Oct. 5, 2018

Open Letter to Dan Lett in response to his “Opinion” piece on Oct. 4, 2018 in the Winnipeg Free Press titled “Staying at Home, Playing Monopoly Doesn’t Get Votes”

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/civicelection2018/staying-at-home-playing-monopoly-doesnt-get-votes-495111021.html

Dear Dan,

Thank you for drawing attention to the fact that I spent some quality time with my daughter Emily last Saturday night, something she has been missing in the last 4 months. Some of her fellow students at school brought your article to her attention and now she is wondering if it was a bad decision on my part to run for Mayor – not because she didn’t expect Mom’s time might be taken up with the campaign but because she now feels bad for hurting my chances since, according to you, that’s what happened.

 

This type of “commentary”, as I certainly cannot call it objective reporting, sadly reflects a “double standard misogyny” that is often applied to women candidates in today’s media. Before you say no it isn’t, speak with some of your female colleagues, I think you might be surprised at their answers.

 

Seeing how you chose to offer your opinion on my work ethic without asking questions or checking your watch, I thought it was only fair that I should bring some much-needed clarification for your readers and perhaps some education for you on some of the social nuances associated with women candidates and perhaps why so few choose to run for public office.

 

But first a Fact Check: According to you “…while Bowman was pounding the pavement, Motkaluk was at home playing the Winnipeg edition of Monopoly with her family.” (Referring to Saturday evening Sept. 29th)

– Brian Bowman’s tweet of attending Nuit Blanche was at 8:06 PM

– My tweet about playing Monopoly was at 10:42 PM

The “Winnipeg Monopoly” game in question actually started at 10:15 PM that evening because I got home at 10:05 PM after attending a volunteer and supporters meeting at my St. James campaign office which started at 7:00 PM that evening.

Truth be told, my 9-year-old daughter, Emily, was upset with me for not coming home earlier after previously promising her I would play Winnipeg Monopoly with her. So, despite the late hour for a 9-year-old I felt I owed her some time – time that I absolutely do not regret.

So no, Dan Lett, I was not playing Monopoly while Brian Bowman was “pounding the pavement”. The tweets were time stamped – even the ones you published.

Perhaps you should be asking why I was giving up a Saturday night of fun, frolic and mingling with voters with camera guy in tow and smiling ear to ear at the WAG too? Perhaps you are right, shame on me for sitting with my volunteers discussing campaign plans and taking questions from interested Winnipeggers that evening. I should have taken them all out to Nuit Blanche, I suppose, and switched out their coffees for cocktails. Rather inconsiderate of me to bore people with talk of lawns signs, making calls, taking calls, campaign literature and scheduling events. I’ll do better next time Dan, I promise.

In your world, apparently, the measure of a Mayor is all about “being seen” at “the more high profile events”.

Yet in your Oct. 2nd Opinion piece (https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/civicelection2018/crowded-calendar-gives-bowman-the-incumbents-edge-494968961.html)  you also wrote about the Mayor leveraging his crowded calendar and busy schedule of Mayoral events as a campaign tactic.

In fact, you asked for a comment from my campaign team via an email request that read “I’m writing a column about the civic rules that allows incumbent mayors to fulfil mayoral duties right up until Election Day. It hasn’t escaped my notice that Brian is doing a lot of mayoral announcements right along with his campaign announcements; often on the same day. Not illegal but perhaps not fair?”

And in that piece you conclude the following… “it may be necessary to turn over those duties to a member of council who is not running for re-election to ensure that invitations cannot be used as an unfair political advantage. Regardless of who wins the mayoral election, one of the first orders of business once the votes have been counted should be to contact the province and request an amendment to the Winnipeg Charter to limit the duties of mayors during election periods. Just to be fair.”

So, just to be clear…it’s not OK (but still legal) to leverage attendance of events and invitations for political advantage in one article but in another article, its considered admirable political savvy to be posing for selfies and photo ops at these same high profile events? Hmm…

So which is it Dan?

My daughter and I would really like to understand this better. And so would lots of other mothers.

Jenny & Emily