Skip to main content

March Madness

March is a miserable month for millionaires.

It's gotten so bad you can't go downtown without seeing some fat cat or other with his hand out, begging for money.

Spare change? Give us your twenties, your fifties, any denomination you can spare, they plead pitiously.

Some hire public relations firms to sell their cause. Some fly from their homes in Toronto to their Winnipeg pied-a-terres to appeal to the hoi polloi in person. Some suck up to newspaper owners. Who says the rich don't know sacrifice?

Winnipeg's richest families, jointly worth in the vicinity of $3 billion, need to raise $30 million by March 31st, or else.

Or else what?

Or else they can't collect tens of millions of your money for their pet projects. That's what, buster.

Millionaire moocher #1 is Gail Asper, whose family is jointly worth $833 million give or take ten million depending on this minute's stock prices.

She's begging for $20 million.

If she doesn't get it by March 31, her personal project, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will lose $100 million pledged by the federal government for "capital costs". That is, they'll lose the funding for this year because everyone knows once money is "pledged" by government to millionaires it never returns to the taxpayers' pockets.

But that ain't half the story. Every con that goes on too long eventually begins to unravel. And this con is almost five years old.

For starters-how much is the Asper Museum project actually going to cost? The answer is: nobody knows.

Here's a sampling of the many variations:

On April 17th, 2003, on the 21st Anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I, along with our federal and provincial governments and the City of Winnipeg partners, announced the potential creation of a groundbreaking $270 million Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Izzy Asper

**************
Canadian Architect June 2005
Months of rumours over the winner of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights design competition are over. On April 15, The Asper Foundation officially announced that New Mexico-based Antoine Predock won the competition for the ambitious public- private initiative begun by the late Izzy Asper in 2002 to build a major national cultural institution in Winnipeg. The total cost of the project is estimated at $243 million, with construction costs estimated at $126 million.

***********
Embargoed until 11:00, CT, January 19, 2006:
Winnipeg, January 19, 2006: The Asper Foundation today announced a total donation to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights of $20 million.

snip

Total project costs are $311 million - including an endowment fund for the national student travel program.

**************
Ottawa funding human rights museum in Winnipeg
Updated Fri. Apr. 20 2007 10:16 PM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Friday a new Winnipeg-based Canadian Museum for Human Rights as a national institution -- qualifying it for federal funding to cover operating costs.

snip

Harper confirmed the federal government would ultimately be responsible for the operating costs which are estimated at $22 million per year. He also said the construction costs will not exceed $265 million.

**********

Human Rights Museum another step closer
FEB 12 2008 12:30 AM

Manitoba Conservative M-P Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board, has seconded legislation to create the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It will be the first national museum to be created outside the National Capital Region.

Snip

The Province of Manitoba, the City of Winnipeg, the Friends of the Canada Museum for Human Rights and the Forks Renewal Corporation are contributing a total of $165 million toward construction.
CJOB's Robert Holland reporting

*******
So the total cost is either $240 million or $311 million. And the cost of simply building the thing is either $126 million or $164 million or $265 million.

Here's what we've been able to piece together from many sources:

Assuming the total cost to be $311M.

· $50 million is for an endowment fund to bring 20,000 junior high students to Winnipeg each year
· $100 million is for exhibits
· The remaining $161 million would be for construction

Except that the $311 million figure is two years old.

* The MTS Centre, which opened in 2006, cost $133 million and it's essentially a concrete box with seats and corridors.

* Winnipeg's new water treatment plant was $65 million over budget at last count despite every budget safeguard known to man and a few invented just for the project.

* The Manitoba Hydro Tower currently being built on Portage Avenue was supposed to cost $278 million as of one year ago, but it's opening date is seven months late and goodness knows how many millions the project is over budget. Why? Because the current rule of thumb in construction is costs are rising 1.5 to 2 percent per month. That's PER MONTH.

* That means the cost of the Museum for Human Rights could be growing by 18-20 percent a year. Since 2006, the cost could have risen almost $30 million and could go up another $35 million if constuction starts in 2008.

And where's that money going to come from? Exhibits or endowments?

You know where the money is going to come from.
...
...
...

YOU, SUCKER.

The same place the $22 million a year to run the museum is going to come from. And the millions its going to cost to bring soldiers and police and civil servants to Winnipeg to learn all about human rights, probably from the people who run the Human Rights Commissions that are stifling free speech across the country in the name of, oh yeah, protecting human rights.

