From outsider to incumbent: Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman prepares for his political pivot – Manitoba

Some time over the next few months, Brian Bowman is expected to attempt one of the more delicate manoeuvres in politics — the precarious pivot from self-identifying as an outsider and an agent of change to exuding the confidence of an incumbent who offers some form of stability.

This pivot may occur as early as March 23, when the mayor is scheduled to deliver his 2018 state of the city address to a Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce audience. 

It’s more likely to occur around the beginning of May, when would-be mayoral candidates are eligible to register to run in the Oct. 24 election.

The pivot will not occur any later than September, when mayoral candidates must submit their nomination papers.

But at some point in the coming year, Brian Bowman will be forced to abandon any remaining pretense he’s the new kid on the block at city hall, here to clean up the mess left behind by a scandal-plagued Sam Katz administration, and build a case he deserves to be awarded a second term as Winnipeg’s mayor.

Ticking promises off his list

Over the past few months, Bowman has laid the groundwork for the change by checking off as many of his 2014 election-campaign promises and state-of-the-city pledges as he could.

The downtown dog park that initially drew snickers from opponents has been completed on Assiniboine Avenue. Up to $3.5 million has been earmarked toward improvements at Portage and Main, as a prelude to reopening the intersection to pedestrians at some point in the future.

And new vehicle-for-hire companies such as Uber and Lyft are coming to Winnipeg as soon as March 1, mainly because new provincial legislation is supported by this mayor.

Mayor Brian Bowman was buoyed this year by the passage of provincial legislation that will allow companies such as Uber to compete with taxis. (Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

“I’ve never felt more energized about this role as I have over the last year,” Bowman said the week before Christmas in an…

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