A rockin’ evening in support of Robert-Falcon Ouellette for the Mayor of Winnipeg. Join the Robert-Falcon Ouellette Campaign at the Pyramid Cabaret on Friday, October 10th to show your support! Continue reading Flyin’ with the Falcon For Mayor Event October 10th
For Immediate Release – October 3, 2014
WINNIPEG – Musician Errol Ranville – known as “CWEED” is leading a call for Aboriginal voters in Winnipeg to get to the polls, vote and unite behind Mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette.
“We can all gather at the polls this civic election not necessarily just to elect a new Mayor of the City of Winnipeg but to also experience the power that we have in unity,” Ranville said in an open letter released Sept 30.
Ouellette thanked Ranville for his support, and reaffirmed his commitment to being a “Mayor for Everyone.”
“The Aboriginal community wants change, and better government at City Hall, but they are not alone,” said Ouellette. “This election is an opportunity to change the course of our city for the better for every citizen.”
Here is the text of Ranville’s letter:
“Run as One
The Time has come for our Aboriginal community to step forward and be counted and to “Run as One”.
It is crucial that we do not let this once-in-a-century opportunity pass us by.
I am not a politician and until now I have not been actively involved in any civic elections. I’m a singer and I represent our Aboriginal community with songs and music. I am also a visionary and with this gift there is tremendous responsibility. I see a better future for us… right now.
We need to all comprehend the importance that one vote is to us all as a community if we are to change our future and break the cycle of the condition we are in. We are constantly going to our governments with proposals and requests for assistance for all the many needs that we have as a people and a civic community.
Right now we have an opportunity to begin to choose our own governments, collectively.
As some of you may know, there is a civic election going on right now. The polls opened Sept 29.
It is our duty to let the others around us know how important this opportunity means to our community and our children’s future.
We need to start electing our own people to the various seats of government if we are to affect our future.
There are several Aboriginal people running for Civic seats right now and your one vote is the beginning of a new unity that we will begin to create and celebrate. A bloc vote.
We can all gather at the polls this civic election not necessarily just to elect a new Mayor of the City of Winnipeg but to also experience the power that we have in “Unity”.
Or perhaps we will all gather to watch “the Falcon” take flight!
MEDIA RELEASE – For Immediate Release
For Immediate Release – October 1, 2014
WINNIPEG – Mayoral Candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette says an e-mail sent by CUPE local 500 on Friday, September 26 calling for volunteers for the campaign of Mayoral Candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis once again raises the question of “in-kind” donations from union executives to her campaign.
Ouellette said his campaign received a copy of an e-mail from a mass mailout sent by CUPE Local 500 at 2:23 in the afternoon last Friday, September 26.
Sent from an official e-mail address, email@example.com, it invited members to volunteer over the weekend on Wasylycia-Leis’ campaign. Interested volunteers were asked to call CUPE’s “Special Assignments Officer” at the local’s office phone number.
“Union involvement in elections are an essential expression of their democratic rights, but that doesn’t extend to supplying paid employees to campaigns,” said Ouellette. “The question for both CUPE and Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: how is this being accounted for, and are CUPE staffers taking an unpaid leave while they organize for her campaign?”
According to CUPE’s website, “The Local 500 President works full-time for our union. The president is the administrative head of the Local and is responsible for carrying out the programs of the Local. In addition, three staff members cover communications, steward training, reclassification, workers compensation and pensions and benefits. Three office staff handle the clerical and administrative functions.” http://www.cupe500.mb.ca/about-us/our-structure/
“I have repeatedly called on every Mayoral candidate to disclose their donors, and to show transparency and accountability during the election, because after the election it is too late,” said Ouellette. “If we want real change at City Hall, it means electing a Mayor who is free and independent enough to deal with everyone fairly, but put the needs of the people first.”
The e-mail is as follows. The name and e-mail of the recipient is have been deleted, but it is otherwise unaltered.
Urgent call for volunteers!
First of all, thank you to the members who have answered the call to help out a candidate or candidates for the upcoming civic elections. Unfortunately, we are still very short of volunteers in a number of campaign areas. We really need your help! This is one of the most important elections in our Local’s history, and we need our members to be full participants.
