January 9, 2014 8:01 am

Councillor talks about ‘lesser’ vehicles on winter roads

WINNIPEG – Coun. Justin Swandel says he was taken out of context when Global News quoted him saying “lesser” vehicles have trouble handling Winnipeg’s winter road conditions.

Swandel was asked on CJOB whether his answer to a question from Global reporter Tamara Forlanski was taken out of context.

“Absolutely,” he replied.

Forlanski’s entire question and Swandel’s full answer are in the video above.

“Do you feel the roads are safe for Winnipeggers right now?” Forlanski asks in the video shot Tuesday.

Story continues below

“I think they’re safe if Winnipeggers adjust their driving conditions, you know, and obviously the, you know, the lesser of a vehicle you have and, you know, I mean you don’t want to take your, your Yugo out doing 60 kilometres an hour on a 60 km/h road. You know, I drove in down Pembina Highway this morning. I drive a little Subaru. The cars I saw having problems were sort of two-wheel very small cars, two-wheel-drive very small cars, and were, but, you know, the people that were doing it right were all driving 40 km/h, moving together – it was moving and it, and it felt safe to me,” Swandel says.

Forlanski then moves to another question about the snow-clearing budget.

Swandel later told Global News he may have used a bad example.

“If I used a bad example that caused someone to get a bit silly, I apologize for that,” he said. “I was trying to get across the message of safety.”

Swandel’s original comments raised the ire of many people who watched or read the Global stories about his words.

More than 200 people commented on the story on Global Winnipeg’s Facebook page and more than 50 people commented on the globalnews.ca/winnipeg story, most dissatisfied with what the councillor said. His comments were also aired on Global TV in a Tuesday evening story. They were edited only for length and to remove repetition.

RELATED: Don’t drive ‘lesser’ cars on slippery streets: city councillor

“My husband is a long haul truck driver, so at work he is definitely not in a ‘lesser’ vehicle. He has driven in many states and provinces that have received the same snow as Winnipeg and this is the only city he has trouble getting his truck to move in. Our personal vehicle is a 4×4 and we still have trouble keeping it on the straight and narrow, even when doing well under the posted speed limit,” Mrs Perrier commented on the Global website.

“A lesser vehicle? Such as the F150 I saw spin out last night on Dakota? I was driving my Outlander (which is by no means a lesser vehicle) and was having difficulty turning down my own street a couple of nights ago,” Snowed In said.

“Wow… What a jerk. Those of us in our lesser cars, going to get our lesser paychecks, need to get to work on your lesser roads. Don’t tell me to take the bus either, those are just as unreliable in this weather. They have excuses for everything,” Elizabeth Bailey commented on Facebook.

“Has councillor Swandel seen the MPI stats for December? Apparently there are many Winnipeggers driving the wrong car,” Irene Wagner said. (Global News earlier reported Manitoba Public Insurance received 20,000 claims in December.)

The following comments were made on Twitter:

But not everyone agreed the roads were the problem.

“Well, there is a simple rule: drive according to road conditions. And about clear roads. I live on a side street in North Kildonan. Our street got cleared. Stop complaining and turn on your brain once you’re behind a wheel. That is from a retired courier driver,” Christoph Koebel said on the Global News website.

What do you think? Answer our poll question or give us your opinion below in the comments section.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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