WINNIPEG, MB. - The ‘railroad’ nature of Mayor Brian Bowman’s 2018 budget process was on display once again today as the members of the Winnipeg Police Board were compelled to vote for a 2018 Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) budget which board members acknowledged would leave Winnipeg families at increased risk.
“It was acknowledged this budget was, at best, a ‘stand-pat’ budget, and in our opinion this simply puts more stress on our members and leaves Winnipeg families at increased risk,” said Moe Sabourin, President, Winnipeg Police Association (WPA). “Calls for service are increasing. Violent crime severity is increasing. Fifteen positions have already been cut. Training has been reduced. And in this environment we are looking at a budget for 2018 that will leave our members even further behind as our proactive initiatives are cut away.”
Sabourin noted that WPA members have already done their part, negotiating a collective agreement Mayor Bowman himself introduced to City Council as “the longest and most sustainable negotiated agreement with the Winnipeg Police Service in almost 20 years”. The agreement helped the WPS end the year with a $2 million surplus.
“Mayor Bowman and his allies on Winnipeg City Council say there are no resources, but our members have already stepped up,” said Sabourin. “For this, they are rewarded with even fewer resources to do their job effectively. Meanwhile, there is always money for pet special projects, such as opening Portage and Main to pedestrians, Wi-Fi on buses, or senior city officials who can apparently work half the time for a different level of government. I think the priorities of the Mayor and his council allies are not those of Winnipeg families.”
Sabourin also acknowledged the concerns of Winnipeg Police Board Chair, David Asper, regarding the impact of mismanagement of capital budgets on frontline policing.
“The members of the WPA did not create the financial and operation mess at the new police headquarters, but they are being expected to bear the burden of it, while at the same time keeping Winnipeg families safe,” said Sabourin. “I hope City Council as a whole will reflect on the priorities of Winnipeg families, and not the priorities of Mayor Bowman.”
Winnipeg Police Association for The Manitoba Post