The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

CTV crime reporter uncovers entrepreneurs

Mayor Sam Katz owes a debt of gratitude to CTV Crimewatch reporter Kelly Dehn.

And, no, its not because of the three-time losers that Dehn profiles on his cheesy Winnipeg's Most Wanted bits.

The mayor owes Kelly Dehn for making it so easy to sell Winnipeg to potential investors and new businesses. No wonder Katz has no use for the Chamber of Commerce plan to hire a "chief marketing officer" for the city.

Last month, half the reporters in town showed up at a fire at Young's Trading Company on William Avenue. They covered the obvious angles: smoke blanketing downtown, a school evacuated, a cornerstone of the community lost.

But Dehn slipped away from the pack and did a little digging and came up with a juicy exclusive---there was more than cinders in Young's basement, there was cash, bags of it, two or three hundred pounds of long green to the tune of two or three million dollars.

Think about it. The owner of a grocery store in the Inner City has life savings of nearly three million dollars. That's after taxes and living expenses. How much is the markup on fireworks, after all? Store owners Moc and Phong Trinh should be giving pointers to The Bay. Forget Donald Trump; Red River students should be fighting to be their apprentice.

And the Chamber of Commerce says it needs help selling Winnipeg to investors. What's a better sales pitch than Young's Trading Company?

In Winnipeg, a businessman obviously can make a fortune, even in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city. Sam Katz should be plastering the faces of the Trinhs on billboards all across the country with the message: They did it. You can too.

But the billboards may have to wait a bit longer. Kelly Dehn put another feather in his reporter's cap last week with another scoop on Young's Trading Co.---the RCMP have started an investigation into the source of all that money.

Of course it's only a matter of time before the Trinhs' lawyer sorts it all out and gets the family's life savings back in their basement where it belongs.

Still, the RCMP are paid to be suspicious. And never more so than now. Thanks to all this trumpeting about the NDP's new anti-gang strategy, the police have to be pro-active.

The city force spent the year rolling up dozens of marijuana grow operations and the RCMP swept up a few big ones of their own. Funny thing how so many of the people arrested had Oriental names, and despite the enormous worth of the pot seized by police, no pots of money were among the seizures. So it's natural that the RCMP would think of putting two and two together.

After all, they remember what happened in Montreal in 2001.

A massive police raid on the Hell's Angels turned up $5.5 million in private outlaw banks. The police said their planted microphones picked up the sound of money counting machines running all day and all night as couriers brought a steady stream of drug profits to apartments seeded throughout the city to be counted, and stashed away.

We've combed all the news stories, and there hasn't been a single mention of a counting machine recovered from the rubble of Young's. So it's only a matter of time before tax and sales records convince the police to release the cash to the Trinhs. And the selling of Winnipeg as a great place to do business can get started.

And all thanks to Kelly Dehn.

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