Skip to main content

Paula Havixbeck---Sam Katz's worst nightmare---a smart, brave woman who puts taxpayers first.


Winnipeg city councillor Paula Havixbeck has had a target on her back since October. So her vindictive removal from the mayor's coveted executive policy committee came as no real surprise. It had just been a question of when.

October, that's when the rookie councillor did the unthinkable. She stood up to council's bully twins--Mayor Sam Katz and his closest friend city CAO Phil Sheegl.

Katz and Sheegl were then furiously trying to cover-up the scandal of how the company owned by Katz's business partner and other close pal Sandy Shindleman wound up with $14 million in city contracts to build four new firehalls without anybody on council knowing about it.

"What's the big deal? Everybody knew," was Katz's first try to put the fire out.

Everybody did know the firehalls were being built, but the name of the contractor was kept a deep, dark secret by then-deputy Fire Chief Reid Douglas, who had inexplicably gone behind council's back to split up the single contract for four firehalls that they expected into four contracts for one firehall each to hide the name of contractor Shindico.

Oh, and he approved Shindico's construction of a firehall on land the city didn't own, but Shindico did, on the strength of a secret land swap which he negotiated and expected city council to rubber stamp because the fire station would by then be built, operating and paid for.

Havixbeck wasn't having any of it.

She started asking pointed questions about who knew what about the firehall contracts. And she was stonewalled. By Sheegl. By Reid Douglas. By the mayor. And by everyone else in the city bureaucracy.

So she did the unheard-of. As chairman of the city's protection committee, she called a special meeting and summoned Phil Sheegl, Reid Douglas (promoted to Fire Chief) and Chief Operating Officer Depak Joshi to answer questions.

She didn't get many answers. It turned out Sheegl, the most senior bureaucrat in the city, didn't know anything about anything. He was too busy overseeing and not micromanaging $14 million dollar contracts.

Douglas and Joshi only raised more questions with their non-answers.

Sheegl was humiliated at being treated like, well, just a bureaucrat and not the giant intellect he thinks he is. Katz struck back quickly. He removed Paula Havixbeck from the Protection Committee chair to send a message to anyone else thinking of challenging him and his buddy.

But Havixbeck's hearing invigorated city council. The usual torpid councillors stirred to life.

Far from being intimidated, they were inspired. Before the year was out, it was a full scale council revolt. Councillors forced the mayor to approve an audit of the firehall deal plus a separate audit of all property deals conducted by the city going back as far as five years.

Katz was humiliated in turn, having to vote in favour of the very audits he opposed publicly for months. Sheegl sat stone-faced behind him in council and plotted revenge.

That revenge came this week when Katz finally saw his chance to punish Paula Havixbeck.

He removed her from EPC. He then spent the day smearing her for reporters by claiming she kept flip-flopping on issues and he couldn't trust her anymore.

That charge would have more impact if Katz had any credibility left.

It hurt to write that because we've been among his biggest supporters, coming to his defence each time the Winnipeg Free Press unfairly attacked him. But he's become undefensible.

Sam Katz's own record of flipflops includes opposing an audit of the firehall deal before voting for it, and running an election on a pledge to avoid raising taxes followed by a steady increase in taxes each year after his win with promises of constant tax increases for years ahead.

But then Katz doesn't care about consistency. He's not running for mayor again.

Katz is smart enough to know he's done like dinner in this city. Glen Murray, he of multiple chins, would beat Sam Katz in an election in a heartbeat if he came back to town. Former candidate Maryann Mihaychuk would beat him easily. Even Judy Wasylycia-Leis would turn an election into a race too close to call depending on whether voters hate Katz more than the NDP.

C'mon. He can't wait to get out of here. He's just sticking around to keep a lid on the firehall scandal as long as he can before he and Sheegl fly away to Scottsdale, Arizona where they've both built or bought homes and can engage in busin - em, retire.

Who wants to stay and face awkward questions about how he managed to acquire a million-dollar house for $10 from the chief financial officer of Shindico?

Katz has the EPC he wants. All men. A strong woman's view is not welcomed or wanted. Havixbeck's replacement Brian Mayes was positively elated to become a yes-man.

What did Havixbeck do to push Katz to pull the trigger? She refused to roll over and support unquestioningly the tax increases he wants to push down peoples' throats.

The public doesn't know how strongly she fought to hold the line.
She came to EPC with detailed arguments on how to find all the money the higher taxes would raise out of existing sources---and even give taxpayers a rebate.

That's right. No tax increase necessary and the possibility of a small tax holiday.

Her fellow committee members wouldn't even listen to her ideas.  And the MSM reporters can't be bothered to detail her tax savings plans.

The budget passed. It's over. Nothing to see here. We can go back to covering the cat bylaw.

