Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Two High-Profile Municipal Candidates in Winnipeg Eye Political Jump

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Two High-Profile Municipal Candidates in Winnipeg Eye Political Jump

Article excerpt

Winnipeg candidates eye new campaigns

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WINNIPEG - An aboriginal candidate who seemed to come out of nowhere to place a strong third in Winnipeg's recent mayoral election is eyeing a jump to federal politics and says he's getting offers from different parties.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette, who gained attention with promises to bridge the racial and economic divides in the city, said Tuesday he has been talking to federal New Democrats and Liberals about running in the upcoming federal election.

The New Democrats, he said, have offered him a choice of ridings.

"They said, 'You pick what you would like. We'll see if we can make it happen. We will help and do the fundraising and find the money to make your campaign a success.'"

Ouellette has also taken out a Liberal nomination package with an eye to perhaps running in Winnipeg Centre, held by New Democrat Pat Martin. He hasn't filled out the paperwork yet, and is scheduled to met with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on Friday.

Ouellette is also a guest speaker at an upcoming Liberal fundraiser for the St. Boniface riding, where Dan Vandal has been nominated.

He said one factor for him is finding a party that can help him get elected.

"No one likes to lose," he laughed.

"It's good to have the debate, but at the same time, I'd like to be in a position where I can continue that debate as an elected official in some capacity."

Ouellette entered the race for Winnipeg's October mayoral election a virtual unknown. The 37-year-old had never held public office and had no political machinery behind him. He served in the military and later became the director of aboriginal focus programs at the University of Manitoba.

Sharply dressed and well-spoken, Ouellette went from being a fringe candidate to garnering more media attention than many of his competitors. He talked about racism in the city and the need for people of different income levels to work together. …

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