There were two ways for the election campaign to go. For the anointed candidate of the Left, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, to win, the election had to be focused on incumbent Sam Katz, his record of secret backroom deals, and his grandiose plans to spend half a billion dollars on a legacy project to use electric trains as public transit.
Instead, JustJudy (as she wants to be known) is fighting Sam Katz's fight over the #1 issue in Winnipeg, crime and public safety.
It's a fight JustJudy can't win. She spent 11 years as an NDP member of Parliament during which she worked against the interests of Winnipeg when voting on every crime bill presented by the Conservative government. She opposed every effort to keep criminals behind bars and supported every move to let criminals on the streets earlier.
When the government tried to make criminals convicted of major crimes ineligible for house arrest as their sentence, the NDP voted to defeat the proposed change.
As a result, you could still get "sentenced" to stay home and watch television for the following crimes (by section of the Criminal Code):
NDP justice critic Joe Comartin is on the record in Parliament and out as declaring "deterrence doesn't work." Comartin spoke for his Parliamentary colleagues including JustJudy. She's trying her best to deny it now, but she never uttered a peep to contradict Comartin during her years in Ottawa.
Katz has demonstrated he's at least listened to the people on crime matters. He's promised more police, some dedicated to fighting gangs and some to street patrols, the latter being an initiative that's topped every neighbourhood's wish list for years.
JustJudy, demonstrating her tin ear on public safety matters, has rolled out her public safety platform---more social workers and more social engineering.
She's promised more recreation workers to encourage kids to skip and play at community "hubs" instead of joining gangs. And this week she pledged to hire dozens of unskilled gang members to work for the city fixing back lanes, pruning elm trees or boarding up derelict buildings for the city. It would keep them out of gangs, she said. And they would all become dues paying union members, said union boss Mike Davidson, president of JustJudy-backing CUPE.
(What city labour shortage? Put up a Help Wanted sign, Sam, and you'll need a big stick to beat off the applicants. And they'll all have better work records than gang members fresh out of prison.)
The only reason JustJudy isn't laughed out of town is because the news media is running interference for her as much as possible.
They have failed to report her voting record as an MP. And they have failed to explain that her public safety platform consists of dusty planks from the provincial NDP campaigns of years past.
Addressing the "root causes" of crime? The NDP trotted that hoary cliche out ten years ago, then repeated it in Throne Speeches for years after.
Diverting kids from gangs? Obviously JustJudy didn't spend enough time in Winnipeg to hear the NDP chatter on endlessly about their program of "lighthouses" to do just that. Ten years later, how's that working? Oh, yeah, more kids in gangs than ever before.
The social worker model of crimefighting has been tried and tested in Winnipeg for a decade at least under the NDP. Any legitimate candidate for mayor would know the results.
All you have to do is read the week's crime report---a woman beaten senseless by a mob of teen boys and girls, then almost raped before police arrived to drive her attackers away; a man minding his own business deliberately set on fire and mutilated for life by a teenaged mugger; a middle-aged man stabbed almost to death walking home from a neighbourhood bingo game; sister killing sister; a teenaged murderer who shot three people in cold blood wanting a reduced sentence because he was a juvenile when he walked into a house filled with people and began randomly shooting everyone he could.
What's the common thread through this litany of murder and mayhem?
People who have lived their lives under the NDP's crimefighting strategies.
The exact same strategies being proposed by Judy Wasylycia-Leis.