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Firefighters, real estate board pay for poll

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Probe president Scott MacKay (right) and colleague, Curtis Brown, are crowd-funding an election poll. Probe president Scott MacKay (right) and colleague Curtis Brown are crowd-funding an election poll.
Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Probe president Scott MacKay (right) and colleague, Curtis Brown, are crowd-funding an election poll. Probe president Scott MacKay (right) and colleague Curtis Brown are crowd-funding an election poll. Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press Photo Store

CLOSING IN ON A MAYORALTY POLL... It seems we might get an early poll on the race to be the next mayor of Winnipeg.

On Saturday, I told you about a local public opinion survey company that had decided to try crowd-funding to finance an opinion poll on the October election. At the time, a few days in, Probe Research Inc. president Scott MacKay said the pledges stood at less than $700. By Wednesday, they topped $7,000. The goal is $8,000.

Who has paid to get a first look at the results? Not the groups MacKay or I expected would be most interested.

No media organizations have bought in, for example. Just one local journalist. And the candidates themselves don't appear to be interested enough to pay.

"That surprises me," MacKay said.

Instead, organizations such as the United Firefighters of Winnipeg and the Manitoba Real Estate Board have contributed, as well as lesser-known entities such as Manitoba Forward and aroundthistown.ca.

A web search shows Manitoba Forward has been described in one media report as a collection of "rogue Tories" and the group took out at least one newspaper advertisement that was critical of Manitoba Hydro's dam-expansion plan.

As for aroundthistown.ca, it -- or rather he -- appears to be a local blogger identified on his website as "Derick" with interests such as "politics, music, urban issues."

In any event, MacKay is gratified by the reaction and the comments he's heard about the poll.

"People thought this was important that we have this. That without this poll, we're kind of rudderless and have no sense where this is going. Lots of people weren't content to wait until the election. They wanted some early-campaign or mid-campaign information about it."

So will the poll happen?

Will we get a sense of whether Judy Wasylycia-Leis has retained the comfortable lead she had months ago? Will we learn if Gord Steeves's right-out-of-the-gate campaigning -- and the controversy around his wife's comments about aboriginal panhandlers -- has hurt him or helped him? Or, if it's been worth it for the other candidates who have campaigned at various paces through our short, hot summer; hopefuls such as Paula Havixbeck, Brian Bowman and Robert-Falcon Oullette.

My prediction is yes, there will be a poll. With a little more help from their friends, Probe hopes to hit the $8,000 target today.

And if they do, how long will it take to get the results?

"Best-case scenario," MacKay said, "a week."

That's for the paying customers, of course. The rest of us tightwads will have to wait for the news release.

-- -- --

ADAM ESTABLISHES A BEACH-HEAD... Adam Beach, the inner-city Winnipeg aboriginal kid who went on to realize his dream of being a Hollywood actor, has just realized another one. A potential deal involving Beach and his partners that I originally reported last year has finally closed. The Ellice Theatre has been sold to become the home of the Adam Beach Film Institute and Bandwidth Digital Releasing. "This is part of a lifelong dream to bring movies to my people," the actor said in a news release on the sale. "I am so pumped to come back to Winnipeg and start inspiring the next generation of filmmakers and actors."

The Ellice Theatre and Café concept was originally developed by the late Rev. Harry Lehotsky and his New Life Ministries in an effort to revitalize the West End. It was New Life Ministries that sold it to a group of companies owned by Beach and his local business partners, Jeremy Torrie and Jim Compton. The deal also includes the café portion of the building. The release said the site will be upgraded for post-production facilities to be a venue for first-run movies and continue to be a performance location for local artists and theatre productions. The movie theatre is expected to open for showings on Aug. 29.

No, the première won't feature an Adam Beach movie. But it should.

-- -- --

AND NOW THE INSIDE STORY... If you're into historic neighbourhoods and have always wondered what the houses are like on the inside, circle Sept. 7 on your calendar for the Armstrong's Point Heritage House Tour 2014.

Tickets for admission to the seven houses on this year's tour -- and all the period-costume fun that goes with it -- are $25 and available at McNally Robinson Booksellers at Grant Park.

 

gordon.sinclair@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 21, 2014 B3

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