Manitoba·Analysis

No-name nomination papers for Bowman, familiar figures back Motkaluk in Winnipeg mayoral race

The nomination documents submitted by Brian Bowman and Jenny Motkaluk paint pictures of two entirely different networks of support. And it's unclear whether this is by happenstance or design.

By happenstance or design, nomination documents paint different pictures of support for mayoral frontrunners

Winnipeg mayoral candidates Jenny Motkaluk and Brian Bowman speak at a mayoral forum on environmental policy at the University of Winnipeg's Eckhardt-Grammatté​ Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (CBC)

Brian Bowman's re-election nomination papers contain the signatures of so few recognizable Winnipeggers, it's almost as if the incumbent mayor went out of his way to create the appearance of a candidate who knows no one of importance or influence.

Mayoral challenger Jenny Motkaluk's nomination list includes former mayor Sam Katz's most trusted lieutenant on city council, Conservative politicians and a handful of well-known businesspeople, suggesting she's unconcerned about revealing some of the power associated with her campaign.

The nomination documents submitted by Bowman and Motkaluk paint pictures of two entirely different networks of support. And it's unclear whether this is by happenstance or design.

In order to wind up on the ballot on Oct. 24, mayoral candidates had submit 250 nomination signatures by Tuesday afternoon. Their respective lists can be viewed at the city clerk's office but are not posted online.

CBC News went through the nomination papers and found the most recognizable names in Bowman's nomination papers are current or former employees of the mayor's office, including chief of staff Jason Fuith, press secretary Jeremy Davis, administrative assistant Dana Lorentz and former policy advisor Carmen Barnett.

Aside from Brian Scharfstein, who owns Canadian Footwear and sits on the Winnipeg Police Board, there are few well-known names embedded in Bowman's nomination list.

Brian Scharfstein, principal owner of Canadian Footwear, signed incumbent mayor Brian Bowman's re-election nomination papers. (CBC)

The incumbent said he was not trying to portray himself as an ordinary Joe by eschewing the signatures of more notable nominees — the kinds of people you would expect to operate within the orbit of a sitting mayor.

"There wasn't a deliberate kind of scientific strategy," Bowman said Friday in an interview. "As volunteers were out and about in the community, for people that were willing to sign, we asked them to sign."

'Broad cross section' for Motkaluk

Motkaluk's nomination papers are studded with far more recognizable names, such as former St. Norbert councillor Justin Swandel, who served on Katz's executive policy committee for most of his nine years on council and then went to work for industrial land developer Terracon.

Conservative Sen. Don Plett, former Winnipeg South Centre Tory MP Joyce Bateman and former River Heights PC MLA Michael Radcliffe all nominated Motkaluk, as did sitting North Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty, Charleswood-Tuxedo council hopeful Kevin Klein and Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont.

Other notable Motkaluk nominees include grocery owner Tom De Nardi, auto dealer Jim Gauthier and lawyer Robert Tapper.

Former St. Norbert councillor Justin Swandel, who served on Sam Katz's EPC, signed mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk's nomination forms. (CBC)

Motkaluk's campaign describes her support network as widespread, non-partisan and unconnected to special interests.

"Jenny's nomination list proudly features a broad cross section of business leaders, concerned citizens and elected officials from across the entire political spectrum," campaign spokesperson Dave MacKay said in a statement.

Bowman claimed the list is evidence Motkaluk would be beholden to unions and developers.

"We saw at her launch many of the old figures that used to call the shots at city hall," he said, repeating a claim he made at his own campaign launch last week.

Motkaluk herself was unavailable for comment this weekend. She's planning a campaign rally that's slated for Monday evening.

Bowman to reveal donor identities

As the mayoral race continues, expect Bowman to continue to attempt to portray himself as more transparent than his competition.

On Wednesday, Bowman pledged to reveal the identity of his campaign donors prior to the Oct. 24 election. He also challenged other mayoral candidates to do the same.

It's unclear whether Motkaluk will follow suit. Over the summer, she said she did not intend to reveal the identity of her donors before election day. 

Mayoral candidates Brian Bowman and Jenny Motkaluk shake hands during a cordial moment following a forum at the University of Winnipeg on Tuesday. (John Einarson/CBC)

The identity of all donors who make contributions of $250 or more must be disclosed in campaign finance paperwork the city clerk will make public in 2019.

The incumbent mayor's strategy appears to be to portray his primary challenger as trying to hide her funding sources.

How effective that will be is unclear, as Motkaluk obviously had no concern about revealing some of her connections when her campaign submitted nomination paperwork.

About the Author

Bartley Kives

Reporter, CBC Manitoba

Reporter Bartley Kives joined CBC Manitoba in 2016. Prior to that, he spent three years at the Winnipeg Sun and 18 at the Winnipeg Free Press, writing about politics, music, food and outdoor recreation. He's the author of the Canadian bestseller A Daytripper's Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada's Undiscovered Province and co-author of both Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg and Stuck In The Middle 2: Defining Views of Manitoba. His work has also appeared in publications such as the Guardian and Explore magazine.

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