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.

Name:
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: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The drive-by smear against Shelly Glover

As a police officer, Shelly Glover is no stranger to drive-by shootings in Winnipeg, the murder capital of Canada.

But this week, as a politician, she found herself the victim of a drive-by smear, aided and abetted by the local press.

The scene of the crime was Global News, which carried a short, throwaway interview with Glover about the Conservatives' chances of winning Liberal seats in Manitoba.

Taking one line of her answer out of context, "professional" reporters in the city managed to manufacture a controversy based on the false premise that Glover attacked Liberal Anita Neville for being too old to be in Parliament.

For the record, here's the entire question and answer with Shelly Glover so you can see for yourself exactly what was said about Neville.

Nelly Gonzalez: We know that most, uh, Manitobans here are, uh, usually vote Conservative. What do you think...in many of the ridings....but , I mean, there's a couple that could be up for grabs and we know that Anita Neville is...is...we know there's a mystery candidate that hasn't been announced yet, if it's going to be Joyce Bateman or other names.

Shelly Glover: Sure.

Nelly Gonzalez: What do you know about that and what do you think the chances are for the party to, uh, regain that seat, Winnipeg Centre...North.

Shelly Glover: "Well, Anita Neville is in trouble. I've only been in Parliament for two-and-a-half years, Nellie, and I'll tell ya, there are a lot of shenanigans going on in Parliament. We need some... some fresh blood. We need some new people who come with new ideas and who are wlling to stand up for their constituents."

" I"m afraid Miss Neville has passed her expiry date. Her constitutents are constantly coming to my office because they can't receive service in French... because they can't receive phone calls back... I think Miss Neville is, uh, is, uh, going to, uh, be defeated."

"I do know who the candidate is, but the person is not the candidate of record yet. Let's see how that plays itself out."

"As I say, I think our philosophy is very different. We stand by what we say. We don't flip flop. When we say we're going to do something we actually do it. The record of Anita Neville's party, the Liberal party, is not a record similar to ours. We have a number of issues of the past to address because they said one thing and did another. Things like the gun registry. It's a big issue." (She then talks a bit about support for changing the gun registry.)

" I think Anita Neville's done. I think Ray Simard is going to try his best. But I think the constituents are definitely going to stick with me."

The "professional" journalists in town --- you know, the highly trained professionals we're supposed to trust to get it right because of their expertise --- reduced her answer to one phrase, "passed her expiry date", and concluded it was an attack on Neville's advanced age.

You can see for yourself how wrong that was.

Glover said Neville as no longer serving her constituents adequately and needed to be replaced.

Not one of the news outlets bothered to put the comment in context. Even Global, which linked to the original interview, failed to rebroadcast Glover's whole answer while fanning the bogus controversy.

Winnipeg Free Press columnist Dan Lett failed to even listen to the Glover interview, or else he simply ignored it to promote the Liberal Party agenda. He wrote a column reading Glover's mind and commenting on what he imagined she meant when he could have listened to what she said and known what she meant.

This is what passes for "journalism" in Winnipeg.

But before leaving, let's take a brief look at the issue raised by the MSM, however falsely---Anita Neville's age.

- She's 68 years old. CBC refused to say how old she was, playing it coy by calling her sixty-something. (At 44, Glover is 24 years younger.)

Neville will be 69 in July. She was born during World War Two.

- She's been collecting an old-age pension for almost 5 years.

- If re-elected she will be among the ten oldest MPs in Parliament.

Even Lett said she's "somewhat mobility challenged". In other words, she has a hard time walking.

If her age was a legitimate issue, don't you think these facts should have been reported by the "professional" journalists?

They weren't.

So whose interests were the "professionals" serving when they launched the drive-by smear on Shelly Glover?

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nuke the Ukes: the FP preps the nuclear option to save the Holocaust gallery at the CMHR


Well, so much for the high road.

The Winnipeg Free Press has gone from alluding to Ukrainian-Canadian activists as thugs threatening to knee-cap politicians who won't do their bidding to denouncing them as ignorant and uninformed rabble. Sneering condescension gives way to undisguised insults.

The newspaper was tipped over the edge last week by a national poll that showed a strong majority of Canadians (over 60 percent) opposed plans by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to have only one permanent exhibit --- a Holocaust gallery.

All other genocides throughout history will be relegated to a "mass atrocities" zone.

And that's the way it should be, blustered the Free Press editorial writer, because the Holocaust is ssssspecial.

"Why does the Holocaust get a place in the front seat? Only the uninformed ask questions like that," shouted the voice of the newspaper.

With that, the Winnipeg Free Press started a journey down a very, very dark path.

We'll get to that in a minute.

