Winnipeg's mayoral candidates face off in 1st forum

Winnipeg's seven candidates for mayor shared their visions for the city at the first mayoral forum of the election campaign today.
Winnipeg's candidates for mayor shared their visions for the city at the first mayoral forum of the election campaign. 1:40

Winnipeg's candidates for mayor shared their visions for the city at the first mayoral forum of the election campaign.

The Francophone Chamber of St. Boniface hosted the mayoral forum and luncheon at the Norwood Hotel on Wednesday.
All seven mayoral candidates spoke at the Francophone Chamber of St. Boniface's forum and luncheon on Wednesday. (Sean Kavanagh/CBC)

All seven candidates came to the forum and all spoke of the need to fix Winnipeg's crumbling infrastructure and change how things are done at city hall.

Paula Havixbeck and Gord Steeves touted their experiences on city council, but Judy Wasylycia-Leis accused both of them of not moving the city ahead while in office.

Brian Bowman, who is making his first foray into politics, said voters may get more of the same unless they vote for an outsider.

Havixbeck said she has done her best to fight what happened at city hall over the last few years, which she described as a national disgrace.

Michel Fillion told the audience he wants to take care of people, both in body and soul, while Mike Vogiatzakis said it's too difficult to for business to deal with city hall.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette told the audience that politicians don't have a good long-term vision for the city.

Ouellette said he would offer a long-term plan, similar to what's in place in cities like Calgary and Chicago, and he believes the city needs better management of big projects such as rapid transit.

When asked what they would do with a $150-million windfall in the city budget:

  • Havixbeck said she would spend it on infrastructure, including rapid transit.
  • Steeves said he would pay down the city's debt and fund infrastructure projects, especially recreation infrastructure for children.
  • Vogiatzakis said he would spend it on safety and helping young people get off the streets.
  • Wasylycia-Leis said she would fix potholes.
  • Bowman said he would use part of any windfall to pay for the legacy of audits left by city officials.

Candidates were also asked for specific examples of infrastructure repairs they want to see:

  • Steeves said the Manitoba government should financially participate more in the city.
  • Wasylycia-Leis said she would look at phasing out heavy trucks in parts of Winnipeg.
  • Bowman said the city should focus on building new streets instead of just fixing potholes.
  • Havixbeck said she would consult with current and former city employees for ideas on how to improve the way the city is run.
  • Steeves said the problems Winnipeg faces are not new, and his 11 years of prior council experience can help.

Voters will go to the polls on Oct. 22 to elect a mayor and council.

Current Mayor Sam Katz has not yet said if he will seek re-election.