Have you no shame, Judy
It had to be the most cringeworthy political appearance in the current civic election.
Mayor Sam Katz and his challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis were asked to attend a candlelight vigil last night for Darren Walsh, the 24-year-old North End resident who was shot to death on a quiet Sunday afternoon while minding his own business waiting for a bus on Main Street just off Euclid.
Both attended, but Judy Alphabet (as she's known in media circles) must have chewed her lips raw at what she heard from Walsh's grief-stricken mother.
“Repeat offenders need to be kept behind bars longer and we need to get hold of the drug problem,” mother Nancy Goulet said.
Balderdash, thought Judy Wasylycia-Leis.
As an NDP Member of Parliament, Judy Alphabet fought against keeping criminals in prison. She fought to release as many as possible on house arrest, so they could stay home and watch television all day, and go out at night to roam with their criminal friends.
The NDP applauded the Youth Criminal Justice Act which replaced endless probation for jail sentences for young offenders. They bragged they kept the principles of deterrence and denunciation out of the Act to reduce the sentencing power of judges. And they are on record as rejecting deterrence as a legitimate principle of sentencing for adult offenders, too.
Having represented the second-most crime ridden section of Winnipeg, the issue most on her mind the year before she quit to run for mayor was banning flavoured cigarette papers.
Even the NDP government knows when to abandon social-worker justice. Faced with an epidemic of violent crime at Manitoba Housing residences, the social housing agency has announced it will be installing another 500 surveillance cameras.
That's crime cameras to identify and prosecute criminals, not social workers to hold their hands and discuss their traumatic family lives.
While the Mayor offered his emotional support to Goulet, Wasylycia-Leis used the vigil as a campaigning opportunity, twisting Goulet's message to promote her own hug-a-thug philosophy. As the Winnipeg Free Press reported:
"Wasylycia-Leis said city officials need to take note of Goulet's message about the importance of giving youth opportunities that will steer them clear of drugs, violence and gangs.
"We've got to find a way to stop the cycle of violence and crime on our streets," she said."
Winnipeg has had 11 years of social-worker justice under the provincial NDP, the people guiding JustJudy's campaign. They started their term in office in 1999 promising to attack the root causes of crime and revisited the well-tilled ground in Throne Speeches for years, always bragging about the non-judicial, anti-gang measures they had added this year to those last year and the year before. How's that worked, by the way?
The man arrested for the murder of Darren Walsh was a proud graduate of the NDP school of justice.
At 24 he would have spent almost all his teenage and early adult years under the NDP.
What did he learn? That there were no consequences under NDP Ministers of Justice for repeat criminal behaviour.
At the time of his arrest, he was banned from owning a gun because of a prior conviction. He's alleged to have ridden a bus, carrying a loaded shotgun, to the Main and Euclid location, then deliberately crossed the street to shoot the unarmed Walsh in broad daylight.
If only there had been a basketball court nearby where he could have checked his illegal gun and worked off his aggressions, eh, Judy.
Not only did JustJudy dishonour Darren Walsh by the hypocrisy of her attendance at the candlelight vigil, but she compounded the slap at decency by turning the event into a campaign stop.
Have you no shame?
Oh, wait. We're talking the NDP candidate for office. That answers that.