Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman has decided not to run for another term in office.
On Friday, the mayor said he won’t run for re-election on Oct. 26, 2022.
"In my view, Manitoba has far too many career politicians. I won’t be one of them," the mayor told media during an afternoon press conference.
Bowman was first elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. During his time in office, he’s been a vocal advocate of expanding Winnipeg’s rapid transit network, fixing local roads and reopening the intersection of Portage Avenue and Main Street to pedestrians.
The focus on roads has continued, while Portage and Main remains closed after a majority of Winnipeggers voted down the idea in a non-binding plebiscite in 2018.
One rapid transit corridor is now complete and Bowman said he’ll continue to advocate for public transit for the rest of his term.
"I’m confident we’ll continue to make progress on that file," he said.
The mayor decided to give plenty of notice about his departure to allow those who may want to replace him time to pursue the option, he said.
"I’m providing two years advance notice of my plans not to run again so that our community can, with the benefit of time, elect the best possible person to serve as Winnipeg’s 44th mayor," Bowman said.
The mayor was tight-lipped about whether he expects to return to his pre-election career as a privacy lawyer but said he doesn’t plan to campaign for a post within a different government.
"I guess you never say never but I have no aspirations for running for office for another level of government," he said.
Christopher Adams, a political scientist based at St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba, said he thinks Bowman’s decision to give ample warning of his departure shows decency of character that will help potential mayoral candidates.
The so-called "lame duck" phenomenon of a politician losing some power after announcing he or she will leave politics may affect the rest of the mayor’s term, he said.
"There might be councillors who will be more willing to act independently because they know after the next election he can’t offer an (executive policy committee) seat or other reward. So I do think that some of his clout will be a little diminished in the coming two years," said Adams.
The political expert said he thinks Bowman will be remembered for bringing Winnipeggers together to combat racism, as well as some city funding battles with the current provincial government.
"(He’s had) to deal with a provincial government that has not been as willing to spend money as previous governments and Bowman has had a fraught relationship at times with our premier," Adams said.
Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) was surprised by the announcement and said he sees Bowman as a consensus-builder on council.
"He’s always kept his end of the deal," said Mayes.
At least one council member said he would consider running for mayor.
"I have to say, since I got involved in city politics... I always envisioned myself being the mayor of Winnipeg, so I’m giving it consideration," said Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski).
Meanwhile, Coun. Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood) didn’t rule out the option of making his own mayoral bid, but said it’s too soon to decide on that.
"The door to opportunity is always open and we’ll make that decision when the time comes. Ultimately, the people of Winnipeg will let me know whether they want me as a candidate or not."
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.