Councillor Markus Chambers to replace Vivian Santos as Winnipeg’s Acting Deputy Mayor

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Mayor Brian Bowman has replaced the city's acting deputy mayor with someone he said is a better fit as we enter the fourth wave of COVID-19.

Councillor Markus Chambers (St. Norbert-Seine River City) has been appointed as the new acting deputy mayor.

Bowman announced the shuffle to replace Coun. Vivian Santos (Point Douglas) Thursday, who previously held the position.

"As we enter the fourth wave of the pandemic and continue to encourage more of our residents to get vaccinated, I will be asking the acting deputy mayor, as well as Deputy Mayor John Orlikow, to more actively promote the importance of vaccines,” said Bowman in a statement.

“Today's announcement will help to ensure even greater alignment with the acting deputy mayor regarding the city's response to COVID-19."

A spokesperson for the city said the mayor is not in a position to comment on the personal health information of any member of council.

In a statement, Santos said existing conflicts with the mayor on issues like the city’s pandemic response and budgetary issues led to her removal from the position.

“During the pandemic, it has been ever increasingly difficult to be in alignment with the mayor on major issues surrounding the future of Winnipeg and our community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads the statement. “At the same time, there are pressing social and economic realities that are not being addressed - particularly in areas of poverty and policing surrounding racialized communities.”

Santos congratulated Chambers on his new position and said she looks forward to spending more time working for her constituents, regardless of their gender, political views or class.

The changes went into effect Thursday.