Calling for a Civic Governance Review


Simply put, governance* is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented).  Good governance has eight major characteristics. It is:

  1. participatory
  2. consensus oriented
  3. accountable
  4. transparent
  5. responsive
  6. effective and efficient
  7. equitable and inclusive
  8. follows the rule of law

Governance assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making.  It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society.

(*United Nations)


Since being elected to City Council in fall, 2014, I have experienced 2 1/2 years working under this governance model.

  • The last time the City of Winnipeg reviewed its governance model was almost 20 years ago. Best practice suggests governance reviews every 5-10 years,
  • I was elected to make positive change and have an obligation to improve and refine our systems, our information gathering and sharing, our business processes, and our decision making abilities,
  • Under the current governance model, a series of external audits were conducted investigating Real Estate Management, Winnipeg Police Service Headquarters Construction, and Winnipeg Fire Paramedics.  Currently, there is an RCMP criminal probe into Winnipeg Police Headquarters Construction,
  • I voted for Brian Bowman because of his promises in the 2014 election campaign to focus on improving governance at City Hall (Pages 7-8)
  • I’ve worked at one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies. The dysfunction, silo-based decision making and inefficiency I see and experience daily at City Hall is not an efficient use of taxpayers’ money,

The model / system of governance we are working within is not conducive to collaboration. I do not believe it is because of personalities; it is because the governance model does not enable information and idea sharing.

The current governance model creates an environment of discord and distrust. I believe Councillors who have worked in this environment for more than one term (4 years)  lose touch with just how dysfunctional the system is.

Since being elected in 2014, Winnipeg’s Mayor and 15 City Councillors have never met as a group to strategize or discuss any City related issues (without the public service in attendance).  The only time Council meets as a whole is at monthly Council meetings where we debate and vote on reports.  I find that astounding.



October 26, 2016:  Councillors Wyatt and Eadie brought forward a Motion calling for a Civic Governance, Operational Review and Performance Assessment.

November 9, 2016:  I spoke at the Mayor’s Executive Policy Committee (EPC) meeting in support of a governance review as soon as possible.  EPC chose to lay the decision over for 120 days.

March  15, 2017:  The governance motion came back to EPC, where I again spoke in favour of holding a governance review ASAP.

  • EPC’s DECISION: The Motion for a governance review should be referred to the 2018 budget process.
  • The Motion then moved on for final debate at City Council.

March 23, 2017:  The Motion was reviewed by City Council, where I again spoke in support of moving forward ASAP on a governance review.

  • COUNCIL’S DECISION: The Motion for a governance review should be referred to the 2018 budget process (11 voted in support of this decision, with  5 calling for a review ASAP).



The significance of deferring a governance review to the City’s 2018 budget process is ultimately deferring positive change until 2023. Deferring the improving and refining of our systems, our information gathering and sharing, our business processes, and our decision making abilities for another 5 years, in my opinion is unacceptable.

If we initiated a governance review NOW – we could implement changes for the start of a new Council in 2019. The graphic shown below (click on graphic to increase its size) represents the process and approximate timeline required to conduct a review.

After 20 years, it’s high time for a governance review.

Governance Review Graphic