Candidates duke it out at Jewish Federation forum


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The full-house audience was pre-warned not to cheer “or jeer” during a Monday night mayoral forum with the six-highest polling candidates hosted by the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/10/2022 (237 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The full-house audience was pre-warned not to cheer “or jeer” during a Monday night mayoral forum with the six-highest polling candidates hosted by the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg.

The crowd heeded that warning with few exceptions during the largely collegial hour-and-40-minute forum at the Asper Jewish Community Centre’s Berney Theatre, breaking into unsanctioned applause on a couple of occasions in response to candidates’ answers.

Six of the eleven Winnipeg mayoral candidates, including Scott Gillingham, Kevin Klein, Shaun Loney, Jenny Motkaluk, Glen Murray and Robert-Falcon Ouellette, were invited by the Federation to introduce themselves and address eight questions, some of which were provided in advance to the candidates, that were pre-approved by the federation’s public-affairs team.

Winnipeg mayoral candidates Jenny Motkaluk (from left), Glen Murray and Robert-Falcon Ouellette participate in a mayoral forum sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg at the Asper Jewish Community Campus. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Candidates were asked specifically to talk about how they would combat an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the city, and were also asked about Zionism and whether they are pro-Israel.

Klein received the first round of applause after he described anti-Semitism as a public safety issue and said he would like to attend an upcoming mayors’ summit on anti-Semitism. As the moderator reminded the crowd to hold applause, Klein joked to the audience, “I don’t mind the applause.”

Some of the questions were based on more than 40 audience-submitted inquiries from guests who had registered in advance. Most of them wanted to know what each candidate’s top priority would be as mayor. They were each asked for their vision of Winnipeg in 45 seconds.

Ouellette said he wanted to see a thriving city where families with children want to live, rather than seeing community members move away. Klein emphasized his tough-on-crime priority, saying he wants everyone to feel safe. Gillingham said he would prioritize investments in transportation. Motkaluk said she wants to turn Winnipeg into a leader in “growth and investment.” Murray answered by referencing past projects such as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and Esplanade Riel, and the need for a beautiful skyline. Loney said he would focus on creating green jobs.

The other questions posed were about poverty and homelessness, crime, public transit and city infrastructure. All candidates stuck to their previously announced platforms, and had only 45 seconds to answer each question with a 20-second chance to followup. There was limited opportunity to debate or challenge other candidates, although Gillingham and Klein didn’t miss chances to call out each other’s performance on certain issues as councillors. Klein shook his head throughout several of Gillingham’s responses. Klein also referenced Motkaluk, saying “when we talk about saving more money for roads… one of the colleagues up here has a family involved in making roads, so is that a problem?”

Murray was on the receiving end of an “overbudget!” callout after he asked to add “two words” past his time limit and instead tacked on another sentence to his response. Murray also received a small bit of applause after speaking about the city’s need to properly conduct modelling for infrastructure before approving new capital projects.

Scott Gillingham (left) and Kevin Klein took some shots at each other based on their time together as city councillors. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

The election is Oct. 26, and advance voting opened Monday.

Katie May

Katie May

Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.

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