The upcoming election this fall looked like it was mostly going to be same old, same old.
Now, it looks like there will be change in terms of city councillors. Some of that has come has a result of retirements as in the case of Lillian Thomas who appears to be leaving after 21 years in council. Her ward, Elmwood-East Kildonan, which she has held since 1989 looks to be highly sough after.
In Old Kildonan ward Mike O'Shaughnessy is retiring as well. He was the longest serving councillor with nearly 30 years on and off as a representative at City Hall. It is not hard to imagine that his riding won't be fought for my multiple candidates.
One unexpected loss has been Bill Clement. His sudden death as a result of a long battle with cancer and a weakened immune system, throws open Tuxedo-Charleswood that has not had any real challengers since Clement was elected in 1983. The 27 year run that Clement looked to stretch to 30 years with the coming election. For many residents of the ward, they have never known another representative.
Another long time representative Harry Smith faced a challenge from the NDP who seemed to want to remove him from Daniel McIntyre after 18 years in city politics. He chose retirement rather than running as an independent.
It is hard to know the future of Harry Lazarenko. He remains hospitalized.
In terms of mayor, there is a credible challenger in Judy Wasylycia-Leis moving from federal politics to city politics. It remains to be seen whether there is any way a sitting mayor in Winnipeg can be defeated. As with city councillors, the mayor's incumbency has played a strong factor in past re-elections. Add the impediment of a city councillor actually having to decide to quit his ward to run as mayor and you remove possible challengers.
The rules don't allow for other politicians to run for office unless they quit 42 days before the civic election. To put that into perspective, John McCain and Barack Obama would not have been able to run in the last U.S. presidential election unless they quit their Senate seats first if Winnipeg rules applied.
You gotta figure that if the U.S. allows for such things that Winnipeg might be able to do it as well.
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