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Polls closed, vote-counting begins

Jenny Motkaluk votes with her husband, Trevor Sprague, and daughter, Emily, 9, at St. Mary's Academy Wednesday morning.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Jenny Motkaluk votes with her husband, Trevor Sprague, and daughter, Emily, 9, at St. Mary's Academy Wednesday morning.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/10/2018 (653 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The polls have closed on the 2018 Winnipeg mayoral election and now the candidates and the public wait for results.

Mayor Brian Bowman faced an aggressive challenge from unknown Jenny Motkaluk, who used every opportunity to raise her public profile while bashing Bowman and blaming him for everything that’s gone wrong in Winnipeg over the past four years: the meth crisis, violent crime, raw sewage discharges into the rivers.

"So far what Winnipeggers have seen from (Bowman’s) campaign is, frankly, somebody who’s out of ideas," Motkaluk told reporters at a campaign event last week. "I don’t believe Brian Bowman has mounted a very serious campaign. I don’t think he’s shown Winnipeggers a vision forward."

Bowman, meanwhile, didn’t take Motkaluk’s bait. He played a safe and low-key campaign, which for him didn’t get underway until mid-September. He made few promises and often pointed to the successes in his first term as an indicator of what to expect over the the next four years.

"I think (voters) want a mayor that has a clear, positive vision for growing this city and building it for the future," he told reporters Tuesday. "We don’t want to see Winnipeg and city hall go back to the way things were in 2014... an era marked with special and partisan interests calling the shots at city hall."

Brian and Tracy Bowman take their kids Hayden (right), 10, and Austin, 8, to the voting booth at École Charleswood School Wednesday morning.

181024 - Wednesday, October 24, 2018.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Brian and Tracy Bowman take their kids Hayden (right), 10, and Austin, 8, to the voting booth at École Charleswood School Wednesday morning. 181024 - Wednesday, October 24, 2018.

Two polls conducted by Probe Research — in late-August and again in late-September — found Bowman comfortably leading Motkaluk by a two-to-one margin both times; observers said they expect Bowman to win his second campaign comfortably.

A third poll, by Forum Research, on voter intentions over a three-week period from late-September to mid-October, found similar levels of support for Bowman and, more tellingly, when asked who they thought was going to win, 73 per cent picked Bowman.

There are six other mayoral candidates. Except for Don Woodstock, they wasted the summer months and September by not campaigning. It will be surprising if any of these manage to get close to the two front-runners when the ballots are finally counted.

While a record number individuals voted in the advance polls — more than 39,500 versus 30,619 in 2014 — Forum Research’s polling indicates a low turnout in this election. Only 50.23 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in 2014 and the acclamation of Coun. Janice Lukes in Waverley West this year may be a factor in a lower overall turnout.

The election promises big changes at city hall, with at least five incumbent councillors not returning.

Jenny Gerbasi, who represented Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry for 20 years, opted to retire, as did Mike Pagtakhan, a 16-year councillor in Point Douglas.

Don Woodstock said he will freeze the business tax rate for 2019 and 2020.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Don Woodstock said he will freeze the business tax rate for 2019 and 2020.

Russ Wyatt, who has been charged with sexual assault and spent time in rehab earlier this year dealing with addiction issues, also decided not to run again in Transcona, where he has been the councillor for 16 years.

Marty Morantz, who elected in Charleswood-Tuxedo-Whyte Ridge in 2014, will run as a Progressive Conservative for the Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley seat in next year's federal election.

The old city ward of St. Charles disappeared through boundary changes, which pushed one-term incumbent Shawn Dobson to run in adjacent St. James against the incumbent there, Scott Gillingham, also elected for the first time in 2014.

The third candidate in St. James is City of Winnipeg employee Kurt Morton, who could become council’s youngest councillor at the age of 22.

Gillingham was council’s finance chairman for the past two years and a key member of Bowman’s inner circle. Dobson was part of the unofficial opposition at city hall who has repeatedly criticized Bowman and the senior administration for withholding information from him other councillors not considered part of the mayor's group.

In River Heights-Fort Garry, former Coun. Garth Steek repeatedly drew on the crime and safety card as he tried to unseat incumbent John Orlikow, a member of Bowman’s inner circle for the past four years,

There were several wards that drew a lot of attention with multiple candidates: eight in Transcona; seven in Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry; five in St. Norbert-Seine River; and four each in Charleswood-Tuxedo and Mynarski.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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