The CMHR has been on the defensive since late last year when the Ukrainian community launched a campaign to get equal exposure for the victims of Communism, centered on the Holodomor, the state-sponsored famine that killed millions of Ukrainians. To break the back of Ukrainian nationalism, Stalin literally starved millions to death as the world watched and, neither did, or said anything.

"The campaign against a separate place for the Holocaust in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights has always seemed parochial..." sniffed the Winnipeg Free Press dismissively.

The respondents to the Nanos poll were probably ignorant about the facts and their opinions should be ignored, the newspaper said.

And in any event, the way the Jews of Europe were systematically murdered by the Nazis is more important than the way Stalin killed Ukrainians in the grand scheme of things, the FP argued.

"Unlike all other genocides, the Holocaust was global in its reach. The Nazis killed Jews in all the nearly 30 countries they occupied in full or in part during the war. Unlike the Soviets, who wanted to end Ukrainian nationalism and were indifferent to Ukrainians elsewhere, the Nazis wanted to eliminate Jews wherever they could find them."

And yet the Communists managed to kill as many or more in an area barely 1/17th the size of Europe. They turned the entire Ukraine into one big concentration camp where they could conduct their murderous plan without interference. Their plans to spread Communism worldwide never came to fruition and yet they were still responsible for the deaths of tens of millions. What their ultimate plan for Ukrainians around the world will never be known.

"The suffering of individual Jews was no greater than the pain of Ukrainians or others who have been targets of hatred, but the story of how they lost their rights, and how their neighbours -- ordinary people -- turned against them, is a unique cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy and human rights."

Do you want a cautionary tale?

The most influential newspaper in the world, the New York Times was aware of the Holodmor, and failed to report on it.

Leftwing intellectuals like British writer Arthur Koestler knew of it, and were silent in the cause.

To this very day, in Canada, Nazis are reviled, but Communists are treated with respect.

Earlier this month the board of directors of the National Capital Commission demurred when asked to approve a new monument commemorating Victims of Totalitarian Communism.
http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/2009/09/10/10827176.html

“We should make sure we are politically correct concerning this position ... I feel this name should be changed,” said board member Helene Grand-Maitre.

Possibly the greatest genocide in the Twentieth Century went unreported and its perpetrators are being defended to this day.

Why? By Whom? Now, that's a cautionary tale.

And how the CMHR and the Winnipeg Free Press reacted to the challenge to a permanent Holocaust gallery is also a cautionary tale.

The proponents of the museum have publicly professed to welcome debate and multiple points of view on all matters relating to human rights. But the museum isn't even open and already the board of trustees is announcing exceptions.

The position of the Holocaust in the museum is beyond challenge. There will be no discussion, no argument.

Is there anything else, that cannot be discussed?

Former COO Patrick O'Reilly didn't mince words when talking to the Carleton alumni magazine last fall.

http://cualumni.carleton.ca/magazine/fall-2010/whats-the-story/

The article summarized O'Reilly's viewpoint and that of a fellow executive of the museum, both of whom have since mysteriously packed their bags and silently slipped away in the dead of night.

"...museum biases will show. Same-sex equality will be treated as a legitimate human right at the museum, despite the voting record of the chief executive officer and even though many Canadians consider homosexuality an illness, a sin or a moral failing.
“It’s the law,” Victoria Dickenson, PhD/95, the museum’s chief knowledge officer, says of gay rights. "

So gay rights join the primacy of the Holocaust as untouchable issues.

Add aboriginal "rights" and colonialism and suddenly the museum's commitment to full and open discussion of alleged human rights shrinks precipitously.

It fuels the demand by the Ukrainian groups to reorganize the museum's board and its exhibits committee to remove Gail Asper's handpicked team dedicated to reflecting her wishes and political biases.

But that's not going to happen if the Winnipeg Free Press gets its way. They're already prepping their nuclear option to stop the Ukes.

Remember the dark path mentioned above. We couldn't make out the street sign the first pass. It was only in hindsight that it came obvious.

Start with two consecutive questions from the Maclean's interview with Gail Asper, and one oblique answer.

Q: The Ukrainian-Canadian Civil Liberties Association has charged that one horror—the Holocaust—is being “elevated” above all others at the museum. What’s your response?

Q: Do you think that anti-Semitism is playing a part in this?

A: I haven’t come face to face with the group that is saying this, and I wouldn’t want to accuse anyone of anti-Semitism.

What's that mean?

Was she hinting she might change her opinion once she did come "face to face" with that group?

We let that slide....until three days later, up popped this story in the weekend FP, on the Faith page.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/faith/local-institute-to-combat-anti-semitism-118699954.html

"Local Institute to combat anti-semitism" was the headline.

"Catherine Chatterly is a young academic at the University of Manitoba who is devoting her career to a study of what is widely regarded as the oldest hatred."

Fourteen turgid paragraphs later, the story got to the point.

