When the NDP government of Ed Schreyer declared Winnipeg would become "Unicity" in 1971, and surrounding municipalities would be rolled into a centralized administration, part and parcel of the Community Committee system was something called Resident Advisory Groups, or RAGs.
Now, the idea has been resurrected by Charleswood-Tuxedo candidate Kevin Klein who pledged to create 3 "Advisory Boards" in his ward if elected because "nobody knows a neighbourhood better than the people who live there."
In this 10 minute podcast, Marty Gold - a former City Centre RAG member -reviews the troubled history of the RAG system, as detailed in a 1973 University of Winnipeg academic paper by Lloyd Axworthy and in two books about Schreyer's reforms of local government in Winnipeg.
All 3 sources cited evidence of the difficult first steps the groups had, in facing a lack of structure, resources and cooperation from the then-50 seat council. By the time council was reduced from 50 to 29 to the current 15, RAGs disappeared. But could public consultation boondoggles like the since-canceled Marion and Charleswood Freeways be averted, if modern resident groups are in place?
Hear about the experience of a current city councillor who has fostered the creation of 8 such groups in the last term, and why that council member says it is enhancing democracy for City Hall. Will other council and Mayoral candidates, including Mayor Bowman, commit to replicating the Kevin Klein pledge?