Many Chinese residents of Winnipeg live in the St. Norbert ward. This area is geographically close to the University of Manitoba and Fort Richmond, and consists of most of south Winnipeg. As part of the Manitoba Chinese Tribune municipal election series, I interviewed three registered city councilor candidates who are running for election in the St. Norbert ward, and I hope this interview will help you understand and decide which candidate you would like to choose on October 22nd.
When asked about what she hopes to achieve as a city councilor, Ms. Lukes seems to have many thoughts. First of all, she hopes to achieve better value and efficiency for our taxes, which means better governance in city hall. Secondly, she hopes to improve transportation in the Ward, e.g., roads, sidewalks, paths, infrastructure upgrades, and bus routes. Thirdly, she said many candidates talk about their “visions” for the development of Winnipeg. We have had a good vision already – “Our Winnipeg”. She hopes to implement “Our Winnipeg” to make Winnipeg become more sustainable.
Ms. Lukes is for rapid transit and promises to make sure it stays on budget. She is also for tax increases because “you get what you pay for”. But she believes city hall needs better communication to inform people what taxes use for. She thinks we need more females in city hall.
When asked what she would do to help new comers to be better included in the social fabric in St. Norbert, Ms. Lukes wants to include from providing more multi-language services (e.g., she worked with a Chinese group to create a walking and biking map of St. Norbert in Chinese), opening a cultural community centre, she said, “one of my priorities is to make my ward become a gathering hub for various communities”. She would like to see more childcare spaces as well.
Joe Chan came from Hong Kong. His family owns a Chinese restaurant, Cathy House in east Winnipeg. Mr. Chan is not new to politics. He ran in the 2011 provincial election as a Liberal candidate for Logan and came in 2nd place. He has been an assistant for current city councilor Harvey Smith for many years. He recently brought current Mayor Sam Katz to court for a conflict of interest allegation involving allegations that Katz held a Christmas party for city councilors and staff at his own restaurant, and billed it to the city. Mr. Chan laughed about that situation, and said “it is up to the voters. I am the only guy who took Mayor Katz to the court”.
Mr. Chan is for LRT, and he wants to see people only spend ten minutes from St. Norbert to downtown. He believes that Winnipeg already has the rail infrastructure for LRT, and that using it will save hundreds of millions of dollars. When asked about his opinions on taxes, he said he supports freezing property and condo taxes, and lowering business taxes. He said that the city has money for projects, but that it has just been wasted in previous years.
To help new comers to be better adapt into the society, Mr. Chan wants to establish a New Comers Welcome Settlement Service to help them find living places, and reserve some jobs for them.
In my interviews, all three candidates are energetic. They all have long-term experience as a business owner. It will up to the voters to choose the best candidate who works for residents in St. Norbert. (Jennifer Chen)