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Franco Magnifico

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Franco Magnifico

Franco Magnifico
Downtown Development Committee Chair (Winnipeg)
In office
2005–2006
Preceded by Peter De Smedt
Succeeded by Russ Wyatt
Winnipeg City Councillor for St. Boniface
In office
2004–2006
Preceded by Dan Vandal
Succeeded by Dan Vandal

Franco Gaetano Luigi Magnifico is a businessperson and politician from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He represented the St. Boniface ward on Winnipeg City Council from 2004 to 2006.

Contents

  • Early life and career 1
  • City councillor 2
  • Personality 3
  • Electoral record 4
  • References 5

Early life and career

Magnifico was born and raised in Winnipeg, and worked for Canadian National before buying the St. Boniface Hotel and Club St. Boniface bar.[1] He worked on several campaigns for the Liberal Party before running for office himself, and was a supporter of Member of Parliament Ron Duhamel.[2]

He criticized a Manitoba Liquor Control Commission decision that prevented him from selling alcohol during World Cup of Soccer matches 2002. The games took place in Japan and South Korea, and were broadcast during early morning hours in local time.[3]

Magnifico was an opponent of Winnipeg's anti-smoking bylaw, and sought to provide his bar patrons with a loophole to the law in 2003. Although he enforced the ban in the bar itself, he also purchased an old yellow school bus that he parked outside his hotel as a "smoking section". Provincial inspectors later argued that the bus constituted a public indoor space and was therefore in violation of the bylaw, and issued a $1,500 fine.[4] Magnifico initially contested the charge in court, but ultimately decided to pay the fine.[5] He sold the bar and hotel in 2004,[6] and has said that he considered moving to the United States to open a Tim Hortons franchise.[7]

City councillor

Magnifico ran for Winnipeg City Council in a 2004 by-election, called after sitting St. Boniface councillor Dan Vandal stepped down to run for mayor. He won an upset victory, defeating two better-known francophone candidates.[8]

Magnifico quickly emerged as a vocal ally of newly elected Mayor Sam Katz. He supported the mayor's decision to shelve a rapid transit plan in September 2004, arguing that the money would be better spent on other priorities.[9] In October 2004, Katz appointed Magnifico as chair of his newly formed "red tape commission".[10] The commission's finished report was issued in June 2005 with 50 recommendations, including an overhaul of Winnipeg's entertainment tax and a plan to reduce neighbourhood conflicts over new construction projects.[11] The entertainment tax was subsequently eliminated, and Katz reported that 15 of the 30 recommendations had been completed by January 2007.[12]

Magnifico was also appointed to chair Winnipeg's alternate service delivery committee in June 2005. This committee was charged with streamlining some municipal services and contracting out others. In this capacity, Magnifico spearheaded a controversial move to privatize the city's garbage collection services.[13] Katz promoted Magnifico to his executive policy committee (i.e. the municipal cabinet) in November 2005 as chair of the downtown development committee.[14]

Following his election, Magnifico promoted a plan to turn an abandoned Canada Packers site in his ward into a major indoor recreation complex.[15] The funding for this project never materialized, and it did not come to fruition.[16] He also supported a controversial plan to build an OlyWest pork producing plant in the vicinity of his ward.[17] This was unpopular with ward residents, and was abandoned when the provincial government withdrew its support. Magnifico was not aligned with any political party in this period, although he acknowledged that he was an opponent of the New Democratic Party.[2]

Former councillor Dan Vandal challenged Magnifico in the 2006 municipal election. Magnifico was endorsed by the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg, and was joined on door-knocking duties by Mayor Katz.[18] The contest was expected to be close, but Vandal ultimately won by a significant margin.[19]

Personality

Magnifico was a brash and flamboyant figure on council, and was known for the energy he brought to political life.[20] He described himself as a classic rock fan in a 2005 interview, and said that AC/DC was his favourite band.[7]

Electoral record

2006 Winnipeg municipal election, City Councillor, St. Boniface Ward
Candidate Total votes % of total votes
Dan Vandal 9,785 56.70
(x)Franco Magnifico 6,989 40.49
Murray Cliff 485 2.81
Total valid votes 17,259 100.00
Winnipeg municipal by-election, 22 June 2004, Councillor, St. Boniface
Candidate Total votes % of total votes
Franco Magnifico 7,610 38.22
Roland Marcoux 5,798 29.12
Tom Scott 2,003 10.06
Émile Chartier 1,737 8.72
Marcel Boille 1,071 5.38
Murray Cliff 1,040 5.22
Derek W.J. Hay 653 3.28
Total valid votes 19,912 100.00

