ON the busiest day yet in Winnipeg's mayoral race, incumbent Sam Katz unveiled his campaign team and challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis promised to set up a council of business advisers if she's elected.
On Friday, Katz's campaign announced Theresa Harvey Pruden, a senior provincial official during both Gary Doer's NDP government and Gary Filmon's Progressive Conservative administration, will co-chair his re-election team with Paul Edwards, a lawyer and former Manitoba Liberal Party leader.
Katz's campaign manager will be Marni Larkin, who has worked as a federal Tory strategist, while Liberal Sen. Rod Zimmer and Tory Sen. Terry Stratton are Katz's fundraising co-chairs.
The presence of Edwards in the Katz campaign sets up a battle of former Manitoba Liberal leaders, as Liberal Sen. Sharon Carstairs is a co-chair of Judy Wasylycia-Leis' mayoral campaign.
Nicole Campbell, a national representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, will take a break from her job to serve as Wasylycia-Leis's campaign manager. Campbell might start in August, Wasylycia-Leis said.
Katz campaign manager Larkin started work Friday.
Earlier on in the day, Wasylycia-Leis told a crowd of about 20 restaurant owners and Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce members she would create "a business advisory council" within four weeks of being elected. In a clear shot at Katz, the former NDP MP said she would ensure the door to the mayor's office is open to all local businesses.
She also took a shot at the city's latest series of rapid-transit studies, within the context of attracting business to Winnipeg.
"The days of spending money on studies and consultants with nothing to show for it must come to an end," she said. "Endless delays cost us money and they send a message to investors that we don't finish what we start."
Katz said he already knows the gist of a new light-rail study due out in July, which will outline a financial case for leapfrogging over bus rapid transit to flexible streetcars that can operate on both roads and tracks.
He also shrugged off Wasylycia-Leis' statement about his accessibility to business owners.
"I think you and every member of the media knows my door is open 24/7," Katz said. "That's a statement I'm not even gong to comment on because it's ridiculous."
Appliance salesman Avery Petrowski is also running for mayor. The civic election takes place Oct. 27.