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This article was published 18/9/2018 (362 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The city’s first all-candidates mayoral forum was all about being green.
Candidates spent 90 minutes Tuesday night at the University of Winnipeg talking about the environment and how they would transform Winnipeg into a sustainable community.
The groups which organized the Tuesday-night forum believe the environment file is one of the most important facing Winnipeg, said Lynne Fernandez, project co-ordinator at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
"We’re looking for real political leadership on the environment file," Fernandez said. "The question we’re putting to them is: what are you as mayor going to do about that?"
Seven of the eight candidates showed up: Brian Bowman, Umar Hayat, Jennifer Motkaluk, Doug Wilson, Tim Diack, Venkat Machiraju and Doug Wilson. Ed Ackerman did not participate.
This was not a debate setting but more an opportunity for the candidates to state their policies.
Candidates were given three minutes to respond to questions, put to them by radio host Richard Cloutier, on their vision for a greener Winnipeg, then that was followed a series of questions that required them only to put up a "Yes" or "No" sign — a total of 14 questions in all.
The questions focused on six themes: organic waste diversion, water, transportation, urban development and design, single-use plastic, and Winnipeg’s climate action plan.
A video of the evening can be found on the Manitoba Eco-Network Facebook page. Highlights of the flash questions can be found at www.greenactioncentre.ca/election
Bowman emphasized policies already adopted by city hall during his four years as mayor, including adoption of a cycling and pedestrian strategy, and opening three super recycling depots. He also pointed out council will be voting on a long-range climate change action plan at its meeting Thursday.
The other candidates emphasized what there priorities would be.
Motkaluk, who a Probe Research poll found is the only candidate able to pose a threat to Bowman at this point in the campaign, said that too often council approves plans and allocates funds but the administration fails to act on those initiatives, pointing out that council approved $500,000 in safety measures for Winnipeg Transit, money that has been largely not spent.
"Winnipeg needs an environmental leader at city hall not a talker," Woodstock said in his opening comments, when he said his environmental policies include a ban on single-use plastic bags, investing in solar and wind energy, a push for curb-side organic waste pick-up; and electrifying the transit fleet.
When asked if they would support green-bin compost collection to keep organics out of the landfill, all the candidates said held up their "Yes" signs.
The candidates split when asked if they would support a policy that prioritizes walking, cycling, public transit and shared vehicles over single occupant vehicles — Bowman, Hayat, and Motkaluk said "No", while Diack, Hayat, Woodstock and Machiraju said "Yes."
On the question of banning single-use plastic bag, only Motkaluk held up her "No" sign.
When asked if they would support a bylaw banning the use of cosmetic pesticides across the city in the event the Pallister government lifts its ban, all said "Yes" except Woodstock.
The forum was organized by more than a dozen groups, including the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative, the Green Action Centre, Functional Transit, and the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition.
Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.
Updated on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 10:31 PM CDT: Adds photos
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