This week Judy Wasylycia-Leis, 63 in August, announced her second run at the mayor's job. She still has zero experience at City Hall, still marches to the orders of the NDP, collects two retirement pensions and would be getting a third, her old age security cheque, if Mayor. Do you feel the excitement, yet?
Despite getting trounced by Sam Katz in the mayoral election four years ago, JWL thinks her campaign the second time around needs only minor tinkering. Most specifically, she doesn't have to pretend to be apologetic for promising higher taxes.
Katz handily defeated JWL by at least paying lip service to protecting seniors and low-income homeowners from her promised tax hikes. Of course, it turns out he was either lying or ..., well, lying, because the first thing he did after re-election was start raising property taxes.
JWL can now proudly make tax hikes front and centre to her campaign for Mayor because most of the other candidates for the job also call for higher taxes for -- wait for it -- infrastructure. There. The magic word. Say it and you can spend endlessly, without shame or regret.
And JWL is proof of that. On the very first day of her campaign she declared herself in favour of spending $4 billion on a citywide bus rapid transit system and against a referendum to ask the taxpaying public if BRT was their priority too.
Vote Judy for higher taxes and rampant spending. And that's a promise.
Oh, and here's the joke. You won't find JWL taking a bus. Like all the politicians who want to spend your money on a gold-plated public transit system, she's much too busy to take the bus. She brags she rides her bike when she's not driving.
On the day she announced her run for Mayor, JWL told CJOB her 25 year-old son was biking home to Winnipeg from the University of Waterloo. She wanted him to eventually move here after graduation to work, and she said, she didn't want to leave him a second-class city without a modern transit system. So ... what's going to keep an educated young man in his mid-20's in Winnipeg? The ability to take a bus around town?
Don't laugh until you see his field of study:
(from the blog Jessica's Transit Talks http://winnipegtransittalks.com/)
"... he’s at the University of Waterloo doing his masters in environmental studies. His whole research area is in community resilience and his thesis is going to be on linking culture and art, specifically linking festivals as a vehicle for helping build a transformative society that is sustainable in the face of peak oil and environmental deprivation and economic collapse.”
Okay, laugh now.
During the last election, we pointed out how completely out of touch with the voters 'Just Judy' was. Her whole life had been spent as a soldier in the NDP army, towing the party line, voting the party line, living the party life.
Having never worked a day in her life in a real job, she had no clue what life was like for an ordinary working family.
It was only during this campaign when we realized how far off the mark we were. Judy Wasylycia-Leis is even more out of touch with the average taxpayer than we ever imagined.
She's a white-wine socialist. A one-percenter slumming as a 'woman of the people.' She pledged on radio to give her MP's pension to charity if elected mayor. That means she's willing to give away at the least $68,000 a year without a thought. And, she added proudly, she'll give away her MLA's pension from the Manitoba Legislature, as well. In 2010 she actually said she didn't know how much her MLA pension was, that's how insignificant it was to her bottom line.
Yep, she really relates to her former constituents, the very people she intends to soak with higher property taxes if she gets the chance so that she can spend their money on her boutique projects - - white elephant museums, a BRT system they'll never use, interpretive centres nobody wanted, a spectacular exhibit for polar bears that they can't afford to attend or bring their children.
Judy Wasylycia-Leis has her priorities, only they're not the public's.
This election is not about political wings. It's about voting for unending tax increases or not.
Current Mayor Sam Katz is not going to run again. You can call him many things, but stupid is not one of them. To run for Mayor again, Katz would have to run against himself. In the 2010 election he either lied about not raising taxes or flip-flopped so quickly that there's no difference. In either case, he's proven he can't be trusted to keep his word.
He would be running with the stink of Phil Sheegl choking everyone around him. Sam Katz brought Sheegl into civic government, endorsed him, publicly insulted anyone who challenged Sheegl's competence as the city's Chief Administrative Officer, covered up as long as he could for the scandals sweeping Winnipeg that all lead right Sheegl's office. Katz would be carrying that dead albatross around his neck everywhere he went.
Katz would be running on a track record of his own incompetence. Remember his own declarations that the new football stadium wouldn't cost taxpayers a cent more because of a "guaranteed maxium price"? Or his claim that he knew all along that the "guaranteed maximum price" for the new police station was not guaranteed, nor a maximum.
And, of course, there's that niggling question of how Sam Katz, the Mayor, managed to buy a million dollar house in Phoenix for $10 from a relative of an official of Shindo, the company that got the contract for four new firehalls from Phil Sheegl after a rigged bidding process that eliminated every other potential contender. When the sale was revealed, Katz said he paid cash for the house above the $10 on the books, but he offered no proof, which, of course is the purpose of an alleged cash transaction.
So there won't be a rematch between Sam and 'JustJudy'. Not that it matters.
Because she's not really running for mayor. Remember, she's a party hack and has always been a party hack. She's running as a trial horse for the provincial NDP, which wants to see prior to the next provincial election just how much the NDP brand repels voters. They want to see if they can buy their way back into office, if taxpayers will forgive the increase in PST if the government can utter the magic word -- infrastructure -- and spend, spend, spend to victory.
In the Brave New World of the NDP, even a stara baba has her role to play.