References

  1. ^ Aldo Santin, "Local hotels fight city hall -- and win", Winnipeg Free Press, 29 December 2001, A12; Jason Bell, "Businessman joins St. B council race", Winnipeg Free Press, 21 May 2004, B9.
  2. ^ a b Mary Agnes Welch, "St. Boniface race close, oddly quiet", Winnipeg Free Press, 21 October 2006, B2.
  3. ^ "A Winnipeg hotel owner believes not being allowed to sell liquor during live World Cup of Soccer [...]", Broadcast News, 30 May 2002, 12:12.
  4. ^ Lindor Reynolds, "Magnifico butt bus idea busted", Winnipeg Free Press, 14 November 2003, B1; Mary Agnes Welch, "Hotel's 'butt bus' busted", Winnipeg Free Press, 11 December 2003, A6.
  5. ^ "Magnifico to plead guilty to smoking ban violation", Winnipeg Free Press, 26 October 2004, A6.
  6. ^ Jason Bell, "Businessman joins St. B council race", Winnipeg Free Press, 21 May 2004, B9.
  7. ^ a b Carolin Vesely, "Perfectly frank with Franco", Winnipeg Free Press, 19 February 2005, F2.
  8. ^ Aldo Santin, "Franco Magnifico, St. Boniface", Winnipeg Free Press, 23 June 2004, B2. He was 49 years old at the time of the election. In his victory speech, Magnifico said the results marked the end of the Old St. Boniface Residents Association's dominance over local politics.
  9. ^ Mary Agnes Welch, "Katz stalls rapid transit", Winnipeg Free Press, 15 September 2004, B1.
  10. ^ "Who got what", Winnipeg Free Press, 20 October 2008, A8; Mary Agnes Welch, "Mayor puts his 'team' in place", Winnipeg Free Press, 20 October 2004, A8.
  11. ^ Mary Agnes Welch, "Report slashes city's red tape", Winnipeg Free Press, 27 June 2005, A1; Aldo Santin, "Mayor promises to cut red tape", Winnipeg Free Press, 29 June 2005, B1.
  12. ^ Bartley Kives, "Down to wire with red-tape promises", Winnipeg Free Press, 15 January 2008, B2.
  13. ^ Mary Agnes Welch, "City trash collectors plan last-ditch rally", Winnipeg Free Press, 19 July 2005, B3; "Garbage and Mr. Katz's flip-flops", Winnipeg Free Press, 4 August 2005, A11.
  14. ^ Mary Agnes Welch, "Katz shuffles his cabinet", Winnipeg Free Press, 1 November 2005, B1; Bartley Kives, "Agency seeks new lease on life", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 June 2006, B1. Magnifico also served as Chair of the Kansas City Economic Partnership Committee. See "Hansard: A Report from the Government Relations Office", University of Manitoba, November 2005; Mayor Katz shakes up City Hall leadership, Winnipeg.ca, 2005, accessed 22 January 2009.
  15. ^ Mary Agnes Welch, "$70-M sportsplex plan", Winnipeg Free Press, 8 August 2005, B1.
  16. ^ Bartley Kives, "St. B to be Bombers' home?", Winnipeg Free Press, 31 March 2007, A7.
  17. ^ Bartley Kives, "Hog vote to rattle city hall", Winnipeg Free Press, 23 May 2006, B1.
  18. ^ Bartley Kives, "Firefighters like Magnifico in hot St. B race", Winnipeg Free Press, 8 July 2006, B2; Bartley Kives and Mary Agnes Welch, "Want a left-wing mayor? You have a choice", Winnipeg Free Press, 18 September 2006, B3.
  19. ^ Mary Agnes Welch, "Surly voters turf 4 council incumbents", Winnipeg Free Press, 26 October 2006, B3.
  20. ^ Mary Agnes Welch, "He's loud and boorish but definitely not boring", Winnipeg Free Press, 15 September 2006, B1.
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