Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry Candidates: Winnipeg Without Poverty 2018 Questionnaire Responses

Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry

Candidates: Stephanie Meilleur, Sherri Rollins, Peter Koroma, Harry Wolbert, Michael Thompson, Bryanna Spain, Jeff Palmer

  1. Will you be a champion for a Winnipeg Without Poverty and commit to leading the development of a comprehensive poverty reduction plan for Winnipeg with progress indicators that have targets and timelines?

Stephanie Meilleur:

Absolutely!

Sherri Rollins:

Absolutely, and targets and timelines are particularly important to me. I have made a campaign commitment to work towards eliminating poverty in our city by fighting for a comprehensive, citywide poverty reduction strategy so that all Winnipeggers have a chance to get ahead. We know that poverty is a multifaceted issue that needs to be addressed by focusing on improving housing, investing in child care, improving transit, reconciliation, standing up to cuts to social services, and a variety of other factors. We need to take into real consideration the proposals included in Winni- peg Without Poverty: Calling on the City to Lead report, and work to build a more inclusive city for everyone.

Peter Koroma:

Yes, I have been and will continue to be a champion for a Winnipeg Without Poverty. This is a major part of my platform, falling under the umbrella of “Social Justice.” It is my firm belief (supported by statistics) that combating poverty and specifically ending homelessness would have all kinds of benefits for society, and long-term savings would far outweigh the initial costs of tackling these problems. Besides being the right thing to do for our fellow Manitobans, it is also good for our economy to house the homeless and find training and employment for the poor. We need a long-term poverty reduction plan for Winnipeg, and I would personally lead this effort and lobby the Mayor to make it a priority.

Harry Wolbert:

If elected, I won’t forget about our city’s poor and homeless. I will be their champion at City Hall. I believe that a Winnipeg without poverty is possible! Furthermore, I believe that the City of Winnipeg has a role to play when it comes to eliminating poverty and homelessness in our city. I will push for the development and implementation of a Poverty Reduction Plan with targets, measurements, and timelines.

Michael Thompson:

YES, I will continue to work with community groups, social agencies and higher levels of government to address poverty.

Bryanna Spain:

No response.

Jeff Palmer:

Thank you for inviting me to be a part of the survey.  I strongly believe that a healthy, sustainable community is supported by four pillars:

  1. a diverse and resilient local economy
  2. a clean and healthy environment
  3. understanding and responding to social issues, and
  4. providing a vibrant cultural experience.

Action in the 13 areas listed in your email is critical in establishing a sustainable community.

I support the establishment of a comprehensive poverty reduction plan for Winnipeg, including identifying areas where the City is well-positioned to act, with progress indicators that have targets and timelines.  Addressing poverty requires action on the part of many players and levels of government, and I would work to ensure that the City of Winnipeg participates fully in the planning and implementation of a poverty reduction plan.

  1. What specific actions will you take to reduce poverty in Winnipeg via the City of Winnipeg?

Stephanie Meilleur:

I currently sit on the Unsafe Panhandling Steering Committee and believe that the comprehensive short and long term planning the committee has come up with is a great start. Addressing and solving our poverty requires working with local organizations, all three levels of government and the sharing of data.

Sherri Rollins:

Actions and ideas to reduce poverty need to be rooted in our communities, and the city has an important role to play in collaborating with communities around the city to develop a comprehen- sive poverty reduction strategy based in the grassroots community.

I’ve heard first hand from Winnipeggers at the doorstep throughout this campaign that the city needs to do a better job of making sure families can put food on the table through a real food security plan. Commuters have told me that we need to improve the frequency and reliability of transit services while keeping fares low. People who rely on social services have made it clear that they want a councillor who will stand up to needless cuts to social services. Renters have stressed the need for building more affordable housing in every community across our city.

My plan for Winnipeggers is a poverty reduction strategy that invests in our services and makes it easier for families to make ends meet. I am committed to working with communities at the grass- roots to build a comprehensive, citywide poverty reduction strategy that addresses these concerns and builds a better city for all Winnipeggers.

Peter Koroma:

Housing the homeless requires City Hall to take the lead. No other level of government deals with our streets in this city every day, and we are paying for the costs of ambulance fees and security issues related to homeless people. Medicine Hat, Alberta was able to house the homeless and the rationale their Mayor used is that it costs roughly $20,000 a year to house someone, while it can cost up to $100,000 a year in healthcare and social costs to do nothing and allow the status quo.

I will challenge my fellow city councillors to come up with a plan to house the homeless, and once we agree on a plan we then reach out to our counterparts in other levels of government to look at long-term funding. I also support Social Enterprise policies that encourage businesses and corporations to take on training poor people for the jobs of the 21st century, then employing those people. Ensuring that Affordable Housing is made available in future developments, especially Downtown and in Osborne Village, is another policy I support so that working class and low-income people can afford to live in these communities.

Harry Wolbert:

What actions will I take to help reduce poverty? I will call for the introduction of a low-income bus pass. As an anti-poverty advocate and transit user, a “safe, affordable and accessible” public transit system is very important to me. I also support a Living Wage Policy for City of Winnipeg employees and all contract delivered services.

