Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Former PC candidate to seek Eadie's job

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A Winnipeg entrepreneur and salesman who used to campaign for Coun. Jae Eadie will run against the veteran St. James politician in the next civic election.

Scott Fielding, a 34-year-old former provincial Conservative candidate, is hoping to topple the 26-year incumbent in an October election that already has candidates jockeying for position.

No high-profile candidate has stepped up to run for mayor against Sam Katz, whose popularity hit 78 per cent in the latest poll.

But incumbent councillors Eadie, Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre) and Franco Magnifico (St. Boniface) face likely challengers. Donald Benham (River Heights) and Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) are considered vulnerable. And the St. Charles seat held by Peter De Smedt, a supporter of term limits, will probably be wide open.

Life-long St. James resident Fielding, a pharmaceutical sales rep and co-owner of Academy Road's Tiber River Spa, ran against Liberal MLA Kevin Lamoureux in the 1995 provincial election and is active within the Progressive Conservative party.

Speaking in an interview, Fielding said he respects the contribution of several seasoned councillors, but it may be time for some fresh ideas at City Hall.

"It's nothing against Jae," he said. "It's about getting things done for St. James."

While Fielding hasn't formally announced his decision to run, he has phoned Eadie to make his electoral intentions known.

"If he wants to run, he can run. I've decided I'm going again. I still feel I have something to contribute," said Eadie.

Harvey Smith, who was also first elected in 1980, faces a challenge from West End computer programmer Don Salter.

"I know full well that competing against an incumbent is difficult and very rarely does the underdog win, but I'm the kind of person that always roots for the underdog," Salter wrote in a recent e-mail to the Free Press. "I believe that democracy can only work when we have many faces and ideas competing in the race."

Franco Magnifico, meanwhile, expects to battle former St. Boniface councillor and one-time mayoral candidate Dan Vandal, who has yet to declare his intention to return to politics.

Donald Benham has been called a question mark in River Heights because of his relentless opposition to Katz's policies, though Benham is a dogged campaigner.

Mike Pagtakhan is considered vulnerable because he won only 28 per cent of the popular vote in a seven-contender Point Douglas field in 2002.

Former federal Liberal candidate and Winnipeg Harvest founder David Northcott's name had been bandied about as a Point Douglas challenger, but the high-profile citizen -- who now runs Hospice and Palliative Care Manitoba -- has decided to stick with his new job.

Finally, St. Charles will be a free-for-all if De Smedt declares he will not seek a third term, as expected.

The civic election is slated for Wednesday, Oct. 25. Candidate registration begins May 1 for mayoral hopefuls and June 30 for prospective councillors.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 20, 2006 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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