"I think the recent public exchanges in the newspapers about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and its proposed Holocaust gallery clearly illustrate the need for a permanent curriculum in Holocaust history at Canadian Universities," Chatterley says.

"Whether people like it or not, and regardless of their own personal feelings and collective grievances, the Holocaust is a catastrophic transformative event in western history and it is unique because its antecedents are 2000 years old and yet persist today. One cannot say that about the ideologies at work in other genocides."

"Collective grievances." "It is unique." "Ideologies at work in other genocides."

It's not hard to put two and two together.

* Gail Asper doesn't want to accuse the Ukrainians of being anti-Semites, although she hasn't met them face-to-face.

*Only "the uniformed" ask why the Asper human rights museum plans to highlight the Holocaust over all the other genocides in the world.

* An "expert" on anti-semitism says people have to put aside their "collective grievances" and recognize the Holocaust as more important than other genocides.

* Should we conclude that if the uniformed continue to press their case, then it it because they have another agenda, another motivation?

Hmmm. Maybe a non-profit academic institute can help identify that motivation.

It didn't take long to play that card, did it.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, March 25, 2011

Gail Asper hits up Sam Katz for your tax money. Will he say No means No?

Told ya.

No sooner does Mayor Sam Katz raise your property taxes (you say levy, we say lie), than the usual panhandlers come crawling out of their holes.

Did someone say Asper? Oh. We did.

Yep, millionaire moocher Gail Asper has been circling City Hall for weeks, waiting for the trough to be refilled so that she can be first in line---- with Mayor Sam's help.

Katz intends to raise $14 million from a hike in frontage levy, the most regressive property tax possible. He blubbers that the money will be dedicated to street repairs. Except for the fact that the amount the city spends on street repairs won't be going up by $14 million. In fact, it won't be going up at all.

The higher levy will only replace money which will now be spent elsewhere---like the pet projects of millionaires.

Aka the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Gail Asper has her eyes set on at least half of the money you'll be paying for the increase in your frontage levy.

She desperately needs it -- to pay the taxes on the CMHR.


Remember, the CMHR stiffed the city on its tax bill last June--- until they were shamed into paying it by The Black Rod. With tax time just around the corner, they've got no money again.

So Gail has gone running to her new sugar daddies, Sam Katz and Greg Selinger.

She spilled the beans in an interview with Maclean's magazine released Wednesday:

http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/03/23/on-overcoming-indifference-why-it-isn%E2%80%99t-a-museum-of-genocide-and-winnipeg%E2%80%99s-windfall/

Q: There are some concerns about the museum’s ability to pay millions in property tax to Winnipeg each year. Ottawa is providing $21.7 million annually in operating expenses, but said it won’t pay more. Who’ll cover the gap?

A: ...Museum management is in positive discussions with the city and the province for additional funding...

We'll just have to wait to see how positive.

Sam Katz went through weeks of an election campaign pretending ignorance about funding a new football stadium. No sooner was the campaign over than he announced he had made a backroom deal to pay David Asper, Gail's older brother, four million dollars to reward him for his failure to build the stadium privately.

At the same time, to win the election Katz repeatedly said he was against increasing property taxes because it would affect the poorest homeowners the worst. Then, after the election, he mocked the voting public by raising another property levy, a tax which will hit the poorest homeowners even worse.

Watch him pretend he knows nothing about the "positive discussions" to forgive the taxes on a millionaire's pet project while sticking it to the homeowners who have no choice but to pay for her, ahem, "vision."

As for Greg Selinger... the dirtiest politician in Manitoba. He will say and do anything to win an election. So borrowing more money to give to a millionaire is exactly what he will do if he thinks it will help him on the campaign trail.

Deceit has been the central theme of the CMHR project.

They lied to the Senate when they promised that private donors would cover the cost of all construction overruns. (Hey, that's the same lie spun by David Asper when he was soaking us for the stadium.)

They kept saying they were on target with private fundraising for construction until The Black Rod exposed that they were $50 million in the glue.

Here's just the latest whopper from Gail Asper in the Maclean's interview.

"The idea wasn’t that we were going to impose a human rights museum on Canada. The idea was that we were going to listen to what Canadians wanted and work with them to deliver something that everyone could embrace."

Say what?

The public was NEVER asked if they wanted to fund Izzy Asper's $300 million-plus human rights museum. It was sold as a private project with some financing from the public purse. And suddenly, with no discussion, presto change-o, it was a public project with some financing from private donors.

When long-gone NDP Premier Gary Doer doubled the provincial contribution to $40 million, there was no public discussion, no "listening" to the taxpayers. It was inserted in the budget and, poof, the money was in Gail Asper's lap.

