The Better Voter Series: This week on the campaign trail…

Property taxes heat up debate, race

The civic election’s first public debate on Sept. 16 made property taxes a hot-button issue for the two mayoral front-runners. Judy Wasylycia-Leis has pledged to end the 13-year freeze on the tax, raising them two per cent almost every year (which amounts to around $27) to help pay for infrastructure renewal and policing. She criticized mayor Sam Katz for not making his own plans known to voters. Katz has called her announcement a “knee-jerk” reaction to media badgering.  He noted that for the past two years he has said that the freeze will not be permanent. However, committees are still reviewing infrastructure options so he doesn’t wish to speculate about his tax plans for 2011.

Incumbents challenged by new-entry candidates

City councillor incumbents in the wards of St. Boniface and Point Douglas will have a little more competition thanks to a couple new entrants in the race this week, as reported by the Winnipeg Free Press
Thirteen-year veteran councillor Dan Vandal will have to beat out Christopher Watt, who lives in the Daniel McIntyre ward, to keep his seat.
Battling Point Douglas incumbent Mike Pagtakhan and two-time candidate Herman Holla is Dean Koshelanyk. Koshelanyk finished third in the ward race in 2006.

Political endorsements causing ‘mini civil wars’?

Harvey Smith, a city councillor seeking re-election, is speaking out on the negative impact of NDP endorsements within his Daniel McInyre ward, the CBC reported.
While councillors don’t officially belong to parties at city hall, some candidates have won NDP party endorsements for this year’s campaign. Coun. Smith, a life-long New Democrat, lost the official endorsement to Keith Bellamy but has decided to run anyway.
He told the CBC that some NDP members are upset with the party and are focusing on his campaign rather than Bellamy’s, which is causing a “mini civil war” within the ward.

Published in Volume 65, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 23, 2010)

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