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Showing posts from December, 2010

Our unorthodox picks for Newsmaker of the Year

There's just enough time on the last day of the last year of the first decade of the 21st Century for us to name our Newsmaker of the Year.

It seems in hindsight like there were only two stories that dominated the year 2010. A tumultuous mayoral election pitted NDP pawn Judy Wasylycia-Leis against battered, chipped and dented incumbent Sam Katz. And millionaire moocher David Asper played the long con with the city and province in a tawdry proposal to build a new football stadium, allegedly on his dime, but which ended up tens of millions of dollars over budget with the government, paying the whole shot, and Davey walking away with four or more million in his pocket.

While others might nominate a con man or a deceitful politician of one stripe or another, our standards are higher.

When the dust settled, we could see clearly the two who deserved to be named Newsmaker of the Year, 2010---for, yes, it was a tie --- a tie between JHendrix70 and AlexLV. Sure, our choices migh…

Grading Miss Whistle. Plus...Manitoba Hydro Secrets Spilled.

Well look at that. It's the end of December, and you know what that means...
It's TWO YEARS since the Manitoba Hydro Whistleblower made a complaint to the provincial Ombudsman.

Two years and still no resolution.

Resolution? Hell, two years and no nothing.
Ombudsman Irene Hamilton has managed to botch the first complaint under the NDP's much vaunted Public Interest Disclosure Act so badly it will never be used again.

Now there's a legacy.
First Hamilton tried to pawn the complaint off to the Auditor General, who, oops, turned out to be a former member of the Manitoba Hydro board of directors, and who announced defiantly she was under no obligation in law to investigate anything.

When she eventually acknowledged that the perception of conflict of interest would render moot anything she did with Hydro, the complaint was returned to the Ombudsman's Office.
Hamilton then decided to wait to see the results of a report commissioned by the Public Utilities Board int…

Sam Katz: Busted. And, who is the new Civic Weasel No. 1?

It took a City Hall insider to spot Phase Two of the Selinger & Katz Stadium Scam.
Remember when they said Winnipeg was going to reap millions from the sale of the land where the old stadium sits? Well, forget it.
Brian Kelcey, former budget advisor to Mayor Sam Katz, was disgusted to the core at Katz's contemptuous disregard for the public in ramming a deal for a new stadium through city council.

And that was before he noticed the newest twist in the con job.
http://www.stateofthecity.ca/front-page/2010/12/17/its-not-over-until-the-fat-stadium-sings.html
"... in what amounts to an invitation for delay, lowball pricing or worse, the City has chosen to use an Expression of Interest process (EOI) instead of a straight auction for the land or portions thereof,"wrote Kelcey.
"... note that using an Expression of Interest allows City Hall to use maximum flexibility in who it chooses to sell the land to, because the "express your interest" step allow…

Some victims are more equal than others: the Animal Farm ethics of the CMHR

You've got to hand it to the Winnipeg Free Press for exposing the Animal Farm ethics of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights --- some victims are just more equal than others.
The FP was actually coming to the defence of Gail Asper and her cronies who were being accused by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress for, of all things, playing favorites. Asper and her pals on the museum's advisory board have decided that the publicly-funded museum will have only two "permanent" exhibits---one for the Jewish Holocaust and the other under the grab-bag "Aboriginals". All others, like Stalin's campaign to starve Ukrainian peasants out of existence, will be relegated to "virtual" exhibit status, whatever that nebulous term means.
"The museum is not saying that individual Jews suffered more than Ukrainians, but it is saying that some crimes are more revealing and consequential than others." declared the Free Press editorial writer, confirmin…

Selinger and Katz. What are they hiding?

Unelected Premier Greg Selinger and promise-breaking Mayor Sam Katz have gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent legitimate scrutiny of their backroom deal for a new stadium.
Their efforts go far beyond the sleazy actions of sleazy politicians, and raise intimations of criminal acts by criminal politicians.
Selinger and Katz have known for more than two months that a new stadium will cost at least $190 million.
They had to have known. We knew.

