WINNIPEG — South Winnipeg-St. Norbert city councillor Janice Lukes may soon be pushing for change at City Hall after she was replaced on the Executive Policy Committee (EPC) by Mayor Brian Bowman.
The current governance model, including the EPC, isn’t working, she said.
“Because of the system, the model, people don’t want to reveal anything, they don’t want to divulge anything, it may be used against them, it’s like a constant battleground,” she said.
Lukes was booted from EPC on Thursday after delivering a scathing rebuke of the process used to come up with the growth fees bylaw supported by Mayor Brian Bowman.
READ MORE: Janice Lukes, Jeff Browaty booted from Brian Bowman’s EPC
Lukes was elected as a city councillor and named to EPC two years ago, “The first thing one director said to me was don’t trust anyone. I’m like oh my god what kind of environment is that?”
Lukes has been critical of City Hall processes before. She said she’s not bitter about her removal from EPC but thinks the governance model could be improved.
“I have not found it to be an environment conducive to working together to try and find out what’s the best for the city,” said Lukes.
EPC is enshrined in provincial legislation as a group consisting of less than 50 per cent of city council.
Some members head up policy committees and others are selected by the Mayor.
The model provides an acceptable amount of power to the Mayor to ensure things get done, according to professor emeritus of political science at the University of Winnipeg, Chris Leo.
Shaking up the municipal governance model wouldn’t necessarily improve political process, said Leo.
“Administrative reforms, we’ve had plenty of them in Winnipeg and the perception is that the next one is going to be the cure for all our problems and it never does,” he said.
Mayor Brian Bowman abandoned a promise to change the way EPC members are appointed but says other measures have been put in place to create a more collaborative council.
“This includes initiatives such as budget groups and selection committees that include non-EPC members of Council, new Council Liaison positions, and this week’s decision to elevate two non-EPC members into the roles of Deputy Mayor and Assistant Deputy Mayor,” said Bowman in a written statement to Global News.
He said the replacement of Lukes and Browaty on EPC, who also voted against growth fees, had nothing to do with their opposition to the plan.