What can you do to help?
There are a number of candidates who are in urgent need to have leaflets delivered to mailboxes in their ward. If you are unable to drop leaflets, there are many other tasks they need assistance with. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Please take the time to fill out the volunteer form on our website or contact the Local 500 office at 204-942-1001.
Upcoming Events – Volunteers needed!
Leaflet Drop: July for Mayor Campaign
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Meet at the Judy for Mayor campaign office located at 993 Portage Avenue.
Leaflet Drop: Ray Ulsay – Transcona Ward
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Meet at the Ray Ulsay’s campaign office located at 114 Regent Avenue East (just past Day Street).
They are also looking for phone canvassers for October 1, 3 and 4, 2014.
September 30, 2014
Statement by Robert-Falcon Ouellette:
“Brian Bowman, my fellow candidate for Mayor, has put forward a proposal suggesting that the City of Winnipeg’s property taxes – at $510-million – could be entirely replaced by a 3-4% municipal sales tax, charged province-wide.
Creating a sales tax to replace property taxes would radically change who pays for City services, and it raises many questions that deserve answers well before the citizens of Winnipeg cast their ballots on October 22.
As a matter of policy, replacing property taxes with a sales tax would be even more regressive than the property tax being replaced. Mr. Bowman conceded as much when he told the Winnipeg Free Press on Sept 29, 2014 that “consumption taxes are harder on the poor.”
It appears that this proposal would shift the burden of taxation away from large businesses and major property owners to people whose purchases consume most of their income: especially working poor and middle-class families with children.
Is Winnipeg’s economic challenge truly that we are not taxing the poor and working families enough?
In my opinion, replacing all property taxes with sales taxes goes beyond being bad economics or bad public policy: it is fundamentally unjust.
If the purpose of this policy is to spur growth or investment, it is an open question whether the funds “freed up” by ending property taxes entirely would stay in the city.
Some of the beneficiaries of the policy would not be Winnipeggers at all, but the owners of “branch plant” businesses whose ownership is outside of the province, from banks to national and international chain stores.
Further to its central unfairness, a municipal sales tax would make the City’s revenues far more volatile. This would needlessly inject risk into the management of the city, because an economic downturn would force either massive borrowing or deep cuts, and make long-term planning much more difficult.
The City of Winnipeg and municipalities need better ways of raising revenue than property taxes alone. Our city needs to have a good business climate to encourage entrepreneurship, investment and growth.
That is why I have proposed a land value tax on downtown surface parking lots, and an environmental levy on drink containers. Both sources of revenue are designed to reduce things we don’t want: surface parking lots in our downtown and unrecycled drink containers in our landfills.
If Mr. Bowman has numbers to support his plan, I urge him to release them so that we can have an open debate on the issues, and so citizens can make an informed choice.”
MEDIA RELEASE – For Immediate Release : Friday, Sept 26 2013
WINNIPEG – Robert-Falcon Ouellette says that as Mayor he will take the lead on making the city more green by making planning for sustainability and the environment a priority for the City of Winnipeg. Ouellette said he will start by creating a fund dedicated to paying for environmental programs. The first project on the list is upgrading the city’s waste treatment plants, with the long-term goal of saving Lake Winnipeg.
“If Winnipeg is going to be a city of a million people by 2030, we need to learn to tread more lightly on the earth,” said Ouellette. “A sustainable city is about making the most of scarce resources: ultimately, our goal should be to be as environmentally efficient as we can.”
Ouellette’s environmental proposal includes:
Creating a Dedicated Environmental Project Fund
The fund would be financed by an expanded environmental levy on disposable drink containers. The levy would be increased to 10 cents per container with a 5 cent refundable deposit. This means that of the remaining 5 cents, 2 cents will continue to go to the Container Recycling Fee while the remaining 3 cents will be directed to the fund. Since Manitobans consumed 400 million drinks in containers in 2013, the levy could generate $7-million to $12-million a year, while also encouraging Winnipegers to recycle more.
