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By Rhonda Spivak

Lawyer and businessman Martin Morantz wants to become the PC Candidate in River Heights in Manitoba’s next elections.  To do that, Morantz must get the nomination of the party over  two other rivals.

The nomination will take place on March 25 in the evening, at   St. John Brebeuf School in River Heights.

Morantz, who is married to Lisa, and has two sons, is a former partner of Levene Tadman law firm,  where he practiced in real estate, corporate, and  commercial law. Since February 2009, he  has been the vice-president and general counsel of  Home Deal Financial Group.

Morantz gave  an interview to the Winnipeg Jewish Review recently, outlining the reasons that led him to seek the nomination.

One issue that Morantz said is very important to him is the need to grow Manitoba’s economy. “We need to have a high –performance economy in Manitoba to meet the needs of our growing population…We need to develop industries that appeal to foreign investment. Government can play a role in helping to grow those businesses.  We need to be thinking about being a net contributor to Canada’s federation and not be a ‘have not’ province. In 2009, we [Manitoba] received federal transfer payments of  4 billion dollars…”

Morantz who said he just finished reading the book “Start-Up Nation” about Israel’s economic success, added, “The way to do this is through encouraging and assisting “start-up businesses.”

He also said, that voters must understand the link between improved social programs and  the economy. “These two things run together. Social agenda programs, such as, more extensive government funded family services, are driven by a growing economy…But no body has really been talking about growing the economy”.

Morantz, whose second son Nathan was born with autism, says that he has “seen first hand for years, the lack of sufficient effective services for people with special needs in the province.”

Morantz  introduced a resolution to enhance the rights of persons with special needs  at the last  PC provincial  policy convention. The resolution was  adopted unanimously.

The Resolution says that since Manitobans with disabilities and special needs ought to have access to the services, education, treatment, and housing they require, provincial legislation must reflect the right to access to such services. It says “… the PC Party of Manitoba recognizes the necessity of strengthening the rights of persons with disabilities and special needs.”

Morantz also emphasized that the historical record of the River Heights riding dispels any notion that it is a “safe liberal seat,” notwithstanding that Liberal Dr. Jon Gerrard has held the riding since 1999.

“In the 51 year history of the River Heights riding, 33 of those years the constituents of River Heights elected a Progressive Conservative candidate   to the Manitoba Legislature…. In fact, the only Liberals to ever be elected in River Heights have both been party leaders. Not a single rank and file Liberal MLA has ever been elected in River Heights,” Morantz said.

Morantz also noted “The last time the Liberal Party formed government in Manitoba was in 1953, some fifty-six years ago.  In his first election as leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party in 1999, the only Liberal MLA elected to our 57 seat legislature was Jon Gerrard. His party received only 13% of the vote in that election. In the 2003 election Jon Gerrard was re-elected in River Heights, but the Liberal party received an even smaller percentage of the vote than it did in 1999. In the 2007 election again Dr. Gerrard held River Heights, but support for the Liberal Party was only 12.5% province wide.”

Morantz said that “Dr. Gerrard has been ineffective as a  leader in rebuilding his party, and has been ineffective in passing any legislation or successfully lobbying to improve the quality of life in River Heights. We can safely assume that if he is re-elected there will be more of the same… Dr. Gerrard will never become Premier. During his tenure as Liberal leader the party has never held more than two seats in the Manitoba Legislature. A vote for Dr. Gerrard means no real representation for River Heights.”

He referred to a web site,, where some Liberals have called for a Leadership Convention, and note that the party has become “stagnant.”

Morantz also said that he does not think that the neighborhood of River Heights is in a better, safer condition than it was in 1999.

Since then the neighborhood has experienced tremendous infrastructure deficits. The streets and alleyways are paved with rubble, the schools, parks and community centers have years of deferred maintenance which will cost tens of millions of dollars to address. There have been no new parks created, and there has been virtually no new construction. Crime against persons and property is alarmingly high,” he said.

Morantz also noted that currently there is no elected provincial politician who is Jewish.

‘I remember when Jews were more engaged in provincial politics, when Izzy Asper, Sidney Spivak, Sid Green, Abe Kovnatz and Saul Miller were in politics.  Now there is no elected provincial official who is Jewish…  Sidney spivak was the first politician I ever knew. At age 15, I worked on his campaign. I delivered flyers and went to the picnics,” he said.

He also noted that he grew up in a  family that traditionally voted Conservative, even when “many Jews traditionally voted liberal.”

Morantz said he is gearing up his efforts to win the PC nomination for River Heights. In order to win he needs River Heights residents to become party members and vote for him at the meeting on March 25th.

He can be contacted at [email protected] or by phone at 831-8075. Visit

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.