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Showing posts from March, 2010

Selinger's new stadium, big enough to hold the ballooning provincial deficit.

There. That didn't take long, did it? One week after the provincial budget, unelected Premier Greg Selinger has already overspent the projected deficit by $90 million. The province will borrow the money to lend to to a millionaire so he can achieve his lifelong dream of owning a football team. Who says this isn't a province of opportunity---for the rich and connected like Winnipeg's First Family of Millionaire Moochers, the Aspers. As predicted here last October baby brother David's big ideas to raise money to buy the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and build a new football stadium have gone nowhere. So he went running to where all millionaire moochers go, to the government. Sister Gail's sugar daddy was former premier Gary Doer who funnelled tens of millions of dollars of provincial tax money to her human rights museum. David now has his own sugar d

Who ya gonna call? The skinny on the Disraeli Bridge misdirection

Five weeks ago, The Black Rod got an e-mail from a resident of Point Douglas. He was frustrated at getting nowhere with city officials as he tried to get information on the plans for the Disraeli Bridge reconstruction. Actually, "nowhere" would have been one step closer than he got. The stone wall on information was so thick he couldn't even get acknowledgement that anyone had heard his knock. "Can you help?" he wrote. "Give us a couple of days," we replied. We quickly determined this was a story that needed as wide exposure as possible. As many as 14 homes in Elmwood were threatened with expropriation and the elected "representatives" of Point Douglas and Elmwood were ducking all questions from residents of the area. Our correspondent had taken his story to the mainstream media, particularly the Winnipeg Free Press and CBC, and had been given the brush-off from the "professional journalists." No story here

Selinger's vision: Spend Spend Spend, Tax Tax Tax

It had all the perverse fascination of a two-headed calf. Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk, who can barely speak English at the best of times, was mumbling and bumbling her way through her first budget. Her shellshocked NDP colleagues sat in stunned silence. They could barely rouse themselves to slap their hands together once or twice at the obligatory applause lines. You hear more enthusiasm at a funeral. The government of unelected Premier Greg Selinger was laying out its vision for Manitoba for the next five years: SPEND. SPEND. SPEND. Yup, the NDP is going to spend its way out of the recession. Gone is the pragmatic social democrat Gary Doer. In his place is doctrinaire socialist Greg Selinger. Deficits are good, balanced budgets are bad , said Wowchuk, his handpicked finance minister. In the good times past, the NDP spent every cent they could get their hands on. And in the current hard times, they're going to spend billions of dollars (they don't have

Sam Katz 2, Greg Selinger 0

We knew there was something wrong with the picture. They came together at a "hastily called" news conference to announce a deal to provide Winnipeg with a police cadet program. Days earlier they had been calling each other liars over claim and counter-claim that the provincial government under Gary Doer had promised to fund the program in full. So why was Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz grinning from ear to ear? He hadn't won the pissing match; he lost. The city will have to fund half the program, money which wasn't budgeted for. And why was Manitoba Justice Minister Andrew Swan wearing a frowny-face? He hadn't lost the pissing match; he won. The mayor and police chief did a lot of yapping, but when push came to shove, they caved and agreed to pay half, exactly what the public expected to happen. Thursday we got our answer. The Opposition Tories were leading the NDP under unelected premier Greg Selinger by seven points in the latest election

March Farce: The Free Press defends its Ottawa shill

We had no sooner started our spring cleaning--which consists of clearing our desks of stories we haven't gotten around to---when the first story we picked up almost caused us to spit out our morning coffee. Winnipeg Free Press Editor Margo Goodhand had written an "open letter" to Manitoba MP Vic Toews defending the FP's Parliament reporter Mia Rabson. She is not a Liberal Party shill, declared Goodhand. "Mia Rabson's just doing her job." "She's a good reporter..." Rabson "accurately depict(s) what's going on, as she has all along," according to Goodhand. Bwahahahaha. We needed a good larf. Right there in our story pile was the proof of how "accurately" Rabson depicts what's going on. The week before Parliament reconvened, Rabson went to work--- on the Conservatives. For the Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010, paper, she wrote a story not-so-subtly accusing the Conservatives of hypocrisy for scut

Brennan admits Hydro financial forecasts rejigged, denies adopting whistleblower recommendation

Manitoba Hydro CEO Bob Brennan dropped a barrage of bombshells on legislators Monday. At the same jaw-dropping meeting Liberal Party leader Jon Gerrard revealed the first details of the Hydro whistleblower's controversial 2008 report to Brennan, while the Conservative's new Hydro critic Rick Borotsik mocked the consultant and her advice to Hydro prompting Brennan to (reluctantly) come to her defence. And NDP Hydro Minister Rosann Wowchuk said the government is satisfied knowing that the whistleblower's complaint has languished for 15 months already, with no end in sight, because "the legislation is working." Given the gush of important Hydro news, we've delayed our planned evisceration of CBC's The Fifth Estate to do what the Mainstream Media failed to do---report the news. ******************** Bob Brennan revealed the following to the Crown Corporations Committee: * Hydro's revenues from U.S. sales are off this year almost $40 million be

Re-opening the Barbara Stoppel murder. Paging Inspector Clouseau

Winnipeg Police Chief Jack Ewatski made his bombshell announcement on June 8, 2000. He said police were convinced that Thomas Sophonow did not kill Barbara Stoppel in 1981, a crime for which Sophonow had been convicted by two juries. The public was stunned. Moreso because Ewatski (since retired) offered no reasons for his declaration other than saying a re-investigation of the case cleared Sophonow. Over the years it became known that at the time the police had another man in their sights as the prime suspect in the Stoppel murder---a man with a lengthy police record, a man named Terry Arnold. What the public didn't know was that by the day Ewatski publicly exonerated Sophonow, the case against Arnold had collapsed. Not that that was a surprise. The surprise, we've discovered, was that THE POLICE NEVER HAD A SHRED OF EVIDENCE AGAINST TERRY ARNOLD. The case against him was a mishmash of conjecture, fantasy, and rumination, much of it by one of the policemen assign

Re-opening the Sophonow Inquiry

CBC's The Fifth Estate launched a vile attack on former Crown Attorney George Dangerfield this weekend. It's biased, single-minded assault on a respected civil servant was so egregious it deserves, and will get, a separate evisceration of its own. In the meantime, though, we'll use the opportunity to take a close look at The Fifth Estate's chief prosecution witness---Tom Sophonow. * Thomas Sophonow was the first winner of the Manitoba NDP's Reward-a-Convicted-Killer Prize. He collected $2.6 million after the Winnipeg police abruptly declared in 2000 that he was innocent of the 1981 murder for which two juries convicted him. The reason provided obliquely to the people who had to watch him saunter off with their money was that police had discovered the real killer. It turns out the "evidence" for the exoneration was compiled by an amateur, wannabe profiler whose conclusions are so farcical they deserve a separate examination (which we'll