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Forums an opportunity to hear candidates discuss issues
Oct 01, 2010
A number of organizations have or will be hosting or sponsoring mayoral forums to help Winnipeggers make an informed decision when they mark their ballots on October 27. 
This week, the Winnipeg BIZ hosted a mayoral candidate forum to provide an opportunity for its business members to find out about the candidates. Not surprisingly, city business taxes were a hot issue. Later the same day, the University of Winnipeg’s Global College Student Advisory Council held what it called a one-hour youth dialogue with the mayoral candidates on Winnipeg as a human rights city. All four candidates were invited to participate in this forum and only Sam Katz was unable to attend it.
On Wednesday, October 6 at 7 p.m., WinnipegREALTORS® is teaming up with Shaw TV to broadcast a live televised all-candidates’ mayoral forum.  While there will be no direct questions from the audience, Winnipeggers are encouraged to attend this event which will be held at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre on Provencher Boulevard. The doors to the theatre open at 6:15 p.m. 
The forum is expected to run approximately 90 minutes and will be moderated by Shaw TV’s Kim Babij. All four mayoral candidates — Sam Katz, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Rav Gill and Brad Gross — will be participating. A high-powered media panel comprised of Tom Brodbeck, Bartley Kives and Julie Bell will ask the candidates their positions on issues of concern to Winnipeggers. 
The format is set up in such a way to create interaction among the candidates and allow the media panel to ask follow-up questions. There will be two rounds of questions, during which each candidate will have an opportunity to ask a question of another candidate. 
Shaw TV is taping an advanced segment of “streeters” to allow Winnipeggers to express what they want to see in their future mayor. After the four-minute segment, each mayoral candidate will be asked a question based on streeters from moderator Kim Babij. She will then have the opportunity to seek further clarification or elaboration on an answer if necessary.
As with most forums, the candidates will make opening and closing remarks. However, to keep things moving, time limits will be strictly enforced. During the two-minute opening remarks, the organizers want the mayoral candidate to outline how their vision and platform will move our city forward over the next four years as well as lay a better foundation beyond the four-year election cycle. 
WinnipegREALTORS® will participate in a Downtown BIZ, Exchange BIZ and the University of Winnipeg’s Institute of Urban Studies, mayoral forum scheduled for Thursday, October 7, during which the downtown is the entire focus of the event. Sponsoring the forum are the Winnipeg Free Press and CJOB with Richard Cloutier and Dan Lett moderating a discussion on a variety of downtown issues. Partners in this mayoral candidate forum on the downtown are the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and WinnipegREALTORS®. The forum will be held in the Manitoba Hydro Place atrium. 360 Portage Ave., from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 
“This is the public’s chance to hear the candidates go on the record on a host of key issues that are pivotal in moving our city and downtown forward, more quickly,” said Stefano Grande, the executive director of the Downtown BIZ indicated in a media release. “We’re looking forward to a lively discussion.” 
“This discussion will help voters understand how each candidate intends to change our city and downtown over the next four years,” said Jino Distasio, director of the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg.
You can expect to hear discussions on downtown safety, rapid transit, public works investment, private-sector involvement in developing the downtown, downtown living opportunities and an expanded Winnipeg Convention Centre. 
For the record, WinnipegREALTORS® is a sponsor of Downtown BIZ’s annual Downtown Living Tour, and has a position paper on the steps necessary to facilitate downtown mixed-use development and revitalization. 
Civic priorities in position paper relating to the downtown are: creation of a safe, vibrant downtown with emphasis on increasing downtown living opportunities; synchronization of traffic lights; expansion of the Winnipeg Convention Centre; infrastructure investment; and the implementation of a comprehensive, user-friendly rapid transit system. 
It is also worth noting that WinnipegREALTORS® is a major supporter of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in recognition of the potential it will have on Winnipeg’s downtown and the city as a whole. The more attractive and accommodating we can make our downtown over the next few years, the better off Winnipeg will be — not only ensuring Winnipeggers feel better about coming to or living in the downtown, but in welcoming the thousands of visitors from around the world who will come to visit our iconic human rights museum.
The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce is holding a mayoral debate between Sam Katz and Judy Wasylycia-Leis on Wednesday, October 13, at Canad Inns Polo Park. It is a luncheon set up which begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 1:30 p.m. 
The following are the websites for the four mayoral candidates:
• reelectsam.ca
• judyformayor.com
• bradgrossformayor.com
• rav4mayor.com
In addition, be sure to check out what your ward candidates are putting forward as the direction for our city. With at least five new city councillors coming into office, it may well take on a whole different make-up and personality.
Get out and vote on October 27. The next council will be confronting considerable challenges, so it is important candidates running for municipal office know Winnipeggers truly care about the future of their city.