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:

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Uncensored insider's stories of life at NDP-controlled Osborne House

Taking a page out of the Putin playbook, the Manitoba NDP government is frantically rewriting history to justify its racially-oriented takeover of the long-running women's shelter Osborne House.

Through a series of strategic leaks to reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press, the NDP has created a false narrative akin to Putin's explanation of how Russia had to --- just had to --- seize Crimea from Ukraine because of all the injustices the evil Ukrainians were imposing on Russians who lived there.

NDP deputy premier Eric Robinson's racist slurs against white Manitobans, which preceeded the takeover of Osborne House, have been carefully whitewashed to turn them into an 'unfortunate choice of words', rather than a deliberate racial bias. 

"Robinson later apologized," writes the Free Press, ignoring the fact he was forced by the Premier to issue a lawyered statement after telling APTN he meant exactly what he said and he would never apologize.

The government, which has supported and applauded Robinson's racist comments, tried to hide their existence in an official email each time a FIPPA request might reveal them - except the first attempt was 'see-thru'. 

One of the participants in the discussion that led to Robinson's email was government insider Marlene Bertrand, who was then appointed Commissar in charge of Osborne House because the government had to -- just had to -- seize control of the agency.

One of the alleged reasons, if you believe the leaks to the Free Press, was a mythological deficit being run by Osborne House. Not counting the $160-some thousand dollar surplus in the agency's bank account. But, why quibble over facts, right Bruce Owen?

The rewriting of history has continued with the assistance of the Winnipeg Free Press to the present day when the NDP secret they were dissolving Osborne House instead of returning control to its board of directors blew up on social media before the convention.  The official excuse is the board's refusal to accept co-management.
The WFP fails to report that the NDP's definition of co-management is like Soviet Russia's idea of co-management of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. 
The co-management "agreement", presented as a fait accompli to the Osborne House board, reads:

"The Manitoba co-manager, in its sole and absolute discretion, may withhold or provide its agreement and the decision of the Manitoba co-manager shall be final and binding upon the Agency."

In short, the government would run the agency and the board would do what the government said- in every case. Some co-management.

Osborne House staffers have been keeping notes of the management style of Marlene Bertrand and her cohorts. 
The details seen by The Black Rod are appalling.

"There is not enough food." wrote one staffer.

Apparently the government decided the clients of Osborne House were eating too much. So they scrubbed the agency's weekly food order from Winnipeg Harvest. 

Before accepting the donation, Osborne House got assurance from Harvest that they were not taking food away from deserving families. The food to Osborne House was being given on the same basis as food provided to other social agencies, they were told. So each week they collected 200 pounds of food. 

The government management scrapped that--- taking five tons of food annually away from Osborne House.

Then they decided that the children at Osborne House were drinking too much milk.

You read that right.  
So the government decided that instead of keeping milk in the refrigerator where mothers with thirsty kids could help themselves, they would infantalize the mothers, and make them ask a staff member if they could please have some milk for their children. 

And that was before they all but cancelled Christmas.

The board of directors had been too generous, Marlene Bertrand said. Too many Christmas decorations; nothing on the walls, went the order.

Then government decided that the children of Osborne House were being spoiled with too many presents. One gift only per child. AND NO SANTA.

"Marlene told staff that Barb's generosity would make the women feel insecure when they were no longer in shelter and didn't have money for gifts." wrote a staffer.

Staff described their jobs as "walking on eggshells": 

*  Breaches of client confidentiality,
*  Management bullying,
*  Punitive disciplinary decisions,

were among the onerous working conditions that the government says was perfect under their control. 

But staff members are "afraid to go to the Union" because they believe their CUPE rep will sooner support the government than fight for the members.

Welcome to the Brave New World of NDP women's shelter.

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