The dash to raise $20 million by March 31 is just to trigger construction. Once the first shovel hits the ground, you, the taxpayer, have bought the pig in a poke and you'll be paying the millions in cost overruns. Too pessimistic?

According to what's been written on the internet by well placed sources in a position to know, the museum backers have just issued a proposal for the glasswork on the museum and supposedly only FIVE companies in North America are capable of doing the specialized work required. Since the whole museum is glass, this ain't going to be cheap.

Hang onto your wallets, boys and girls, its going to be a bumpy ride.

And that's good advice in any case because there's still a swarm of millionaires out there looking for a little green from you. Correction - - a lot of green.

This band of merry men call themselve the Friends of Upper Fort Garry. They need to raise $10 million dollars by March 31 to kibosh a developer's plans to build an apartment complex on surplus city land near the fort's gates. The Friends showed no interest in Upper Fort Garry until the developer answered the city's RFP (request for proposal) and negotiated a price for the surplus land. Then the Friends decided they had a veto over the city's deal.

They wanted the land, they pouted, and the city should give it to them. And taxpayers should cough up $12.5 million for an "interpretive centre" and a "heritage park". And anyone who disagrees with them is a hateful Philistine.

The only thing standing in their way was the mayor's ethical position that "a deal's a deal."

Ethics, smethics. DON'T YOU KNOW WHO WE ARE? WE'RE RICH. City Hall has to jump when WE say jump.

Now JUMP.

The Winnipeg Free Press has jumped.

Editor Bob Cox is doing a great job keeping the fact that newspaper owner Bob Silver is one of the Friends out of the newspaper. Otherwise people might begin thinking the paper's coverage of the issue is biased.

The Friends have personally pledged $2.5 million towards the $12.5 million they estimate their pet project will cost. They think that if they can raise $3.5 million, the federal and provincial governments will hand over $9 million because, well, the Friends are rich, and why wouldn't they?

The plutocrats have spared no deceit to win. They run ads pleading with the public to "save" Upper Fort Garry---and cough up some cash. The implication being that the developer plans to tear down the gate and dig up the site. A lie, but is a lie in a good cause wrong?

They've even engaged in tortured theatrics on a pledge drive staged on CJOB. David Asper, yes Gail's big brother, pretended to toss in some pocket change for the Friend's campaign by pledging $500,000 from the Asper Foundation. It turned out the pledge was a retread of a donation made weeks ago and already included in the $2.5 million. Hartley Richardson, whose family has a net worth of $2 billion, wanted to play Daddy Warbucks as well so he chipped in $500,000 too, except it was also the same half mil he pledged in January.


The public pledged a whopping $75,000 to bring the grand total to....uh... carry the zero.... $75,000 more than it was before the millionaires' pledge drive.

Pledges have dried up since faster than global warming in the Arctic.

The Millionaire Friends are now trying to get city councillors to overturn the deal with the developer, ostensibly to give the Friends more time to raise money. So far they've got Dan Vandal in their pocket. We can hardly wait to see whether the vaunted defenders of the poor and working class, Lillian Thomas, Harvey Smith, Jenny Gerbasi, Harry Lazarenko, Mike Pagtakhan, and even Russ Wyatt fight for the right of millionaires to party at the Manitoba Club without riff raff taking their parking spaces.

Here's the problem. The developer needs to know by March 31st if he can start contruction or if he's stuck with empty land for another year. If he needs to recoup his costs, can you smell a lawsuit for breach of contract? Who's going to pay for that?

It ain't going to be the millionaires. Not unless they can raise the money from you.

Spare change? Twenties. Fifties. Whatever you got.....

Popular posts from this blog

The unreported bombshell conspiracy evidence in the Trudeau/SNC-Lavelin scandal

Wow. No, double-wow. A game-changing bombshell lies buried in the supplementary evidence provided to the House of Commons Judiciary Committee by former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. It has gone virtually unreported since she submitted the material almost a week ago. As far as we can find, only one journalist-- Andrew Coyne, columnist for the National Post--- has even mentioned it and even then he badly missed what it meant, burying it in paragraph 10 of a 14 paragraph story. The gist of the greatest political scandal in modern Canadian history is well-known by now. It's bigger than Adscam, the revelation 15 years ago that prominent members of the Liberal Party of Canada and the party itself funneled tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks into their own pockets from federal spending in Quebec sponsoring ads promoting Canadian unity. That was just venal politicians and a crooked political party helping themselves to public money. The Trudeau-Snc-Lavalin scandal is

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. There, we said it.

