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 since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

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:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bill Blaikie must be so proud.

We don't know who's more insulting, politician Andrew Swan or reporters Mike McIntyre and Gabrielle Giroday.

But its clear that this trio is guilty of grossly misleading the public.

The team of McIntrye and Giroday should have been collecting accolades for their revelation that the teenager charged with killing a motorist by smashing into him with a stolen Hummer was a car thief previously convicted of involvement in another car crash where a taxi driver was killed.

Instead, by simply regurgitating the political lies of Justice Minister Andrew Swan, they negated their good work and deserve to share the disgrace.

Their Wednesday story concluded with the obligatory search for a solution:

"Attorney General Andrew Swan said provincial governments have been pushing Ottawa for changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act that would allow judges to take deterrence into account when sentencing young offenders."

"That hasn't happened yet. We hope to continue raising our voices," he said."

As any professed "professional" reporter in Manitoba should know by now, that's pure political spin by a government with blood on its hands -- the blood of ten innocent people killed by car thieves on its watch.

Andrew Swan must be itching for a free trip to Ottawa, obviously a perk of the job since his predecessors Gord Mcintosh and carpet-chewing Dave Chomiak both got to go.

But Swan doesn't need a jaunt to Ottawa to lobby the government. The Conservatives would change the law in a heartbeat.

They've tried, and been prevented by the Opposition, especially the NDP.

As we've reported in The Black Rod for years, federal NDP justice critic Joe Comartin openly, proudly bragged after the law was passed that the NDP was responsible for keeping deterrence and denunciation out of the Youth Justice Act. Sitting at his side in Parliament was none other than one of Andrew Swan's cabinet colleagues, Bill Blaikie, who shared in the pride of restricting the penalties against the car thieves killing and maiming people in Manitoba.

Has the federal NDP changed its tune? Not a whit.

Here's how the CBC reported the NDP position on changes to the act.

Tories to amend Youth Criminal Justice Act
Last Updated: Monday, November 19, 2007
7:53 PM ET
CBC News
The federal Conservatives want to tackle young offenders by amending the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Monday the proposed changes to the act that were tabled in the House of Commons the same day would allow judges to impose punishments aimed at "deterring and denouncing the young person's actions."
The proposed law would toughen sentences for young people to provide "meaningful consequences" for committing violent acts, Nicholson said.
"By tabling this bill today, we are working to hold young lawbreakers accountable to their victims and their community, and instil within them a sense of responsibility for their criminal behaviour," he said, at a news conference in Ottawa.
Another proposed change would give judges more power to detain young people considered a danger to the public.
The proposed changes to the act's pretrial detention provision would make it easier to keep young people in custody before trial if the youth poses a risk to public safety.
MP Joe Comartin, the NDP's justice critic, told the CBC's Politics, a nightly political interview show based in Ottawa, that he was skeptical of the proposed changes.
"Denunciation doesn't work," he said. "We know that from any number of studies done around the globe."

Deterrence is not a principle that's viable either, he said, adding that if the Tories really wanted to do something, they'd be looking at prevention, putting more police officers on the streets and more programs in place.

Why didn't McIntyre and Giroday report this news? Why give Swan a free pass to spread misinformation and lies?

Ignornance or laziness?
Or political bias?
Pick one or more.

It all adds up to the same thing, more proof of the great divide between the mainstream media and the facts which are available to anyone with an internet modem.

As for the pious wails of "What can we do?" from newspaper columnists, politicians, radio commentators (we mean you Richard Cloutier), and others who profess to care, all you need to do is read The Black Rod here

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