Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Campaign fairness

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Since announcing last November he would probably run for the mayor's job, Coun. Scott Fielding has released what can easily be interpreted as a series of campaign announcements.

Among other things, he would cancel rapid transit and use the money to fix roads, introduce a lobbyist registry, boost transparency at city hall and so on.

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These announcements were delivered to the media by his taxpayer-funded assistant working out of his office at city hall. Coun. Fielding receives his full-time salary and generous communication allowance while advancing his political ambitions.

But private citizen Gord Steeves, who was criticized for holding an event to announce his candidacy last November, cannot raise or spend a single dime until May 1.

It is impossible to control the conduct of the mayor and councillors, who can easily use their positions to advance their causes in a campaign year, but the field can be made a little fairer by allowing challengers and incumbents to begin their campaigns earlier.

The province should amend the legislation to extend the campaign period to January. Incumbents should also be required to declare some of their fixed advertising, such as bus benches, as a campaign expense.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 31, 2014 A8

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