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Showing posts from January, 2009

The Mayor's "lost" speech to the city: the address Sam Katz meant to give

Ladies and Gentlemen... I am announcing today that I will be running for mayor of Winnipeg in 2010. ( Pause for reaction .) I'm planning a lot of big changes to the way the city runs, and I'm not leaving it to someone else to screw up. I'm sticking around until the city is running like a fine watch and that means one more term at least. I may not be your typical politician, but my mother didn't raise a fool. I will not raise property taxes this year. ( Wait for applause .) Or next. ( wait for cheers to die down .) What kind of an idiot would raise taxes in an election year? Stand up Councillor Swandel. There's going to be plenty of money sloshing around in the next couple of years, enough to keep Winnipeg afloat until after the next vote. That's when I'll bring the hammer down. ( Note to self: Don't say this last part out loud .) Before I go, I'm going to replace Plan Winnipeg with a new long-term planning blueprint. In the coming months, I will be a

Renee Zellwegger rebrands us

Can we get our money back? If there's any justice in this world there has to be a warranty on brands that go bad. A bad brand is like a nickname that ruins your life. "Hey, Stinky, how's it goin'?" And we're stuck with a cropper. A few years ago the tall foreheads of Gary Doer's economic development committee decided Manitoba needed a new image---fast. They hired a new york company called InterBrand which claimed to be the experts in the field, having come up with sharp, slick slogans for cities and countries around the world. Two million dollars later the Gotham geniuses unveilled their creation. Ta daaa….Manitoba would henceforth be known as the home of Spirited Energy. Yep, think New Coke, the Edsel, the Hindenberg (the finest in transportation anywhere). It was so soul-less and artificial it looked, sounded and smelled like a something created by a committee---which is exactly what it was. Stage One of the reveal was sell-it-to-the-locals. That went so

The Further Adventures of Bruce MacFarlane, Manitoba Special Agent 204

What's a mild-mannered Manitoban like Bruce MacFarlane doing as a possible defendant at the International Court in The Hague? The Hague? Think Slobodan Milosevic Think cold-blooded massacres of innocents. Think rape camps. Think war crimes. Think bloodthirsty bemedalled Serbian generals and heartless mustachioed Croatian killers. The last thing you'd think is Bruce MacFarlane. And you would be wrong. Almost a year ago--in March, 2008---MacFarlane was appointed by the court in The Hague as a special investigator of a very sensitive case---a case involving one of their own. Now that case has backfired and MacFarlane could wind up on the hot seat himself. First, a little background. Florence Hartmann had been the official spokeswoman for Carla Del Ponte, the former prosecutor of the Tribunal, from 2000 to 2006. After she left her job she wrote a book, the contents of which got her charged with contempt of court for telling tales out of school. If convicted, she's looking at up

Phil Fontaine, National Chief and chief comedian

Goodness knows we need something to laugh about during this long and brutal winter. That's why we have to thank Phil Fontaine, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, for giving everyone a good chuckle with his comments about the forensic audit of the Winnipeg office of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC, for short). Winnipeg Free Press reporter Mia Rabson, playing the foil, set up the joke by asking Fontaine what he thought about the audit findings of gross mismanagement at INAC. "People have been too quick to blame First Nations people for mismanagement, and what have you when the opposite appears to be true?" he said with Steven Wright deadpan. "We've been repeatedly blamed for mismanagement practices, and our leadership is always accused of being corrupt." he riffed before delivering his punchline... "There is no doubt in my mind we need to ensure there is greater power and authority in our hands, not less. " Oh, stop. Our si

War in Afghanistan 2009 Week Two

Without fanfare, the U.S. has been steadily dismembering Al Qaeda's leadership for well over a year now with pinpoint missile attacks on hideouts bordering Afghanistan. January 2009 has been no exception. On New Year's Day, an American Predator drone aircraft fired three missiles into a village in Pakistan's lawless South Waziristan tribal region. One hit a vehicle carrying 3 to 5 men (accounts vary). The other two destroyed a building. This past week we learned who the HVT (high value target) was --- the head of al-Qaeda in Pakistan, the man who was training terrorists for attacks in the U.S. and Europe. His name, not that you would recognize it, was Usama al-Kini. His deputy, Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan, died with him when the Hellfire turned their vehicle into a ball of fire. Both men were Kenyan-born. Two other nobodies were also killed in the airstrike. Al-Kini was a senior al Qaeda commander who had a $5 million bounty on his head for planning the 1998 bombings of the U

#38. Incompetence killed this woman at Seven Oaks General Hospital

The day after Christmas 2007, a woman was taken to Seven Oaks Hospital. She was 89, approaching the end of her life, and her family couldn't care for her at home anymore. Their only choice was to take her to the hospital where she would be looked after while they tried to find a nursing home for her. They assumed that a hospital was a safe place for their elderly mother , a place she would get the proper medical care she needed in her final days, and that she would be treated with dignity and respect. It was the biggest mistake of their lives. The woman was admitted to palliative care on the fifth floor of Seven Oaks Hospital. Her children visited her daily. The first time they noticed the bruises on their mother they naturally were alarmed. Imagine what they felt when they were told that severe bruising was considered a normal part of life for the elderly at Seven Oaks General Hospital. Old people are frail; they need help walking, help going to the bathroom; without that help, t

War in Afghanistan 2009 Week One

Standing on the ridge of a new year is an opportunity to look both back to where you've been and forward to where you're headed. Looking back at 2008 we see a hard year pass into history and what may be a harder year looming. But we also see the unmistakeable outlines of success on the horizon. First, let's bid the old year a glad farewell. The sacrifices have been heavy. The news media spewed unrelenting gloom, yet here's what hasn't been widely reported: * Fewer people were killed in the War in Afghanistan than the year before. * The United Nations says fewer civilians were killed than the year before. * Fewer Afghan police were killed than the year before. * There were fewer suicide bombings * More Taliban fighters were killed than in 2007 (5000-plus) * There was a 20 percent reduction in the amount of land used for growing poppies. But the cost wasn't cheap: * More NATO and U.S. soldiers were killed in combat than in 2007 * U.S. combat deaths totalled 133 co

Bad start to '09; spin replaces facts in New Year's car thief coverage

There's only one word to describe the controversial New Year's Eve beating of a car thief in St. Boniface---HOORAY. Hear that, Keith McCaskill? Hear that, Davey Chomiak? HOORAY. That's the sound of the public speaking. A public that's sick and tired of car thieves that roam the city knowing that they are virtually untouchable by the NDP's race-based justice system. You don't like pictures of a car thief cowering in front of angry citizens? Get used to it, because there's more to come. The public is fed up with being told they getter get used to being victims because criminals have got "rights". Well, now the decent citizens of Winnipeg are fighting for their rights to live in safety. Hey, Gail Asper. You want human rights? They start right here, the right to defend your family, your property, your community, and your life. They start here, with the people, not with lawyers, not pompous professors, not cheap politicians, and definitely not the usual