March 4, 2021

Leah Gazan Statement on the Public Ownership of Portage Place

I wanted to provide context about a recent article about Starlight and the private development of Portage Place. I would like to clarify that I do not support Starlight or the privatization of Portage Place. Rather, I believe that Portage Place should be publicly owned. 

If agreed, the combined contributions from all levels of government would total approximately 338 million dollars. This is close to 85% of the total projected project costs with the risks offloaded onto the public and 100% of the profits benefiting the private sector. We need to end corporate handouts and ensure that public investments actually benefit the public. 

My frustration is that the Liberal government has a magic wand to provide support for big corporations including the 120 million they recently gifted to Imperial Oil, while our community of Winnipeg Centre continues to fight for the most basic human rights. 

Our community has been very clear about what it wants; investment in affordable, accessible, social housing, a place to buy food and essentials, and a safe place where community members can gather. 

I will continue to advocate for the decommodification of housing stock for the public good of our community, substantial investments in accessible, affordable, social housing, and for the public ownership of community spaces.

Claire Johnston

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