Lengthy-time Winnipeg metropolis councillor Al Golden, dies at 76

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Former long-time city councillor and mayoralty candidate Al Golden passed away last Sunday. He was 76.

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Golden suffered from a number of health ailments before he died of natural causes, his family said.

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Golden served as the councillor for St. Vital from 1988 until 2000 and ran for mayor three times, losing to Bill Norrie in 1980, Glen Murray in 2002 and his former political ally Sam Katz in 2004.

He also founded or ran six Winnipeg businesses, including the St. Vital Hotel and Transcona Country Club, ran the volunteer Golden Retriever Seniors Transportation Service bus and kickstarted the revitalization of Old Market Square in 1978.

Golden was first elected to council in a 1988 byelection. He quickly stood out for the way he responded to constituents, giving out his home phone number and answering their concerns day or night.

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Coun. Brian Mayes, the ward’s current city councillor, recalled when Mayes invited Golden in June 2016 for the re-opening of the St. Vital outdoor pool after a multi-million dollar renovation, “as he was the guy who stopped the sale of that pool in the 1990’s,” said Mayes in an email Saturday. “He was in great form – I was laughing so hard at one point I almost fell into the pool. There were certainly controversies with Al, but he was always decent with me.”

Golden lost his council seat in 2000, after he was found guilty of two income-tax charges — one for filing a false statement on his 1989 return and one for failing to declare $727,000 in income.

In a byelection that fall, Golden tried to return to city hall, but lost to lawyer Gord Steeves, who served as the ward’s councillor for the next 11 years.

Golden then tried to defeat incumbent mayor Murray in the 2002 civic election, finishing second. Golden finished third to Katz in an eight-candidate race to succeed Murray two years later.

Golden ran into tax trouble again in 2011, when the federal government claimed he failed to pay $1.9 million in taxes.

His family is planning a private burial on Friday, followed by a public celebration of his life at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Fort Garry Hotel.

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Twitter: @SunGlenDawkins

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