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This article was published 3/10/2018 (952 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Ray Ulasy is running to represent Transcona on city council in the Oct. 24 civic election.
Ulasy, 54, works in addictions counselling. He has been board chair of the Hi Neighbour Festival since 2013 and coached youth hockey in the community for many years. In 2014, he ran for city council against incumbent Russ Wyatt, who was re-elected.
"At that time, (Wyatt) was a City Hall juggernaut," Ulasy said. "But we did OK against him. We made him work for it."
In 2015, Ulasy was arrested in part of Project Distress, a police investigation that aimed to disrupt and destabilize organized crime in Manitoba. Ulasy, though, was never under investigation or charged with drug offences.
"I wasn’t an original target, I wasn’t even in the game," Ulasy said.
Rather, Ulasy plead guilty to the charge of attempting to transfer weapons without authorization, serving a conditional 12-month sentence.
During the 2014 civic election, Ulasy said he was approached by a man who identified himself as a Transcona voter. The man, who turned out to be a paid undercover RCMP informant, then pursued Ulasy, a known hunter and gun collector, asking for information about where he could purchase firearms.
You always want to see your city moving forward.
"He was always bugging me, always hinting around about getting guns," Ulasy said. "(Eventually) I provided him with information about where he could purchase a firearm. That was the intent to transfer a firearm!"
According to Ulasy, the agent heard about his gun collection through an old childhood friend of Ulasy’s who suffered from addiction. Ulasy had recently reconnected with the old friend in an attempt to help him with his issues.
"I opened my doors to him, introduced him to my family," said Ulasy, who has three children with his wife Colleen. The couple also have a one-year-old grandchild. "That was a nightmare."
Ulasy admits he made an error in judgment, but said he hopes the people of Transcona see past it to the work he has done in the community over the past 25 years.
"I understand if voters are angry or upset with me," he said. "I apologize. I made a mistake. I accepted it and took responsibility for it."
Ulasy said he decided to run again because he still believes he can help his community.
"You always want to see your city moving forward," Ulasy said. "I’d like to represent my community and be a voice for them."
While issues regarding public transit and infrastructure are important, Ulasy believes he could make an impact on crime in light of the ongoing meth crisis.
"Crime is fuelled by either poverty or addiction," said Ulasy. "We have a lot of people winding up in our judicial system because they’re using meth."
Ulasy is an advocate for "immediate intervention" programs that would allow meth users to enter treatment rather than go to jail.
"We don’t have those services right now," he said. "And we need more public services to attend to those issues. I work in addictions. If you use meth, technically you’re a criminal. But I work with all kinds of people. Meth doesn’t discriminate."
The Herald community journalist
Sheldon Birnie is the reporter/photographer for The Herald. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7112