Gord Steeves took his mayoral campaign Tuesday morning to the front-runner’s headquarters.
Steeves staged his news conference in front of Judy Wasylycia-Leis’ campaign office, to contrast the differences between what each is offering voters.
"I want to frame this debate and I want this debate to be about real campaign issues," Steeves said. "There is no issue that is more central than the issue of property taxation. We have stark differences in our position and I want people to understand that."
Steeves used a tactic similar to that employed by Sam Katz in 2010 against Wasylycia-Leis — portraying the former New Democrat MP and MLA as the candidate who will impose property tax increases Winnipeggers can’t afford.
"I am sounding the alarm bell because again more tax hikes are coming for Judy Wasylycia-Leis," Steeves said. "They’ll be coming in the form of higher property taxes, but they are shrouded in mystery," adding she needs to be specific on how she will increases taxes.
While saying Wasylycia-Leis will impose a 12 per cent property tax increase, Steeves renewed his commitment to freeze property taxes, adding he’ll find the funds for necessary work by selling civic properties and finding "efficiencies" in department budgets.
Wasylycia-Leis held her own news conference at her campaign office a few minutes later, where she joked about Steeves’ appearance and outlined her own electoral commitments.
Steeves also dismissed Brian Bowman’s ambitious plan to complete bus rapid transit to all corners of the city by 2030. Steeves said Winnipeg can’t afford any version of rapid transit, adding the money would be better spent on other infrastructure needs.
"The money does not exist," Steeves said, adding property tax increases are a real possibility for the completion of the just second phase of the southwest bus corridor.