One month left to put your name in the hat, or even notice the Winnipeg election
In the heat of the summer, keeping up on Winnipeg’s upcoming civic election may not be at the top of your ‘things to do’ list.
Election day is Oct. 24, and while that may seem like a long time off, the deadline to register as a candidate is just a month away.
With a number of long-serving councillors not returning to their wards, doors are open for new faces.
Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge) and Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) announced earlier this summer that they would not be running for re-election.
Russ Wyatt (Transcona) announced he would not run again as councillor and had hinted at a run for mayor, but has not yet registered and is currently facing charges of sexual assault.
With Marty Morantz (Tuxedo) setting his sights on federal politics, that brings to four the number of open city councillor positions.
If you ever thought about running for office, this would be as good a time as any.
Aaron Moore, political science professor at the University of Winnipeg spoke to Global News about the upcoming election.
“If you are serious about entering an election, it makes a lot more sense to look for a ward where there is nobody running than trying to beat somebody who has been there for, in some cases, decades.”
There are currently four incumbents running unopposed.
Moore said the fact that multiple candidates are vying for empty seats can make for a more interesting competition.
Thanks to the re-organization of ward boundaries, two incumbents — Scott Gillingham and Shaun Dobson — will be competing for the seat in St. James.
Fort Rouge is the ward with the most challengers. The average number of candidates seeking to represent their community, among the 15 wards, is three.
So far though, the biggest ticket is for the top job.
As of this week, nine people have registered to run for the position of Mayor.
“Right now there aren’t any really high profile candidates,” he said, noting that Jenny Motkaluk has gained some visibility by calling out Brian Bowman over his plan to open Portage and Main.
“Aside from her, there hasn’t been much media attention for any of the other candidates. And even in her case, I don’t think she’s going to appeal to a large enough portion of the electorate to really challenge Bowman.”
He said while the real races hasn’t started yet, the only issue that has come up is the opening of the city’s iconic downtown intersection.
“Portage and Main — basing the entire election on that is silly. We could talk broader about road infrastructure, water infrastructure… there doesn’t seem to be anything that has galvanized the public so far”.
He said people need to keep things in perspective. The costs associated with opening the intersection is about $15 million, but about $100 million is being spent on the Waverley overpass.
“This is a rather small issue to dominate an entire mayoral election. We could be talking about broader issues about are we spending infrastructure money in general in a good way or not, or are we wasting it.”
He said he is waiting to see what the candidates themselves decide to talk about.
No matter what the topics are though, it is worth paying attention.
People tend to really watch federal elections and pay less attention to provincial or municipal votes. Yet it is the last of the three types of elections that has the most impact on people’s daily lives.
“When you go out and you are using the infrastructure and you’re using most services, it is the municipality that provides them for you,” Moore said. He said decisions made by city councillors will be the ones that could have the most effect on their daily lives, and therefore, should be most important to voters.
Remember too, that voters will also be deciding on school trustees.
For the latest information about the election, go to the City of Winnipeg website here.
The final date to register as a candidate for mayor or council in the Winnipeg election is Sept. 18.
Registration must be done in person at City Hall, 510 Main St., during regular business hours.
The list of candidates registered to date:
Motkaluk, Jennifer Dawn
Bowman, Brian Thomas Douglas
Machiraju, Venkat Rao
St. George, Ken
Elmwood – East Kildonan
Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry
River Heights – Fort Garry
Lenko, Gary Dale
St. Norbert – Seine River
Williams, Maurice Yvon
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