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Showing posts from January, 2010

Molehunt goes bad. Very bad.

For a brief shining moment the anti-Harper protesters in Winnipeg believed they had found the smoking gun that would bring down the government. They were giddy. CBC National was calling them for the goods. They had an eyewitness, names, even photos--- or so they believed. And then, pfft. It was over. There was a stampede for the exit. The only thing left was a bad smell. It was almost as if they realized they had been suckered by a Liberal plant. It all began last Saturday when barely 300 protesters turned up for an anti-prorogation rally at the University of Winnipeg. The organizers had expected a thousand or more but they put on a happy face and declared they were pleased by the eventual turnout. Winnipeg organizer Chris Burnett congratulated the troops for a job well done. John Johnston (" a fan of Michael Ignatieff") posted his photos of the rally after he "personally edited out...the people holding up the "Vote Green" signs. I wanted to k

Free Press junk journalism touts poll as boost for anybody-but-Katz crowd

If there's a way to cheapen journalism any further, the Winnipeg Free Press will find it. Case in point: Friday's story by "reporter" Mia Rabson titled 'Polling data suggest Katz is vulnerable.' Everyone knows that reporting on polls is the lowest, laziest form of journalism. But this was beneath even that pathetic standard. Mia Rabson went into full shill mode. Her "story" (with files from Bartley Kives) is about the opinion of unidentified sources about the alleged results of an unreleased poll conducted by an unknown person, group or party. "None of the sources would release the poll results, but all said they showed (Mayor Sam) Katz' re-election is far from a sure thing" wrote Rabson as if this was a legitimate story. The polling was done by Viewpoints Research, which is co-owned by Gary Doer's wife, Ginny Devine. So you can pretty much guess it was done for someone affiliated with the NDP. "The Winnipeg F

Who will apologize to Marty Minuk?

Hush. Do you hear it? There it is again. It's unmistakeable. The sound of dead silence . No screams of outrage. No chanting mob. No sneering headlines. No contemptuous lectures. Dead silence. If there's nothing to hear, there's lots to see. See, for instance, the difference between a real court of law and the mock courts the NDP uses for its show trials, notably the persecution of Derek Harvey-Zenk. "A speeding motorist who had alcohol in his system when he struck and killed a 12-year-old boy walking down a darkened Manitoba highway will not go to jail for his crime. Pernell Guimond was give a two-year conditions sentence…" wrote Mike McIntyre in a story published Jan. 13 in the Winnipeg Free Press. Oh? we said. That's on all-fours with the case of Crystal Taman who was killed when a car driven by off-duty East St. Paul policeman Derek Harvey-Zenk smashed into her car as it sat at at red light. He had been drinking with colleagues after his shi

Who will protest Manitoba's democracy deficit?

The heavily-hyped prorogation protest in Winnipeg drew barely 300 people (by the Winnipeg Free Press count) or 438 people (by one participant's count posted on the rally's official website). Organizer Chris Burnett said he was pleased. On Thursday he told the Winnipeg Free Press, "If there are less than 500 I will be disappointed." If only re-setting the bar was an Olympic sport, 36-year-old Chris would have a future. To prove they weren't partisan, the organizers started the rally at the University of Winnipeg, the base of hyper-partisan Liberal Lloyd Axworthy. To demonstrate their political acumen, they marched to the provincial Legislature, which has no connection to Stephen Harper, Parliament or prorogation. To illustrate they knew what they were doing, they walked in a circle and ended up right back at the U of W where they had hot chocolate. The protestors said they were standing up for democracy, not showboating for the Liberals or

In Defence of Brock Lesnar

Pass the hammer. We've got to knock some noses back into joint. UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar wasn't trashing Manitoba when he talked about receiving third-world health care in a Brandon hospital. He was holding up a mirror. Don't like what you see? Stomping your feet and making chauvinist squeals won't change the picture. Lesnar is a professional athlete; he knows pain. He's a professional mixed martial arts fighter; he knows extreme pain . So when he doubled over with pain while hunting with his brother in southwestern Manitoba last November, he knew it was something unusual and very serious. He was admitted to Brandon General Hospital on or about Nov. 7 only to find the CT scanner was out of commission and had been for four days. A CT scan is the most common test for a potentially life-threatening abdominal disorder like diverticulitis, which was what Lesnar had. So what's the problem, asks Carmel Olson, CEO of the Brandon regional health

Is the Disraeli Bridge debacle the start of a revolution at city hall?

