Winnipeg’s homeless issue should be a priority for all mayoral candidates
Homelessness is a massive problem in Winnipeg, and on any given day, you can see countless individuals sleeping at the bus stops on the sidewalks, on the bus benches and sometimes in the middle of the streets.
As Winnipeggers are set to head to the polls in less than three weeks, every major candidate running for Mayor has signalled their willingness to make homelessness a priority. And with a flurry of yesterday’s events, it still does not make it an excuse for candidates to skip a debate that focused on fixing the homeless problem. There was never a need for anyone to question the sincerity of mayoral candidates wanting to eradicate homelessness until now.
Last night’s no-show from the perceived front-runner candidates put on by the Sialom Mission, one of the leading organizations addressing the homelessness problem, has to call into question the commitment to end homelessness of those no-sho candidates and their priorities for fixing this problem.
What could be more important than hearing directly from the homeless community about their issues and the type of help they need? The no-shows miss an opportunity to speak, listen, learn and understand the needs of the people, the very people they want to help.
Skipping debates is understandable, given the high demand for mayoral candidates to attend events. However, missing a debate about the root cause of homelessness and how the candidates wanting to lead the city can contribute to solving this problem is not only disappointing, it’s blasphemy.
Every Winnipegger that has to drive through the core and downtown streets daily, sees the dire situation firsthand. For Glen Murray, Scott Gillingham, Kevin Klein, Rich Shone and Jenny Motkaluk to miss this debate on homelessness should make voters take notice and consider if they are genuinely the candidates committed to solving homelessness in Winnipeg.
Candidates that attended were Don Woodstock, Idris Ademuyiwa, Chris Clacio, Shaun Loney, Rana Bokhari and Robert Falcon Ouellette. Advanced voting has already begun, and Winnipeggers head to the polls on October 26.