The future and their pasts, mayoral candidates debate in Winnipeg

A mayoral debate Wednesday hosted by the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association saw four of Winnipeg’s 11 mayoral hopefuls talk crime, infrastructure and economic development.

Glen Murray, Scott Gillingham, Shaun Loney, and Kevin Klein – who are all polling with double digit numbers – all discussed how they would work to improve the city if they become mayor.

Loney shared his experience of hiring gang members, which will help curb crime.

“I want to employ those gang members and I want them to be on your payrolls, because they make fantastic employees,” said Loney.

Gillingham was focused on extending Chief Peguis Trail and widening Kenaston Boulevard.

“We need to make it’s expanded to accommodate the exciting new Indigenous-led development,” said Gillingham.

Klein on the other hand was critical of Gillingham’s plan to raise property taxes by 3.5 per cent a year for roads and transit.

“First of all, the very first thing we need to do is figure out if we have a revenue problem or a spending problem at city hall,” said Klein.

Lastly, Murray stood on his record as the former mayor, saying things aren’t running as smoothly at city hall since he left.

“I want to build the tax base, not the tax burden and together we can get Winnipeg back on track,” said Murray.

But questions about what they will do, soon turned into questions about the candidates past actions and associations.

Mayor Brian Bowman has been criticized by some at city hall saying they have been shut out of key decision. As a close ally of Bowman’s, Gillingham was asked why he’d be any different.

“Brian Bowman and I are two different people, very different people. One of the first discussions I will have as mayor is with the CAO to talk about the need for culture change,” said Gillingham.

Klein was asked about his time working with disgraced fashion designed Peter Nygard, who he worked with on two brief occasions.

“I left within four months because he’s a terrible person and I wouldn’t suggest anybody work for him, but I didn’t see anything illegal,” said Klein.

Then Murray was questioned what he learned from his experience at the Pembina Institute where he worked in 2017-18.

This question coming after allegations that he sexually harassed employees while serving as executive director.

He has denied the claims, but did acknowledge problems with his management style saying changes in his life spilled into the workplace.

“I’ve been CEO of private companies, public companies and not everyone is a good fit. You take responsibility, which I have, for the mistakes that you make,” said Murray.

Later on in the day at separate announcement, Murray was reluctant to discuss the allegations in greater detail.

“I’ve given a statement on it, I had questions today. If you want to talk about something, talk to the comms team. They’d be happy to have that conversation.”

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