First Priority: Commit to Completing Upgrades to the North and South End Waste Treatment Plants
Ouellette said the first priority for the environmental fund should be to help pay for long-delayed upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plants, which dump hundreds of tons of phosphorous into the Red River. Phosphorous is the main culprit in toxic blue-green algae blooms on Lake Winnipeg.
The City of Winnipeg’s North end Treatment Plant is the single largest point source of phosphorous contributing to Lake Winnipeg and the 4th largest point source of phosphorous in Canada.
Ouellette said he had heard that other, smaller contributors of phosphorous have balked at making changes when the City hasn’t been willing to clean up its own mess.
“Making this commitment is the single most important thing we can do to save Lake Winnipeg, because we can get everyone else on board with measures to reduce phosphorous flowing into Lake Winnipeg,” said Ouellette. “If we lead by example, others will follow.”
Issue “Save Lake Winnipeg” Bonds
Since the cost of the wastewater plant upgrades is expected to be high, Ouellette said that in addition to the Environmental Project Fund, the city would sell “Save Lake Winnipeg” bonds dedicated to completing the North and South End waste water treatment plants.
“I am laying this down as a challenge to everyone in Winnipeg, in Manitoba and across Canada who cares about Lake Winnipeg,” said Ouellette. “This is our next great community project: a project that will help bring the world’s most threatened lake back to life.”
Ouellette also said that the city should consider a 100-year plan, setting up its a “Winnipeg water conservation district” in order to better coordinate with the rest of the province, and explore using phosphorous-recovery technology in the plants, which would allow the phosphorous to be extracted from the water and turned into fertilizer for commercial sale.
“This is an issue that extends beyond the perimeter, but it will take leadership from City Hall to get everyone moving,” said Ouellette.
- Welcome everyone
- It’s certainly a beautiful day to be making this announcement.
- I’ve talked a lot about long-term planning in this campaign.
- And I’ve also often talked about how I see this is a campaign which offers real potential for change.
- That while we did not choose to inherit the world we have today – marked by the conflicts and challenges of the past – we, as leaders and as citizens, don’t have to leave that world to our children.
- We can leave something better.
- That, twenty years from now, I want our children to look back on this campaign, and say to themselves “that’s when they started making some of the hard decisions, and the right decisions, that created a better world for us today.”
- And that is very true of the environment.
- One of the reasons I keep talking about the long-term is that short-term solutions are often expensive and wasteful.
- If Winnipeg is going to be a city of a million people by 2030, we need to learn to tread more lightly on the earth
- There is no contradiction between doing what’s right for the environment, and what’s right for the economy.
- Having a sustainable city is about making the most of scarce resources: ultimately, our goal should be to be as environmentally efficient as we can.
- But it takes leadership.
- It takes a Mayor who is willing to take the lead on this issue and make it a genuine priority. And when something is a genuine priority, it means that it is funded.
- We need dedicated funding to environmental projects so that the City can reduce its environmental impact.
- That’s where it starts
- As Mayor, I will create a Dedicated Environmental Project Fund
- The fund would be financed by an expanded environmental levy that would charge a total of 3 cents more for disposable drink containers.
- Currently, the levy is 2 cents per container. This would be increased to 10 cents per container, and a 5 cent refund fee introduced. So the total increase would be 3 cents a container.
- Since Manitobans consumed 400 million drinks in containers in 2013, if applied in Winnipeg only the levy could generate $7-million a year, while also sharply increasing recycling and keeping recyclable materials out of landfill.
- Both Saskatchewan and Alberta have refunds on recyclables and their recycling rates are considerably better than Manitoba’s.
- Currently the 2 cent fee is collected in Manitoba by the Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association, not the Provincial government.
- It could be raised without having to go to the provincial government.
- The first first priority for the environmental fund should be to help pay for long-delayed upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plants, like the one behind me.
- They dump hundreds of tons of phosphorous a year into the Red River, where it flows to Lake Winnipeg and feeds toxic blue-green algae blooms on Lake Winnipeg.
- These blooms have become a regular sight on beaches around the Lake, where children and families play.
- The City of Winnipeg’s North End Treatment Plant is the single largest point source of phosphorous contributing to Lake Winnipeg.
- It is the 4th largest point source of phosphorous in Canada.
