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This article was published 18/9/2014 (2123 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Paula Havixbeck proposed a Polar Bear Week to improve tourism and Michel Fillion suggested foreign-language 311 operators -- but meatier policy was scarce at Winnipeg's fourth mayoral forum of the week.
The city's seven mayoral hopefuls addressed the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce at the Viscount Gort Hotel over the Thursday lunch hour in a gathering that served primarily as an opportunity for candidates to chide each other about their policies.
'The provincial government is not going to give us any PST money. They are $31 billion in debt'‐ Gord Steeves
Earlier in the week, they addressed food-security issues, seniors and urban planning. Thursday's forum offered them five minutes each to tell a business-dominated crowd about themselves -- and then 90 seconds to address the city's infrastructure deficit and offer ideas about promoting tourism.
During the opening round, only booking agent Fillion presented a truly new policy, suggesting 311 operators speak languages other than English or French.
The tourism question yielded more new ideas, as Charleswood-Tuxedo Coun. Havixbeck proposed Polar Bear Week and a Human Rights Week to promote Assiniboine Park Zoo and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, respectively.
University administrator Robert-Falcon Ouellette said the city must do more to promote indigenous culture to a receptive European market.
Lawyer Brian Bowman said the city should work with tourism authorities to create a universal tourism pass that would allow admission to multiple attractions such as the zoo and human rights museum.
The forum also allowed the candidates, who are growing increasingly familiar with each other, to take apart their rivals' policies.
Retired provincial bureaucrat David Sanders, for example, told his colleagues to stop making promises no mayor can fulfil and focus on powers that actually belong to the City of Winnipeg.
Former St. Vital councillor Gord Steeves chided Bowman and Ouellette for suggesting they can wangle PST funding out of the province.
"The provincial government is not going to give us any PST money. They are $31 billion in debt. They are going a half a billion dollars more in debt each and every year," he said. "There is no chance they are going to give us any PST money."
Wasylycia-Leis took aim at Steeves, claiming his proposed property-tax freeze would result in more frozen pipes.
"If you like the crumbling infrastructure, you're going to love Gord Steeves," she quipped.
Bowman, meanwhile, recalled Wasylycia-Leis' role as a member of the Howard Pawley NDP government that brought in Manitoba's payroll tax.
The next mayoral forum is slated for Tuesday evening at North Centennial Community Centre.
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