National Post national affairs columnist Don Martin has weighed in on emerging developments in civic elections across the country. His opinions on the civic front occurrred during a lull in federal politics, which he normally covers, as the House of Commons was not in session (MPs reconvened in the House this week). He provided an assessment of five mayoral races in Canada, including Winnipeg’s. Incumbent mayoral candidate Sam Katz grabbed his attention as a result of a YouTube video showing an inadvertent kick by the mayor connecting with a child’s head during a playful soccer game. Martin used this incident to poke a bit of fun at the incumbent.
Note: When will our school trustee candidates get national coverage, let alone local press? After all, in Winnipeg they are responsible for levying half of our property tax bill. Do you know who your school trustee is in your area?
In Winnipeg, there will be no less than four new city councillors as a result of varying circumstances, which has happened without the adoption of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce’s proposal for municipal term limits to ensure a steady turnover of councillors. Incumbent Councillor Harvey Smith is also being seriously challenged, while other incumbents are not taking an election victory for granted. So the face of the new city council will be dramatically different after October 27.
All candidates running for municipal office had to file their nomination papers by September 27, and in the case of mayoral candidates, submit the signitures of 250 registered Winnipeg voters to support their candidacy. At the end of the cutoff, four candidates — Katz, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Rav Gill and Brad Gross — had their candidacy papers in order and qualified to run for mayor, which is far from a record.
In 1992, when former Mayor Bill Norrie stepped down, there were 15 candidates including three city councillors running for the vacant seat. That year, WinnipegREALTORS® held its first all-candidate mayoral forum at the Burton Cummings Theatre (then the Walker Theatre).
In 2010, WinnipegREALTORS® is once again teaming up with Shaw TV and hosting an all-candidates mayoral forum at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre on Provencher Blvd., starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 6. The doors will open at 6:15 p.m. While the public is encouraged to come down and see the candidates in-person, Shaw TV will be putting on a first-class live production allowing Winnipeggers to view the forum in the comfort of their homes. It will also be rebroadcast the next evening at 6 p.m. and then on Sunday, October 24, at 6 p.m.
A high-powered media panel of Bartley Kives from the Winnipeg Free Press, Tom Brodbeck from the Winnipeg Sun and Julie Bell from CBC Radio has been assembled. They will be given full license to apply their interrogation skills to challenge the candidates on their platforms and ask how each candidate could deliver to Winnipeggers a better quality of life. It is also the organizers intent to keep the media panel fully engaged throughout the entire forum (expect it to run approximately 90 minutes), as they will be charged with doing a supplemental question in the section where candidates have an opportunity to ask each other a question. Moderating the mayoral forum will be Shaw TV’s own Kim Babij.
Based on the latest poll conducted by Viewpoints Research for CJOB in partnership with the Manitoba Real Estate Association, incumbent Katz only has an eight-per-cent point lead over challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis. There were 16 per cent undecided among the polled, so the mayoral forum will be worth watching.
While there are no plans to allow questions from the audience, Shaw TV is doing a “streeter” segment. They will be asking Winnipeggers in public places what civic election issue is uppermost in their minds. All the mayoral candidates participating in the forum will be sent a copy of the public responses (which will also be shown during the forum), and asked to provide an answer on how, if they are elected mayor, they intend to address these public concerns.
There are a lot of important issues to be discussed before this election and the mayoral forum on October 6 will be an opportunity for many of them to be raised and addressed by the four mayoral candidates.