- Making the commitment to upgrade these plants is the single most important thing we can do to save Lake Winnipeg.
- It is much harder to get everyone on board to clean up their phosphorous when they city – the largest single polluter – won’t do it.
- We need to lead by example.
- Because if we lead on this issue, others will follow.
- I am not going to pretend this is not a major, expensive project, because it is.
- It is, in fact, difficult to say just what these projects will cost, because the City keeps moving the goalposts. Some recent estimates are at $950-million.
- The Environmental Levy is not going to pay for it on its own, though it could be used to finance infrastructure funding.
- But I do not want to raise property or business taxes.
- So instead, I am laying down a challenge to the people of Winnipeg, and Manitoba, and Canada, who care about Lake Winnipeg and want to see it saved.
- There are many people who want to see the Lake saved.
- There are the fishers who count on it for their living.
- There are the communities around the Lake who rely on it for their drinking water
- There are the families with cottages who want to be able to play on the beach free from toxic green algae.
- And there are people who understand that clean water is the most precious resource we have, and the very stuff of life.
- As Mayor, I will issuing “Save Lake Winnipeg” bonds that will go to the construction of these plants.
- Our city and our citizens have come together, and been bound together to fight floods and build a floodway to protect the city.
- This is our next great community project: a project that will help bring the world’s most threatened lake back to life.
- There are many, many other things we can and should do to make Winnipeg a greener city.
- Like Calgary, we should consider a 100-year plan
- Winnipeg should be part of Manitoba’s Water Conservation districts, so we can better coordinate with the rest of the province
- We should explore using phosphorous-recovery technology, like that being used in Portage La Prairie, which allow phosphorous to be extracted from the water and turned into fertilizer for commercial sale.
- But above all, it takes leadership.
- This is an issue that extends beyond the perimeter, but it will take leadership from City Hall to get everyone moving.
- It is leadership I look forward to providing.
Statement by Robert-Falcon Ouellette
Yesterday, I asked the Firefighters union and the Wasylycia-Leis campaign to make clear just what assistance the IAFF had agreed to provide her campaign. I asked who paid for the shirts and signs featured in a photo-op on Sept 22, and whether some of the support from the union could be considered a donation in kind.
As anyone reading my original release can see, nowhere in my original statement did I make an accusation: I asked for clarity.
In response it was claimed that I did not understand the “complexity” of the issue, and for that reason it was suggested I was not a legitimate candidate for Mayor.
If the issue is so complex, all the more reason for it to be simplified and clarified so the public can understand it.
I understand very well that individual, rank-and-file members of a union, employed by the city, can and must be free to volunteer for any political campaign or candidate they choose.
I understand very well that union leaders have the freedom to endorse candidates, encourage others to do so, and that they are free to volunteer, in their own time, on candidates’ campaigns.
However, for an organization – a business, a union, or political party to donate the services of an employee is considered a donation in kind. That is the letter and spirit of the law.
Ms. Wasylyicia-Leis’ campaign team already recognizes this. Some members of her team work for the provincial government and have taken the appropriate measure of taking unpaid leave from their job.
The critical difference is in who writes the volunteer’s paycheque: in the case of the firefighters’ union, whether they are paid by the City or by the Union.
As a matter of principle, City employees must be free to participate in politics. Union leaders are also free to volunteer on any campaign they wish.
The question is whether employees of the union – its leadership – will be drawing a salary while working on the campaign, and whether that could be considered a donation in kind.
There are still unanswered questions:
- If employees of the union proper (not city employees) are going to be working on the campaign, are they going to be taking unpaid leave to do so?
- Who ordered the signs and shirts used in the photo-op? It’s been said that the Judy Wasylycia-Leis campaign paid for them, but it was also said the campaign was “invoiced” for them. Did someone else order the items, and then pass the invoice on to the Wasylycia-Leis campaign? When did this happen?
- Are there any other groups for which the Wasylicia-Leis campaign will be buying T-Shirts and signs?
If the firefighters and the Wasylicia-Leis campaign are willing to have a press conference to announce their support for a campaign, they should be willing to explain just what that support entails.
These are not complex questions. They deserve clear, simple and respectful answers.