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Winnipeg Votes 2006
Winnipeg Votes 2006

 Main > Council Races > Transcona
Voting Date: October 25, 2006  

Council Races


Final Results:

Transcona Total
Number of Polls 46/46  
Gerald Basarab 785 8.49
Stephen Smith
Russ Wyatt (incumbent) 7850

Ward Profile:


Transcona's reputation as a railway town is slowly pulling away from the station.
The area's industrial sector, which includes CN's Transcona Shops, New Flyer Industries, and Palliser Furniture, remains strong.
The retail sector primarily includes small businesses and services, which survive in spite of the large retailers that are further west on Regent Avenue.

The ward is still widely considered a working-class neighbourhood, although its new housing market flourishes. More people are making the move to Transcona, as subdivisions like Canterbury Park expand.

As the population and tax base grow, residents may expect increased spending on services and repairs.


Gerald Basarab

One candidate is having some fun with a hot issue in Transcona while he's campaigning in the ward.

Quick Check - Gerald BasarabGerald Basarab will be offering gummy pig candies to residents as a way to encourage them to share their views about the OlyWest pork processing plant.

The 52-year-old candidate is a lifelong resident of Transcona, and the father of two. He works at CN's Transcona Shops, where he has been for 25 years. He also operated a new and used store.
He describes himself as local and vocal. "I think when I go out my back door, everyone in Transcona knows I'm outside."

Basarab's name may be familiar to voters in the Transcona ward, as he's been actively involved in several civic elections. The 2006 election is the fifth time he's been on the ballot. This is his second campaign for city councillor and he's run for school board trustee three times. Before registering as a candidate, he also signed the nomination papers for the incumbent he's running against.

Although he has considered using election signs from previous campaigns, there is a new aspect to this campaign: Basarab's 29-year-old son, Cam, is his campaign manager. "What I'm doing with my son being my campaign manager is I'm trying to teach the young ones to come up, and showing them their voice does count."

He has held several positions in his local union, including advocate for Worker's Compensation. He has also been active in the community as a former president of Transcona Game and Fish, as a member of various service clubs, and through volunteer work.

He considers some of the major issues in Winnipeg to be infrastructure, community centres and police and fire services, but he said he has a lot of other ideas.

"Some of them are just burning inside me and I don't want to give them out right now because I have a lot of things I want to reveal at a later date."

Basarab wants to open the doors at city hall when policies and decisions are being made. "In order to get behind closed doors, you have to open the doors first."

Steve Smith

One student at the University of Manitoba has found an extra-curricular activity he enjoys: running for city council.
Steve Smith's background prior to this election has been at the university. He has an undergraduate degree in engineering, and is working on a master's degree in natural resource management.

Quick Check - Steve Smith"Fortunately my advisor as well as some of the other profs in the faculty have been very supportive," Smith said.
Smith, who would only say he's older than 18, grew up in the Rural Municipality of St. Andrews, but has lived in Winnipeg for several years. He doesn't live in Transcona, but decided he had some affinity with the ward. "I felt I could relate, having grown up outside of the city core."

Smith is one of six candidates who belong to the Winnipeg Green Party. The initial lack of registered candidates is one of the reasons he decided to run.

"It looked like several councillors were going to go unopposed and I just feel, and we all feel, that democracy is not functioning properly if people are being acclaimed."

At the time of the interview, Smith declined to answer the CBC questionnaire. He provided a response by e-mail afterward, following a Winnipeg Green Party meeting.

In his e-mail, Smith wrote, "The responses which follow were agreed upon by the party." He also wrote, "We were not able to answer some of the questions because they presented false dilemmas. Those changed are marked with an * and followed by a different statement which better reflects our position."

The questions that the party revised are listed below. Their platform is outlined further on their website.

  • For: Improve dispatch services, community policing, and youth programs.
  • For: Refurbishment of the existing stadium or new construction on an adjacent site (i.e. the old arena property).
  • For: A diversity of housing options in all neighbourhoods.
  • Against: Waverley West and other projects which contribute to (sub)urban sprawl.

For: Plebiscite to determine limits for council terms. (in general we are in favour but would put the question to voters)

Related link: Winnipeg Green Party

Russ Wyatt (incumbent)

Eight years ago, it was a race he wasn't ready to run.
In 1998, Russ Wyatt registered as a candidate in Transcona, but later withdrew. "Council is a major commitment, so you have to be prepared to do it."

Quick Check - Russ WyattHe ran for city council in 2002 and was elected.
Wyatt, 36, is a lifelong resident of Transcona. He's also a newlywed, having marrying his wife Janet (pronounced Jan-ay) in December 2005, and the son of former city councillor Reg Wyatt.
His political background includes studying political science at the University of Winnipeg, working as the executive assistant to former councillor Rick Boychuk and four years as a city councillor.

"I've worked very hard for the residents of Transcona, and by doing so, I think I've worked hard for the city as a whole," Wyatt said.

For Wyatt, some of the major issues in Winnipeg are the infrastructure deficit, rapid transit, the OlyWest pork processing plant and community safety.

He also believes Winnipeg needs a long-term sustainability plan.
"We are one of the few cities in Canada that does not have a sustainability plan, and to me that is an outrage. We should know every year when we build new roads, what we have to budget to maintain those roads," Wyatt said.

He had some concerns about the CBC questionnaire, but he commented on each statement, including the ones that aren't answered in the checklist.

Wyatt supports raising property taxes to fix streets and sewers if the money is dedicated to repairs and not placed into the city's general revenues. To ease the property tax increase, he wants the province to reduce or eliminate the school tax and share a portion of the PST or provincial gas tax with the city.

He doesn't want public funds going into a new stadium and he's against private development within Assiniboine Park.

He declined to answer the question about a pesticide ban similar to Brandon's because he hasn't read Brandon's pesticide policy.

He supports selectively installing security cameras in public places where vandalism or employee safety is a concern.

Related link: Russ Wyatt website

Ward and candidate profiles by Michelle Melanson, a journalism major in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.


  From The City of Winnipeg Elections 2006:
Transcona (PDF)
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