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:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In the red corner, the Challenger with the unpronounceable name

Is this the best they can do?

A burned-out NDP retread is the champion of the Left in Winnipeg's mayoral contest?

They've had four years to beat the bushes to find a candidate who could stand up to Sam Katz and still they had to reach way, way, way down to the bottom of the barrel to find anyone to pick up the gauntlet.

Step up Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

After 13 years in Parliament, during which she never climbed higher than the bottom rung of the No. 4 party in the House, Judy Alphabet thinks mediocrity is her key to the Big Job in Winnipeg.

That plus being a lifelong party hack who's never had a real job in her life. Some credentials, there, Judy.

Goodness knows, Katz is vulnerable to a real candidate for mayor. In the last election he was still a relative unknown, the non-politician who had to pick up the pieces of the rubble after the ego-driven Glen Murray dumped his "vision" for the city for a run at a federal seat more suitable for his swollen head. Katz's opponents were a homosexual activist and a man-bashing socialist wo-myn, who got a good drubbing at the polls.

Four years later, people know what they're getting in Sam Katz. He's not a leader; he's a product of the Winnipeg establishment; he gets things done---in the backrooms, in secret, as quietly as possible. He can't understand why nobody's happy when he stands up and announces his latest successful negotiation. Instead of applause, he's met with brickbats for failing to keep councillors and taxpayers appraised of what he was doing.

He balances the budget by including millions from a lawsuit the city may not win. He keeps property taxes fixed while lamenting an out-of-sight infrastructure "deficit" that's mostly a hodge podge of his pet projects which have never been approved by the voters. He claims there's no money to fix backlanes or remove graffiti, but shrugs at tens of millions of cost overruns on city projects with a 'Whatareyougonnado?' attitude.

On the other hand, there's Judy W-L, the NDP hack.

Why is she running? She told CTV's Tom Clark on his Newsnet show Power Play. She's sick of running in place, of fighting the same battles over and over again in Parliament, she said. In short, burn out.

What she failed to mention is that for most of her term in office, she's actively worked in Parliament against the best interests of Winnipeg.

The NDP in Manitoba is trying its best to deflect blame for the soft-on-crime probation scandal by hiding behind the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act, whose soft-on-youth-crime provisions have fuelled the auto-theft epidemic in Winnipeg.

What they fail to say is that the Act was passed with the full support of the federal NDP, including Judy Wasylycia-Leis.
In fact, federal NDP justice critic Joe Comartin publicly bragged after the Act's passage that the NDP was proud to have kept the principles of deterrence and denunciation out of the sentencing provisions of the YCJA.

When he spoke, Comartin represented the NDP caucus in Ottawa, which included Judy.

NDP premier-of-the-day Gary Doer led a delegation to Ottawa in 2007 (with Opposition leader Hugh McFadyen and Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz as his handmaidens) to ask for changes to the law to toughen sanctions against young offenders.

Wasylycia-Leis did not join the delegation here or in Ottawa. She did not add her voice to the pleas of Winnipegers for help in fighting car thieves with no respect for the law. She did not stand and be counted when it mattered for the city of Winnipeg and its citizens.

She stood silent, preferring to be a team-player with the federal NDP that opposed then, and opposes now, any substantive changes to the youth justice act that would let judges apply deterrence and denunciation to their sentencing guidelines.

Her allegiance lay with her political party and its ideology, not with the people of Winnipeg who were suffering under the crimewave. Now she wants to spread that Party ideology into City Hall.

How about this? Almost exactly three years ago---April 30, 2007---The Black Rod praised Judy Wasylysia-Leis for her concern about senseless violent crime in Winnipeg. She was one of the extremely few, if not the only, politicians to attend the funeral of a man who was beaten to death by a group of men as he got off a bus at Selkirk and Powers heading home after work.

"This week we saw one politician try to bridge the chasm between politicians and people in Winnipeg. At the funeral of Erin Pawlowski, New Democrat MP Judy Wacylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North) offered her condolences to Pawlowski's family.
"I don't go to every funeral that comes along, but this one grabbed me -- disturbed me. And I just had to show the family that the community is there for them. Lots of people are outraged by this. And lots of people are going to take a message from Erin's death and try to do something to change our society," she told the Winnipeg Sun.
You might cynically say she's trying to get a jump on the issue of crime ahead of a federal election, but at least Judy had the shame to show her face. Sam Katz has yet to show his on Selkirk Avenue, or Magnus."
Well, guess what? It looks like we were right the first time, it was just a cynical ploy to win an election. Judy W-L never again showed anything resembling leadership on crime in Winnipeg. She sends out a newsletter to her constituents which is primarily an exercise in how many stamp-sized pictures of Judy Wasylycia-Leis they can pack into a dozen pages. Between the pictures she writes about her latest battles to save this or fight that--- and fighting crime never gets a mention.

Hey, Judy, if you knew anything about Winnipeg you would know we're the murder capital of Canada, the gang capital, the robbery capital, and, now, the stabbing capital. We're No. 1 in a lot of things we don't want to be.

And get this. She told Power Play that crime prevention was one of her planks (Stop laughing). That and the environment and opportunities for young people.

That demonstrates how out of touch she is with Winnipeg. She thinks the big issue in the city is the environment? Global Warming? Recycling?

Hey, Judy. People in your own riding are worried about having the garbage picked up often enough to prevent fire-setting, not about bike paths and composting.

You would know that if you bothered to spend any time in Winnipeg instead of mixing with your fellow lefties in Ottawa.

You want to run for Mayor? Step one: read The Black Rod

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