Scott Gillingham, Glen Murray take fire from rival candidates at Winnipeg mayoral forum

Six of Winnipeg’s 11 mayoral candidates shared a stage on Monday evening — but only two of them wound up taking fire from their colleagues.

Scott Gillingham, Kevin Klein, Shaun Loney, Jenny Motkaluk, Glen Murray and Robert-Falcon Ouellette took part in a 104-minute mayoral forum organized by the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg at the Berney Theatre in Tuxedo.

In response to questions presented ahead of time, all of the candidates denounced anti-Semitism, affirmed Israel’s right to exist and repeated pledges they issued earlier in the six-month mayoral race.

Loney and Motkaluk also criticized policies espoused by Gillingham, the two-term city councillor for St. James, who was running a distant second to Murray in a Probe Research poll conducted in September.

Loney called Gillingham’s promise to widen Kenaston Boulevard and extend Chief Peguis Trail irresponsible, claiming the two projects are low on Winnipeg’s infrastructure priority list.

Motkaluk poked fun at Gillingham’s pledge to restart a pair of joint Winnipeg Police Service-RCMP task forces, pointing out the police chief who cancelled those efforts, Danny Smyth, was selected in 2016 when Gillingham chaired the Winnipeg police board.

Gillingham was board chair when a search committee selected Smyth, though Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) had just taken over as chair when the appointment was approved.

Former Winnipeg mayor and Ontario Liberal MPP Murray was also singled out Monday, although he was not mentioned by name on stage.

“No matter what you do at the end of the day, you need a moral leader who will stand up for what is right in our city, that there are certain actions which are unacceptable in our city and there are times as a leader you must say the truth and speak that truth,” Ouellette said.

“And so I speak it here today and I hope people understand what it is I’m talking about because it’s certainly unacceptable for us to be here on this stage altogether.”

After the forum, Ouellette clarified he was referring to Murray.

Glen Murray, following Ouellette’s comments. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

“I think there’s a huge moral issue there. I think if you want to lead a city at the end of the day you have to have the moral authority to be able to do so,” Ouellette said in the theatre lobby.

Murray declined comment.

CBC News found Murray was forced out of his job at the Pembina Institute after only one year, following complaints about his management, according to former staff, a former board member and other communications obtained by CBC.

That investigation also revealed allegations Murray drank to excess at Pembina social functions, engaged in sexual innuendo in the workplace and grinded against an employee on a dance floor in March 2018 at a Pembina social event in Banff.

That employee said there were no witnesses and that he reported the event to a supervisor and several colleagues but did not take the issue any further.

Murray denied the allegation last week and said nothing of that nature was ever brought to him by Pembina’s leadership or board during or after his time at the organization.

The six forum participants present on Monday were the top-ranked candidates in the most recent Probe Research poll of Winnipeg voter intentions.

Idris Adelakun, Rana Bokhari, Chris Clacio, Rick Shone and Don Woodstock were not invited to the debate. Clacio and Woodstock attended as spectators.

Advance polling is open in Winnipeg until Oct. 21.

Election day is Oct. 26.

Ouelette suggests Murray doesn’t belong on stage at forum

9 hours ago

Duration 0:26

Robert-Falcon Ouellette calls out fellow candidate at Jewish Federation of Winnipeg event.

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