Winnipeg mayor chastises Manitoba finance minister for Twitter ‘trolling’

By | February 14, 2019

Winnipeg’s Mayor Brian Bowman has chastised Manitoba’s finance minister for trolling him on Twitter as relations between the city and province continue to be testy.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Scott Fielding tweeted his displeasure with Winnipeg’s growth fees, which have generated $16 million for the city since late 2017 when they were applied to new residential developments in selected neighbourhoods at the edges of the city.

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

Fielding’s tweet followed several weeks of acrimony between the city and province. The city has complained of the province’s desire to move $34.4 million of sewage-treatment money into the Waverley underpass project and Mayor Brian Bowman has complained he can’t get a meeting with Premier Brian Pallister.

The province has complained the city’s statements are misleading and noted Pallister spent two and a half hours with Bowman in December.

The spark for Fielding’s tweet appeared to come from St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes, who noted the finance minister instituted a water-and-sewer dividend at the city in 2011, when Fielding served as city council’s finance chair.

On Thursday, Bowman said the minister wasn’t being helpful.

“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.

Fielding said the mayor should tone down his own rhetoric.

“We do need a good partner. The mayor seems to take an approach of shoot first and ask questions later,” Fielding said in his office in the Manitoba Legislature.