Every shred of evidence is that the CMHR was indeed "imposed" on Canada. Nobody knows that better now than the Ukrainian community which was tricked by Izzy Asper into supporting his museum by a bogus promise to treat the killing of Ukrainians by communists (the Holodomor) equally with the killing of Jews by Nazis (the Holocaust).

With the building well under construction, the Ukrainians discovered the design approved by the proponents of Izzy Asper's museum called for a stand-alone gallery to discuss the Holocaust, while the other mass murders of ethnic groups throughout history would be lumped together in something called a Mass Atrocity zone.

The Ukrainians got their hands on tender documents and, to their dismay, learned the extent to which they have been lied to.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress issued a news release Feb. 8, 2011. (You know, the one the Winnipeg Free Press NEVER reported.)

"UCC has obtained tendering documents from the Government of Canada’s MERX system which demonstrate that the Canadian Museum for Human Rights has no intention of including permanent or prominent displays of the Holodomor or of Canada’s First National Internment Operations. They provide further evidence that the Museum’s content is set in stone and that it will proceed on the basis of the discredited Content Advisory Committee Report."

snip

"The tender documents indicate that there will only be a single photo of the Holodomor in its electronic displays. A clarification issued to bidders illustrates that no floor space is being allocated to the Holodomor or to Canada’s First National Internment Operations, in stark comparison to other permanent galleries."

A shocked UCC President Paul Grod said,"They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case, the museum would like Canadians to believe that a single photo adequately represents the suffering of millions of victims and survivors of the Holodomor, some of whom are still living in Canada”.

One picture, eh. Well, it's better than a sign over a box of Kraft dinner and a Ukrainian Easter egg.

But the foundation of the CMHR is beginning to crack (metaphorically speaking.)

Step One: The federal government has appointed a Uke to the board of trustees of the CMHR. (What? You didn't read about this in the Winnipeg Free Press? That's funny.)

New board member Dr. Lindy Ledohowski, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at St. Jerome's University in the University of Waterloo. She's also described as a communications consultant. Dum de dum dum.

Dr. Ledohowski sports a B.A. (Honours) from the University of Manitoba, a B.Ed. in Secondary English and History from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.

As far back as December the UCC had asked the federal government to reconstitute the museum's board of trustees to make it "more reflective of Canadian society.” Now there's somebody who can read the internal documentation with fresh eyes. Could that be a reason for...

Step Two: Two of the four top executives at the CMHR have hightailed it out with scarcely time for a buh-bye.

Victoria Dickenson was the "chief knowledge officer", a fancy name for curator. It's hard to describe her job, since nothing written about her actually spells it out.

The Winnipeg Free Press said she "headed up a team of researchers and exhibit designers who were working on programming for the CMHR." She was big on new media, we gather.

Angela Cassie, director of communications for the CMHR, told the FP that Dickenson left after "laying a museological foundation upon which we can grow and further develop our inaugural exhibits."

You read that right. The "director of communications" said the dear-departed curator "laid a museological foundation."

Can someone define 'communication' to Ms. Cassie.

Still, Dickenson thought it was a good time to leave the "iconic" museum that going to electrify the world to take a job at an art gallery in Kleinberg, Ont. No, we don't know where that is, either.

Dickenson disappeared swiftly and quietly only 3 weeks after the mysterious departure of Chief Operating Officer Patrick O'Reilly. O'Reilly had been a very public face of the CMHR for more than two years. He was a spirited liason between the gay community and the museum.

Representing the Canadian Museum for Human Rights at the inaugural Queer Hall of Fame Awards in Vancouver in 2009 he broke the ice with a riff on gay rights. (emphasis his)

"On that note, let me just say a word about “GAY RIGHTS.” Honestly, I’m not sure what a gay right is. I suppose if I were to joke it might be the right to be FABULOUS. Perhaps it’s the right to be butch, or the right to accessorize?"

He popped up this week on a panel at the University of Manitoba on creating safe workplaces and protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered workers.

As for why he left the CMHR so abruptly? Nada. But does it have anything to do with....

Step Three: March 31 is fiscal year end. The museum has to provide a financial accounting.
How ugly is it going to be, you ask? Well, there's....

Step Four: As we reported earlier this month, the federal government is cutting about $1 million from the museum's budget to trim spending and fight the federal deficit.

Which brings us to...where we started, at the top.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Storm clouds gather over the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

First an earthquake. Then a tsunami.

Japan? No.

We're talking about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the storms it's facing just ahead.

March is shaping up to be a very, very bad month for the CMHR.

Treasury Board President Stockwell Day has said the government intends to chop expenditures by $10.4 billion over the next 12 months to fight the national deficit. Late last week in Ottawa he spelled out chapter and verse where some of the savings will come.

The CMHR is getting a million dollar haircut.

