Premier expresses frustration, calls for calm in barbed tweet to Winnipeg mayor

By | February 15, 2019

Tense relations between the City of Winnipeg and provincial government continue to take the form of tweets, this time from Manitoba’s premier.

On Twitter Friday, Premier Brian Pallister called for calm in the ongoing back-and-forth between Mayor Brian Bowman’s office and the province.

“Despite our frustration with the assertions made by the mayor’s office in the past few weeks, we trust Manitobans can separate fact from fiction,” the premier tweeted.

“I call upon all parties to rise above it and work together constructively.”

The message comes as both levels of government continue to tussle over competing perspectives on budgetary issues and inter-government relations.

On Tuesday, Manitoba Finance Minister Scott Fielding tagged the mayor’s and city Twitter accounts in a post criticizing city impact fees. 

“Disappointed all decisions seem to start and end with raising or creating new taxes on residents of Winnipeg,” that tweet read.

In response to Fielding’s recent volley, on Thursday Bowman fired back saying he didn’t think the finance minister’s tweets were productive.

“This is a government that promised during their campaign to be more collaborative. I mean, their motto after all was ‘better together’ and I don’t think they demonstrate that when they troll municipal leaders,” Bowman said at city hall Thursday.

Fielding’s tweet followed complaints from the city over the province’s wish to transfer $34.4 million of sewage-treatment funds into the Waverley underpass project. Mayor Bowman has also recently complained he can’t secure a meeting with Premier Pallister.

Pallister’s tweet reflects previous complaints from the province over how it views recent city statements to be misleading.

The province noted both leaders spent 2½ hours in a meeting together in December. Despite that meeting, the mayor is still holding out for another face to face soon.

“The mayor looks forward to working with the premier and meeting with him at his earliest convenience,” a spokesperson with the mayor’s office said in an email Friday.