Winnipeg Free Press
As a citizen who has watched the proceedings at City Hall for many years I must protest the attention the WFP and other media have focused on Mayor Katz. Sure I have many questions about the possibility that Katz may have transgressed acceptable boundaries but there is and has been no discussion of the situation that has created and perpetuated the temptation to abuse the public trust.
Many times this past year The Mayor has suggested that ‘City Council is supreme’, or otherwise suggested that the decisions about how this city is run are determined at City Council. But this is not true. It is false and everyone at City Hall, and the media, seem determined to keep that fact hidden from the public.
EPC, Executive Policy Committee, a majority of the members of City Council, chosen by the Mayor and provided a substantial salary increase for their participation, meets behind closed doors, negotiates, its unanimous position, and then returns to council where it votes as a block, excluding the ‘other’ councillors from much of the information needed and eliminating meaningful debate.
This so-called ‘Mayor’s Cabinet’, and its behind the scenes operation, makes the pretense of democratic and transparent city government a complete joke. Every Provincial MLA, every City Councillor, every bureaucrat at City Hall and every reporter for any of our media, who is in the slightest bit interested knows these facts.
In 1919 there was a city wide strike exactly because everything at City Hall was controlled and operated to the advantage of a small group of very influential businessmen. Has anything changed? Is the system today any different, any less corrupt?
Is Winnipeg just a small example of how Money, and Influence, control access to the media, access to organized political campaigns, and the resulting decay of Democracy?
I don’t think the problems at City Hall rest on the shoulders of one man or a small group. But it would be very convenient for everyone else involved if the public were presented a convenient scapegoat to distract us from the corrupt system that is destroying this town.