Run for mayor, Facebook group urges Wasylycia-Leis

Gerbasi at city hall, a place she'd like to see Wasylycia-Leis running
Photo Credit: Sean Ledwich

Winnipeg city councilor Jenny Gerbasi has never shied away from open disagreement with Mayor Sam Katz.

Now she’s using Facebook to openly encourage Judy Wasylycia-Leis to challenge Katz in the October 2010 civic election, and she believes Wasylycia-Leis will do it.

Gerbasi said she sent out invitations to most of her 387 Facebook friends to join a group named DRAFT JUDY WASYLYCIA-LEIS FOR MAYOR. The group had 1,191 members as of March 22.

The Facebook group was created about a month after Wasylycia-Leis, currently the NDP MP for Winnipeg North, revealed on January 20 that she is thinking about throwing her hat in Winnipeg’s mayoral ring.

"A lot of people have been raising it with me and asking me to consider running. I'm certainly going to give it some thought," Wasylycia-Leis told the Winnipeg Free Press at the time.

The Facebook group lists David Anton Jacks as its creator.

"I couldn't think of a better candidate for mayor, hence the creation of the Facebook group," wrote Jacks, using Facebook chat. Jacks said Wasylycia-Leis' son Joseph told him Wasylycia-Leis reads all the comments posted on the group.

Jacks is also the secretary of the Winnipeg Citizens' Coalition, a group that organizes to unite the centre-left to prevent vote-splitting. Jacks worries about a vote split if Elmwood-East Kildonan Coun. Lillian Thomas, the only challanger for the Mayor’s job so far, is in the race agaist Wasylycia-Leis.

"I feel that there is quite a bit of energy around Judy currently, and I'd hate to see two progressive candidates running against each other"

The WCC helped facilitate an NDP-Liberal coalition in March 2009 that saw John Orlikow defeat Geoff Currier in a municipal byelection. The WCC has welcomed the news that Wasylycia-Leis might join the race.

The news was not as welcomed by Thomas, who was hoping Manitoba’s New Democrats would get behind her after she announced her run last December. She told the Winnipeg Free Press the news stunned her.

Reached on Facebook, Gerbasi explained her reasons for wanting Wasylycia-Leis to run in October.

“Judy is respected and loved by pretty much everyone who has ever worked with her...which is a good quality for a potential Mayor! She is tactful, bright, gutsy and caring. Most of all, she is absolutely trustworthy.”

Wasylycia-Leis’ son Joseph is listed as one of the administrators for the DRAFT JUDY WASYLYCIA-LEIS FOR MAYOR Facebook group. Gerbasi said that’s a good sign.

“I think it is pretty cool that her family is so supportive of his mother taking this step. It probably indicates how proud he is of her and how much he respects her.”

Gerbasi would not reveal any insider information about Wasylycia-Leis’ decision, said to be coming in late April. She's feeling quite hopeful though.

“My own personal opinion is that I am very optimistic that she will run.”

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Sean Ledwich

  • 50 years old
  • Winnipeg, MB, Canada
  • User since Oct 27th 2009, 09:36