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This article was published 16/10/2018 (370 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Jenny Motkaluk won’t participate in a mayoral candidates forum Wednesday night on poverty and hunger issues, saying it doesn’t meet her criteria.
Motkaluk said Tuesday, after participating in five mayoral forums since September, she didn’t find most of them had much value to voters, and had decided not to participate in others unless incumbent Brian Bowman participated and the format resembled a real debate among the candidates, rather than a series of statements.
The mayoral candidate — who received an endorsement late Tuesday from Coun. Janice Lukes (Waverley West) — said her objection was not over the issues of hunger and poverty, but the format.
"On the review of (the Wednesday forum), the determination was made by myself and the team that it didn’t allow for that, and so the determination was made that my time would be better spent reaching out to voters."
Organizers said Bowman and the other six candidates have committed to the event.
Molly McCracken, the director of the Manitoba office of the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives, one of the community groups hosting the forum, said the format hadn’t been finalized when Motkaluk withdrew, adding there will be time during the event for candidates to critique each other.
"I was disappointed because I think these debates are an important part of democracy," McCracken said. "We are all small, charitable non-profits, so it’s a lot of work for us to do something like this. We really hoped that, especially an issue so important, she’d be there.
"It’s just disappointing that she’s not taking the time to attend."
In addition to the CCPA, the other groups hosting the event at the University of Winnipeg’s Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall are: Winnipeg Harvest, Social Planning Council of Manitoba, Make Poverty History Manitoba, and West Central Women’s Resource Centre.
McCracken said the format will only have two prepared questions put to each candidate, with an extended time for audience members to ask questions.
"One of our main goals is to provide a forum for people with lived experiences of poverty to ask questions directly to the mayoral candidates," she said.
Meanwhile, Lukes, who was elected in 2014 in South Winnipeg-St. Norbert and acclaimed this fall in the new Waverley West ward, threw her support behind Motkaluk.
"I believe Jenny Motkaluk has the leadership abilities and approach to work in true collaboration with all 15 elected council representatives to move our city forward," Lukes said in a news release.
"The past four years as city councillor have provided me with a very unique insight into how Brian Bowman operates and governs the City of Winnipeg. I’ve observed a style of leadership that is very divisive, disrespectful of the representation elected officials bring, void of meaningful dialogue with council members and with key city-building partners on a wide range of issues, and a lack of transparency in sharing critical information for decision making."
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.
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