Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Smith loses support of NDP

Party will now back Keith Bellamy in fall civic election

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Daniel McIntyre Coun. Harvey Smith plans to retire from city council this fall after losing the NDP nomination for his inner-city ward.

On Sunday afternoon, Smith lost a nomination race to Keith Bellamy, a constituency assistant to Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin.

Although the margin of the vote was not disclosed, 163 of 490 eligible voters cast ballots in the contest, which Smith had demanded take place after an NDP committee endorsed Bellamy.

"The membership made their decision and it was their right to do so," Smith said Sunday after conceding the result to Bellamy. "It was fair. The process was good. He managed to get more of his supporters out, plain and simple."

Smith has sat on council for 18 years, representing the former ward of Sargent Park from 1980 to 1986, and then Daniel McIntyre from 1998 until the present.

As a member of council's unofficial, left-of-centre opposition, Smith tended to vote against Mayor Sam Katz, and says he hopes to see former NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis defeat the incumbent mayor in this fall's general election.

Despite his impending retirement, Smith said he will continue to work toward improving Daniel McIntyre, which faces some of the city's most severe infrastructure and safety challenges.

Sunday's vote marks the end of a six-month NDP nomination battle between Smith and Bellamy, who first declared his intention to run in December.

Based on new rules in the party's constitution, an NDP committee comprised of two representatives from each of the four provincial ridings that overlap with Daniel McIntyre endorsed Bellamy on March 30.

Smith appealed that decision before NDP executives, who initially upheld the endorsement. But earlier this month, they agreed to hold a nomination meeting.

Sunday's vote means Bellamy will receive the party's support on the ground in Daniel McIntyre this fall.

"This ends the uncertainty. The members have spoken. This should put everything to rest," said Wayne Copeland, Bellamy's campaign manager. "We're going to prepare and start campaigning on June 30," he added, referring to the date when council candidates are eligible to register their campaigns.

Along with working for Martin, Bellamy worked as the campaign manager for Coun. John Orlikow during the 2009 River Heights-Fort Garry byelection.

By accepting the result of Sunday's vote, Smith has ensured Winnipeg voters will elect at least four new councillors this fall. Elmwood's Thomas and Old Kildonan's Mike O'Shaughnessy are retiring, while Charleswood-Tuxedo Coun. Bill Clement died of cancer on May 3.

Wide-open wards

Civic election races this fall in which no incumbents are running:

Old Kildonan: Winnipeg's northernmost ward is wide open this October due to the retirement of Mike O'Shaughnessy, who has served city council for 30 years.

Elmwood-East Kildonan: Lillian Thomas plans to retire after 21 years and has endorsed her executive assistant, Darryl Livingstone, to succeed her. First, he faces an NDP nomination contest against Shaneen Robinson, who has the backing of the Winnipeg Citizens Coalition. School trustee Rod Giesbrecht is also vying for the NDP nomination.

Daniel McIntyre: After losing an NDP nomination contest to Keith Bellamy on Sunday, Harvey Smith plans to retire from council after serving two stints and a total of 18 years.

Charleswood-Tuxedo: The large southwestern ward is open following the recent cancer-related death of Bill Clement, who served for 27 years.

-- Kives

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 31, 2010 A7

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