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 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, September 08, 2011

'the world's worst campaign' vs 'the world's worst campaigner.'

The election has been called. The battle lines are drawn.

It's 'the world's worst campaign' vs 'the world's worst campaigner.'

Heaven help us.

The Manitoba NDP under unelected Premier Greg Selinger is running a Seinfeld campaign--- it's about nothing.

Selinger revealed the five priorities of the NDP campaign on Tuesday:

improving health care,
expanding jobs, education and training opportunities,
keeping living costs affordable,
making communities safer, and
maintaining Manitoba Hydro as a publicly owned entity.

This in direct contrast with the campaign being run by the Progressive Conservative Party under leader Hugh McFadyen, which promises
improved health care;
more jobs, education and training;
keeping the cost of living low;
making communities safer; and
keeping Manitoba Hydro a public utility.

Of course the NDP can't run on their record. They're running from their record.

What would they campaign on? Eliminating hallway medicine? Reducing the number of doctors in each emergency ward (those emergency wards that aren't closed half the year) to one, resulting in waits of five, six, or seven hours for "emergency" patients? The number of people who died waiting for care in emergency wards? Brian Sinclair and how the NDP delayed the inquest into his preventable death until after the election? The perpetual nursing shortage?

Or maybe the ten people who were killed by car thieves because the NDP refused to act to stop the epidemic of auto theft because of the racial background of the thieves. Or their great success with a "holistic" approach to gangs, which, after 10 years, has Manitoba under siege by more gangs and more violent gangs than ever before?

Or their record on reducing poverty. Aren't we the child poverty capital of Canada, again? Aren't more people using food banks than ever before? Don't forget their five-year pilot project to attack the root causes of poverty in Centennial neighbourhood, which involved getting people out of poverty by getting them deeper into debt for energy efficient furnaces. (We're not making this up.)

No, the record is out. So the NDP have honed in on the P.C.'s weakest link---Hugh McFadyen. Their campaign consists of hate ads attacking McFadyen relentlessly, in- between attacking former Premier Gary Filmon who hasn't been a factor in Manitoba politics for 12 years.

The Tories, meanwhile, have had four years to anticipate the NDP attacks and strategize on how to counter them. It seems that four years wasn't enough for the P.C. election team, because they have -- nothing.


Who's the P.C. brain trust? Goofy and Pluto?

Probably the same people who picked Hugh McFadyen as leader, the man who runs from every fight he's ever faced.

McFadyen is possibly the only person in the country who could make the NDP the fiscally conservative party in the election, who could promise to OUTSPEND the NDP, who could run a campaign pledging to put the province DEEPER INTO DEBT than the NDP.

Pure genius.

McFadyen could have defused the NDP lies about his non-existent plan to sell Manitoba Hydro months ago by pointing out that the NDP has ALREADY begun to privatize Hydro assets by selling off part-ownership of every new dam it builds.

But, no. Not a word from Hughie, except for the daily denial. He won't even let other people defend him.

The NDP has spent the summer accusing McFadyen of being complicit in the firing of 1000 nurses during the Filmon administration. Winnipeg Sun columnist Tom Brodbeck destroyed this argument 10 months ago in a blog post headlined NDP misfires on attack ads.

Brodbeck did the heavy lifting and all McFadyen had to do was distribute that blog post to voters. He didn't, he hasn't, and we'll put money that he won't.

Hey Hugh, ask the Blue Bombers -- YOU DON'T WIN PLAYING DEFENCE.

And it gets worse for the bumbling Tories, if that's possible.

During his latest hate-Hugh session, Wednesday, Selinger accused the Tory leader of "wanting to raise the rates Manitobans pay for electricity to market rates" (if the Winnipeg Free Press paraphrased him correctly.)

Did not. Did not, whined McFadyen.

Except that a Google search popped up another answer in 0.08 seconds.

Manitoba Hydro rates: McFadyen gets it | PolicyFrog
You +1'd this publicly. UndoJan 29, 2008 – Credit to Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen, who said on CJOB this morning his party is open to the idea of moving to market rates for hydro power in Manitoba, ... 2 Comments on “Manitoba Hydro rates: McFadyen gets it” ...

Manitoba Hydro rates: McFadyen gets it
Credit to Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen, who said on CJOB this morning his party is open to the idea of moving to market rates for hydro power in Manitoba, provided the increases were matched by reductions to personal and corporate taxes.

McFadyen drew the comparison to Alberta, where oil and gas is sold at market rates and the provincial government uses royalties to keep taxes low.

Hear! Hear!

Unfortunately, CJOB's audio vault only goes back 3 weeks so we can't give you the exact quote.

In the meantime, between denial and defence, McFadyen's pathetic election campaign staggers on. Instead of the bold vision (If we can dream it, we can do it) he campaigned on in 2007, he's rolling out a barrage of penny promises each day.

On crime? Why a promise to breed police dog puppies. Who doesn't like puppies?

The murder rate at new highs? Promise ankle bracelets for sex offenders. Sex offenders. Boo.

Gangs out of control? Promise to fund 30 police officers (who are already working and getting paid.) And hire 15 more for a "special firearms enforcement unit". Nothing like watching a politician, who used to be lawyer (ptui), micro-manage the police department to give you confidence.

Money tight? McFadyen will pay you $100 a child per month until they reach 12. And he'll pay off a portion of your home repairs with a home-reno tax credit.

Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente had a name for that kind of campaigning in her piece today about the Liberals in Ontario -- micropandering.

Micropandering from a candidate whose first instinct is always to run from a fight, who is unable to defend himself from the attacks of his opponents, who gives his opponents the ammo to fire at him and his colleagues, and who makes his opponents look good by comparison.

This may be the shortest campaign period permissible, but it's going to be a long, long election.

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