We fell for it hook, line and sinker. The Disraeli Bridge Deception is a textbook example of everything that's wrong with city hall in Winnipeg. But this is an election year, and Mayor Sam Katz may find it one doublecross too many for people to stomach. It was April, 2008, when city hall announced that the aging Disraeli Bridge needed to be replaced expeditiously. The bridge had reached the end of its lifespan, we were told, and it was literally beginning to fall apart. But, in keeping with the modern mode of democracy, the public would be consulted about its preferences in a new bridge. So a series of public meetings were held where taxpayers could give their opinions on three bridge proposals which were variations of a four-lane refurbished Disraeli bridge with a new bicycle lane and a pedestrian walkway or two. The best-received, carrying a cost of $140 million, was duly announced. Twenty months later, City Hall is signing contracts for two bridges instead of on

Ignatieff swims in anti-semitic waters again

A day after the Liberals accused Canadian soldiers of war crimes, and the morning he allied himself with a government-funded organization fighting to retain its anti-Israel bias, Michael Ignatieff arrived in Winnipeg. He was on his cross-country university tour to bash the Conservatives. But even before he could start his trash-talk, he discovered that nobody cared because the earthquake that devastated Haiti dominated the news. "The timing is just fortuitous given what's happening, given the engagement of Canadians, particularly young Canadians," gushed Manitoba's only Liberal MP, the unfortunate Anita Neville, the night before. In short, it took a Stage 7 earthquake to overshadow the walking disaster that is Michael Ignatieff. While he wanted to whine to students about the progrogation of Parliament, the Prime Minister and his cabinet were coordinating relief efforts to Haiti. Ignatieff was left talking to people who don't vote about issues that d

Kaj to Toronto: Don't Trust Glen

MTC may have the hit play The Drowsy Chaperone, but we have our eyes on a real-life drama that's downright Shakespearean. A mighty visionary struck down by those he trusted most. His past sins risen as ghosts to haunt him at him on the eve of possibly his greatest success. Unbridled ambition. Bitter betrayal. If only the Bard were alive to chonicle the tale. Glen Murray, a legend in his own mind, is running as the provincial Liberal Party candidate in an Ontario by-election. His short stint as mayor of Winnipeg, along with his blinding urban visionary powers, are prime elements of his resume for the job. He sees himself as the unchallengable front runner. He's gay. The former MPP for the riding was gay. He's gay. The riding has the largest gay constituency in the country He's gay. And, as his fellow gay visionary, Richard Florida, has written, the future of cities depends on, well, you know. Imagine his surprise, then, to find himself blindsided by one of

The obvious questions about the Shamattawa arson

It takes a village to lose a child. And to cover it up. For a week information dribbled out of the Shamattawa Indian reserve regarding a tragic house fire. Yet, today, we know as little about what happened as we knew on Day One. * We know an 11-year-old boy, Edward Redhead, is missing and presumed dead. And a 16-year-old boy is in jail and accused of killing him. But we know next to nothing about the mysterious phone call made only minutes before the fire started, possibly from the very house, and which may hold the key to the events. * We know the caller was not Eddie's mother. CTV reported Friday his mother is dead. But its been reported the call, to a local pastor, was placed by the daughter of Eddie's grandparents, which would make her his aunt. * She told the pastor he would never hear from her again, and asked him to look after her son. Was she referring to the other boy in the story, the 16-year-old accused? Many people on the reserve know, and they'

Winnipeg TV newscasts surpassing dead-tree offerings

Readers forgive us, for we have sinned. We have to confess. As born-and-bred, dyed-in-the-wool newspaper consumers we never thought this day would come. But it's here. We would sooner watch the TV supper-hour news than reach for the daily paper. It hurt just to write that. Before television news directors dislocate their shoulders patting themselves on the back, we should add that when we say TV news, we mean that in the plural. You have to watch all three newscasts at the same time for the best effect. Watching the news has become a guilty pleasure. Year-over-year-wise, the quality of TV news has ratcheted up several notches as the quality of local newspaper coverage has plummeted. Undoubtedly, we have CBC to thank. They kick-started the process, and, to their credit, the other stations stepped up their game to match the Mother Corps. Competition is a wonderful thing. CBC, which for years had the desperate air of The Bay's bargain basement, has been reborn with the launch o

Shamattawa fire deaths may be linked to suicide

The second body found in a house destroyed by fire early Saturday morning on the Shamattawa Indian reserve will likely be identified as the mother of the missing 11-year-old boy who has already been named as the other victim . RCMP and band residents know this but are apparently withholding the information because her death may be a suicide which preceded the fire, according to evidence provided in separate news stories from the community. Pharoah Thomas, a Pentecostal pastor in Shamattawa, told the CBC on Tuesday that he "received a phone call early Saturday from a woman saying it would be the last time he ever heard from her and asked him to watch over her son. Then she hung up." Thomas told the Globe and Mail the phone call came from the daughter of the homeowners. The missing 11-year-old boy is the grandson of the homeowners. Although he is in the custody of Child and Family Services, he was on an authorized visit with his grandparents. The pastor told the