…and it’ll be a muted debate

October 4, 2006

Today’s Free Press (unlinked because it’s subscription only) has an article telling us that there’s nine, NINE mayoral debates scheduled (after so long hearing of none). By all accounts, Kaj Hasselriis, Marianne Cerilli, Ron Pollock (though he says he wasn’t inivited to the CJOB or Global TV debates) will be attending all nine, but Sam Katz will only be attending four.

“All three other mayoral candidates are criticizing Katz for passing up other debates, but his campaign manager Ryan Craig said the mayor simply has no time to accomodate more events.

Funny that the other three candidates have the time to show up to all nine and hear from and talk directly to the people. That’s too bad, especially for the students at the University of Winnipeg who were no doubt hoping that the incumbent mayor would show up to their debate on the 11th. Instead, he’s doing CJOB and Red River College’s KICK 92.9 radio stations, Global TV, and—the only debate where the public will be allowed to participate—the traditional Chamber of Commerce/Winnipeg Real Estate Board.

So what’s he showing the public (and the university student population specifically) is that he doesn’t need to care about their concerns, doesn’t need to listen to them. For a candidate who declares that he wants to create “a city where there are jobs and opportunities for our youth,” he’s sure not doing much to listen to them and what they really want (and I can guarantee it’s much more than an inner-city Christian rapper is telling him behind closed doors).

In the end, Katz is losing out though. He’s likely facing a much stiffer test from challengers Kaj Hasselriis and Marianne Cerilli on the campuses in the city than he is from the general public, so this would have been an opportune time to tap into a constituency he may not have had in his grip before. So his absence means that the other two will be able to further cement support for them for October 25th. Unfortunately, if they don’t win, then the youth’s voice in this city will be lost—again.



  1. We live in a city that contains the largest urban forest canopy in all of North America. This is a great claim to fame, but what it conceals is not so pleasant. This is the fact that we also have the worst case of urban sprawl (defined as the amount of space taken up per person) in the entire world. The result? The creation of a city based entirely on the use of the automobile. This may well be an interesting theoretical, but when it comes down to brass tacks it is a major problem for those in lower income brackets who cannot afford a vehicle, for the environment, and for the city itself. The further out we sprawl the more each individual must pay in the way of upkeep for the roads, sewers, water lines, public transit, rec centres, city crews, police, fire, and ambulance services, to name just the largest expenses. This is what is protested when youth take to the streets on their bicycles in the critical mass rallies. I personally do not attend, but support the idea. When we view our current candidates for mayoor, our options show us a youthful Hasselriis, a bookish Cerilli, and a somewhat distasteful (in this writer’s opinion) incumbent Katz. The major issue with Katz is that he has an inherent conflict of interest in that he is a developer. This means that he can argue in favour of yet another spawling development that is a boon to his friends (ie. other developers), but is a death knell for the fiscal and environmental health of our city. The easiset way to view this is as an analogy; On a cottage road, all those who own a lot pay equal portions of the upkeep of said road. If there are 10 lots, then each pays 10%, if the owners subdivide, and sell half of their land to new owners the number of properties is increased by 10, and each owners contribution to road maintenance drops by 50%, thus higher density is equal to lower property taxes. If anyone doubts the veracity of these claims they are easily verifiable by visiting the Centre for Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg. Essentially what I am saying is that we have to remove the developers from city hall or else this city will fail, and will not be able to sustain itself without raising taxes. Again. And again. And again. This resullts in no young people wanting to buy housing here, which gives us an aging population (in other words, a brain drain) which will, in the end, cause Winnipeg to fail as a city, causing Manitoba to fail as a province , which means that we will ALWAYS be a have not province in spite of the fact that we can provide huge amounts of hydroelectric power, we can create wind-turbine electricity like mad, we may even be able to mine uranium in the north, we can provide the best quality BioDiesel in the world, and ditto for ethanol. In summary, Katz is the worst possible choice for mayor of Winnipeg that we have had in a long time. Please, vote him out of office, it’s your city, stand up for it folks!

  2. Winnipeg’s current “growth at any cost” strategy that looks only at the financial dollars and cents — at a time when other cities are taking what full-cost accounting (all economic, environmental and social costs) tells them and basing all on it — is sadly lacking today. As we stretch our infrastructure and development even thinner, we risk reaching a point where the city as a whole can’t stand the pressure, and breaks down the middle.

    A certain group of candidates in this election are actively seeking to prevent that — however, they’re faced against almost overwhelming odds in many places. I’m hoping against all hope, but come the 2010 election, I may not be a resident anymore to help try to change things yet again.

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