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Four mayoral candidates among this year's CEO Sleepout participants

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The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ announced its participants for the 2014 edition of the CEO Sleepout today. The annual event meant to help spur discussions about homelessness among Winnipeg's corporate sector will be held Sept. 18.

Among the 148 participants (and counting) are local business owners, media personalities and four mayoral candidates—Brian Bowman, Paula Havixbeck, Gord Steeves and Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

Last year's event raised just over $200,000 for local non-profits that help the homeless, like Red Road Lodge and the United Way.

Albert El Tassi, the president and CEO of Peerless Garments, donated 125 sleeping bags to the homeless at last year's sleepout and plans to donate over 100 again this year. He will camp out among the other CEOs at 201 Portage this fall.

"I don't think we should have homelessness in this country," El Tassi said. He listed cities like Vancouver and Calgary who have had good results combatting homelessness as examples Winnipeg should follow.

"Winnipeg is behind and there's no reason it should be. We're the most giving province in Canada and that's a fact," El Tassi said.

"If we all work together at all levels of government and in the business community, I think we can kill this homelessness situation altogether."

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