Speech at Winnipeg shooting rally draws fire
Some people attending a North End rally for shell-shocked community members reeling from a spate of recent violence say campaign-style speeches delivered by politicians left a bad taste in their mouths.
Nearly 250 people turned out Monday night at the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre on Robinson Street, located not far from where Tommy Beardy, 35, was shot and killed in a horrifying half-hour crime spree in the area Saturday night.
Beardy, a father of four, was the second victim in a series of shootings between 8:40 and 9:15 p.m. CT.
Just prior to that incident, an unknown gunman shot and seriously wounded a 13-year-old girl on Stella Walk.
Minutes after Beardy was gunned down, a third shooting fatally wounded Ian MacDonald, 52, on Boyd Avenue.
Monday, Winnipeg mayoral hopeful Judy Wasylycia-Leis organized a rally at the centre, billing it as a chance for the community to support each other and begin healing.
But Wasylycia-Leis's speech had some who attended headed for the doors early.
"I believe we can do better, I believe we can make a new start, I believe we can build a strong, safe neighbourhood and a strong, safe city with your help," Wasylycia-Leis told the crowd at one point.
Many of them cheered her speech but Chris D'Souza, however, wasn't happy with what he heard.
"There are two people that are dead, a 13-year-old in the hospital and I don't think people should talk about politics," he said.
Even some politicians found the speeches to be in poor taste.
"Those candidates are not the community members that are meant to be rallying together. They should be here listening to what the community has to say," said Jenny Motkaluk.
Motkaluk is running to become the ward councillor for the area and said she was attending simply because she lives in the area.
She didn't go with the intention of speaking, she said.
"I'm very surprised to see that there's a slate of candidates speaking here tonight," said Motkaluk.
Prior to the rally, Wasylycia-Leis's campaign manager described how the rally came together in an email to CBC News.
"This started pretty organically. People in the community have been phoning looking for answers and ways to show that the streets still belong to them. Judy's been meeting with community groups yesterday and today and this came out of it," Dave Leibl said.
Winnipeggers go to the polls Wednesday to elect a new municipal government.