By James Turner
Tonight, a new mayor and council were sworn in for the City of Winnipeg. Congratulations to Scott Gillingham and his council colleagues. Now their real work begins and we wish them all the best.
Since last January, my senior students in journalism at Red River College Polytechnic have been working away on this site — aiming to help Winnipeg voters learn about the major issues the city faces as well as — in a non-partisan way — help them understand where the mayoral candidates stand on the issues you told us you cared about most.
It’s been quite a venture, and a heck of a lot of fun. My hope is that you found it helpful even in some small way.
I have no hesitation in saying that I was thrilled to have a civic election this year. It’s the most impactful level of politics and not so esoteric that younger people, new to the craft of journalism, can’t get their heads around the issues and head out the door to report on them.
I want to thank them all by name: Rachel Ferstl, Shauna Turnley, Kalkidan Mulugeta, Emma Honeybun, Caleb Dueck, Sierra Sanders, Joshua Frey-Sam, Tyler Searle, Bryce Hunt, Jenna Paterson Coutts and Margaret Spratt for all the work they did in helping advance the mission of this site and produce its content.
I also want to thank the mayoral candidates and everyone else who took the time to speak with us for stories and to provide advice and guidance since January. Your time is important and was invaluable to us. Thanks for putting your names forward for public office. No doubt it was a ton of hard work and took guts to do it.
Mostly I want to thank those who supported our efforts through engagement with our survey and the occasional public kudos, a share online or retweet.
None of the key issues we focused on in our Citizen’s Agenda, like homelessness or transit, can be fixed overnight — or easily — by any level of government.
And city hall, in the end, largely has more to do with politicians convincing and collaborating than one person enforcing their will.
I speak for the Winnipeg Better team that we wish the current council the best in working to serve you, the citizens of Winnipeg.
As a teacher, I’m thrilled these new journalists were immersed in city politics and issues — we have a democratic deficit across this country, including in its media, and I’m committed to trying to stem that tide.
As always, I welcome any feedback you have whether positive or not. Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, find me on Twitter at @heyjturner, or leave a comment.
I’m not saying this is the end of the site — I can think of many ways we can continue going forward. Stay tuned.
Thanks again for now.