2022 Winnipeg Election Results
Candidate in the St. James - Assiniboia - West Ward Trustee Candidates race.
Gus can be reached on social media, or at [email protected].
Their response to our candidate questionnaire can be read below.
News that mentions this candidate is listed at the bottom of the page.
Our questionnaire and candidate data retrieval processes are available in our FAQ.
Gus Watanabe - St. James - Assiniboia - West Ward
What got you into politics?
Despite its poor reputation, politics is vital to getting action from ideas. My personal history has led me to an interest in social justice and equity. I’ve taught social studies (history, geography and current events) from Grades 7-12.
I’m not happy with the global trend towards authoritarianism. While much more minor than the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the lack of transparency in the school system is a part of that authoritarianism. Democracy cannot be taken for granted. It must be defended. Our leaders must be challenged and know citizens are always watching.
While people can have an impact and change can be made outside the political arena, implementing change sometimes requires involvement from more than a social media sideline.
There is a difference between schooling and education. There’s a difference between public good and private enterprise. It’s a public discussion that needs to be had. It’s my duty as a citizen to help move that discussion into the main stream of public consciousness and discourse. My privilege comes with an obligation to discuss subjects others may not have the time to study. It’s why we have a representative democracy. That representation requires transparency to build trust in our public institutions.
What experience will you bring to compliment your role as (Mayor / Councillor / School Trustee)?
I’ve been working in the education profession for over 30 years, for multiple jurisdictions, at a variety of age levels and in a number of roles (classroom teacher, team leader, special projects coordinator, sports coach, administrator, resource teacher and guidance counsellor).
I’ve taught civics and history. I’ve sat on the governance committee and on the Board of a not-for-profit volunteer community organization. I’ve worked on curriculum development committees.
Many trustees are well intentioned people who don’t know what they don’t know, hampering their ability to answer good questions. This, is turn, sometimes leads to the proverbial cart leading the horse with the Superintendent’s department having the Board rubber stamp decisions.
In my career history, I’ve been paid for my communication skills. These are vital while working on a Board with consensus as the governing model.
My knowledge, training and experience will provide for the Board an opportunity to have a different point of view included in discussions. I didn’t enroll in a typical M. Ed. program. While many educators choose resource teaching, guidance counselling or administration as area of specialization, I chose cross-cultural, sociological and philosophical foundations in education. Fundamentally, it is a critique as who the education system excludes.
What are some issues that you would like to stand for in your role as (Mayor / Councillor / School Trustee), and why are these issues important to you?
Transparency is vital both for engagement of the public in civic discourse and to build trust in our public institutions. What is schooling? How is it different from education? What values are our tax dollars funding?
Too many people tell me they don’t vote for trustees because they don’t know who they are or what they do.
Consensus and transparency are not mutually exclusive.
Recent stories surrounding abuse and the culture of silence speak to me personally. There are policy decisions to be had while making our children safer.
The blatant attempt by the provincial government to defund the public school system has ignited my desire to be more involved. I am also near the end of my career and still want to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives. A strong public school system benefits everyone in society, whether they are children, have children or not, whether they are tax payers or not.
As well, school divisions can be leaders in the struggle against climate change. The status quo is no longer enough. Creative solutions and political will are required.
Do you have any other comments regarding your candidacy?
Our representative democracy only works when people get involved. That’s what I’m doing. For decades, people have been telling me I should run for office. I’m finally putting my money where my mouth is. No political party will have me as I’ve been labelled as too independent minded.
I strongly believe people running for office should stand for something and express their values. Here’s my platform:
I would challenge citizens to ask themselves why some candidates have nothing to say. How are we to vote and be engaged if those in power don’t (or won’t) tell us what they believe?
If elected, I will work with anyone. I’d rather someone disagree with me and then reach a consensus than saying nothing at all. That is dangerous for our democracy.
News that mentions Gus Watanabe
Showing news articles published after May 1st 2022. Article summaries are selected randomly from the mentioned candidates. Our news gathering process is explained in our FAQ.
October 27, 2022
CTV - ...Dunn (ELECTED) Vicki Rempel Leela Schreyer Garrity West Ward Cheryl Smukowich (ELECTED) Sandy Lethbridge* (ELECTED) Fiona Shiells (ELECTED) Gus Watanabe Zachary Linnick Winnipeg School Division Ward 1 Jamie Dumont* (ELECTED) Serena Gatti Chris Wilson Ward 2 Lois Brothers (ELECTED) Chris...
October 5, 2022
Winnipeg Free Press - ...Holly Hunter, Tara Smith, Vicki Rempel. West Ward (three to be elected): Sandy Lethbridge, Zachary Linnick, Fiona Shiells, Cheryl Smukowich, Gus Watanabe. Centre Ward (three to be elected): Pierre Attallah, Michael Cabral, Craig Glennie, Rachelle Wood. Seven Oaks School Division Ward 1 (one to be...
September 16, 2022
Winnipeg Free Press - ...an off-handed remark about how it’s common knowledge amongst all the staff at Churchill that Kelsey McKay has players come over to his house,” Gus Watanabe said. “My first thought was, ‘Wow, excuse me?’” Watanabe said he brought the information to the attention of school principal Rick Martin. ...