Mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk has been hammering away at Brian Bowman all summer. Soon, the incumbent will start fighting back.

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This article was published 12/9/2018 (1388 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk has been hammering away at Brian Bowman all summer. Soon, the incumbent will start fighting back.

Bowman told reporters he will formally launch his re-election campaign this afternoon at the RBC Convention Centre. However, he ignited some controversy when he confirmed Wednesday he’ll only participate in debates where all mayoral candidates are invited.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Mayor Brian Bowman will launch his bid for re-election in the upcoming civic election this Thursday. The mayor has suggested that he won't take part in the much-anticipated Oct. 19 luncheon debate hosted by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce which has only invited what it terms front-runners in the 2018 campaign.</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Mayor Brian Bowman will launch his bid for re-election in the upcoming civic election this Thursday. The mayor has suggested that he won't take part in the much-anticipated Oct. 19 luncheon debate hosted by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce which has only invited what it terms front-runners in the 2018 campaign.

That would mean Bowman will not participate in one of the more-anticipated gatherings of the campaign, hosted by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber has only invited what it described as the front-runners in the 2018 campaign to its Oct. 19 luncheon debate — something it’s done for the past several municipal elections, including 2014, when Bowman did participate even though not all candidates were invited.

There are 10 individuals registered for the mayoral campaign and they have until Sept. 18 to file nomination papers.

Only those candidates who comply with the nomination criteria will have their names on the Oct. 24 ballot.

Loren Remillard, chamber president, wouldn’t say how many mayoral candidates had been invited to the organization’s debate, adding, however, Bowman is one of them.

He said Bowman had not yet turned down the invitation, and he hoped the incumbent mayor will reverse his position.

Motkaluk’s camp said Bowman is running scared, and trying to avoid any "head-to-head" confrontation with her.

However, Bowman said he’s accepted invitations to seven debates or forums, including the Winnipeg Free Press/Winnipeg Realtors debate Oct. 4 – also considered a key campaign event.

"I benefitted from being able to receive those invitations, and I think that all those who have the courage to put their names on the ballot should also have that opportunity," Bowman told reporters.

"There’ll be many opportunities for all of the candidates to debate me and to debate each other."

Remillard said he’s not certain if the chamber debate will go ahead as planned if Bowman does not participate.

"I have not received anything officially indicating (Bowman) has declined the invitation," he said. "We’re waiting for the final word from his campaign team whether he’ll be participating or not."

Remillard said the decision to proceed will depend on how many of the front-runners agree to participate.

"We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it," he said, adding Bowman isn’t the only front-runner who had yet to confirm their attendance.

Motkaluk’s camp said her original plan had been to only attend those events where Bowman was also scheduled to show up, but she now plans to attend every debate or forum, regardless of the incumbent’s schedule.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca