Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce cancels mayoral debate, unable to ‘secure full participation’ of front-runners
The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce has canceled their usual mayoral debate after being unable to “secure the full participation” of their selected candidates.
The chamber generally hosts the front-runners in a debate before a Winnipeg civic election.
Chamber president Loren Remillard would not point fingers, but did tell 680CJOB it was not candidate Jenny Motkaluk who refused to participate.
“When we do our events, we want to bring the maximum value for our members and our community-at-large,” said Remillard.
“For that reason, we invite the front-running candidates for these types of debates.”
LISTEN: Chamber of Commerce President Loren Remillard with Hal Anderson about the mayoral debate
Incumbent mayor Brian Bowman said publicly last week that he would not participate in any debate where all mayoral candidates are not invited.
Bowman currently has the most support of Winnipeggers, followed by Motkaluk.
Motkaluk said it’s a way for Bowman to avoid debating her one-on-one.
It is disappointing that Winnipeggers will be denied the opportunity to see the front-running mayoral candidates engage in vigorous public discussion,” said Motkaluk in a statement sent to media Thursday.
“If you are going to sit as a Mayor of this great city you should have the fortitude to defend your policies and vision especially at times of election. Winnipeggers deserve to have the major issues aired publicly so they can speak to it at the polls.”
On CJOB, Motkaluk expressed the same sentiment.
“His refusal to participate, frankly, is characteristic of a disturbing culture that we’ve seen at city hall under his leadership,” Motkaluk said, “I wish that the Mayor would have the courage of his convictions to come forward and meet me to defend his record over the last four years and share his vision with Winnipeggers going forward.”
“While there are eight candidates on the ballot right now, the mayoral forums that involve eight can be less valuable, in my opinion. It’s not a great opportunity for Winnipeggers to get to know that candidates because of the limited formats,” said Motkaluk.
Mayor Bowman also chimed in on CJOB joining Richard Cloutier and Julie Buckingham on The News.
“We’ve signed up for at least seven other debates with all of the candidates. That’s what I think is fair,” said Bowman, “the question though, should be why would another candidate want to exclude all of the others. It’s because there is a tactical advantage. I think that it’s to the benefit of all Winnipeggers that they get an opportunity to hear all of the candidates.”
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