Brian Bowman, who is about to end his term as Winnipeg’s mayor, has called out one of the candidates to replace him over criticism she made of an organization representing First Nations in Manitoba.
“Standing up for Canada means fighting to build a more inclusive city for all including Indigenous peoples,” Bowman said on Twitter Wednesday, in response to candidate Jenny Motkaluk’s criticism of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.
“Most Winnipeggers understand this and it’s why this candidate will once again lose,” said Bowman, who defeated Motkaluk when she ran against him in 2018. Bowman is not running for re-election on Oct. 26.
On Monday, Motkaluk, who is among 11 people running to replace Bowman, released a statement saying the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has created a “false and divisive narrative” that’s trying to guilt voters into “abandoning” their love of Canada.
The AMC had previously published a statement on its website denouncing Motkaluk’s pledge to fire the city-appointed members of The Forks board if she’s elected, over changes The Forks made to its Canada Day event earlier this summer, including branding the July 1 celebrations as “A New Day.”
The Forks has said the name change was meant to reflect on reconciliation efforts, and the discovery of potential unmarked unmarked graves at former residential school sites.
On Oct. 3, Motkaluk accused The Forks of caving “into the woke mob.” She said she would replace the city-appointed board members with people who shared her idea of how Canada Day celebrations should happen.
In the response published on its website, the AMC said “the Canada that Jenny Motkaluk is celebrating was built off the suffering First Nations and should have never existed in the first place.”
The statement also said Canada “is home for all of us, First Nations peoples and settlers alike. As a nation, we need to come together and agree that celebrating colonization and genocide is no longer part of the agenda.”
Motkaluk’s Monday press release accused the AMC of “declaring Canada should never have existed at all.”
“I reject the cancellation of Canada Day, especially at the Forks, and I reject a false and divisive narrative that seeks to guilt Canadians into abandoning their love of Canada,” she said.
On Tuesday, Motkaluk published a series of posts on Twitter repeating her criticism of AMC and declaring she would not participate in a forum they had organized.
Bowman blasts Motkaluk
Bowman responded to Motkaluk’s tweets with his own post on Wednesday.
“Winnipeg has come too far on our journey of reconciliation to turn the clock back,” his tweet read.
Winnipeg has come too far on our journey of reconciliation to turn the clock back. <br><br>Standing up for Canada means fighting to build a more inclusive city for all including Indigenous peoples. Most Winnipeggers understand this & it’s why this candidate will once again lose. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/wpg22?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#wpg22</a> <a href=”https://t.co/hbAXpEWHWQ”>https://t.co/hbAXpEWHWQ</a>
Motkaluk, who came in second to Bowman in 2018, replied to his tweet with a picture of a chicken.
“I’m asking all 76,544 Winnipeggers who voted for me last time to remember why you did that and show up at the polls again,” she wrote in another tweet. “Together, we can start the healing and move into our happy future.”
In an interview with CBC, Motkaluk said Bowman’s comment is a reminder of why she ran against him in the first place.
“Brian Bowman and I don’t see eye to eye. I think everybody in Winnipeg knows that,” she said.
“He has been playing the politics of fear and division for his entire term of office and I think Winnipeggers can see right through it.”
A spokesperson for Bowman declined to comment, saying the mayor’s tweet stood on its own.
In addition to Motkaluk, 10 others are running to replace Bowman: Idris Adelakun, Rana Bokhari, Chris Clacio, Scott Gillingham, Kevin Klein, Shaun Loney, Glen Murray, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Rick Shone and Don Woodtock.
Advance voting is open at Winnipeg city hall until Friday. Election day is Oct. 26.