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, September 24, 2008

Manitoba reporters miss biggest Federal election news - cause it comes from the Legislature

Memo to future historians and chroniclers of elections: Yes. News coverage in Manitoba of the federal election of 2008 is the worst in history.

There oughta be a contest to find the words that best describe how pathetic the reporting has been to date.

The absolute nadir, so far (and we have to qualify this because the election campaign is only half over), came early this week.

In the Manitoba Legislature (note to readers: that's the place Manitoba politicians meet daily but which local reporters have abandoned to concentrate on not providing information about the federal election), the Opposition Justice critic Kelvin Goertzen (PC-Steinbach) revealed some absolutely jaw-dropping information. But then, the NDP government's response was even more stunning.


It was, simply, the biggest election news locally in the campaign so far.

And it will probably comes as news to you. Because NONE of the mainstream media reporters covering the federal election recognized the importance of what was said.

The Opposition looked back two years to 2006 to gauge the impact of the NDP's touted anti-crime initiatives. Here's the Page One news you DIDN'T read:

According to the Manitoba Department of Justice, of the criminal youths convicted between April and June 2006....

* 100 percent of those who went to jail committed new crimes within 2 years;

* 90 percent of those sentenced to "open custody" (the cutesy term that means they live in groups homes or other residential facilities while they're supposed to go to school (ha ha ha) and receive treatment) committed new crimes within 2 years; and

* 80 percent of those sentenced to probation (as in the term you read daily-- "charged with breach of probation") committed new crimes within 2 years.

Goertzen asked:
Mr. Speaker, between April and June of 2006, every young person who was released from prison had re-offended within two years. This is a justice system that isn't working. Every young person. You could do absolutely nothing and have the same results, and that's what this government is doing - nothing. Doesn't he just admit it, that every program they put in place is a failure?

Justice Minister Dave "Six Months" Chomiak had three answers. The first two don't count:

#1. You only found out because we changed the freedom of information laws.
#2. Our jails are full. Do you want to let some criminals out?

It was #3 that made our heads spin.

Mr. Chomiak: "One of the reasons that those people are in prison and one of the reasons that the rate of auto theft is down 50 percent, Mr. Speaker, is because we're putting those children back in prison, and if members would support us in our revision to the Young Offenders Act, we could get them in there on the first offence and keep them off the street."

We had barely recovered our equilibrium, when he said this:

Mr. Chomiak: Mr. Speaker, under the federal legislation, under the federal Young Offenders Act, you can't keep people in jail in most cases longer than two years. So, when the member supports our change to Ottawa to make sentences longer, we'll be happy.

(Okay, Hansard doesn't make sense. We're guessing he said "our challenge to Ottawa.")

We couldn't believe our ears, so we waited until the next day so we could read it right there in black and writing, as the immortal city councillor Slaw Rebchuk used to say.

- The NDP in Manitoba has declared crime is down because they're "putting those children back in prison".

- And they could do a better job if the Young Offenders Act was changed so young criminals could be sent to jail for their first offence.

- And, pass the smelling salts, the NDP wants Ottawa to "make sentences longer."

Then....even more.

On Tuesday, buried deep, deep in the column of Winnipeg Sun writer Tom Brodbeck was this:

"Manitoba's NDP Justice Minister Dave Chomiak said he supports the federal Tory plan, especially the proposal to put deterrence and denunciation into youth laws as sentencing principles.
"We agree with that," he said. "We have recommended that for some time."
Chomiak said he even disagrees with his federal NDP cousins -- who are opposed to making deterrence a sentencing principle in the YCJA -- on the issue."

Get that?

THE ONLY ELECTED NDP GOVERNMENT IN CANADA is 100 percent AGAINST Jack Layton's justice platform. The federal NDP is still campaigning AGAINST putting deterrence and denunciation in the laws on youth crime.

More than one year ago, The Black Rod reported how NDP justice critic was bragging how he kept deterrence out of the Youth Justice Act.

