Staff and members of the Canadian CED Network – Manitoba (CCEDNet-MB) called on 2014 municipal election candidates to share their position on policies that support our collective vision of fairer and stronger local economies, reduced poverty, and more sustainable communities. This is Luc Lewandoski's response:
1. Are you in favour of this policy practice? If yes, how will you work to implement a procurement strategy that takes into account the added economic, social and environmental value of purchasing from social enterprises and other businesses that generate community benefit through the inclusion of Community Benefit Clauses in contracts and purchases?
Procurement policies for the City need improvement. There needs to be a clear set of criteria that are adhered to for all contracts with outside agencies and service providers. I support the idea of a Community Benefit provision being added to the overall point system used to award contracts, but it should not be a deciding factor. Council's first obligation is to get the best services available and the best price available in order to ensure tax revenue is spent as well as possible.
One of the very real problems that has faced the City in recent years is the tweaking of terms and conditions to favour certain contractors over others. For all the good that some of the organizations supported by CCEDNet provide, it is not the right solution to tweak terms and conditions in favour of other contractors. There is a perception of cronyism at City Hall that is not fixed by giving preference to co-operatives or social enterprises. One type of business should not be given preference over others.
When the City tenders its work an effort should be made to ensure bids are set-up in a way that does not exclude local or start-up bidders. These opportunities should also be more easily found.
I should add that I serve on the board of Family Dynamics, one of your member organizations and one of the largest social agencies supported by the United Way in Manitoba. Our organization has had a lot of success in winning contracts to provide services to a wide array of clientele. These contracts are won because Family Dynamics excels at what it does.
2. Are you in favour of Right to Housing’s proposal that the City of Winnipeg support at least 350 new units of affordable rental housing and 350 new units of social housing over three years? If yes, what City supports will you provide so this target can be achieved?
Affordable housing is a big issue in Winnipeg, there's no doubt about that. I do not believe that the City of Winnipeg is the best organization to address this issue head-on.
For example, the Ridgewood South masterplan will require a certain amount of land be set aside for multi-family housing. This will include affordable housing.
Most of the time, I do not support land donations by the City. I believe we have an obligation to taxpayers to get maximum value from civic assets that are being sold.
Charleswood-Tuxedo is a suburban area that has grown exponentially over the past 20 years with very little expansion of the physical footprint. Charleswood is a model for infill development and I hope to encourage more 55+ housing in the community as this is the most sought after type of multi-family dwelling in this particular ward.
3. Are you in favour of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy for Winnipeg with targets and timelines? If yes, how will you partner with community-based organizations and other key stakeholders to create and implement one?
Poverty reduction is a goal that I share with CCEDNet. I have worked very closely with a leading non-profit that assists low-income families and I have seen how important these services are. I am also a conservative who would rather give the proverbial hand-up. Every impoverished person we offer a hand-up to, strengthens our city. There are wonderful groups throughout our city who could help us work towards poverty reduction. The membership of your organization is a virtual phonebook of organizations that are helping the City and province work towards permanent reductions in poverty.