Katz accuses CUPE of frightening voters who don’t back Wasylycia-Leis

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WINNIPEG - Mayor Sam Katz has accused the Canadian Union of Public Employees of frightening voters who choose not to support mayoral challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/10/2010 (4369 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG – Mayor Sam Katz has accused the Canadian Union of Public Employees of frightening voters who choose not to support mayoral challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

At a mayoral forum hosted by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce at the Canad Inns hotel in Polo Park, Katz claimed CUPE volunteers are calling seniors and telling them they could lose their pensions if they vote against Wasylycia-Leis.

The widow of a deceased city parks and recreation employee said a CUPE volunteer called her on Saturday and tried to suggest she could lose part of her pension if Sam Katz remains mayor, said Chris Halliday, the widow’s son.

JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Judy Wasylycia-Leis, background, listens to Sam Katz at the Chamber of Commerce mayoral candidates debate at Canad Inns Polo Park Wednesday.

Halliday said his mother — who asked not to be named — was left with the impression she would be better off voting for Wasylycia-Leis.

On stage at the mayoral forum, Katz asked Wasylycia-Leis if she was aware of the phone call. Wasylycia-Leis said she wasn’t.

She also said CUPE is not supporting her campaign.

Katz made the allegation well after forum moderator Dan Lett, a Free Press political columnist, asked both candidates how they felt about negative campaigning.

Katz made no apologies for sending tens of thousands of homeowners a voicemail message warning people on fixed incomes could lose their homes if Wasylycia-Leis is elected and follows through on a plan to raise property taxes two per cent a year for four years.

Katz also alleged union workers are coming in from Ontario and B.C. to work on Wasylycia-Leis’ campaign.

After the debate, Wasylycia-Leis called the mayor’s allegations ridiculous and accused the mayor of resorting to desperate measures to save his campaign.

CUPE Manitoba spokesman Liam Martin dismissed Katz’s allegation as “nonsense” but said CUPE volunteers in Winnipeg are calling their members about the election.

CUPE is conducting what Martin calls an “educational campaign” about garbage collection, the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, the Veolia wastewater contract and other city issues involving the contracting out of city services, he said.

There is no mention of either Katz or Wasylycia-Leis’ name, said Martin. But he said the union is asking its members to check candidates’ voting records on contracting issues.  Read the script provided to CUPE members making the calls.

Halliday said the CUPE staffer named the mayoral candidates when speaking to his mother.

Last week, CUPE national president Paul Moist said his union is not supporting Wasylycia-Leis. But Martin has volunteered on her campaign and Ottawa CUPE staffer Nicole Campbell has taken a leave to work as Wasylycia-Leis’ campaign manager.

CUPE and Wasylycia-Leis have also engaged in similar messaging about the city’s wastewater management deal with Veolia.

History

Updated on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 4:37 PM CDT: Adds quotes from CUPE

Updated on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 5:06 PM CDT: Updates story.

Updated on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 5:27 PM CDT: Adds CUPE script

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