Sachit Mehra - Winnipeg Council Candidate for St. Norbert

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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 Sachit Mehra'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?

I am in favour of procurement policies which permit and encourage the sourcing goods and services for the City from locally owned and operated enterprises, as each dollar spent locally has a greater local economic impact and multiplier effect. There's no reason our policies can't be flexible enough to take into account the community development, community benefit and environmental impacts of our procurement decisions, in addition to the costs.

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?

I believe Winnipeg needs to do more than has been committed to date to support additional affordable housing and rental options. The City can take a leadership role in this area through its land use planning and zoning activities, creative tax tools like TIF that can and support construction costs and related infrastructure, and the proactive identification of surplus city lands for infill development by non-profits and other community groups.

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?

Yes. Poverty is a persistent challenge will not be addressed by any one level of government, but there is no reason that the City should not have its own poverty reduction strategy, focusing on the work within its service areas, to enhance the efforts of other levels of government. This work can be accomplished by engaging with community groups and service providers, and identifying how the City can play a more active role in being a part of the solution.