WINNIPEG — Robert-Falcon Ouellette may have come in third place in the race for Winnipeg’s mayor, but the crowd packed inside his Provencher Boulevard headquarters welcomed him as though he had won.
“Robert, Robert,” they chanted as he entered wearing a wide smile, followed by “Falcon, Falcon.”
Ouellette, the Calgary-raised program director for the University of Manitoba’s Aboriginal Focus Programs and father of five, summed up the reason for the celebratory mood in his speech, describing how a campaign that started on the “fringe” grew to a group of “contenders” and “game changers.” He also said how it united people across political party lines, and aboriginal and non-aboriginal people from across Winnipeg, to work for a common cause, while inspiring people who hadn’t previously voted to engage in the political process.
WINNIPEG — It was not the outcome supporters of mayoral contender Judy Wasylycia-Leis were hoping for Wednesday night.
“I feel quite sad,” said a sombre Terry Boettcher, 66, as results flashing on two large screens in the Fort Garry Hotel’s Grand Ballroom made it clear Wasylycia-Leis, a career NDP politician, had been bested in the race to be Winnipeg’s next mayor by lawyer Brian Bowman.
It was obvious from the faces in the crowd of about 125 volunteers and supporters he wasn’t the only one feeling low.
Bowman, 43-year-old privacy lawyer and political newcomer, defeated veteran politician Judy Wasylycia-Leis by clinching 47.54% of the vote (unofficial results) in Wednesday’s municipal election.
“My friends, I am excited to tell you, positive change is coming to city hall,” Bowman said to a packed room of supporters at Inn at The Forks. “What an incredible night… when this campaign started, we made the case for positive change in Winnipeg. That negative, old-school politics had no place in our campaign or in our city.”
Bowman received 111,504 votes to Wasylycia-Leis’ 24.92% (58,440).
Mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette cast his ballot at a polling station in St. Vital on Wednesday.
Ouellette is one of seven candidates vying to be Winnipeg’s next mayor and will be watching the results come in with family and friends this evening at his Provencher Boulevard campaign headquarters.
“I don’t know if I could do anything different,” Ouellette said when asked to reflect on his campaign. “I guess I could have run around trying to get support from business people other than special interest groups, but I think what’s what actually allows my campaign to be as independent as it has been.”