Orlikow files complaint over ‘dishonest’ flyer

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/10/2010 (4437 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

 

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HUNDREDS of voters in River Heights received an anonymous flyer bashing Coun. John Orlikow over the weekend, a dirty tactic he says comes courtesy of his only challenger.

Orlikow filed a formal complaint Tuesday with city hall’s election office, saying Michael Kowalson breached election rules by using a phony grassroots residents’ group as a front for a politically motivated smear campaign.

"I find it so dishonest and such an insult to the constituency," Orlikow said.

The flyer, signed by the Concerned Residents of River Heights, calls Orlikow cowardly and accuses him of failing the community during the controversial construction of roundabouts and other bike-friendly projects. The flyer challenges Orlikow to attend an 8 a.m. rally at Waverley Street and Grosvenor Avenue today.

Orlikow said the rally is little more than a Kowalson campaign event and he won’t attend.

But the flyer’s authors — Jan Currier and Peter Smith — say they are part of a genuine grassroots group angry over the traffic-calming projects and trying to empower the neighbourhood to make its voice heard.

Currier said Orlikow is hiding behind false claims of dirty politics to obscure his failures on the issue. "I just see this as his political move to divert the focus at hand away from the traffic circles."

It’s the latest flyer controversy in a ward known for its nasty civic election races. In 2006, during the pitched battle between then-councillor Donald Benham and the late Brenda Leipsic, campaign operatives plastered cars parked outside a church with copies of an old column Benham wrote critical of the Pope. Benham and many others blamed staff in Mayor Sam Katz’s office for the dirty trick because Leipsic was Katz’s anointed candidate in the ward. Katz promised an investigation but none materialized.

Kowalson said he did not pay for the anti-Orlikow flyers, distribute any of the 2,500 copies or vet the contents. But the grassroots group held their inaugural meeting at Kowalson’s office last week and Currier and Smith are vocal supporters of Kowalson’s campaign.

He said Orlikow’s allegation is "nonsense" that "reeks of desperation."

"Let’s debate the issues that are of substance and importance in this ward, John," said Kowalson.

Resident Leila Alvare, who has lobbied for the removal of the Harrow Street barricade, said she’s worried voters will think she’s part of the residents’ group. She doesn’t like Kowalson’s supporters using the issue for political leverage.

maryagnes.welch@freepress.mb.ca

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