The Toronto Star, which appears to be the only source to report the government's plans in detail, said "Almost every agency funded by Heritage Canada will lose money but the deepest cuts will come at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the National Library and the Office of the Status of Women. Across the board, spending will fall by 4.5 per cent."

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/952155--where-the-tory-axe-will-fall

In its annual report last year the CMHR declared: "In 2011-2012, the Corporation will require $21.7 million to fund its operations." It ain't getting it.

Do you smell another panicky run to unelected Premier Greg Selinger for yet another Asper bailout?"

And that might be the good news this month.

Let's not forget the vicious fight the CMHR is in with the rest of the country's ethnic communities over the priority given to the Holocaust over everyone elses' national tragedies.

On March 25, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress is giving Prime Minister Stephen Harper an award, The Shevchenko Medal, for his contribution to the country's Ukrainian community, as well as---wait for it--- his strong stance on human rights in Ukraine.

The UCC is firing a shot across the bow of the museum's board of directors. We quote from the news release:

"Prime Minister Harper and his government have made many contributions to the Ukrainian Canadian community, both at home and abroad, including the passage of An Act to establish a Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (“Holodomor”) Memorial Day, making Canada one of the first countries to adopt legislation to recognize the Holodomor of1932-33 as an act of genocide. The establishment by Prime Minister Harper of the “Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund” in 2008 was the culmination of many years of effort by our community to recognize the unjust internment of Ukrainian Canadians and others from 1914 – 1920."

"Prime Minister Harper has been an active proponent of democratic reforms in Ukraine as evidenced by his recent trip to Ukraine in October 2010 where he publicly expressed Canada’s commitment to human rights, democratic development, and free and fair elections in Ukraine."

It's inconceivable that Harper won't be questioned about the demand by the Ukrainian community for equal treatment in the CMHR for the Holodomor. Unless he develops the diplomatic flu, whatever he says will serve to isolate the CMHR even further.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights rolled out its own charm offensive Thursday with a love-in on CJOB.

Back in the day when The Great Canadian Talk Show on CKIC-FM was knocking the stuffing out of Richard Cloutier's version of talk radio, Cloutier resorted to imitating his rival host Marty Gold by stealing his trademark claim to "holding the powerful accountable."

Bwahahaha. On Thursday, Cloutier used his best little girl/ I-wuv-you voice to kiss up to the rich and powerful for a full hour of nauseating radio. You've heard of softball questions? Forget it. Cloutier threw out marshmallow questions. No, marshmallows are too hard. He lobbed toasted marshmallow questions.

In the most scripted Q & A imaginable, Cloutier never asked about the burning controversy over the museum's plan to have a Holocaust gallery as the only permanent display and how its giving Winnipeg and the CMHR a black eye around the world. He never once mentioned the name Gail Asper. He never asked whether the CMHR was going to pay its taxes this year or stiff the city again. (It finally paid up four months late last year.) He never asked about the abrupt and mysterious resignation of the museum's chief operating officer, Patrick O'Reilly.

So what did the travelling roadshow of Stu Murray, CEO, Angela Cassie, communications director and Kim Jasper, marketing director, have to say?

* They'll be putting the glass on the museum this summer. A Winnipeg company has tested it and assures them it will withstand the cold and snow.

* 93 percent of the work has been tendered. Cloutier didn't ask what was still outstanding.

* The museum has to raise another $22 million and "hopes" it can before the musum opens in 2013.

* The museum is counting on Rotary Clubs to bring, at the very least, 33,000 students to Winnipeg each year

* Yhe claim that the museum will attract 250,000 people a year is a "very conservative estimate."

* 50 percent of visitors will come from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Minnestota, and the other 50 percent from the rest of the world

* Murray waffled big time over what it would cost to get into the museum, but said nobody would be turned away if they couldn't pay. This was an interesting in light of a tip to The Black Rod in January which led us to this exchange on the New Winnipeg forum:

http://www.newwinnipeg.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=848&start=550
Re: Canadian Museum of Human Rights
by Time Lord on Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:08 pm
"Entrance to the museum will be free of charge.
I can see the place as a hangout for the homeless from the downtown area. Warm in the winter, cool in the summer - have a few beers on the riverbank and visit the museum. Repeat visitors will help up the attendance figures.
Could be interesting watching security trying to clear them out, especially from the Aboriginal exhibit."

Re: Canadian Museum of Human Rights
by Time Lord on Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:44 pm

prasantrin wrote:Free? How will they pay for upkeep and overhead expenses over the years the museum will be open? Donations? Funding from the government (i.e. taxpayers, most of whom will probably visit the museum no more than once if at all).
I think I need to read more about this. I've only read very basic information, but not much about what will happen once the museum is open.
"Friend of mine is working with the museum planning group. She has assured me that there will be no admission charged."

