At first glance, what have we got?
In one corner is Sam Katz, a well-respected entrepreneur with two year's experience as Mayor.
In the other corner there's:
* an unemployed gay activist
* an unemployed, pretending to be self-employed, publicity hound, and
* a men-are-the-enemy radical feminist who quit the NDP government -- because it was too right-wing for her taste.
Is this shaping up as one for the books, or what?
Sam Katz stepped up to the plate when Glen Murray quit in the middle of his term-after, of course, saying he had no intentions of quitting. Mayor Sam made no bones of the fact he was not a politician.
His detractors can't get around that fact.
Sam Katz is a Winnipeg businessman and he's does business at City Hall the same way that business is done in this city--- quietly, behind closed doors, building a team, under the radar, without grandstanding.
It was his reputation as a man who gets things done, that led him to a crushing victory over Glen Murray's anointed successor, mediocre boxer turned mediocre politician Dan Vandal.
His enemies (read The Winnipeg Free Press) proclaim that Sam Katz has no "vision" for Winnipeg.
Unlike his predecessor, that urban visionary Glen Murray, who was always mesmerized by the grand vision staring back at him from his hand mirror.
Murray, who never completed a single project he undertook, wasted millions chasing windmills and extolled living and working in Winnipeg, even as he packed his bags and moved to Toronto.
His final project was the new Provencher Bridge that included a restaurant and a million dollar toilet.
He was long gone before the bridge was completed at a cost $6 million over budget, and he wasn't here to see the restaurant sit empty for a year until Sam Katz found a tenant, a Sal's---over the vociferous objections of the "visionary" crowd who wanted something upscale or nothing at all, damn the expense.
Katz's election platform is decidedly unsexy----a city that works.
Clearing snow quickly in winter, filling potholes promptly in the spring, eliminating mosquitoes in summer, and providing safe and secure streets all year round. Keep business taxes low to encourage the creation of more businesses which will hire more employees who will live, work and play in the city creating more opportunities for young people.
Booo-rrrring, says Kaj Hasselriis, who, being "between jobs", has lots of time to think about things.
Kaj (pronounced K-eye) abandoned a promising career as a fringe festival performer for politics.
Who can forget his tour-de-force performance in 2004, described in the program here :
Hey Hetero!-WCD Studio
Hey Hetero! Come to Venue 9 and get a taste of the high-flying homosexual lifestyle.
Winnipeg's all-new, queer comedy duo, Clare Lawlor and Kaj Hasselriis, will take you behind the pink curtain of the homo world and reveal all the dirty little secrets of gay life. We'll stake out the royal family, crash J. Lo's latest wedding, and audition to be the first gay Canadian idols. Featuring a special appearance by Clay "In or out?" Aiken!
Kaj's degree in women's studies (yes, you read that right) from the University of Manitoba would surely be an invaluable asset at city hall.
And it appears his political bent has mellowed a younger visceral instinct to insult those who disagreed with his lifestyle, and even some who didn't.
From Eye magazine (June 26, 1997)
Marching into the mainstream
Once upon a less liberal time, there was an annual event that could scare the masses even more than Halloween. It was called the Gay Pride parade, and it was always successful at ruining the refined sensibilities of Ma and Pa Bigot.
Sadly, those days are all but over. Some of the Bigots are still clutching their Bibles and condemning our souls, but it's a lot harder than it used to be to spook their kids and threaten their ignorance. It's not easy to shock people with public displays of lesbianism when they can watch it every Wednesday night on Ellen.
Being a fag at this year's parade isn't easy, either. How are we supposed to distinguish ourselves from all the bleeding-heart breeders at the march, when they're trying to look like us?
There are only two groups at this Sunday's parade who can save us from the mainstream: the drag queens and the dominatrixes. Pray the Bigots will be offended. -- KAJ HASSELRIIS
The older Kaj released a party platform last week to distinguish himself from Sam Katz (as if the above didn't).
Among his promises:
Work to eliminate poverty. ( "Damn, why didn't I think of that?" Sam Katz )
Bring Winnipeg's downtown and inner-city back to life. ( "Oww. He's killing me." Sam Katz )
Attract diverse businesses to Winnipeg. ( "Shoot, I'm screwed." Sam Katz )
Candidate No. 3, sixty-two year old Ronnie Pollock, is carrying on a family tradition by running for mayor. His sister Natalie ran three times, last in 2004.
Pollock's expertise is in filing lawsuits. His latest is against the condo board where he lives. Since his condo fees go to pay the expenses of the board, he is effectively suing himself.
The term "poetic irony" comes to mind.
Speaking of which, Gordon Warren lives downtown. His campaign slogan was Spirited Energy. He wanted to run for mayor and bulldoze the North End but he couldn't get enough signatures. We are not making this up.
The newest mayoral candidate is former NDP MLA Marianne Cerelli. She's a reluctant warrior.
She said she's running because there were no Progressives in the race. (Progressive---see moonbats, tin foil, Nick Ternette circa 2006 - ed.)
Cerilli quit the NDP government in a huff because, she said, she couldn't stand how it "embraced fiscal conservatism, a neo-liberal agenda and the media-created cult of Doer popularity."
