If you ignore them, maybe they'll go away
Incumbant mayoral candidate Sam Katz seems to approach candidate forums like he approaches his shirt buttons: do a few, and leave the rest. Among the nine mayoralty debates, Katz has, or plans to, skip five, included two last Wednesday--one hosted by the city's student's associations, another by the William Whyte (a North End neighborhood) Residents' Association--and one next Tuesday, hosted by the IUS, Planner's Network Manitoba, Architects without borders, etc.
The official word was that he could not attend these because of previous engagements. Usually, his daily itinerary is posted on samkatz.ca in the "Where is Sam today?" column. On Wednesday, the day he missed two mayoral candidate forums, it was not updated; we don't know where Sam was that day, we just know where he wasn't. (The only update to his website that day was a posted press release ironically entitled "Katz taking nothing for granted.)
But is it any surprise that even without an apparent scheduling conflict, Katz did not show up? It was, after all, only interested students and concerned "inner city" residents last Wednesday, and city planners and urbanists this Tuesday--neither of which could be considered his core support. The thing that we all know is, that whether or not he snubs these people, he'll still win the election. And while Sam Katz might not need their support to succeed on the 25th, but the city of Winnipeg needs them to succeed in the future. This city cannot afford to lose its educated young people, its urban neighborhood stalwarts and pioneers, or its city planners. They might be the thorn in the side of foolish developer-propped mayors, but they are an immesurable part of this whole city's progress as a place to live and do business.
The Sam Katz Party's attitude towards students, urbanites and planners is "if you ignore them, maybe they'll go away", but it would cost us all--from the poorest Central Park immigrant family starting out, the the richest "taxpayer" suburbanite--if they did.