Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Centre-left council candidates to face off?

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A former leader of a group trying to ensure left-of-centre candidates don't run against each other in council races this fall is considering a council run against another left-of-centre candidate.

Cindy Gilroy-Price, a founding co-chairwoman of the Winnipeg Citizens Coalition, is considering a run for council in the inner-city ward of Daniel McIntyre -- where NDP-endorsed coalition member Keith Bellamy has already declared his candidacy.

Gilroy-Price, a Liberal-affiliated Winnipeg School Division trustee and the daughter of former city councillor Ernie Gilroy, played a key role in the creation of the Winnipeg Citizens Coalition in 2008.

One of the group's goals is ensuring so-called progressive candidates -- NDP members and left-leaning Liberals -- do not run against each other in council contests. The organization helped convince Liberal Paul Hesse to bow out of the 2009 River Heights-Fort Garry byelection to ensure John Orlikow defeated nominal conservative Geoff Currier.

Now, Gilroy-Price says she's giving serious thought to running in Daniel McIntyre, where Bellamy spent the past six months wresting the NDP endorsement away from incumbent Coun. Harvey Smith.

"I would be running as an independent. I would answer to my constituents, not to a political party," Gilroy-Price said Wednesday in an interview.

She said does not believe running against Bellamy would defeat the purpose of the coalition she helped found.

"My participation in the coalition was to make sure certain voices at the city get heard, and I think we've achieved that," she said.

Gilroy-Price's possible entry to the Daniel McIntyre race surprised the Winnipeg Citizens Coalition's current leaders, who now plan to meet with her and Bellamy in an effort to convince one of the candidates to stand down.

"We would be happy with either one of them, but not both," said coalition co-chair Shaun Loney, noting the presence of both candidates would open the door for a victory by a centre-right or right-of-centre candidate.

Bellamy agreed Gilroy-Price and he could split the progressive vote in Daniel McIntyre. But he said the NDP has strong roots in the ward and he has no problem with Gilroy-Price entering the race.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 10, 2010 B1

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