Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ward to be a real Danny-brook

Daniel Mac adds sizzle to election

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A tight race, a campaign sign kerfuffle and grumbling about one candidate's address all point to a messy race brewing in the Daniel McIntyre ward.

Coun. Harvey Smith, who is running for re-election even though he lost the NDP endorsement, says he's heard from five or six residents that right-of-centre candidate Lito Taruc has put signs on their lawns without permission. Other candidates say they've heard the same grumblings, and sometimes signs belonging to Mayor Sam Katz have also popped up beside Taruc's.

"He is obviously Katz's candidate," said Smith.

But Taruc says that's nonsense. He gets permission for every sign he stakes, and he's too busy with his own campaign to worry about the mayor's.

And, he's noticed the reverse -- his opponent's signs have appeared next to his a day after he's nabbed a coveted sign location.

The obligatory sign war, best seen on Arlington Street, could be a preview of worse to come.

Daniel McIntyre is arguably one of the city's closest races, with five strong candidates vying for the seat, some backed by the city's most experienced political operatives. It's also one of a small handful of ridings that are key to Katz's ability to keep control of council.

Daniel Mac has already had a messy start when Keith Bellamy wrestled the NDP nomination away from Smith and Liberal school trustee Cindy Gilroy-Price entered the race despite being the former co-chair of the left-leaning Winnipeg Citizens Coalition, which was founded in part to avoid diluting the left's influence in civic politics.

Most of the ward's five candidates lean heavily to the left -- no surprise in a part of town that's traditionally an NDP stronghold. Taruc is the only centre-right candidate, and has already taken some flak from Smith for living in Tuxedo instead of the inner-city ward.

"I have lots of friends and friends and family in the ward and most of my 33-years of volunteer work has been in the ward," Taruc said Tuesday. "I know the area. I know the problems and the issues."

It's expected that Taruc has sewn up most of the powerful Filipino voting block in the West End, but other candidates, including Smith and Cardoso, say they have wooed some Filipino votes as well.

So far, the policy differences between the candidates are slim, making it a special challenge for left-leaning voters to pick their candidate.

Crime tops the list of hot-button issues in the ward, especially in the poorer areas, and almost every candidate is pledging to invest more in crime prevention programs that keep kids off the street.

Road and back lane repairs are also top-of mind -- while door-knocking recently, Bellamy said he saw a lane behind Clifton Street in the West End that he called "an utter misery" when it rains.

Every candidate is promising more infrastructure spending.

Mac attack

Daniel McIntyre could be the scene of the city's closest council race. Here's who's on the ballot and how their campaigns are shaping up.

Keith Bellamy

He's NDP MP Pat Martin's constituency assistant and his campaign is being run by former provincial cabinet minister and area MLA Becky Barrett, a veteran of campaigns in the West End. He's been door knocking for months.

John Cardoso

A self-described centre-left candidate, Cardoso is counting on the support of the West End's strong Portuguese and Italian communities. He was active in the NDP in the past but says he would be an independent voice for the ward.

Cindy Gilroy-Price

The Liberal school trustee has already done a leaflet drop and has pledged to be a respectful and reasonable councillor who will work to change the tone at city hall. She is also emphasizing her lifelong roots in the community.

Harvey Smith

Coun. Smith's campaign is off to a slower start. It's being run by Smith's assistant, Joe Chan, who was punted off the ballot by the NDP during the last provincial election. Smith says he's got plenty of volunteers but fundraising has been trickier this year. Smith is hoping to have signs up later this week.

Lito Taruc

As the president of the Philippine Association of Manitoba and the host of a popular Tagalog radio show, Taruc is counting on siphoning away most of the Filipino vote and being the only right-of-centre name on the Daniel Mac ballot. He says he will not be an automatic Katz ally, though, and will vote for what's best for the ward.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 15, 2010 A4

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