Michael Thompson:

I would start by following up on the 2018 budget commitment that transit would prepare a report that would, amongst other things, explore the option of a low-income bus pass. I would also vote in favour of initiatives and budget items that would help low income citizens be able to afford public services and community recreational programs. (E.g. subsidized swimming lessons, passes to local attractions such as the Children’s Museum that would be available through the public library system).

Bryanna Spain:

No response.

Jeff Palmer:

My own area of interest and activity has focused on the development of new affordable housing units.  I was directly involved in the Bell Hotel redevelopment, Merchants Corner redevelopment, and Centre Village housing projects.  I strongly support the Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation and believe that all levels of government have a role to play when it comes to the provision of affordable housing.  I have also been involved with the Boards of Westminster Housing Society (I was Past Chair) and am currently on the Board of PAL (Performing Arts Lodge) Winnipeg, an organization dedicated to providing affordable housing to artists.

  1. How will you work with community groups and people with lived experience of poverty?

Stephanie Meilleur:

Community groups need the tools of data sharing and communication practices. Bringing all groups together to achieve goals cohesively is a practice I want to be a part of.

Sherri Rollins:

I have an established track record of working with community groups and people whether as a policy analyst or a school board trustee. Collaborating with community groups and people with lived experience is critical to ensuring a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy actually brings about the results we want for our city. Taking an approach that works constructively with commu- nities to determine their needs is a key step to reducing poverty. I will ensure that my work as city councillor in Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry reflects the needs of neighbourhoods around the ward, and I will make it a priority to meet with stakeholders and organizations in our community dedi- cated to building a better life for those facing the challenges of poverty.

Peter Koroma:

I have spent over 30 years working with people who have a lived experience with poverty. I have been a community advocate for newcomers and inner-city issues, and now I will take my advocacy to City Hall where I will always think about those in society who have the least. As a case worker for the province, I dealt with welfare recipients and Child & Family Services issues first-hand, and I have always cared about their well-being and tried to help these people and families who are down on their luck.

With so many community groups doing amazing work to support poor people and combat poverty, the City needs only to take their hands and ask them how we can make their jobs easier.

We cannot ignore the connection between drugs and poverty too, in many cases otherwise affluent people (often young adults) become addicted to meth or another drug and need to go to the streets to get their fix. I have heard too many heartbreaking stories while campaigning, and that’s why I support a safe injection site to take these drug addicts off the streets and get them into rehab. Business as usual is simply unacceptable at this point.

Harry Wolbert:

As a City Councillor, How will I work with community groups and people with “lived experience” of poverty? I’ll start by making a Winnipeg without poverty a priority of mine. I will actively engage with all stakeholders to establish a shared vision, priorities, and policy directions for the City of Winnipeg.  I will listen to all stakeholders and take their issues and concerns seriously. According to the latest street census, homelessness has been on the rise in Winnipeg. I find this unacceptable! The issues of poverty and homelessness can no longer be ignored by our local politicians. It is time for action!

Michael Thompson:

I would begin by listening to the needs of community members who are living with or have lived with the reality of poverty. I would support community groups through initiatives such as the Per Capita Grant, Community Incentive Grant and the Land Dedication Reserve Fund. I would work with and lobby higher levels of government and non-government organizations such as Local Investment Toward Employment (LITE) to advance an anti-poverty agenda.

Bryanna Spain:

No response.

Jeff Palmer:

I will champion a Winnipeg Without Poverty, but I also know that there are other candidates running in the election that have more direct experience on the issue.  I believe that there are others who can do a better job moving the issue forward, with my full support. I would prefer to focus my efforts where I have experience including the provision of affordable housing.  I believe that community organizations are full partners in the provision of affordable housing, and enjoy working directly with communities to ensure that the projects we build are supported by and meet the needs of residents.

  1. Anything further to add?

Stephanie Meilleur:

I am so proud of End homelessness Winnipeg and the work they are doing. I want you to send me to City Hall so I can join the team to end poverty

Sherri Rollins:

I want to thank Make Poverty History Manitoba for their dedicated work to eliminate poverty in our city. We need to take real action on poverty reduction and work with communities facing poverty by addressing its underlying causes. By standing up to cuts to social services and work- ing to provide community organizations with the resources they need as part of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy in our city, including restorative justice, we can make a real difference in the lives of Winnipeg families struggling to make ends meet.

Peter Koroma:

This is an issue that is near and dear to me, as I have been working with poor people and newcomers for three decades in this city – helping with everything from Housing to Child and Family Services issues to Immigration filings. I believe there are many ways City Hall can do more to combat poverty with the right political leadership, and I will advocate for those solutions if elected City Councillor for Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry.

Harry Wolbert:

My campaign theme is: Everyone in our city matters! That includes our city’s poor and homeless.

Michael Thompson:

My platform is to “MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE FOR EVERYONE.” We can only do that by working to make life better for our citizens including those who live in poverty. We can, through stakeholder collaboration, make our community institutions and our city services more accessible, efficient, and affordable for all Winnipeggers regardless of socioeconomic status. We can provide more support for community centres so that they can continue to provide important programs that help our communities to be safe and energized. I believe that everyone deserves to be listened to and to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their socio-economic status and I will fight hard for that value.

If you need anything else, please let me know.  I respect what you are advocating and thank you for highlighting an issue that does not receive enough attention.

Jeff Palmer:

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your questions.

Advertisements