The fourth successive Provincial Leaders Forum co-sponsored by WinnipegREALTORS® and the Manitoba Real Estate Association is slated for September 14 at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre, 340 Provencher Blvd.
To date, Conservative Party Leader Hugh McFadyen and Liberal Party Leader Jon Gerrard have confirmed they will be participating in the event which will be televised live by Shaw Cable.
Premier Greg Selinger, the leader of the NDP, has yet to indicate he will be attending the forum.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the leaders to reach out to Manitobans,” said Lorne Weiss, the chair of MREA’s political action committee. “It works to the disadvantage of any candidate who doesn’t attend. More is said by their absence than their participation.”
During the past forums in 1999, 2003 and 2007, all three leaders of the major political parties attended.
The forum has evolved over the years, with the last event prior to the 2007 election featuring questions posed by a three-person media panel.
“The quality of the event has improved,” said Weiss, “with better questions tailored by the pundits to represent all Manitobans.
“Their responses allow the leaders to set the tone and articulate the message leading up to the election.
“How they respond gives Manitobans an opportunity to get a sense of what they can expect. In a good way, people can gauge and plan how they’re going to vote.
“The forum will help Manitoba voters make up their minds,” added Weiss.
“The forum provides our viewers with their best opportunity to see all the provincial leaders and hear directly from them where they stand on the issues that effect Manitobans,” said Allen Sayegh, the Winnipeg program manager for Shaw Cable.
Shaw Cable has been televising the forums live since the first event in 1999. Through Shaw and othercommunity cable companies, such as Westman Communications, picking up its feed, the broadcast has the potential to reach tens of thousands of Manitobans.
Peter Squire, the public relations director for WinnipegREALTORS®, said the forum’s moderator will be Kim Babij of Shaw Cable, who also moderated the REALTOR®-sponsored 2010 mayoral forum.
“She did a very capable and professional job keeping things moving along and of being fair to all candidates in 2010,” said Squire.
“There will be opening and closing remarks by each leader,” added Squire, “leader-to-leader questions and questions from the media panel, which has not yet been named.”
The sponsors of the event are also encouraging the public to attend the September forum (further details will be announced), as was the case for past forums.
Squire said no signs or placards will be allowed inside the theatre to ensure the non-partisan nature of the forum.