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Showing posts from November, 2010

Paper, Scissors, Rock---The story of 3 campaigns in Winnipeg North

Given the pathetic voter turnout in Winnipeg North (30.8 percent), the outcome hardly matters--- unless you're the unpopular, uncharismatic, unelected Premier facing his own election next year. More interesting was how strikingly different the byelection campaigns were. It makes you wonder if the parties were using the byelection as a testing ground for the federal general election that's likely to come sooner rather than later. Paper. The NDP went retro. They deluged households with election pamphlets introducing, promoting, endorsing, and championing their candidate Kevin Chief. Voters couldn't open their mailboxes without finding yet another glossy, full-colour election flyer for Chief. Recycling boxes groaned under the never-ending supply. Chief's campaign started well before the byelection was even called, overlapped the civic election, and went into overdrive in November. If anyone collected all the paper the NDP churned out they woul

FP reporters: Money for nuthin'

Somebody must have been spiking the coffee at the Winnipeg Free Press with truth serum this week. How else to explain the confessions that spilled out from reporters covering important beats, declarations that explain why the newspaper has become a worthless read. Legislature reporter Bruce Owen wrote Friday that Question Period, the meat and potatoes of his beat, bores him to tears. (Its) "a great time for me to catch up on email. That’s because, sitting up in the media perch, there’s not that much else to do." he said. "Other reporters check up on the Facebook profiles and one religiously plays BrickBreaker on his Blackberry. He’s gotten pretty good at it." Two days earlier, Owen's colleague, education reporter Nick Martin, made his own revelation on his little-read newspaper-sponsored blog. "I rarely attend board meetings anymore," he wrote. "It’s just not worth my time, or my employer’s time..." Oh? Doesn't the

Apologies and corrections: business as usual at the Winnipeg Free Press

It was juicy and irresistable. How could Michael Ignatieff resist? So he took the bait. Only when the hook pierced his aristocratic lip did the leader of the Liberal Party realize his mistake and begin thrashing about in panic. Winnipeg Free Press reporter Mary Agnes Welch, who had trolled the sweet treat in front of Iggy, tried to save him, but wound up being pulled into the swamp herself. And this just after she had crawled out and dried herself off after her shenanigans during the civic election. Welch was only trying to use Iggy to smear the Conservatives in the byelection in Winnipeg North. Who knew it would backfire so badly? The reporter, whose controversial record of slanted and inaccurate reporting precedes her, asked Ignatieff a leading question, how pundits were saying the wily Conservatives were running a Filipino woman to siphon off Filipino votes from the Liberals to throw the election to the NDP. Iggy bit. "Let's have a straight-up figh

Winnipeg police have lost control of the streets; Plus a brickbat for CTV

We've always respected the opinion of former police officer Robert Marshall, now an occasional writer for the Winnipeg Free Press. Which is why his latest column was so sad. And so troubling. Extremely troubling. Marshall wrote how the gang culture has poisoned communities to the point where honest citizens are afraid of helping police. "Snitches should not fear stitches" was some editor's idea of a clever headline for the story, wherein he or she adopted the gang lexicon that anyone who provides police investigators with information is a reviled "snitch". But politicians must not ignore the clarion call of Marshall's column --- police in Winnipeg have lost control of the streets! A spree killer roams the city for an hour, gunning down innocent people, and three weeks later, the best police can do, is beg for help? And that's the best-case scenario. Winnipeg police are actually suggesting that there might have been two or three killer

The Asper Stadium deal: a race to see who is the bigger fool

How apropos. The cobbled-together deal to finance a new stadium for Winnipeg was announced in the newspapers on April Fool's Day. It's certainly made fools of everybody connected to the devil's bargain, but no one more so than newly elected Mayor Sam Katz. They had barely swept up all the confetti from the victory celebration when Katz broke his only promise to the electorate . Throughout the whole election campaign, Katz and his challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis were peppered with questions about the (even then) shaky stadium deal. JustJudy (as she wanted to be called) was the more honest of the two. She would, she told a CTV mayoral candidates forum, give David Asper a blank cheque to finish his stadium with the initial design. Spend whatever it takes, she told the public. Katz chose to play coy, responding to all stadium questions with a packaged answer. The deal was for a $11

Asper's stadium deal--a Mad Hatter's delight. Plus a big bouquet to CTV News

The saga of the new Winnipeg stadium is getting more surreal by the day. Failed businessman David Asper appeared on CTV television Monday boasting," We are building a football stadium as designed." Who's 'we', Kemo Sabe? Asper doesn't have the money to build a doll house. The University of Manitoba, which is sitting on a bridge-financing loan from the province, can only afford to build three-quarters of the proposed stadium. (70 percent, actually.) Sam Katz, the re-elected Mayor of the City of Winnipeg, campaigned for two months on a promise to bring the deal back to council if Asper reneged on covering cost overruns. Instead, his first days back at work are spent in backroom meetings to save a deal that hasn't been approved by council. And unelected Premier Greg Selinger is preparing to spend another minimum of $45 million toward a new stadium without the consent of the Legislature. Literally the day before Asper announced that the cost o

Why have police nothing to report on the Wpg spree killer's rampage?

Two weeks after a spree killer spent his Saturday night gunning people down in Winnipeg's North End, the city has returned to normal . Only, the 'new' normal includes a cold-blooded murderer roaming free to search for new victims. What's wrong with this picture? If a cougar wandered into Winnipeg, killed two men in random attacks and mauled a teenaged girl almost to death, the city would be up in arms and demanding action from the authorities. But when similar carnage occurs in an unfavoured part of town, the authorities respond with a shrug and turn their eyes to bailing out a millionaire who wants to buy a football team but can't afford it , poor boy. Every few days the Winnipeg Free Press has been carrying a small update somewhere in the back pages telling the public that, yes, police are still in the North End in force and, no, nobody has been arrested for the two murders and two or three attempted murders during the spree killer's rampage.