Dressed casually, walking slowly across the stage, Winnipeg’s 43rd mayor, Brian Bowman, delivered his first State of the City Address to a packed house at the RBC Convention Centre Friday afternoon.
Both the style of his presentation and the substance of his message were clear departures from SOTC speeches delivered in the past by his predecessors.
Mayor Bowman took the opportunity to introduce his colleagues at city hall, calling them a “hardworking, common sense council … just like Winnipeggers,” whose way of operating and entire tone will be much different than previous administrations, he said.
Winnipeg has been stuck in a rut for many years, said Bowman, and he vowed council will pursue the dream of a Winnipeg whose best days are yet to come.
The mayor promised city hall under his watch will be more open and transparent, and will include “participatory” budget consultations with the public.
The mayor also took the opportunity to announce Aboriginal community leader, Wab Kinew, will be appointed to chair a newly created Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, and that the city will be co-hosting, along with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, a National Anti-Racism Conference in Sept. 2015.
“We’re not going to end racism but we sure as hell are going to try as a community.”
The Convention Centre hallways and conference room where the Mayor spoke, displayed several large portrait photographs from the Perception exhibit unveiled yesterday by Oji-Cree artist KC Adams.
The Mayor concluded with an appeal to the next Manitoba premier to give Winnipeg citizens their “fair share” of provincial revenues.
All photos by Noah Erenberg