Winnipeg city Coun. Paula Havixbeck has become the sixth candidate for mayor in this fall's civic election.
The Charleswood-Tuxedo councillor has been a constant critic of Mayor Sam Katz since leaving his executive policy committee last year. But she has always been coy about her ambitions to take the city's top job — until now.
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Accompanied by her two sons, Havixbeck filed her nomination papers with the city clerk's office shortly before 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
She is the only candidate now in the race that held a non-political job with the City of Winnipeg, having worked in the fire paramedic department at one time.
In recent months, Havixbeck has hammered Katz on various issues, including a poorly managed fire hall construction program that sparked controversy at city hall.
"That is symbolic of the problems and the pivotal moment for me that I knew that I needed to do something more," she said on Wednesday, across the street from a fire hall.
Havixbeck would join former councillor Gord Steeves and lawyer Brian Bowman on the right side of the political spectrum.
Michel Fillion, Mike Vogiatkakis and Gordon Warren are also in the race.
Too many right-leaning candidates?
Voters will go to the polls on Oct. 22 to elect a mayor and council.
Katz, who has not indicated whether he will seek re-election or not, said the growing number of right-leaning candidates would make it easy for someone on the left to win.
"It may make it almost impossible for anybody who's not on the left to win," he said.
"If you have one candidate running on the left and three or more on the right, it's pretty obvious what's going to happen."
But Havixbeck said she disagrees with the mayor on that point.
"When someone calls me with an issue, I don't ask them to see their party card to see what it looks like. I represent everyone," she said.
Former NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis, who lost to Katz in the 2010 mayoral race, also did not accept Katz's theory.
"I don't think Winnipeggers are looking at this election in terms of narrow, simplistic partisan posturing," she said.
"Winnipeggers see this as a critical election. They want clear voices, real change."
Wasylycia-Leis has not decided if she will run this time around