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 since 2005, 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:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lameduck Mayor Sam Katz steps up to fill Robin Williams' shoes

Is Sam Katz auditioning for a new career as a comedian?

He's no Robin Williams, but you've got to start somewhere.  

When the news broke that the province of Manitoba had asked the RCMP to review the trio of city audits that uncovered massive favoritism in handing out construction contracts "and to conduct any investigations it considers appropriate," Katz tapped his funny bone to knock off some one-liners in the form of a "statement."

His best: "The province has made their decision and chosen to exercise their right to refer to the RCMP, and all of council would support their decision, and I hope this brings closure."

Bwahaha. Now that's funny.

It may be too subtle for many people, but it's in the true tradition of understated British humour.

You see, Katz is saying just the opposite. 

He and his council cabal voted AGAINST sending the audits to the provincial justice department, a move made by councillors in the hope the province would call in the Mounties.  

The vote was razor-thin, 8-7 to approve the motion. One councillor didn't vote -- Justin Swandel, Katz's sidekick, his Ed McMahon to Sam's Johnny Carson, the guy who sits there and guffaws at his master's lame jokes.

The council meeting ran late and Swandel left for an appointment. If he stayed he would have cast the tying vote that would have killed the motion to refer to the province.

Now that's funny, Sam Katz's staunchest ally ensured the RCMP would be called in to investigate Sam Katz's administration.

Katz isn't running for re-election because the humourless electorate might not find the scandals that have cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars so funny. Instead, he's adopted the old adage: always leave 'em laughing.

But the RCMP review might not be the "closure" the lameduck mayor wants.

The police might just expand on the "prima facie" case built by the audits and dig deeper into the cozy relationship between the mayor, his best friend and the city's chief administrative officer, and his other friend and investor and beneficiary of the best friend's largesse. Who knows, the Mounties might just travel to Scottsdale, Arizona, to ask questions about the million dollar house Sam Katz bought from  sister of an executive of Shindico for $10 "and other considerations." 

But for a comedian it's all grist for the mill. Sam Katz even has his punchline written and waiting:
"When it comes to ability, intelligence and integrity, this jury wouldn't even qualify to be in the same building, let alone the same room, as Phil Sheegl."

Nanu Nanu.

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