Voters cast their ballots, candidates confident
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The two perceived mayoral frontrunners — Scott Gillingham and Glen Murray ― were confident, albeit tired, as the closure of the polls inched nearer this afternoon.
A jubilant Murray walked up to École Lavérendrye in the Crescentwood neighbourhood to cast his ballot mid-day, speaking in French to children playing in the yard.
“I’m feeling great, I’m feeling really excited,” said Murray, who was Winnipeg’s mayor from 1998 to 2004. “We’ve been out burma-shaving the past few days, and the horn-honking… if that’s any indication of support, it’s really good.
“It’ll be nice to get up tomorrow and not have to knock on doors… it’ll feel a little unusual.”Mayoral candidate Glen Murray attends to voting station at École LaVérendrye on Lilac Street this afternoon.
Gillingham, who cast his ballot at the St. James Civic Centre this morning, was spending election day waving signs and meeting voters in coffee shops before stopping at his Osborne Village campaign headquarters in the mid-afternoon, where volunteers in his camp bustled.
“I had a great night’s sleep last night. I’m feeling very optimistic. (We’re) getting a good response wherever we go,” the St. James city councillor said, adding he toured the city’s 15 wards on Tuesday.
“Good reception, great conversations, a lot of support, all across the city.”
Some people wasted no time casting their ballots as voting in the civic election opened across Winnipeg this morning.
A steady stream of people passed through the Robert A. Steen Community Centre in Wolseley as soon as the doors opened at 8 a.m.
Martine Friesen was one of the first people in and out. She said it was important to make the time to vote.
“There are people in other countries, especially women, who don’t have the right to vote. So even if I’m not inspired by the candidates — and I’m not saying I’m not — I think it’s really important to vote,” she said. “And if you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”Martine Friesen outside the Robert A. Steen Community Centre in the Daniel McIntyre ward early Wednesday morning after voting in Winnipeg’s civic election.
Friesen followed the campaign and eventually chose “an outside-the-box thinker” she isn’t sure will win but has ideas that align with her values.
“I want to see a serious commitment to ending homelessness, I want a serious commitment to investing in the core and not investing in the suburbs, I want a serious commitment to green energy initiatives, I want to see a serious commitment to the arts,” she said.
“I want a serious commitment to, if not defunding the police, then at least allocating dollars to social services… anything that actually prioritizes what’s human.”
Friesen said the race was close enough that she had no idea who will be Winnipeg’s next mayor.
“Right now, it’s dodgy. Murray was coming out really strong earlier, and now he’s not — so you never know what’s going to happen,” she said.
Downtown resident Annette Wilkinson cast her vote at the Youth For Christ building. She said following city politics and voting became a bigger priority for her after she had her two children.
“Honestly, I don’t know if it was really important to me before, but it just (feels like) you have a voice, so why not use your vote to make a difference?” she said.
Wilkinson made her decision based on combating crime, particularly in her community.
“I would say safety’s a big thing,” she said. Even in my workplace, we’ve had a lot of break-ins, so I hope that crime goes down, for sure.
“I want to see more revitalization of downtown, and people not being so scared of downtown areas, too.”
While picking a school trustee to vote for was especially difficult, Wilkinson said she was confident in her pick for mayor.
“I felt they were a competent option, and I think that the city would be better for it,” she said.
“I definitely looked at all the candidates, and (thought), ‘Wow, there are some options that shouldn’t even be there,” she said. “So I feel confident in my pick, for sure.”
Melanie Motoch didn’t feel so sure when she walked out of the voting centre at Augustine United Church.
“I really didn’t follow (the campaign) a lot until the last couple of days, and then I looked online to see what each candidate represented,” she said.
“Am I confident? Not 100 per cent. There was no one that was ideal for what I was looking for.”
Motoch lives in Osborne Village and used to work downtown full-time before transitioning to working from home. She wants to see someone who invests heavily in returning arts and culture programming to the downtown core take the city’s top spot.
“If there’s any drive or ambition to try and bring that energy back or go spend my money locally there, that’s what I’d like to see in the next four years,” she said.
Motoch said she voted for someone “who has a bit of experience” and she hopes will work to make changes to how decisions are made in City Hall.
“It’s time for a change, so it feels kind of good, as long as it goes in the right direction,” she said.
Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can find out where to vote on the City of Winnipeg’s website.
There are 11 candidates for mayor, including Gillingham and Murray. Idris Adelakun, Rana Bokhari, Chris Clacio, Kevin Klein, Shaun Loney, Jenny Motkaluk, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Rick Shone and Don Woodstock are also on the ballot.
Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.
Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.
Updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2022 1:33 PM CDT: Adds punctuation
Updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2022 2:16 PM CDT: Adds photo of Glen Murray
Updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2022 2:55 PM CDT: Writethru, new headline