With 2022 receding fast in the rear-view mirror there's just enough time to ordain the annual Newsmaker of the Year.
with the biggest anticipation, the biggest name, the biggest voice, the biggest
lead in the polls, and the biggest hype in the press. He ended the year as the
biggest loser, and that's not a reference to having the biggest waistline in
the race to be mayor.
gentlemen, say goodbye to Glen Murray.
because his crash-and-burn campaign was like watching the Hindenberg drop
gently from the sky before erupting in uncontrollable fire, consumed in
minutes. That sucker will never fly again.
election set for October, the press treated Murray's anticipated candidacy like
the Second Coming. Murray, who was mayor from 1998 to 2004, had come home to
retake the reins at city hall. When would he announce?
announcement came on June 22. To the
press, the election was over. Nobody could beat Glen Murray. His campaign rolled
from triumph to triumph.
A poll from Probe Research in July gave Murray
44 percent of decided votes, more than the second, third and fourth choices put
together. Has-been radio host Charles Adler announced he was endorsing Murray
but real support rolled out strategically in the weeks
to follow. The Firefighters Union, the
Winnipeg Labour Council and philanthropist Gail Asper all endorsed Murray. He
August a tipster alerted media outlets (including The Black Rod) to a series of
stories in the Toronto Globe and Mail in 2017 which painted an unflattering
picture of Glen Murray in office. CBC
TV's Bartley Kives dug into the story and the station ran his report on August 4.
mayor in Ontario had been the target of an intimidation campaign involving a
housing development which she opposed. Her husband was beaten up, she was
framed on a criminal charge of tax evasion, but she wouldn't cave in.
behind-the-scenes fixer offered $10,000 for someone to arrange a one-on-one
meeting with the mayor. She refused any meeting. Then she found herself tricked
into coming to Queen's Park where a meeting on municipal issues turned into a
one-on-one meeting with none other than Glen Murray, then an Ontario Liberal
cabinet minister. He urged her to reconsider her opposition to housing
development in her jurisdiction before mentioning that there had been
"complaints" about her and that he could make them go away.
went away---to the press where she spilled the beans on Murray's thuggish
attempt to pressure her.
news media ignored the CBC story to Murray's relief.
But almost a
week later, a fringe candidate for mayor drew first blood. Don Woodstock called
Murray "a habitual quitter" for quitting every job he got, from mayor
of Winnipeg to an elected member of the Ontario legislature to his "dream
job" at an Alberta environmental change think tank. Would he sign a pledge
to stay as mayor if elected, Woodstock asked.
protected Murray. Nobody asked about his record as a quitter. They treated
Woodstock as a gadfly beneath their lofty gaze.
Woodstock's observation resonated with the public. People began talking amongst
themselves about Murray's penchant for quitting jobs. Someone else took notice,
too---The Black Rod.
On Aug 17 we
published a story titled "Why did Glen Murray leave his dream job?"
always been something fishy about Glen Murray's abrupt and unexplained
departure from his "dream job" in Alberta," we said at the time.
We looked at
the timeline of his tenure and discovered that after only 8 months into the job
his name was never again associated with the Alberta Pembina Institute in news
releases or public appearances. Something was up.
it was related to the Ontario intimidation attempt given the coincidental
timing between the Globe and Mail stories and Murray's unexplained
disappearance at the Pembina Institute. Were we wrong.
But it took
a while to find out why. In the meantime there was another Probe poll in
September showing Murray's support had slipped four percentage points but
leaving him with still a two-to- one advantage over his next nearest
challenger. Every story from then on highlighted Murray as the election
Kives, perhaps inspired by the Black Rod story six weeks earlier, had
another exclusive on CBC on Sept. 29 -- examining why Glen Murray left his
dream job. The details were shocking. We summarized the Kives story in our
waiting. The lies Glen Murray is telling about his "dream job".
Murray began his job by creeping out Pembina employees with inappropriate and
unwanted remarks about his sex life with multiple partners outside his
relationship with his "life partner, Rick".
"Over the ensuing months, his behavior at,
in the words of the story, "company social functions and public
his authority. He would get so shit-faced drunk he couldn't stand, is how
Pembina staff described it.
the turning point came in March, 2018, when Pembina's staff and board gathered
in Banff for an annual strategy and acquaintance building get-together.
a shambles," the Institute's director of strategic partnerships told the
CBC. Murray was drunk, unprepared, and started tossing out wild ideas that had
never been discussed with anyone. Then it got worse.
attendees relaxed later with drinks and entertainment, Pembina's Alberta
director was on the dance floor when, he told the CBC, "Murray rubbed up
against him, pelvis to buttocks."
just like, 'Oh, come on, man.' I'm being like, grinded by my boss on the dance
this what we thought? We searched on Google. And yes. There's a term for it in
legal circles, in Section 271 of the Criminal Code: SEXUAL ASSAULT."
Hindenberg caught fire and entered its death glide.
abandoned Murray. For four months the press pundits and university political
scientists had been touting "frontrunner" Murray as a shoo-in. Four
days before election day, even they had to give up the dream. To protect their
in-the-know status they declared the election was a toss-up, neck-and-neck,
anybody's to win.
Glen Murray earned the title of Newsmaker of the Year 2022 for his dominant position during the Winnipeg mayoral campaign for almost five months. His eventual and humiliating faceplant will be one for the history books.
How ill is
Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson?
story in the Winnipeg Free Press on Dec. 21 said she was too ill to do year-end
interviews. She wasn't able to attend a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee
Medal ceremony with Lt. Gov. Anita Neville two days earlier.
happenstance, a few days later we saw a copy of the December issue of
Lifestyles 55 magazine. It contained an interview with Premier Stefanson. The
story mentioned that she had recently gone to a walk-in clinic because of a
persistent cough that had lasted three weeks. Given that the interview had to
have been done sometime in November because of the lead time to printing, that
suggests that whatever ailment the Premier has, it got worse through December.
We recalled that she was away from the Legislature for 40 days in 2021 after undergoing a "medically necessary procedure."
she caught Covid in June, thankfully reporting "minor symptoms."
Her current bout of illness seems more than minor, having lasted more than a month.