Scott Gillingham kicked off his mayoral campaign Thursday evening at St. James Burger & Chip Co. on Ness Avenue.
Deputy mayor Markus Chambers, former Long Plain First Nation chief Dennis Meeches both spoke at his campaign kickoff. A long-time friend of Gillingham, Tammy Engel, also endorsed his campaign. The event was MC’d by former radio personality Geoff Currier.
Chambers called the St. James councillor “the City of Winnipeg’s 44th mayor.”
He commended the work done by Gillingham — who served as chair of city council’s finance committee — on pandemic financial relief for Winnipeg businesses.
“Places like Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto did not offer as much support as what we got from Coun. Gillingham,” Chambers said.
“Too much of our political history has been about making big promises and setting big targets and making big announcements, without first building the strength to deliver those promises,” Gillingham told the crowd.
Gillingham said he plans to build upon mayor Brian Bowman’s reconciliation efforts, with Indigenous led economic growth projects like Naawi-Oodena at the former Kapyong barracks.
He also wants to build climate friendly infrastructure, clean up rivers and restore Winnipeg’s urban forests.
A change of heart
Meanwhile, Coun. John Orlikow is no longer running for mayor.
The 13-year city councillor for River Heights-Fort Garry declared his intention to run for mayor in February.
On Thursday, he said he’s had a change of heart.
“The path to the mayor’s office is washed out and I’m officially not running for mayor,” Orlikow said in an interview.
As of Thursday, seven mayoral candidates have registered their campaigns.
Gillingham, grocery worker Chris Clacio, former provincial environment policy director Shaun Loney, business consultant Jenny Motkaluk, former Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Wilderness Supply owner Rick Shone and security company owner Don Woodstock signed up earlier this week.
Registration allows candidates to raise and spend money on their campaigns in accordance with city rules. It does not guarantee a spot on the ballot on Oct. 26.
Candidates must also complete a nomination process in September.