may be less negative as candidates want their opponents’ supporters to have them as a second choice.

  3. It encourages higher voter turnout, since people will know their vote will still count, even if their first choice doesn’t win.


Democratic reform is important in part because turnout in elections is so low. In the 2018 Municipal Election voter turnout was 42.33%.


To make our city better, we need leadership and ideas supported by the widest possible mandate. If we want City Hall to be focused on the public interest and the city as a whole, a ranked ballot is one way to ensure that the Mayor and Council truly have the support of a majority of voters.


Please read the full 'Ranked Ballot' statement here.



Making Your Voice Heard - An Elected EPC (4)


‘What Winnipeggers have told us is that in order for City Hall to regain their trust, it is important for the mayor to work with all of council and in particular, to work with council without the influence of an EPC appointment.’ - Robert-Falcon Ouellette


Under the City of Winnipeg Charter Act, the EPC is established and councillors are appointed by the mayor with broad guidelines regarding its make up.


In effect, an appointment of a councillor to EPC by the Mayor can act as a carrot or stick. Being part of the EPC means more pay for a councillor. Not doing what the mayor wants could mean removal.


This creates a de facto ruling bloc on council making up the majority vote, pushing councillors not on EPC to the side and leaving some Winnipeggers feeling like they’re not being heard.


What Winnipeggers have told us is that in order for City Hall to regain their trust, it is important for the mayor to work with all of council. In particular, to work with council without the influence of the EPC appointment.


To address this, I am proposing at the first meeting of council after a municipal election, that the members of EPC are elected by council. Additionally, at least once a year, council will meet to re-elect or elect new members to EPC.

Please read the full 'EPC' statement here.



(1) https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/winnipeg-police-hq-lawsuit-defendants-added-1.6510832


(2) https://www.winnipeg.ca/council/integritycommissioner/RoleOfTheIC.stm


(3) https://www.robertfalcon.ca/post/making-every-vote-count-ranked-ballots-for-future-elections


(4) https://www.robertfalcon.ca/post/restoring-public-trust-in-city-hall-with-an-elected-epc


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