* They did blather a lot about high-tech interactive displays and digitally delivered content. Question: doesn't that use a lot of electricity? The CMHR was whining last year that they forgot to include utilities in their operating budget and they hoped the government would just top it up to keep the lights burning and the toilets flowing.

But with the feds cutting back and the museum charging no admission, where's the money coming from?

CJOB didn't ask. The calm before the storm.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Know Means Know

The howling mob had free rein for two weeks to vilify a decent man.

They screeched and marched and chanted their kneejerk slogans at will.

Prominent journalists like Winnipeg Free Press columnist Lindor Reynolds and Winnipeg Sun writer Kevin Engstrom jostled to get to the head of the lynch mob as they dropped their oh-so-clever bon mots.

No means No, they bellowed as they demanded the immediate termination of Court of Queen's Bench Justice Robert Dewar. His unpardonable sin? Doing his job without bowing to political correctness.

And then, this week the swarm was stopped in its tracks--- by 88 pages of print---the transcript of the sentencing of a Thompson man, convicted by Dewar of rape, but sentenced to house arrest instead of the penitentiary term demanded by the Crown---aka, the truth.

"Kenneth Rhodes, rapist, won't be going to jail because Dewar feels the victim was sending him signals that he was going to get lucky. She was sending them, presumably, until she said no, meant it and then was sexually assaulted.

"At that point it's moot what she was wearing, how many drinks she'd had or if she could tie a maraschino cherry stem in a knot with her tongue."

"She said no and he raped her," scribbled Lindor Reynolds, to whom the truth is an afterthought.

For, you see, the court transcript unequivocably says this about the "victim" of the rape:

She
Never
Said
No.

Gasp. Shock. Outrage. How could you say that?

Uh, because of the evidence?

Justice Dewar: "The fact that she didn’t say no, at any time, is not a defence to the conviction. But does it add anything; is it part of the sentencing consideration?"

Crown attorney Sheila Seesahai: "I’d respectfully submit that it’s not, My Lord."
And elsewhere:

Seesahai: "I’m finding it difficult to understand how it would assist the accused in this case that she didn’t say or do anything to make him stop."

The Court: " Well, it’s not..."

S. Seesahai: "In the sense of, of words. Like saying no that you’re suggesting."

But, but, but ...why would he be convicted, then?

Dewar laboured long and hard on that question. There was just as much evidence to indicate there was no rape, in law, as to indicate otherwise. The RCMP had been equally hesitant in deciding they had probably cause to lay a charge, taking a year and a half , and only then after getting an outside legal opinion.
The scales tipped against Rhodes on one slender point: he didn't ask.

Despite the flirting, the kissing, the handholding, the passive aquiescence to his sexual fumbling----he should have asked before he did the deed.

But, but, but ... the victim told the Free Press a different story.

That's bulls—," the victim said.... "I did say no to him. I kept saying no. He knew that I didn't want (sex)."
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/victim-this-is-beyond-sexist-116904078.html?path=/local&id=116904078&sortBy=rank

Yeeeeaaahhhh. Nobody could be more surprised at Miss Victim's newspaper debut than the judge and the prosecutor who listened to her at the trial where evidence is given under oath.

If the court had heard the same story from Miss Victim as she spun in the FP, Crown attorney Seesahai would not have had to labour so mightily to turn Kenneth Rhodes into Snidely Whiplash.

He had, she thundered, deliberately ignored three large STOP signs.

Sessahai: " There was a specific rebuffing in the car, there was a certain coldness, as described even by the accused, and there was the fact that she’d gone off into the bush. Those indicia would not have led a reasonable person to believe that there was a reasonable likelihood of behaviour after that." (It sounds like there's a word or two missing in the last sentence...ed.)

There's obviously something lost between the trial and the transcript of sentencing.

He was rebuffed in the car? Did he try to put his arm around her shoulders? His hand on her knee? Steal a kiss?

A certain coldness ? She was 26 and he was 40. Maybe she wasn't keen on getting stuck with the old guy. Her girlfriend was having a great time. She (the girlfriend) even dumped Miss Victim off in the bush alone with her new friend while she (the girlfriend) drove off with hers.

But Miss Victim warmed up more than she now lets on.

She went off into the bush? Now this is completely lost in translation.
More intriguing is what's missing in the transcript about Miss Victim's actions immediately before the sex.

The Court: "...what concern I have is the conduct on the highway – on the road leading up. And I think when I made the decision; I found that at that point in time there was no intention on the accused to sexually assault the lady. And there was a possibility out there – the door wasn’t closed and -- "

S. Seesahai: "Which – which door is My Lord speaking --"

The Court: "The door to any kind of sexual conduct was not closed as they were walking up to the highway."

