The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact City spending. According to the financial status and forecast report to Nov. 30, 2022, there are budgeting shortfalls in the tax-supported operating budget (General Revenue Fund) of $69.6 million and another $13.7 million in Transit. The City originally budgeted $41.3 million for COVID-19 related deficits. An additional $12 million of financial costs is expected.
Winnipeg Transit fares increase
As of Jan. 1, it will cost people five cents more to ride the bus. This means that full adult fares cost $3.15, and fares for seniors and people 16 and under are now $2.65. Leftover bus tickets from 2022 are still valid as long as an extra nickel is provided. Ridership levels were 32 per cent below average in 2022, creating a $13.7 million Transit deficit. However, ridership has been steadily increasing since May.
Use of solar energy in Winnipeg
The City’s water, waste and environment committee made a motion looking into cityowned property suitable for generating solar power. One of Mayor Scott Gillingham’s campaign goals was to have green energy sources in the city, thus to build at least one megawatt of renewable energy generation capacity by 2026. Manitoba mainly relies on the use of hydroelectric power, which is impacted by severe weather storms. The use of solar power would create a backup energy source.
Petition to ban horse slaughter
Between 3,000 and 5,000 horses are shipped annually from Winnipeg, Calgary or Edmonton and are sold and slaughtered in Japan and European countries. Horses endure 30-plus hours of travel without access to food, water and rest while being cramped in wooden crates. The Winnipeg Humane Society says Canada’s horse exportation and slaughter industry violates the federal health of animals regulations and has launched House of Commons petition e-4190 to end horse exportation and slaughter.
Brady Road landfill reopened
The City of Winnipeg announced the Brady Road Resource Management Facility will resume operations on Friday, Jan. 6. In a news release, the City said they reached a compromise with the family members, the First Nation Indigenous Warriors and community stakeholders acknowledging their right to peacefully protest while reopening the landfill to the public. Cambria Harris, daughter of Morgan Harris, one of four women allegedly murdered by Jeremy Skibicki, says she opposes reopening the landfill.
Progress on National Inquiry into MMIWG action plan
On Tuesday, Jan. 10, Jennifer Moore Rattray, chief operating officer at Manitoba’s Southern Chiefs’ Organization, will become the new ministerial special representative. In this position, she will fulfill the National Inquiry into MMIWG’s Call for Justice 1.7 of establishing a national Indigenous and human-rights ombudsperson and tribunal. This allows for Indigenous people and communities to voice their concerns, and for the ombudsperson to conduct independent evaluations of government services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis. There are 231 calls for action.
Published in Volume 77, Number 14 of The Uniter (January 12, 2023)