But Havixbeck is still on council. As Margaret Thatcher said, this lady's not for turning. A mother of two raising her children alone, by getting booted from EPC she's lost $22,000 a year in extra pay for sticking to her principles.
Sam Katz, though, forgot Machiavelli's number one lesson for how to be a dictator: keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Popular posts from this blog

The unreported bombshell conspiracy evidence in the Trudeau/SNC-Lavelin scandal

Wow. No, double-wow. A game-changing bombshell lies buried in the supplementary evidence provided to the House of Commons Judiciary Committee by former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. It has gone virtually unreported since she submitted the material almost a week ago. As far as we can find, only one journalist-- Andrew Coyne, columnist for the National Post--- has even mentioned it and even then he badly missed what it meant, burying it in paragraph 10 of a 14 paragraph story. The gist of the greatest political scandal in modern Canadian history is well-known by now. It's bigger than Adscam, the revelation 15 years ago that prominent members of the Liberal Party of Canada and the party itself funneled tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks into their own pockets from federal spending in Quebec sponsoring ads promoting Canadian unity. That was just venal politicians and a crooked political party helping themselves to public money. The Trudeau-Snc-Lavalin scandal is

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. There, we said it.

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. Oh, you won't find anyone official to say it. Yet . Like relatives trying to appear cheery and optimistic around a loved one that's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the people in power are in the first stage of grief -- denial. The prognosis for Hydro was delivered three weeks ago at hearings before the Public Utilities Board where the utility was seeking punishingly higher rates for customers in Manitoba. It took us this long to read through the hundred-plus pages of transcript, to decipher the coded language of the witnesses, to interpret what they were getting at, and, finally, to understand the terrible conclusion.  We couldn't believe it, just as, we're sure, you can't--- so we did it all again, to get a second opinion, so to speak.  Hydro conceded to the PUB that it undertook a massive expansion program--- involving three (it was once four) new dams and two new major powerlines (one in the United States)---whi

Crips and Bloodz true cultural anchors of Winnipeg's aboriginal gangs

(Bebo tribute page to Aaron Nabess on the right, his handgun-toting friend on the left) At least six murder victims in Winnipeg in the past year are linked to a network of thuglife, gangster rap-styled, mainly aboriginal street gangs calling themselves Crips and Bloods after the major black gangs of L.A. The Black Rod has been monitoring these gangs for several months ever since discovering memorial tributes to victim Josh Prince on numerous pages on Bebo.com, a social networking website like Myspace and Facebook. Josh Prince , a student of Kildonan East Collegiate, was stabbed to death the night of May 26 allegedly while breaking up a fight. His family said at the time he had once been associated with an unidentified gang, but had since broken away. But the devotion to Prince on sites like Watt Street Bloodz and Kingk Notorious Bloodz (King-K-BLOODZ4Life) shows that at the time of his death he was still accepted as one of their own. Our searches of Bebo have turned up another f

Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP's Christian-bashing, cop-smearing, other star candidate

As the vultures of the press circle over the wounded Liberal Party of Manitoba, one NDP star candidate must be laughing up her sleeve at how her extremist past has escaped the scrutiny of reporters and pundits. Parachuted into a safe NDP seat in Winnipeg's North End, she nonetheless feared a bruising campaign against a well-heeled Liberal opponent.  Ha ha.  Instead, the sleepy newspeeps have turned a blind eye to her years of vitriolic attacks on Christianity, white people, and police. * She's spent years  bashing Christianity  as the root cause of all the problems of native people in Canada. * She's called for  a boycott of white businesses . * And with her  Marxist research partner, she's  smeared city police as intransigent racists . Step up Nahanni Fontaine, running for election in St. John's riding as successor to the retiring Gord Macintosh. While her male counterpart in the NDP's galaxy of stars, Wab Kinew, has responded to the controversy over

Exposing the CBC/WFP double-team smear of a hero cop

Published since 2006 on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever. Exposing the CBC/FP double-team smear of a hero cop Some of the shoddiest journalism in recent times appeared this long August weekend when the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press doubled teamed on a blatant smear of a veteran city police officer. In the latest example of narrative journalism these media outlets spun stories with total disregard for facts that contradicted the central message of the reports which, simplified, is: police are bad and the system is covering up. Let's start with the story on the taxpayer funded CBC by Sarah Petz that can be summed up in the lead. "A February incident where an off-duty Winnipeg officer allegedly knocked a suspect unconscious wasn't reported to the province's police watchdog, and one criminologist says it shows how flawed oversight of law enforcement can be." There you have it. A policeman, not

Winnipeg needs a new police chief - ASAP

When did the magic die? A week ago the Winnipeg police department delivered the bad news---crime in the city is out of control. The picture painted by the numbers (for 2018) was appalling. Robberies up ten percent in  a single year.  (And that was the good news.) Property crimes were up almost 20 percent.  Total crime was 33 percent higher than the five year average. The measure of violent crime in Winnipeg had soared to a rating of 161.  Only four years earlier it stood at 116. That's a 38 percent deterioration in safety. How did it happen? How, when in 2015 the police and Winnipeg's police board announced they had discovered the magic solution to crime? "Smart Policing" they called it.    A team of crime analysts would pore through data to spot crime hot-spots and as soon as they identified a trend (car thefts, muggings, liquor store robberies) they could call in police resources to descend on the problem and nip it. The police