Brian Bowman has seen some shit.
“Windows were shot out and people were shot beside me,” Bowman, the privacy lawyer-turned-mayoral hopeful, recalls of his time living in Mexico on an internship with the Mexican Industry of Foreign Affairs. The bus he was on was attacked by a paramilitary group.
“We were coming back from southern Mexico into Mexico City on a red-eye bus trip and these guys just opened fire with automatic weapons,” he says. “For the next two hours we all stayed down because we were expecting another attack.”
Bowman says the incident altered his life and upon his return to Winnipeg to practice law, he wanted to make a point of being a “good person.”
“I look back and realize that I now conduct myself with a greater sense of urgency and realization of my own mortality,” Bowman says.
Linda Bowman, the candidate’s mother, says her son has always been positive, even before the violent attack, and credits his political awareness to a childhood job.
“He got up early and delivered newspapers,” she says. “Then he ate breakfast and read the paper.”
Bowman’s first political influence was reading about former provincial Progressive Conservative leader, Gary Filmon, in the news.
“I’d look in the paper and see him and other people,” the candidate says. “It made it real to me that people in our community, people I had actually seen, could be in the news and making a difference.”
“He’s always had a sense that one of the greatest things people can do is get into politics,” his mother adds.
Bowman plans to make a long-term difference in Winnipeg by completing all six bus rapid transit corridors by 2030.
“We have to think long-term,” he says. “Not just beyond the next mayor but perhaps beyond the mayor after that.”
Bowman’s plan to fund BRT through development generated revenue was criticized by mayoral candidate and opponent Gord Steeves, who also questioned Bowman’s promise to increase arts funding through grants.
“Art brings tourists to the city,” Bowman says in defense. “It brings community together, it’s a very powerful learning tool, and it’s a healing tool.”
Until recently Bowman was chair of the Winnipeg Art Gallery Board of Governors - a position he resigned from to run for mayor.
While he’s proud of his work with the Winnipeg Art Gallery and other non-profits, Bowman says his most important role is fatherhood.
“It may sound hokey,” he admits, “but it has taught me patience, long-term mentoring, and to be realistic with what you can accomplish.”
But if you expect Bowman to remain the realistic, level-headed business type - you’ve got another thing coming.
Well, at least that’s what you’ll hear from Bowman’s campaign song “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ “ by Judas Priest.
“The lyrics are pretty positive. It’s about proving people wrong,” Bowman says, adding he also enjoys The Sheepdogs
and Van Halen.
“The obsession with Van Halen, while puzzling, does have its charm,” Todd Andres, a friend and associate at Pitblado Law, says. “I don’t recall the last time I rode in a Bowman vehicle without a Van Halen track coming on at least once.”
Visit bowmanforwinnipeg.ca for more info on his campaign.