Mayoral candidate Motkaluk again takes aim at Murray’s missing files
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/08/2022 (301 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk is again demanding answers from an election rival who failed to file campaign expenses for his previous Green Party of Canada leadership bid.
On Thursday, Motkaluk — who has yet to begin sharing her own platform pledges — told reporters it’s important to ensure voters are aware Glen Murray did not meet an April 2021 deadline to file his 2020 campaign expenses.
It was her second news conference on the matter since July 26.
Motkaluk challenged Murray to “proactively” reveal whether or not he is being investigated by federal authorities in the matter, repeatedly accusing him of “breaking the law.”
“If somebody thinks that they can brazenly flout the rules and still stand as a credible candidate for mayor, as their opponent, it’s my responsibility to bring this to the attention of Winnipeggers,” said Motkaluk.
Asked why she has twice highlighted this issue but not yet shared a specific campaign pledge of her own, Motkaluk repeated a promise to reveal her platform in September. “I’m going to divulge it when Winnipeggers are back from their summer holidays.”
The Murray campaign did not provide interviews on the matter Thursday.
In a brief emailed statement, the official agent for Murray’s Green party bid said the relevant information is being reviewed by auditors and will be submitted to Elections Canada following that process.
“Everything is with the third-party auditors. Glen Murray is not being investigated,” Heather Mack said in an emailed statement.
Mack previously said a campaign volunteer accidentally erased the records, which prevented the deadline from being met. On July 26, she said the campaign return process should be completed in about four weeks.
A local political expert said it’s no surprise to see a mayoral hopeful take aim at Murray, who held the city’s top elected role 1998-2004.
“The one and only official poll we’ve had show’s Glen Murray as the front-runner, so, obviously, he’s going to be a target… I don’t think those challenges, attacks, whatever you want to call them, have really stuck with our former mayor (so far),” said Paul Thomas, a professor emeritus of political studies at the University of Manitoba.
Thomas, who previously served on the Elections Canada Advisory Board, said he doesn’t expect the revelation will do much to sway voters’ opinions.
“I think… it’s a bit of a gimmick for her to say (that) when he ran unsuccessfully for the leadership of a fourth-place party, he didn’t file on time.”
While Motkaluk noted an Elections Canada offence can be paired with a penalty as severe as jail time, Thomas said it would be “outrageous” to assume it would apply due to a missed deadline alone.
“That is completely out of touch with reality… If you’re guilty of fraud and bribery, that’s when you face the criminal code penalties and going to jail (could) be one of them,” he said.
In an email, the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections declined to speak specifically about Murray, but offered some detail about potential sanctions.
“Generally speaking, any individual who fails to comply with the requirements set out by the Canada Elections Act could face compliance or enforcement action by the commissioner of Canada Elections. Additionally, in cases involving a failure to file expense returns, it would be the financial agent, and not the candidate, who would be deemed to have committed the offence or violation,” wrote Myriam Croussette, a senior communications adviser for the office.
Meanwhile, Thomas said delaying platform announcements could hurt Motkaluk’s ability to distinguish herself within a “crowded field” of 14 candidates who have registered bids to become Winnipeg’s next mayor.
In addition to Murray and Motkaluk, the list includes: Idris Adelakun, Rana Bokhari, Chris Clacio, Scott Gillingham, Kevin Klein, Shaun Loney, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Jessica Peebles, Rick Shone, Govind Thawani, Desmond Thomas, and Don Woodstock.
The election will take place Oct. 26.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.