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Yo, candidates!

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Get to work, trustee candidates in Winnipeg, you’ve only got until close of play on Monday to respond to our online questionnaire.

You’ll find it here in our article "Pay Attention, Class" the full page package on school-board elections that appeared in the Sept. 25 paper.

Send your answers to our 10 questions to trusteeanswers@freepress.mb.ca, and they’ll be posted on our website well before the Oct. 27 election.

After a couple of candidates withdrew, we have 94 candidates seeking 52 city seats in the six Winnipeg school divisions. In addition, there are four candidates contesting three seats in Ward 1 of Seine River School Division, two of them from Winnipeg’s St. Norbert neighbourhood. And there are seven candidates for four seats in the Winnipeg ward of Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine.

On a digression about that full-page package, I’d wanted to include the perspective of Education Minister Nancy Allan, a former trustee, on the contemporary role of school trustees. So I started asking for an Allan interview back early in the summer, putting in an interview request to the minister’s press secretary who’s now on maternity leave, then to the temporary press secretary, and then finally to the press secretary who’s filling in full-time for the original aide on mat leave.

Keen observers will note that Allan wasn’t quoted in the article.

If the premier’s press office is still working on setting up an interview, thanks anyway, but the article has run.

And on another would-be interview note, I read in the Seven Oaks board minutes two weeks ago that incumbent candidate Cory Juan had raised discussion about accelerating students, which I interpret to mean skipping a grade. So I phoned Juan’s home and left a message, requesting an interview.

No call yet, but hey, it’s only been two weeks.

And in another school board election item, election experts say there will be no tax deductions for anyone donating to the campaign costs of Louis Riel school board candidate Bob Wilson.

Wilson has sent out an email appeal for donations to help him mail out literature. Wilson says that contributions to cover Canada Post costs are tax deductible.

The Manitoba School Boards Association has said that there are no tax deductions for any expenses or donations in school board election campaigns, which the department of education confirms.

Wilson has run unsuccessfully at least six times in three school divisions. The former MLA was removed from office after being convicted on drug charges 30 years ago.

Here’s just a portion of the email in which Wilson asks for funding help:

"needs your support for an important last week mailer to voters in my bid for a political job. Bob Wilson Campaign and / or Canada Post cheques are both tax deductions. Thanks in advance — wish me another success.......Thirty days or sooner for the election in Louis Riel Ward # 1. A major mailer last week is a must for a victory or a decent showing. Placing an idea of electorial support via a cheque toward the Canada Post expense. Either way it is an tax deduction for any support from your circle of friends. Bob Wilson Campaign"

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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