Why I’m backing Sam

Next week, I will be casting my vote to re-elect Sam Katz for a third term as mayor of Winnipeg. This past year, newspapers and magazines have recognized Winnipeg as one of the best Canadian cities to live in. I believe that if Katz is re-elected, Winnipeg will continue to develop into a prosperous, safe city that will appeal to people all across Canada and the world.

I graduate from the faculty of arts this year and will hopefully pursue a second degree in the faculty of education next year. My biggest concern is that in three years when I enter the workforce, there is a job for me. I do not want to move to Saskatchewan or the Yukon to teach, let alone move to Beijing or Cairo like the most recent statistics are suggesting I do! I want to stay in Winnipeg, and I believe that re-electing Katz will heighten my chances of working in the city I have grown up in. I hope to teach at the schools that will be built in Waverly West and I hope that future teachers graduating from the U of M will see further job opportunities opening up in the prospective south Charleswood development.

Another concern I have is the crime in this city. When I go out on the weekends, I often find myself downtown in the Exchange District. Walking late at night in that area has never made me feel unsafe and I hope that this continues. The Winnipeg Police Service endorsed Katz’s re-election campaign early on because he encompasses the key issues on crime that Winnipeg has and enacts policies that will combat these problems. I believe that Katz’s plan to open 58 more positions on the Winnipeg Police Force, dedicating 20 more to his gang prevention program, is a great way to deal with the current problem of crime in this city. This, in addition to his new plan to employ cadets to do the little jobs such as directing traffic when the street lights aren’t working, will allow police officers to have a greater presence on the streets of Winnipeg. Katz also continually invests millions of dollars into programs for children to get them off the streets. I believe the gang problem in Winnipeg will be solved by educating children that there are better alternatives and Katz understands that.

In June 2010, the CBC reported that “more immigrants settled in Winnipeg last year than Quebec City, Regina, Saskatoon, Victoria, Fredericton and Red Deer — combined.” As the population of Winnipeg continues to rise like this, Katz is preparing for it. Repair on Winnipeg’s major highways began this summer but Katz has also put other forms of transportation that are less harsh on the environment his top priority; kilometres of bike trails have gone up all around the city making it more safe for people to walk or bike to school and work. Everyday as I make my way to campus, I see the IKEA development moving along, the rapid growth of Waverly West and finally, the early stages to the beautiful world-class stadium that the Blue Bombers and Bisons will call home. Travelling around the city, I also appreciate Katz’s promise to eliminate sign/paper advertising during his campaign as a way to protect the environment. Phase one of his two-part rapid transit plan is already under way to provide a quicker route from downtown to the University of Manitoba, and the much needed $180 million renovations on Assiniboine Park have already begun in the zoo and the famous duck pond.

Winnipeg needs Katz if it wants to be the prosperous city it deserves to be! Winnipeg is a great city to live in and I want everyone to know that. I want Winnipeg to have a successful future and a strong government that will provide lots of long term benefits for its people. The only way that that will happen is if people invest money into Winnipeg’s economy so that the government has money to spend on its citizens. After serving two terms in office, Katz has the experience to make this happen and it is crucial that he is re-elected as mayor of this city to ensure the future success of his positive vision for Winnipeg.

Devan McCoubrey is a fourth year faculty of arts student.