Kevin Burgin: Mayor Brian Bowman was doing exit interviews this week. I managed to sneak in one and asking some questions of things that I wanted to know what was going on in his mind, on his way out.
So just under a month away from the next civic election. In your eight years as mayor, what did you learn about the city and what did you learn about yourself?
Brian Bowman: Oh that’s a great question. You know what I, I’d say my family’s love and appreciation for Winnipeg and Winnipeggers has only grown in this role. The view from the mayor’s office is one of you, you see it all, You see the beauty, the strength, and the resilience in our community.
You also see the pain in hardship. And I’d like to think that my, my capacity for empathy has. . And also, you just you be, you do become more pragmatic by virtue of being in office and dealing with complex problems that take a lot of stakeholders to resolve. And I hope I’ve grown as a person.
I’ve tried my best to grow as a leader during the eight years and be more effective each and every day. And hopefully I left the place in better shape than we inherited when I was elected in 2014.
Kevin Burgin: What in your eyes were your biggest accomplishments as mayor and what things do you wish you could hit the redo button?
Brian Bowman: How long do we have? ? I’d say in terms of accomplishments, and these are shared successes I would say, I the vision I brought to City Hall was let’s better plan for a city of a million people and let’s build the infrastructure necessary to support a city of a million people and.
I’ve been able to assemble 2.5 or just under 2.5 billion of tri level funding for things like roads and transit and active transportation. I’d say though, the other couple items I’ll mention is just cleaning up things at city hall. It was a mess. I don’t think I could have possibly imagined how messed up things were, and I hope I’ve introduced a little semblance of normalcy.
Restored the integrity and confidence that people need to see in their city hall. But I’d say proudest accomplishment, I would say is our community’s work on our journey of reconciliation in human rights work. I think that work is incredibly important to Canada and I’m really grateful and proud of Winnipeggers for the work that they’ve done in the last eight years.
Kevin Burgin: What do you wish you knew in year one that you now know in year eight?
Brian Bowman: Oh boy. I think that, the, tapping into community, the, one of the challenges with municipal government and being in the mayor’s office is the expectations and the reality of your jurisdiction and dollars that you don’t have are limited.
And so I, I learned early on the importance of convening and the ability of the mayor to convene people to projects that are gonna help the community and that’s something you always wish you could. More and more effectively along the way. I’ve done my best, but I’ve definitely grown to appreciate the power of the platform that you have as mayor, which is an incredible privilege.
And I tried to exercise that. In a responsible way during the pandemic to help the community and the health outcomes that we all wanted to see.
Kevin Burgin: How important do you feel relationships between all levels of government is and what do you think you could have done better in your relationship with Premier brian Pallister?
Brian Bowman: Oh, I think there’s a lot of people you could ask about what they could do differently with Brian Pallister. You know what? The way in which he conducted himself as a matter of public record. And I, I didn’t feel that he treated me in. In really a unique way. He treated me the same way he treated Prime Minister indigenous governments and leaders.
That being said, when I met with him, we had good productive meetings and, despite the, some of the challenges in dealing with him in particular we were able to deliver dollars for Winnipeg’s infrastructure needs. So a billion dollars in. In tri level funding for roads.
This is historic funding and investments in roads after decades of neglect, and I’m really proud of that. But the tone has changed with Premier Stefenson. It’s a much more collaborative tone. Doesn’t mean we get everything that we want. But, having that access that she’s provided to me and others in the community, I think is a welcome change.
Kevin Burgin: What do you have planned when Mayor Brian Bowman goes back to Mr. Brian Bowman?
Brian Bowman: I’ve joked with friends saying I’m gonna, I’m gonna form a retired Mayor’s boy band with Mayor Don Iveson and Gregor Robertson. But the reality is I plan to reside in the community and get I’ll look to support the next mayor and council as best I can and just to contribute to public policy and in my future don’t plan to run for office again. Eight years for me has been a great gift and service, but I’ll, and again, I say this jokingly, I’ll do what many my trolls do. I’ll complain about the Mayor .
Kevin Burgin: We’ll feel good, won’t it?
Brian Bowman: Yeah. No, it’s funny cuz every, if I can drive over a pothole, I yell at myself. People should be happy to hear that. I get mad at me too .
Kevin Burgin: That’s hilarious. Speaking of which, what advice do you have for the next Mayor?
Brian Bowman: You know what I, part of the reason I didn’t accept any endorsements from unions or business groups is I wanted to go in and not have anybody question who, whose backs I had in office.
And so I know others will have different positions on accepting endorsements, but I think what’s really important is that the next mayor demonstrates the integrity and work ethic that Winnipeggers are right to expect from their Mayor. And just remember each and every day whose interests you are there to protect. And it’s Winnipegger’s themselves from every corner of our city