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This article was published 30/9/2015 (1606 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A social-justice debate without a Conservative candidate may have lacked fireworks, but it gave residents in the North End a chance to hear how some of the parties will address social issues.
A respectful forum, sponsored by the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg and a host of other social-justice groups, saw candidates from the Liberal party, NDP, Green party and Communist Party of Canada in attendance, but no Conservative candidate.
The council is a non-partisan social-action group and does not endorse candidates.
The political parties were invited by the council to send one candidate to the event at the Indian and Metis Friendship Centre to explain their party's platform on issues pertaining to poverty, homelessness and affordable housing.
Winnipeg North candidate and incumbent Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux attended, touting his party's plan to be "transparent" and run a deficit to be able to spend $20 billion over 10 years on social infrastructure.
Winnipeg South Centre Green party candidate Andrew Park touted his party's plan for a guaranteed liveable income, which is a base income every Canadian would earn.
Elmwood-Transcona NDP candidate Daniel Blaikie lauded his party's record on calling for the reinstatement of a national housing strategy, national daycare strategy and plan to save door-to-door mail delivery.
Darrell Rankin, the Communist candidate for Winnipeg Centre, noted his party would raise the minimum wage to $20 per hour.
Josh Brandon, community animator with the Social Planning Council, said their goal for the federal election is to see issues of poverty and housing discussed by the local candidates.
"Too often, all that gets discussed in election campaigns are the issues of the somewhat mythical middle-class Canadian that really doesn't represent a lot of the communities in Canada," he said. "It certainly doesn't represent the concerns of a lot of inner-city people, so we are trying to bring those issues to the forefront, and we are trying to a give a voice to those who are often disenfranchised."
Another way to see poverty discussed by the candidates is to get more residents in the inner-city voting, explained council executive director Kate Kehler.
With this in mind, the council has developed voting guides for the five ridings that have portions touching the inner city: Winnipeg South Centre, Winnipeg Centre, Winnipeg North, Elmwood-Transcona and Saint Boniface-Saint Vital.
The guides explain who the candidates are, their contact information and why voting matters. For example, they note how close the election in Winnipeg North, Winnipeg South Centre and Elmwood-Transcona was in 2011.
"We do know that inner-city ridings have a typically low voter turnout, and we want to encourage people to use their democratic right because their vote is their voice," Kehler said. "If they are not engaging with the politicians' campaign, the politicians are not going to consider their needs, their issues."
In these five ridings, voter turnout was especially low in Winnipeg Centre and Winnipeg North, where fewer than 50 per cent of eligible voters voted last election.