Judy Wasylycia-Leis's first step into civic politics demonstrated that she was either woefully ignorant or an easy dupe. Either way, she showed she's not mayoral timber.
Judy Alphabet (as she's called in news circles) thought she could score some points by criticizing the approval by city council of a contract with the French company Veolia for the design, construction and operation of the South and North End sewage treatment plants.
She must of thought it was a safe position to take, given that the process taken by Veolia proponents (a rushed vote and few details of the contract including who's responsible for cost overruns and how profit is split) was attacked by the Left (the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) and the Right (the Canadian Taxpayers Federation).
What she didn't realize is how she was being played for a sucker by the real opponents of Veolia, and why.
Judy Wasylycia-Leis may be the NDP's stalking horse in the coming mayoral election, but she's been on the outs with the Far Left wing of the party because of her staunch support for Israel in matters of foreign policy.
What she obviously didn't know is that the campaign against Veolia had nothing to do with process and everything to do with the anti-Israel stance of the Far Left -- including the Communist Party, whose leader Darrel Rankin spoke against Veolia at city hall, and city union CUPE, whose Toronto branch has been in the forefront of the Israeli Apartheid propaganda campaign.
Veolia is Corporate Enemy #1 to Israel haters who have launched a global Derail Veolia Campaign.
The reason---Veolia Transport, a subsidiary of Veolia Environnement, is a leading partner in the CityPass consortium, contracted to build a light rail tramway system linking Israeli-held West Jerusalem with Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The campaign has tried to cripple Veolia's business in France and Ireland, and now Canada.
How the Far Left must have laughed up their sleeves to see their arch-enemy Judy W-L parrot their attack on Veolia without any understanding of the true reason for the opposition to the water treatment contract.
There's even a term for Judy Wasylycia-Leis's performance. Here's the Wikipedia definition:
In political jargon, the term useful idiot was used to describe Soviet sympathizers in Western countries and the attitude of the Soviet government towards them. The implication was that though the person in question naïvely thought themselves an ally of the Soviets or other Communists, they were actually held in contempt by them, and were being cynically used.
The term is now used more broadly to describe someone who is perceived to be manipulated by a political movement, terrorist group, hostile government, or business, whether or not the group is Communist in nature.
In the United States, the term is used as a pejorative to describe a naive person manipulated to produce propaganda for a malign cause.
Did someone say "light rail"?
Did someone say "light rail"?
Last month city council voted to spend $100,000 on yet another study of the costs of light rail transit. Mayor Sam Katz said he had learned recently that the cost of LRT has dropped significantly and is now competitive with bus rapid transit. Before proceeding with phase two of the BRT from downtown to the University of Manitoba, Katz wants to peg the cost of competing transportation systems, given that LRT is his preferred choice if the price is right.
Gee, do you think the fact that Veolia is in the light rail transit business had anything to do with the, ahem, new information Katz got about price?
Were David Asper's ears burning last weekend?
Asper had a booth at The International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas, 2010 RECon, this past weekend to sell his project The Elms, which he hopes will finance his purchase of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The keynote speaker at the convention was none other than Sarah Palin. She gave a pretty standard stump speech, applauding the role of shopping centres in the life of a city and attacking big government for picking winners and losers in the private sector. (Ouch, that hurt, said David.)
"Right now, so many politicians are addicted to opium, that's spelled O-P-M, which stands for 'Other People's Money.' And with that addiction comes the thinking that the money will always be there, and that you can always take it from somewhere or someone else, and not actually have to produce before you receive." said Palin, pegging Asper's partners in the new stadium deal, the NDP, to a T.