Progressive candidates win big in WSD


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The right-wing revolution didn't come to Winnipeg School Division's board Wednesday night.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/10/2014 (3073 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The right-wing revolution didn’t come to Winnipeg School Division’s board Wednesday night.

With six incumbents not returning, and a new single-seat ward system in play, anything could have happened.

But voters returned a majority of trustees likely to carry on the progressive policies and programs of the province’s largest division — educating more than 18 per cent of Manitoba’s public-school students.

Maverick Mike Babinsky will be back for a sixth term, along with left-leaning Mark Wasyliw and Cathy Collins.

Joining them are rookies Lisa Naylor, Chris Broughton and Allan Beach — all endorsed by retiring left-wing trustee Kristine Barr — along with Sherri Rollins, Kevin Freedman and Dean Koshelanyk.

Rollins self-identifies on her website as aboriginal.

It was status quo for almost every incumbent in Winnipeg — only trustee Cory Juan lost her seat in the Seven Oaks School Division.

Longtime trustee and sometime-gadfly Rod Giesbrecht is back on the generally staid River East Transcona board after retiring in 2010 for an unsuccessful city council run.

This election featured an impressively high field of young candidates aged 18 to 22, but none came close to winning a seat.

WSD switched from having three wards of three seats apiece, each with about 43,000 voters, to nine single-seat wards of about 14,000 voters each, and the change brought out 29 candidates, the largest field anywhere in Manitoba.

Rookies elected across the city Wednesday included Cindy Turner and Josie Landry in Louis Riel; Greg McFarlane, Maria Santos and Diane Cameron in Seven Oaks; John Mulligan in St. James-Assiniboia; Brian Olynik and Jerry Sodomlak in River East Transcona; and Kathleen McMillan, Jaime Glenat and Sheila Billinghurst in Pembina Trails.

In Seine River School Division’s Ward 1, which includes St. Norbert, incumbents Wendy Bloomfield, Gary Nelson and Greg Reid coasted home by a wide margin.

There were 122 people running for the 57 seats available to residents of Winnipeg in the six city divisions and Seine River. The Division scolaire franco-manitobaine had already elected its four urban trustees.

Results for the rural seat in each of Seven Oaks and River East Transcona were not available.

None of the candidates who used social media extensively this election to stake out controversial positions fared overly well.

Louis Riel 18-year-old candidate Candace Maxymowich received more attention than almost any other school board candidate for advocating creationism, abstinence as the only acceptable form of sex education and for promising to bring back junk-food vending machines to ensure students were not denied free choice. She came fifth of five candidates for two seats.

This election featured the most retirements in recent memory, and two seats had been vacant since the deaths of Ric de la Cruz in Seven Oaks and Shirley Timm-Rudolph in River East Transcona.

None of the trustees who stepped down to run for city council was successful — Suzanne Hrynyk, Anthony Ramos and Bryan Metcalfe.

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