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Showing posts from March, 2009

Budget Briefs, Black Rod-style

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has come to the rescue of Gail Asper's vanity project, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. According to Toronto Star columnist Martin Knelman, McGuinty has committed the Ontario government to giving the Manitoba project $5 million, in installments of $500,000 a year for 10 years . "Premier Dalton McGuinty made the promise months ago to Gail Asper, chair of the fundraising campaign for the museum. But McGuinty asked for the deal to be kept quiet until he was ready to make an announcement." wrote Knelman in his column published Wedneday, March 25. Nothing about the museum contribution was in the Ontario '09 budget this week, so a formal announcement is probably waiting for Gail Asper to get back from a trip to Argentina. The money can't come soon enough. Private fundraising by Asper's organization, Friends of the Museum of Human Rights, has stalled millions short of the $105 million it pledged to raise for the project. The p

War in Afghanistan 2009 Week 13

"This war is lost." It was April, 2007, almost exactly two years ago. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, speaking for the Democratic Party, declared the Muslim terrorists had won the war in Iraq. "I believe myself that the secretary of state, secretary of defense and - you have to make your own decisions as to what the president knows - (know) this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything...," said Reid. Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby described the mindset of the time in a lookback this week (Bush's Folly is ending in victory, March 25, 2009): There was no military solution to the sectarian slaughter. The surge would only make the violence worse. Victory was not an option. The only choice was to partion Iraq and get out. That was then. This is now. ABC reporter Terry McCarthy filed this report on life in Iraq for World News Sunday: "Markets without bombs. Hummers without guns. Ice cream after dark. Busy streets without fear. Six years af

Inner City residents gave Police Advisory Board an earful of good advice

Well, well, well....What a different message we get when people in the Inner City are allowed to speak for themselves free from the filters of strident native ideologues and Marxist university professors. It turns out that what they say is diametrically the opposite of what we've been told by these very intermediaries who, we can now clearly see, have been twisting the public's words to fit their own private agendas. The Winnipeg Police Advisory Board should be applauded for letting the voice of the people be heard at last. The board's first annual report was delivered to city council late last week. Within its pages we can hear what Inner City residents really think about the police. What an eyeopener. It turns out the residents of the most crime-ridden centres of town welcome the police. They want more police. They want to help the police to do their jobs better. Their biggest complaint is that intimidation by gangs and drug dealers keeps them from providing the police wi

Reality of inner-city fears shocks Winnipeg Police Advisory Board

Slap Slap Slap Slap Slap If a written report could make a sound, that's the sound you would hear from the Winnipeg Police Advisory Board's first annual report. Everybody from the Premier, the Mayor, the Chief of Police on down to the members of the advisory board themselves get slapped in the report. The board failed to do what it's supposed to do, but in exchange it produced an amazing report that tips the apple cart of complacency about public safety and policing in the city . It's findings need to be trumpeted from the rooftops. Instead, the report, which was handed to city councillors last Friday, was met with near deafening silence by the news media in the city. Hey, it was Friday and what self-respecting news reporter wants to tie up a Friday night by reporting news. Only the Winnipeg Free Press reported the story, and even then it was buried deep in the Saturday newspaper instead of being highlighted on their cover page. At least reporters Bartley Kives and Gabr

War in Afghanistan 2009 Week 12

We confess. We've been knocked off our stride. Despite our best hopes, we haven't been able to put out a weekly Afghanistan report consistently this year. When we started our Afghanistan reports in 2006 we hoped to provide an overview of the fighting, primarily in Kandahar province where Canadian troops are stationed, and some analysis of the strategies involved. That gradually expanded to include military action throughout the country. Then into the lawless tribal regions of Pakistan. Last year as the Taliban tried to destabilize Pakistan and to spark a war with India, we began to get overwhelmed. We thought we could get a handle on it, but...obviously not yet. So this week we're using a time-honoured tactic---KISS---keep it simple, stupid. We'll focus on only a handful of topics while we regroup. ********* How time flies. Blink, and it’s already the season of the Feared Taliban Spring Offensive. As sure as geese fly north in the springtime, the mainstream media has b

A (Disraeli) Bridge Too Far

A high stakes poker game between anti-car activists and city consultants ended Wednesday morning. The bicycle buffs doubled down and the city called. Somebody was bluffing and somebody was dealing from the bottom of the deck. The pot? Only the design of the Disraeli Bridge rehabilitation project. You shoulda been there. And, in theory, you were. Because, you see, the anti-car cabal was representing you, the public, with the full approval of the city reps. Except that you didn't know it. This is the story of that double-dealing. Most Winnipeggers thought the public consultations stopped last Spring when the city held open houses on three possible designs for a rebuilt Disraeli freeway. Shortly afterward they announced the "winnah" ---a four lane bridge with a pedestrian walkway on the east side and a pricetag of $140 million. But before the project went to tender, the city administration revealed that there had been a teensy weensie change to the plan. It seemed that the

The Dog Days of Winter

The dog days of winter drag on but we won't let them get us down. We had to look for new sources of amusement, and in the news of late we found a treasure trove of hilarity. 1. Manitoba's First Family of Show Trials has settled for the booby prize in the fix-it sweepstakes. While other show trials have paid off in the millions (Sophonow, Driskell), the Taman family had to be satisfied with a palty $300,000 (and if history is any guide, a third of that goes to their lawyer.) The Tamans, led by widower Robert, sued everybody in sight for their emotional distress at losing wife and mother Crystal in a tragic car crash. They wanted damages, dammit. The long drawn-out process, they said, had destroyed "their ability to properly grieve and to function in society." They had tried to get over their pain by running to every television camera in sight during the public hearing. But then the reporters all went away, and there was a void that only money could fill. But, like the

Free Press takes one foot off Gail Asper's Museum bandwagon

You know the wheels are coming off the bus when the Winnipeg Free Press turns on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. " Overruns already?" asks the FP editiorial on Saturday. The newspaper now professes concern that the cost of the high profile project " could go wildly out of control ." Ya think? The museum's board of trustees informed Parliament this week that they miscalculated their operating costs by about $5 million (23 percent). Oh, and construction inflation is eating up another $1.2 million a month. Bwahahahaha. None of this comes as news to readers of The Black Rod. Two weeks ago we flagged the addition of $5 million to their operating costs. And nine months ago we told you all about the construction inflation. Funny how the FP didn't think it was news then. Saturday, May 10, 2008 The