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. Oh, you won't find anyone official to say it. Yet . Like relatives trying to appear cheery and optimistic around a loved one that's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the people in power are in the first stage of grief -- denial. The prognosis for Hydro was delivered three weeks ago at hearings before the Public Utilities Board where the utility was seeking punishingly higher rates for customers in Manitoba. It took us this long to read through the hundred-plus pages of transcript, to decipher the coded language of the witnesses, to interpret what they were getting at, and, finally, to understand the terrible conclusion.  We couldn't believe it, just as, we're sure, you can't--- so we did it all again, to get a second opinion, so to speak.  Hydro conceded to the PUB that it undertook a massive expansion program--- involving three (it was once four) new dams and two new major powerlines (one in the United States)---whi

Crips and Bloodz true cultural anchors of Winnipeg's aboriginal gangs

(Bebo tribute page to Aaron Nabess on the right, his handgun-toting friend on the left) At least six murder victims in Winnipeg in the past year are linked to a network of thuglife, gangster rap-styled, mainly aboriginal street gangs calling themselves Crips and Bloods after the major black gangs of L.A. The Black Rod has been monitoring these gangs for several months ever since discovering memorial tributes to victim Josh Prince on numerous pages on Bebo.com, a social networking website like Myspace and Facebook. Josh Prince , a student of Kildonan East Collegiate, was stabbed to death the night of May 26 allegedly while breaking up a fight. His family said at the time he had once been associated with an unidentified gang, but had since broken away. But the devotion to Prince on sites like Watt Street Bloodz and Kingk Notorious Bloodz (King-K-BLOODZ4Life) shows that at the time of his death he was still accepted as one of their own. Our searches of Bebo have turned up another f

Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP's Christian-bashing, cop-smearing, other star candidate

As the vultures of the press circle over the wounded Liberal Party of Manitoba, one NDP star candidate must be laughing up her sleeve at how her extremist past has escaped the scrutiny of reporters and pundits. Parachuted into a safe NDP seat in Winnipeg's North End, she nonetheless feared a bruising campaign against a well-heeled Liberal opponent.  Ha ha.  Instead, the sleepy newspeeps have turned a blind eye to her years of vitriolic attacks on Christianity, white people, and police. * She's spent years  bashing Christianity  as the root cause of all the problems of native people in Canada. * She's called for  a boycott of white businesses . * And with her  Marxist research partner, she's  smeared city police as intransigent racists . Step up Nahanni Fontaine, running for election in St. John's riding as successor to the retiring Gord Macintosh. While her male counterpart in the NDP's galaxy of stars, Wab Kinew, has responded to the controversy over

Exposing the CBC/WFP double-team smear of a hero cop

Published since 2006 on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever. Exposing the CBC/FP double-team smear of a hero cop Some of the shoddiest journalism in recent times appeared this long August weekend when the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press doubled teamed on a blatant smear of a veteran city police officer. In the latest example of narrative journalism these media outlets spun stories with total disregard for facts that contradicted the central message of the reports which, simplified, is: police are bad and the system is covering up. Let's start with the story on the taxpayer funded CBC by Sarah Petz that can be summed up in the lead. "A February incident where an off-duty Winnipeg officer allegedly knocked a suspect unconscious wasn't reported to the province's police watchdog, and one criminologist says it shows how flawed oversight of law enforcement can be." There you have it. A policeman, not

Winnipeg needs a new police chief - ASAP

When did the magic die? A week ago the Winnipeg police department delivered the bad news---crime in the city is out of control. The picture painted by the numbers (for 2018) was appalling. Robberies up ten percent in  a single year.  (And that was the good news.) Property crimes were up almost 20 percent.  Total crime was 33 percent higher than the five year average. The measure of violent crime in Winnipeg had soared to a rating of 161.  Only four years earlier it stood at 116. That's a 38 percent deterioration in safety. How did it happen? How, when in 2015 the police and Winnipeg's police board announced they had discovered the magic solution to crime? "Smart Policing" they called it.    A team of crime analysts would pore through data to spot crime hot-spots and as soon as they identified a trend (car thefts, muggings, liquor store robberies) they could call in police resources to descend on the problem and nip it. The police