She comes into the campaign with a chip a mile wide on her shoulder. Her problem is Men, first, and the Media, second.
While an MLA, to protest "the predominance and privilege of men in politics" she attacked the Manitoba Tories as "a bunch of old white guys."
"I got the shit kicked out of me by the media", she told the Uniter, the University of Winnipeg student newspaper this past March. " I was treated badly not just because I'm a woman but because I'm an eco-feminist."
"Women in politics are rewarded for de-gendering themselves and doing politics according to male rules. When women in politics comply they are rewarded for being good girls with a sliver of privilege and some power over other women. When women name this or refuse to align themselves in this way, to "know her place", then murder by media is one sure-fire way to bring her down," she expanded in a letter to the editor.
Since leaving provincial politics, Cerilli has been busy spreading her men-are-bad message.
She teaches part-time at the University of Winnipeg, where the same anti-male brand of feminism that's turned off a generation of girls is still strong.
Of course, her classes have Gender in the title.
Just this past August she gave a workshop at something called the Youth Activist Retreat.
Here's how they pitched her appearance.
Marianne Cerilli and Suzanne Bouclin
Introduction to Feminism
1. Some general definitions of terms: Feminism, backlash, patriarchy, etc
2. Activity to explore Penility: The mind set of patriarchy
3. Discuss how this applies in various social institutions: political,family, economic, media ...
4. 4 stages of empowerment with case studies
5. Waves and Currents of feminism
6. Feminist principles and social change: Levels of truth
We don't know about you, but we had to look up the definition of "penility."
The on-line Urban Dictionary says:
Humiliation felt as a result of exposure of one's miniscule penis.
The bio provided by the Youth Activist Retreat says this about Cerilli:
Her history of activism covers a diverse range of issues and campaigns, "because when you see the connections it is all one big paradigm shift out of patriarchy". Her workshop is a primer in feminist politics.
The local press acknowledges she's left-wing in the political spectrum.
That's like saying absinthe is a refreshing beverage.
When the NDP cut taxes a sliver in their last budget, Cerilli protested.
"This is another budget that increases disparity in Manitoba, offering people with higher incomes additional tax cuts and there's not a lot for lower-income people," she said."We have the money to offer them more programs and services."
Okay, you can bet tax cuts are not in her mayoral platform.
When the hard-core socialist anti-American left created the New Politics Initiative to pressure the NDP into moving as far away from the moderate centre as possible, Marianne Cerilli was front and centre with her ideas.
She's released a few planks from her platform, like:
Work to end poverty. ("I said it first, bitch." Kaj Hasselriis)
The pundits say they'll wait and see what other ideas Cerilli brings to the race to be Mayor.
Why wait when you can read them in The Black Rod now?
Cerilli was an active member of the United Nations Platform for Action Committee Manitoba, a women's organization born out of the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing.
In 2004 UNPAC sent Manitoba finance minister Greg Selinger 129 suggestions for a Gender Budget.
We bet some of them will make their way into her promises to Winnipeg voters, like, maybe
26. Implement programs to educate men on the importance of supporting women.
32. Before becoming law, all legislation should be subject to a feminist analysis and input.
41. Add new courses to the public school curriculum including problem solving, economic literacy, parenting, and educating men and boys on feminist issues.
08. Free vacations for families headed by single moms at government operated cabins at Hecla and Camp Morton
Or how about these:
43. Make public transit free
57. Provide more money for inner-city housing as opposed to new suburb developments that benefit corporations and individual wealth.
71. Work towards alternatives to public-private partnerships. Too often these partnerships privatize profit and socialize risk. In many such agreements private companies have made a large profit but have not given back to the community. Often taxpayers have been forced to cover the costs if something goes wrong. An alternative is public-public partnerships i.e. using money from Hydro or a pension plan to invest in future returns. (A new stadium? - ed.)
110. Reverse corporate income-tax cuts and end the tax gifts to corporations. Let them move to 'greener' pastures. (Bye bye Olywest - ed.)
111. Implement green taxes such as a Kyoto tax, a plastic bag tax, commuter distance taxes, a tax on vehicles in which there is only one person
114. Decriminalize prostitution and tax it.
124. Retain and strengthen our crown corporations - Do not forfeit this opportunity for revenue. In fact, create more crown corporations.
You get the picture. Cerilli has a "vision" for Winnipeg, alright.
It's called Cuba.
And speaking of Cuba, did you notice the interesting similarities between her and a certain somebody? A far left-wing lean, the University of Winnipeg, inspiring "activist" youth...
If she were a man, she would be Lloyd Axworthy.
Maybe Gordon Sinclair found a surrogate Axworthy to run against Sam Katz ? A sacrificial ewe, so to speak.
The coming mayoral election finds current office holder Sam Katz crowding the middle and right.
To his left, Kaj Hasselriis attracts the gay liberal fringe that still takes the bus (4 percent). To his left, Marianne Cerilli plays to the rabid socialist hardcore (14 percent). To her left, Ronnie Pollock defines the lunatic fringe (the reason mathematicians invented negative numbers).
You do the math...