Former NDP member of the legislature Judy Wasylycia-Leis formally filed papers Monday declaring her intention to run as a candidate for the mayor's chair in the upcoming Winnipeg civic election.
Wasylycia-Leis filed the papers at City Hall at 3 p.m. CT. Monday was the first day candidates were able to notify the city they wished to run for the top political job.
"No going back now, signed sealed and delivered - I'm registered," she told a crush of reporters gathered to record the event.
The 58-year-old is set to publicly announce her candidacy for mayor of Winnipeg on Tuesday at The Forks Market. Only then will she reveal her platform and vision for the city, she said.
"I've got lots of concerns on the garbage front, but you know what, today's a day for telling you I've filed my papers.
"Tomorrow I'm going to start with my vision and from there on in I will let you know my different pieces and planks of my platform," she said.
However, Wasylycia-Leis say that taxes and rapid transit will be among the major issues she plans to tackle during the campaign.
Carstairs acts as campaign chair
Wasylycia-Leis has some powerful political players on her campaign team, including Senator Sharon Carstairs, one-time leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party.
Carstairs, who is going to serve as campaign chairperson, said Wasylycia-Leis has surrounded herself with a number of high-profile people who are determined to see her defeat incumbent Mayor Sam Katz.
"[She has] an incredible chance of pulling that off," Carstairs said, adding that the biggest challenge will be to ensure her supporters get out to vote.
Voter turnout in the 2006 civic election for the City of Winnipeg was a paltry 38.2 per cent.
"I think if she can get that voter turnout out then she will win easily," said Carstairs, whose history with Wasylycia-Leis goes back to 1986, when both were elected to the Manitoba legislature — Carstairs as the lone liberal MLA and Wasylycia-Leis as NDP minister of culture.
Now they are planning to work together, setting aside their partisan political views.
"She's not running as an NDP candidate; she's running as a [mayoral] candidate, and I am a city resident and I'm going to support her as the candidate," Carstairs said.
The rest of Wasylycia-Leis's campaign team will be unveiled at Tuesday's announcement, Carstairs said.
Speculation since January
There has been speculation for months that Wasylycia-Leis might take a run at municipal politics.
In an interview in January, while she was still an MP, she said she was being urged by a number of people to challenge Katz, who has been mayor since 2004.
Katz has announced he will seek re-election.
On April 27, Wasylycia-Leis announced she would resign her seat for Winnipeg North — which she has held since 1997 —effective May 1. At that time, she simply said it was time to move on.
She said she wanted to spend time with her family before making any announcement about her future.
During her political career, she was also a cabinet minister in the Manitoba government of Howard Pawley from 1986 to 1988 and served as an MLA until 1993.
She has been an MP since 1997, most recently as the federal NDP health critic. She has also been caucus chair and finance critic.
The civic election is slated for Oct. 27.