S. Seesahai: "I guess I’m just – perhaps I’m misunderstanding what My Lord is saying. "

The Court: "If you look at Arcand , there’s one sentence at paragraph 13 that says: 2930 The sentencing judge found that prior to passing out, the complainant had done nothing to encourage the offender to have sex with her. Now in this case, and I’m not critical of the complainant, I understand she was frightened, but she did something, he said - he made some comment about sexual activity and she said; let’s go to the highway."

Even the prosecutor conceded that point elsewhere:

Sessahai: "He did pursue the victim after she had clearly rebuffed him. Although, the Crown does concede that this attenuate by the victim’s response to subsequent advances by Mr. Rhodes during the walk to the highway." (Again, there's a word missing or something, but the point is clear, Miss Victim's subsequent behaviour attenuated (weakens, dilutes) the rebuff...ed.)

Yes it's all very confusing to somebody relying only on the sentencing transcript, but the big picture is not.

Miss Victim and a friend went for a night out in their sexy, party best.
They went to a hotel where they found a bachelor party in full swing.
They paired up with two men, then drove 20 minutes to a lake nearby for more privacy.
The friend left in the car with her new beau and Miss Victim stayed in the bush with hers.
She blew hot and cold on his advances, but the "clumsy Don Juan" was encouraged by her "hot" and not discouraged by her "cold".
When they got to the highway in the story, he made his move.

Prosecutor Sessahai had to work just as hard to paint the encounter as a terrifying attack.

Miss Victim, she declared, was enveloped by pain and fear.

Fear? She was alone with a heavier, older man.

Pain? When he stole third base, she told him it hurt.

Any woman who has had sex---with a man---knows the first time can be awkward, more Adam Sandler than Brad Pitt.

Oops. Sorry. Ouch. My fault. Am I too heavy? Not there. Sorry. Are you in?

Rhodes also performed oral sex on Miss Victim. Put what he did together and its called foreplay.

That didn't stop Sessasai's over-the-top attempt to turn the Rhodes case into a major crime warranting major time.

Sessasai: " My Lord, excuse me, where they refer to the Supreme Court of Canada in McCraw... they do make it clear in a discussion of the facts, both of – of the incident that had occurred in Arcand and in the reconsider cases that they were reviewing, that the fact of a penis in the vagina is, in their words, incontrovertibly a major sexual assault."

Dewar wasn't having it.

Rhodes didn't hit the woman, or scream at her, or threaten her, or raise a fist, or do anything to make her fear him. He was a law-abiding citizen before the incident and for four years afterwards. A pre-sentence report says there's no likeihood he will re-offend. There's no reason for a prison sentence to deter him from future sexual assaults or, in this case, as denunciation of an act of seduction gone bad.

With that, Dewar imposed his sentence.

" To hear Queen’s Bench Court Justice Robert Dewar tell it, a 26-year-old rape victim was inviting trouble by the way she was dressed and how she was acting. No, really." wrote Kevin Engstrom.

No, not really. All you have to do is read the transcript to read the truth.

Really.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Ethnic division over the CMHR is shaping up as an election issue

Yikes.

You can tell the Asper-dominated board of directors at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights has been hurt badly by the Holodomor controversy. The Winnipeg Free Press had to ride to their rescue last Saturday after a week of hard knocks, although the gesture may have actually done more damage to the cause.

In an atrocity of an editorial, the newspaper conflated the Soviet starvation of millions of Ukrainians in the Thirties (the Holodomor) with a shortage of potatoes in Ireland 85 years earlier (the Gorta Mor). They're both famines, get it?

The Irish aren't demanding a separate gallery for their national tragedy, but if they were, (stupid) politicians like MP Joy Smith (Conservative) and MP Kevin Lamoureux (Liberal) "would be clamouring on their behalf..." wrote the FP. Instead, these and other deluded parliamentarians are supporting a "small but vocal" Ukrainian rump which wants a permanent gallery for the Holodomor although everybody knows the Holocaust is sssssspecial and only the Holocaust deserves to be recognized with a stand-alone, permanent gallery at the CMHR.

You don't say.

The CMHR's Asper-run executive have watched their white elephant's fortunes melt like river ice in May ever since the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association exposed their little secret last December.

The museum's backers didn't exactly want taxpayers to know they intended the CMHR to be a publicly funded Holocaust museum, with the rest of the world's genocides lumped together into a catch-all "atrocity gallery".

The Ukrainians aren't pleased to discover they got suckered by Izzy Asper who, to get government financing by showing cross-cultural support, promised them equal treatment in the museum for the history of Stalin's campaign of starvation which killed millions of Ukrainians in 1932-33 (not 1931-32, as the Free Press editorial said).

Equal treatment turned out to be equal to the other few dozen claimed genocides in the world, not to the Holocaust which, along with an Aboriginal "zone", will stand as the only two permanent galleries in the CMHR.

