Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

(Some) campaigns picking up steam

A look at the landscape in the mayoral race

  • Print
Gord Steeves' polarizing promises have changed the face of the mayoral campaign.


Gord Steeves' polarizing promises have changed the face of the mayoral campaign. Photo Store

One month ago, the biggest problem with Winnipeg's mayoral race was nobody was saying much of anything. Then the floodgates opened and the announcements went from a trickle to a torrent.

In the first mayoral-race power rankings of the 2014 campaign, Gord Steeves was in danger of drifting into also-ran territory. The landscape has since shifted, as the former councillor's polarizing promises have changed the face of the campaign.

Here's the latest set of power rankings, a completely qualitative assessment of mayoral-race momentum at this moment in time:

1. Gord Steeves (No. 4 in July): Two weeks ago, Steeves' campaign could have tanked -- again -- after he failed to distance himself from his wife's bizarre and victim-blamey Facebook post and subsequent non-apology. But the former Liberal stuck with his aggressive effort to remake himself as a right-wing populist who would freeze taxes until the polar ice caps melt, kill rapid transit to help ensure the ice caps actually do melt and prevent anti-photo-radar activists from having further meltdowns.

It doesn't matter that most of Steeves' promises either can't be fulfilled or would require the help of an NDP government that doesn't like him or his Tory advisers. If Rob Ford can become mayor of Canada's largest city simply by mindlessly promising to "end the gravy train," the non-crack-addicted Steeves could easily get elected in Winnipeg simply by telling suburban voters what they want to hear.

2. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (No. 1 in July): The left's great hope in the mayoral race has been running a campaign modelled on Stephen Harper's 2011 strategy: Say little, play to your base and let your opponents split the rest of the vote.

JWL hasn't done much in this race but hit the festival circuit and make general statements intended to maintain the 40 per cent of voters she had before she even registered her campaign. It's a sound campaign strategy as long as multiple conservatives stay in the race.

Unfortunately for JWL, she sent her base a confusing message by posing for a photo with Taras Sokolyk, the chief figure in the 1995 provincial vote-rigging scandal and a man still demonized by the leftiest of the left. If you live by the selfie, you die by the selfie, even if someone else is holding the camera.

3. Brian Bowman (No. 2 in July): Along with JWL, Bowman is running Winnipeg's most organized mayoral campaign, with an impressive array of volunteers committed to his cause -- whatever that may be. Winnipeggers still don't really know what he'd do as mayor, aside from extend a tax credit for small businesses.

More than any other candidate, Bowman will be watching the pending release of a batch of polls, mainly because he had little name recognition going in. If he's up in the high teens or twenties, he's grown his base over the summer. But if he's still in the single digits, he's in trouble.

4. Robert-Falcon Ouellette (No. 5 in July): He's polite, well spoken and out there with campaign pledges, surrounded by a small cadre of academics and Liberals. But it remains doubtful the university administrator has a volunteer base capable of identifying and bringing out the vote. He's up a smidge only because he's not part of the crowd on the right.

5. Paula Havixbeck (No. 3 in July): After a summer-long period of dormancy, the Charleswood-Tuxedo councillor came out of her slumber with a series of announcements. She was expected to be the candidate of the right, but Steeves has claimed that ground. She'll need a bump in the polls to attract money in September and return to contention.

6. David Sanders (New): Advocates for city hall reform had high hopes for the committed activist when he registered on Aug. 7. But since then, he hasn't done a thing.

7. Michael Vogiatzakis (No. 6 in July): The funeral director's most notable recent move: Outfitting a massive recreational vehicle in campaign colours.

8. Hazem Aslan (New): The Handi-Transit driver-operator, who entered the race Friday, avoids the basement because candidate No. 9 has been running longer and hasn't said boo.

9. Michel Fillion (No. 7 in July): If the booking agent ever needs a stage name of his own, "Fringey McFringe" is available.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 26, 2014 B1


Updated on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 7:06 AM CDT: adds photo

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Andrew Ladd talks about his injury

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose flys defensively to protect their young Wednesday near Kenaston Blvd and Waverley -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 16 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • June 24, 2012 - 120624  -  Amusement riders on the last day of The Ex Sunday June 24, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

About Bartley Kives

Bartley Kives wants you to know his last name rhymes with Beavis, as in Beavis and Butthead. He aspires to match the wit, grace and intelligence of the 1990s cartoon series.

Bartley joined the Free Press in 1998 as a music critic. He spent the ensuing 7.5 years interviewing the likes of Neil Young and David Bowie and trying to stay out of trouble at the Winnipeg Folk Festival before deciding it was far more exciting to sit through zoning-variance appeals at city hall.

In 2006, Bartley followed Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz from the music business into civic politics. He spent seven years covering city hall from a windowless basement office.

He is now reporter-at-large for the Free Press and also writes an outdoor-recreation column called Offroad for the Outdoors page.

A canoeist, backpacker and food geek, Bartley is fond of conventional and wilderness travel. He is the author of A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada’s Undiscovered Province, the only comprehensive travel guidebook for Manitoba – and a Canadian bestseller, to boot. He is also co-author of Stuck In The Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg, a collaboration with photographer Bryan Scott and the winner of the 2014 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award.

Bartley’s work has also appeared on CBC Radio and Citytv as well as in publications such as The Guardian, explore magazine and National Geographic Traveler. He sits on the board of PEN Canada, which promotes freedom of expression.

Born in Winnipeg, he has an arts degree from the University of Winnipeg and a master’s degree in journalism from Ottawa’s Carleton University. He is the proud owner of a blender.

On Twitter: @bkives


Are you concerned about the number of homicides so far this year?

View Results

Ads by Google