Economic opportunities and homelessness major issues at Indigenous led mayoral forum

With only a few days left to go before Winnipeg’s election, mayoral candidates met for one final debate hosted by two First Nation organizations.

Put on by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the MKO, the forum focused on issues affecting one of the fastest-growing demographics in Winnipeg, Indigenous people.

“The discussion we are having is very important because there are at least 110,000 Indigenous people in Winnipeg,” said Garrison Settee, the MKO’s Grand Chief.

The Saturday forum included ten of the 11 people looking to become the city’s next mayor.

All candidates agreed city hall must work with Indigenous organizations.

“It can’t be solved unless we are partners. Unless I, as mayor, am getting insight, learning and listening,” said candidate Scott Gillingham.

“And if we could work together. We had your back as a city to make sure you get a better fair share of the revenue the city generates and your people and the wealth that has started,” noted candidate Glen Murray.

Many candidates also made pledges to help grow Indigenous economic opportunities.

“I would ensure right away that we appoint an Indigenous economic development officer, and that’s an important role,” said candidate Kevin Klein.

Another major topic at the forum was homelessness and addiction in the city.

“We’ve turned a blind eye on this, and we continue to say it’s somebody else’s problem. I’ve heard this from some people on this platform right now,” said Rick Shone, another candidate.

“To extend Jordan’s Principle beyond our children to actually all people, to make sure we actually have the funds necessary to get our brothers and sisters off the street,” said candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette.

Promises and ideas voters will take with them to the polls on Oct. 26.

“Whoever will be the successful candidate, we will work with you. We will support you, and we will need your support,” said Settee.

The other candidates at the forum were Chris Clacio, Shaun Loney, Rana Bokhari, Don Woodstock and Idris Adelakun.

The candidate who wasn’t there was Jenny Motkaluk.

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