We wrote about it in a story cleverly headlined:
Saturday, October 09, 2010
The tenders are in. Is the bill for new stadium $190 million?

Does a blog know more than the Premier and the Mayor?
Selinger and Katz knew in October at the latest that the stadium would cost way more than the $115 million they told the public it would. But for the next two months they pretended to be surprised as the cost estimates climbed, and climbed, and climbed.
Katz went through an entire election campaign feigning ignorance about the true cost of the stadium.…

Selinger and Katz, the bank of Asper scams

It's getting harder and harder to run a good scam in Winnipeg.
Just ask David Asper who's been drop kicked out of the hinky deal he screwed together to build a new stadium for the city.

One minute he was the city's darling and the next he's the goat. And why? Just because he low- low- lowballed the cost of a stadium to con the public--- and to throw his construction company some business.

So who hasn't done that in his life?
David can't figure out what went wrong since his sister Gail has been running the same scam successfully for years as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. But even she's sensing that the public is catching on to the game.
Last week the Ukrainian Canadian Congress declared the Aspers and their friends need to be pried out of positions of power at the CMHR.
http://www.ucc.ca/2010/12/11/canadian-museum-for-human-rights-%E2%80%93-a-call-for-inclusiveness-equity-and-fairness/
"The UCC has consistently maintained that the governin…

Selinger's Stadium Snake Oil--makes a perfect Xmas gift

Hallelujah!
Just in time for Christmas --- a new batch of snake oil arrives in town.
Unelected Premier Greg Selinger, the slimiest politician in the province, waited until the Legislature rose for the winter before leaking details of the latest, oiliest, New Stadium Deal yet.

He doesn't think anyone will find it suspicious that he kept the deal hidden until the very day he can't be questioned about it on camera.

Or that he won't give city councillors a look at it until, maybe, the day before their last meeting of the year, next week, when Selinger wants them to rubber stamp it with the help of his, ahem, "partner", just-reelected Mayor Sam Katz.
Nope, nothing suspicious about that.
Why, only a hardened cynic would compare that tactic to David Asper's hiding the cost of the new stadium until the civic election was over and his candidate for mayor, NDP-backed Judy Wasylycia-Leis, got trounced. "Still working on it", he'd say every day …

Tax cutting NDP sends MSM reporters into a blind spin

Winnipeg's news outlets collectively deserve a fat raspberry for their fawning coverage of the NDP's announcement of the elimination of Manitoba's small business tax.
They were spun like tops and, to this day. don't know it.
In a nutshell:
* The NDP announced they were reducing the tax on companies that make $400,000 in profits or less to zero.

* They held a news conference in an Osborne Village cupcake shop whose owner, Derrick Godfrey, said he would save $10,000.
* “This move is about supporting entrepreneurship. It allows small businesses to keep more of their profits and reinvest in their companies, their employees and their communities," said Catherine Swift, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses.
Let's see -- the hard-Left government of unelected Premier Greg Selinger cuts taxes, gives a whack of cash back to a businessman, and is embraced with hugs and kisses by the small business lobby.

What could be wrong with that?
Gl…

Tiny clues help reconstruct the secret discussions on a new stadium

Sproing!!!!
No matter how tightly they try to keep the secrets, details keep spilling out.
The "partners", including unelected Premier Greg Selinger and promise-breaking Mayor Sam Katz, refuse to tell the public anything about the discussions going on in secret regarding the debacle of the failed plan to build a new stadium for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team.
You know, the project they started last May based on phony construction numbers provided by David Asper, chairman of the company given an untendered contract to build the stadium.
Nevertheless, tiny but revealing breaches in the wall of silence have appeared this week. Together, they provide hints at what's going on in those secret meetings.
1. The Elms is dead.
David Asper's fantasy---a high-end shopping mall on the site of the existing football stadium---is kaput.
www.theelms.ca
" UNDER WINNIPEG'S CANOPY OF ELMS, you'll discover an upscale shopping destination that will take the prair…