Embattled in River Heights

What is it about the electoral ward of River Heights-Fort Garry that the councillor’s race becomes so acrimonious? This just landed in my email box:

Children of Late Councillor Brenda Leipsic Shift Support to Kowalson

October 15, 2010

Citing disgust at City Councillor John Orlikow’s claims for the work done by their mother Brenda Leipsic, Greg and Tracy Leipsic have shifted their support to candidate Michael Kowalson in the hotly contested ward of River Heights-Fort Garry.

John Orlikow issued a release on October 3rd where he says he “successfully lobbied the City to add 1.1 million dollars to its 2011 Capital Plan for a study of a Waverly train crossing underpass” and that he was “surprised when he came to office that there was no funds dedicated to this project”.

His statement ignores the record. The City’s 2007 Capital Budget shows clearly that in fact these funds were already dedicated for the study, and it was Councillor Brenda Leipsic who had successfully lobbied for it years earlier.

“In taking credit for my mother’s work, John Orlikow dishonours my mother’s memory. It shows that he is not up to the standards set by her in representing the people of this ward. My sister Tracy and I are calling on him to apologize for misleading the residents of this ward about the Waverley study” said Greg Leipsic.

“We have known John for a long time and supported him in the 2009 by-election, but we have been very disappointed in his performance and when he pulled this stunt we felt we could no longer hold our silence” said Leipsic.

With two weeks until voters go to the polls, the move is seen as another a blow to Orlikow who has stumbled badly in the last few weeks amidst furor over his lack of consultation with residents in the ward on traffic calming issues. “The people in this ward would have been treated with more respect by my mother on these traffic issues” said Greg Leipsic.

“Its surprising how he takes credit for others achievements, but denies responsibility for his own decisions” said Leipsic.

In switching their support to Michael Kowalson, Leipsic added   “He has the experience, honesty and leadership to make principled decisions that is lacking in our current Councillor” .

-30-

And then this followed:

WINNIPEG – John Orlikow, City Councillor for River Heights – Fort Garry, says that his opponent Michael Kowalson not only set up a phony citizen’s group to hold a rally attacking him, but brought a Conservative consultant who doesn’t even live in the ward to pad the crowd. A picture of Kowalson in the Free Press shows Braydon Mazurkiewich – a former assistant to Conservative MPs Steven Fletcher and Shelly Glover – standing holding a sign that says “Where’s the Consultation?” On his Twitter account, http://twitter.com.y2bray, Mazurkiewich tweeted “Did anyone see me on #CTV #CBC #Global or the #Winnipeg Free Press website today?” Mazurkiewich is not on the voter’s list in River Heights-Fort Garry. A phone call confirmed he lives in St. Vital. “First we discovered that the “Concerned Citizens for River Heights” was being run entirely out of Michael Kowalson’s office, now we find it has members who are not from River Heights,” said Orlikow. “I would like to know just how many more of that crowd were Conservatives from outside the ward.”  Mazurkiewich’s resume (link below) says he was an assistant to Conservative MPs Shelly Glover and Steven Fletcher and that he worked in “Political Operations” at the Conservative Party Headquarters in Ottawa, His site goes on to say that he “is a political advisor to many candidates and elected officials in Manitoba. Braydon has served the Conservative Party of Canada and the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba and many Civic politicians in several capacities and is a lifelong supporter of conservative initiatives.”Kowalson, whose facebook pages lists his political affiliation as “independent” is also a longtime political activist in both the provincial PCs and federal Conservative party. Kowalson is President of the River Heights PC Association, and campaign manager for Federal Conservative candidate Raymond Hall, and his campaign has been endorsed by Steven Fletcher and Rod Bruinooge (http://twitpic.com/25o5kt) The anonymous group “Concerned Citizens for River Heights” dumped flyers calling Orlikow “cowardly” and calling for residents to join a rally on Oct 13. Jan Currier, wife of Orlikow’s opponent in the 2009 election admitted to writing the letter and supporting Kowalson. The head of the group, Peter Smith, sits on the board of the River Heights PC Association with Kowalson. The group’s first meeting was in the Kowalson campaign office, they distributed flyers from there, and on Oct 12 invited participants to a meeting to go over “media lines” prior to the rally. -30- For More Information, Contact: John OrlikowCity Councillor for River Heights-Fort Garry Ph: 453-1818Campaign Office: 1693 Corydon St. Background: Mazurkiewich’s Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/y2brayHis resume from his website “Vote Braydon”http://www.votebraydon.ca/main/?page_id=2“Braydon was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He graduated from Collège Béliveau and studied marketing and politics at the University of Manitoba.While attending university, Braydon worked for the Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface, Shelly Glover, in Winnipeg. He then went to Ottawa to work for the Minister of Democratic Reform, Steven Fletcher and was quickly promoted to work in Political Operations at the Headquarters of the Conservative Party of Canada. Braydon was then offered a position in Regina, Saskatchewan to advise Andrew Scheer, the Member of Parliament for Regina-Qu’Appelle and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. Braydon then returned to Winnipeg in late 2009 and started his own Marketing and Consulting firm, he acts as the Chief Executive Officer of y2bray Consulting and is a political advisor to many candidates and elected officials in Manitoba.”Braydon has served the Conservative Party of Canada and the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba and many Civic politicians in several capacities and is a lifelong supporter of conservative initiatives.” Image from the Winnipeg Free Press: Michael Kowalson is in the foreground,  Mazurkiewich in the back.

2006: Benham and Leipsic

2009: Orlikow and Courier

2010: Orlikow and Kowalson

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