We wrote last time that Gail Asper had managed to unite Canada's ethnic groups against the CMHR's board of directors.

Today it appears she's united Canada's main political parties.

When we last wrote about the Holodomor controversy, 10 days ago, we noted that 3 MP's had made public statements supporting the position of the Ukrainians---two Conservatives and one Liberal (Kevin Lamoureux).

http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2011/02/asper-curse-begins-eating-away-at-cmhr.html

That number has since almost tripled with the addition of four Liberal Members of Parliament and one Conservative (Joy Smith). The joint letter issued by the Liberal quartet in support of a permanent gallery for the Holodomor was released a week ago, and its even stronger than the cookie-cutter support shown by the Conservatives on the issue.

In fact, it raises the possibility that the Holodomor controversy could turn into an election issue if, as expected, the March budget is defeated and we're called to the polls in the spring. No NDP MP's have taken a stand on the debate, and Liberal Anita Neville stands alone of the Manitoba Grits in rejecting the Ukrainians, Poles, Amenians, Latvians, and other ethnic groups that oppose special status for the Holocaust at the expense of their ethnic national tragedies.

For the record, then, here's the letter issued by the Liberal MP's on the Holodomor matter (emphasis ours) .
Statement from Liberal MP’s on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Statement of Liberal Members of Parliament on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
February 23, 2011

The publicly funded Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) located in Winnipeg was established by Parliament through amendments to the Museums Act in 2008 and is set to open its doors in 2013.

The purpose of the CMHR is to explore the subject of human rights, with special but not exclusive reference to Canada, in order to enhance the understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others and to encourage reflection, discussion and the taking of action against hate, oppression, and crimes against humanity.

One of the fundamental and most basic of human rights is the right to nourishment-the right to food. In the case of the Holodomor, this was the first genocide that was methodically planned out and perpetrated by depriving the very people who were the producers of food, of their nourishment. What is especially horrific is that the withholding of food was used as a weapon of genocide and that it was done in a region of the world that was known as the “breadbasket of Europe.”

The Holodomor-the famine-genocide perpetrated by Soviet authorities from 1932-33 against the Ukrainian people-has been recognized as such by the Parliament of Canada, and provincial legislatures in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. Canada, with a population of 1.2 million Ukrainian Canadians, was the first country to enact federal legislation to annually mark the Holodomor on the fourth Saturday of every November.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights presents an opportunity to illustrate the promise and the importance of human rights, but sadly part of its mission will necessarily also be to educate Canadians about the consequences of denying those rights. The Holodomor is as graphic and moving an illustration as can be imagined of the denial of the basic Human Right to Food. It is a story that is well known and well understood in the Ukrainian Canadian community since there are few families in that community who were not touched in some way by this man-made catastrophe, but it is not as yet widely known or understood in the broader Canadian community.

A gallery devoted to the issue of the Human Right to Food as illustrated by the experience of those who were denied this basic right through the famine-murder of the Holodomor would fit precisely within the mandate of the CMHR and would forward its important mission.

It is particularly appropriate that the CMHR, located in the city of Winnipeg with over 100,000 Ukrainian Canadian residents, in a province whose prairies were largely settled by Ukrainian farmers at a time when their Ukrainian peasant counterparts in Ukraine were being starved to death, include a permanent zone (gallery) on the Holodomor.

We federal Liberal Party Members of Parliament hold that this publicly funded national Canadian museum should create and operate a permanent gallery dedicated to the Holodomor, and that the Board of Directors of the CMHR should embrace and include respected members of the Ukrainian Canadian community with expertise in the Holodomor.

It was the Jewish-Polish scholar Raphael Lemkin, known as the”Father of The Genocide Convention” who coined the term “genocide” when referring also to the Holodomor in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe.
Unfortunately, the full extent of this horrific “genocide by famine” of millions of Ukrainians was suppressed behind the Iron Curtain during the subsequent 58 years by the Kremlin’s communist regime.

By taking a leadership role in establishing a permanent gallery for the Holodomor, Canada would encourage post-communist countries that are now our economic and security partners to begin to more critically address the human rights violations and genocidal crimes perpetrated in the name of communism and to cease the Holodomor denials which continue to this day.

By having the Holodomor in a permanent zone (exhibit) in our national human rights museum, Canada would fulfill its traditional role in leading the world in the promotion of human rights.

Borys Wrzesnewskyj, M.P.
(Etobicoke Centre)

Gerard Kennedy, M.P.
(Parkdale-High Park)

Kevin Lamoureux, M.P.
(Winnipeg North)

Hon. Navdeep Bains, P.C., M.P.
(Mississauga-Brampton South)

Bonnie Crombie, M.P.
(Mississauga-Streetsville)

Labels: , , ,