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Showing posts from November, 2012

CMHR reaches for your wallet again.

If you thought this summer's $60 million government bailout of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was the last of your money going into this white elephant, then you haven't read their latest corporate plan. They want more. Lots more. Details in a minute... The museum's board of trustees realizes it has a great big horking credibility problem. Among the seven things the Museum "needs" to do is: * Restore and retain public confidence , developing and sustaining momentum and support until opening and beyond. Ya think? Just because the museum proponents... * lied to the Senate by promising that taxpayers would never be asked for more than the initial $100 million federal start-up money * deliberately lowballed the cost of the project at $265 million to get government approval---and financing * lied that the $310 million new cost was the bottom line guaranteed final figure * lied that the museum would pay its property taxes *

The live chicken and the dead duck

Reporters recently went gaga over the story of an activist who brought a live chicken to Winnipeg City Hall. A delegation showed up to pitch the joys of raising chickens in the city. One of them pulled a live chicken out of a bag. Security was called to get the fowl out. That's the kind of story that only comes along once in a lifetime. Of course, it was covered by every news outlet in the city. The story left everyone laughing. Everyone who isn't Brian Pallister, the newly minted leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba. In one minute, that chicken created more excitement than Pallister has managed in the six months since he announced his bid to be party leader. In the week before the current session of the Manitoba Legislature got underway, Pallister had two opportunities to create some buzz. He was the guest speaker at a Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce breakfast, surely a friendly audience. News coverage: zero. The nex

MLA Bob Wilson went down on drug charges after RCMP hid vital info from defence

It's shaping up as the biggest news story in Manitoba in 2012. And the timing couldn't be more perfect. On the eve of the resumption of the Manitoba Legislature, former MLA Robert Wilson has come face-to-face with the exoneration he's chased for more than 30 years , from the day he was arrested in 1979, to the day he was convicted in 1980, to the day he was expelled from the Legislature in 1981, stripped of his pay and pension. And his honour. Above all, his honour. For literally a generation, Bob Wilson, now 78 years old, has professed his innocence of the charges of conspiracy to import and traffic marijuana that destroyed his life. He became the monomaniacal Captain Ahab of Manitoba jurisprudence, hunting his personal white whale--- Ian Jackson "Whitey" Macdonald, a former friend and drug dealer whose surprise visit one evening enmeshed Wilson in an endless nightmare of accusations, prison, shame and regret. Wilson was arreste

The Winnipeg Firehalls Scandal by the numbers

The last time we looked at the Winnipeg Firehalls Scandal we demonstrated how the project degenerated progressively so that it went from: - a one million dollar surplus on the first new fire station, t hen -  a pair of big deficits on the next two, to. .. a fourth and final station being built by a process that's completely out of control with: -  no tender, -  no contract, -  no fixed budget, -  no timeline -  and no oversight. Now for the bad news. To justify city council approval to cover a cost overrun of at least $2.2 million on the firehall currently being built in St. James ( the last of the quartet okayed by council in 2009) the fire department submitted a "report". In it was a financial accounting of the project so far--- what was spent on which firehall and how it compared to the original budget. We spent a week pouring over the numbers. Here, for the first time ever, is a detailed report of how the new firehalls were built. If

Firehall Follies: Blowback. A swan song. Compare and Contrast.

The blowback came quickly. Only two days after grilling Winnipeg's most powerful civil servant, who is also the mayor's best friend, about the botched construction of a new firehall, protection committee chair Paula Havixbeck found herself out on her ear. Mayor Sam Katz replaced her as committee chairman by somebody he hopes is more compliant, Coun. Scott Fielding, in whose ward the new fire station is being built. Katz didn't even try to disguise his shuffle as anything less than retribution for embarassing his friend and Winnipeg CAO, Phil Sheegl. "...(He) would not respond to questions about whether her criticism of the fire-paramedic station replacement program played a role in that decision," was the way the Winnipeg Free Press told it. "Katz denied Havixbeck is being demoted, but did not answer questions on whether her criticism of a fire-paramedic station replacement program has played a role in the decision."