Seven of Regina’s nine mayoral candidates faced-off in a televised debate on Monday evening.
The debate was televised on AccessNow TV and hosted by the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce.
John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina Chamber of Commerce, started the debate off by asking each candidate what they plan to do to assist the recovery process during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Part of my plan for the 100-per-cent renewable is in fact to start the economy and build that green recovery, putting thousand of people in jobs, putting solar panels on rooves, renovating houses, as well as buildings,” said mayoral candidate Jim Elliott.
Candidate Sandra Masters said COVID-19 has hit some sectors harder than others, especially the hospitality and tourism sectors. She said building an aquatic centre will help the city with economic recovery.
“Governments have a role to play in terms of stimulating the economy, and I think that the lack of shovel-ready projects right now is indicative of a lack of planning at the city,” said Masters.
Candidate Darren Bradley also voiced support for a new swimming facility, as well as working with other levels of government to rebuild post-pandemic.
“I think working with the provincial and federal government is exactly what we need to do,” Bradley said. “I don’t think we’re doing enough of that.”
If elected mayor, Tony Fiacco said he would look at ways to revitalize the downtown and other nearby neighbourhoods.
“We’ll do that through a property tax initiative, as well as removing the red tape that developers currently face,” said Fiacco.
George Wooldridge said he would take a 30-per-cent pay cut, to help with finding efficiencies.
“Because, if we’re going to ask people to sacrifice, the sacrifice should start at the top,” said Wooldridge.
Current Ward 10 Councillor Jerry Flegel said he would build an entertainment facility downtown, and look at plans for the former site of Taylor Field.
“Instead of retreating and cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, we need to build, build, build, and that creates a more positive environment,” Flegel said.
As the incumbent mayoral candidate, Michael Fougere took plenty of jabs at his leadership over the past years during the debate. But, he vowed he would provide the best economic plan moving forward.
“None of [the other candidates] are talking about a tax freeze, which I am suggesting we do to keep us more affordable and more competitive in the marketplace,” said Fougere.
The candidates were also asked about their position on the John A. Macdonald statue in Victoria Park. Nearly all the candidates said they would continue discussions with residents, and consider either moving the statue or adding historic context to the spot. Bradley was the only candidate to state he would be against removing the statue.
Candidates Bob Pearce and Mitchell Howse did not participate in the debate.
Regina will find out who will become its next mayor on November 9th.
Regina’s mayoral candidates are:
- Michael Fougere
- Sandra Masters
- Jim Elliott
- Tony Fiacco
- Jerry Flegel
- George Wooldridge
- Darren Bradley
- Bob Pearce
- Mitchell Howse