Dying on the NDP's altar of political correctness, Friday, July 27, 2007 http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2007/07/dying-on-ndps-altar-of-political.html
He's campaigning even today on keeping deterrence out of the Youth Justice Act.

The only NDP government in the country that has had actual experience dealing with uncontrolled street gangs, an epidemic of car theft, an unparallelled number of youth involved in murders and attempted murders -- says the federal Conservatives have it right when it comes to crime.

Folks: That's called NEWS.
Front page news.
Above-the-fold news.
Banner news.

Let's see...The Winnipeg election reporters have covered the Puffin-pooping-on-Dion internet animation, which affected...ummm....let's count...uh....NOBODY.

And let's not forget polls. Lots of polls.

And, of course, the average voter's lament that our politicians lack glamour.

How has the Winnipeg Free Press, CBC, CJOB, CTV, Global, and even The Winnipeg Sun reported on the open break between the Manitoba NDP and Jack Layton's NDP?

THEY HAVEN'T.

Remember the Gary Doer dog-and-pony show to Ottawa last September? When he lead a delegation to demand stronger laws against car thieves, an end to house arrest, and whatever else. When nobody from the delegation bothered to confront Jack Layton or Stephane Dion about their obstructionist tactics they were using to weaken the laws proposed by the government? When not a single local or national reporter (hello Mia Rabson) confronted the Opposition leaders with Manitoba's stand on youth crime laws?

The election call was their chance.

Jack Layton has been in Winnipeg. The number of questions he's been asked about the split with the Manitoba NDP? Zero.

Stephane Dion has been in town, including Wednesday's surprise visit when he actually discussed Stephen Harper's proposals to toughen the laws (he's against them, surprise, surprise). The number of questions put to Dion about the Manitoba NDP's demand for tougher laws? Zero.

What about local coverage?

Has a single reporter questioned Judy Wasylycia-Leis about the split? About how she can run on the federal platform against the wishes of her Manitoba constituency?

What about Pat Martin? They chase him whenever he burps about killing the penny and relocating Winnipeg's railyards, but he's invisible when it comes to answering how he can support Jack Layton's position on gangs, car theft, and sentencing.

Why?

Why are the local media refusing to cover the real news? Incompetence? Or protecting favoured candidates?

And speaking of unreported stories---what about that coverup of the 911 bombings of the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

Now that's an unreported story -- according to a well-known Liberal candidate.

Lesley Hughes, step right up.
Yes. Former CBC radio host Lesley Hughes.
Now running against Conservative Joy Smith in Kildonan-St.Paul.
She's a 9-11 Truther.

She was upfront about her views in a 2002 column headlined Get The Truth. You know, the one where she wrote how the Jews with offices in the World Trade Towers got advance warning of the terrorists attacks. Yeah, that one.

Here's just a sample of her truther writings from that column which you can find posted here

http://members.shaw.ca/mclachla/page3.htm


"Truth may have been the casualty of war in former ages, but this war is different. While major media busy themselves waving flags, a global network of independent journalists, who have no interests to protect, no secrets to hide, are tracking and documenting its development on a daily basis.

Among the best: the Web site The Emperor's New Clothes (www.tenc.net) and Mike Ruppert, editor and publisher of From the Wilderness newsletter out of California (www.copvcia.com).

Using and sharing only published and sourced news stories from world media, and official documents of various governments either leaked or available under freedom of information acts, these journalists have assembled a disturbing picture, which suggests CIA foreknowledge and complicity of highly placed officials in the U.S. government around the attacks on the World Trade Center Sept. 11.

Many official sources are claiming to have warned the American intelligence community, which spends $30 billion a year gathering information, about the attacks on the twin towers on that heartbreaking day.

German Intelligence (BND) claims to have warned the U.S. last June, the Israeli Mossad and Russian Intelligence in August. Israeli businesses, which had offices in the Towers, vacated the premises a week before the attacks, breaking their lease to do it. About 3000 Americans working there were not so lucky."

Another bold candidate representing the Liberal Party of Canada.

Another one for the election historians.

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