March 26, 2019

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Winnipeg North candidates go back to school

All Candidates debate at Sisler High Thursday afternoon, left to right, Harpreet Turka (Conservative), Levy Abad (NDP), John Redekopp (Green) and Kevin Lamoureaux (Liberal).

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

All Candidates debate at Sisler High Thursday afternoon, left to right, Harpreet Turka (Conservative), Levy Abad (NDP), John Redekopp (Green) and Kevin Lamoureaux (Liberal).

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/9/2015 (1278 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Candidates vying for the Winnipeg North seat went back to school on Thursday, taking part in a candidates forum at Sisler High School.

Unlike recent debates in Winnipeg, almost all the candidates attended the forum, including Conservative candidate Harpreet Turka. Turka was joined by NDP candidate Levy Abad, Liberal candidate (and current MP) Kevin Lamoureux, and Green party candidate John Redekopp.

Frank Komarniski of the Communist Party of Canada did not attend.

Students prepared five questions for the candidates on areas such as job creation, the environment, post-secondary education and access to mental health care.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/9/2015 (1278 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Candidates vying for the Winnipeg North seat went back to school on Thursday, taking part in a candidates forum at Sisler High School.

Unlike recent debates in Winnipeg, almost all the candidates attended the forum, including Conservative candidate Harpreet Turka. Turka was joined by NDP candidate Levy Abad, Liberal candidate (and current MP) Kevin Lamoureux, and Green party candidate John Redekopp.

Frank Komarniski of the Communist Party of Canada did not attend.

Students prepared five questions for the candidates on areas such as job creation, the environment, post-secondary education and access to mental health care.

Grade 12 students who attended the afternoon event politely clapped for each candidate’s answer, but the popularity contest was won by Lamoureux, for whom the students cheered loudly when his name was announced. They booed when Turka suggested it was time for Lamoureux to retire.

Abad and Turka both admit they are fighting an uphill battle in their attempt to oust Lamoureux.

Abad, who is from the Philippines, is trying to court the Filipino vote away from Lamoureux, who he admits is popular in Winnipeg North, which is 28 per cent Filipino.

"In talking to some of my folks, (for example) the husband would say, ‘Let’s support this guy because he is Filipino,’ but the wife would say, ‘no we are beholden to Kevin,’ " Abad said after the debate.

However, the former constituency assistant for NDP MLA Flor Marcelino hasn’t forgotten how close the race was in 2011, which saw NDP candidate Rebecca Blaikie lose to Lamoureux by fewer than 30 votes. If Amber Trails had been added to the riding in 2011, Blaikie would likely have won. (Amber Trails was added for the 2015 election).

"It is me now, so the chances of winning (are good) if the community would realize that it is only partly about the me, but more about Winnipeg North, and the issues such as poverty, marginalization, housing, if the people would really listen to the issues, they could rally to the initiative and we could regain Winnipeg North," Abad said.

For Turka, it is double-edged sword trying to squeeze his way into a riding that is typically fought between the NDP and Liberals.

"It typically goes one way or other," Turka said before the debate began, citing the swing nature of the riding, which was an NDP riding before a 2010 byelection saw it change hands to the Liberals. Judy Wasylycia-Leis was the MP before.

An account representative by day, Turka is also a minor celebrity who starred in NBC’s fictional Siberia, in which international contestants agree to test their will to survive and their sanity in an unforgiving "Siberian" wilderness for the chance to win $500,000; the show was filmed at Birds Hill Provincial Park.

Lamoureux said he remains "cautiously optimistic" he will remain MP for the riding.

"A lot has changed since 2011. Michael Ignatieff is no longer the party leader, Jack Layton is not the NDP party leader," he said. "Having said that, we continue to knock on doors... we are not taking anything for granted, but believing if we get our support out, we will be OK."

kristin.annable@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 7:57 PM CDT: Updated story to say Frank Komarniski of the Communist Party of Canada did not attend.

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