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Showing posts from 2015

The system worked. Still, Tina Fontaine died. Who do we blame?

Killing a myth is a lot like killing a Hydra.  Lop off one head and two equally hideous grow back. Tina Fontaine became the poster girl of the murdered and missing aboriginal women movement. Like Doublemint gum, she was two, two, two in one---missing AND murdered. The biggest myth regarding 15-year-old Tina was also the most endearing to the M&M crowd --- only hours before she disappeared,  to be eventually killed by a person or persons unknown, two Winnipeg policemen had her in their custody but let her go her merry way despite the fact that she had been reported as a missing person.  If only they had done their job, she would be alive today. If only, if only... Then, fourteen months ago (yes, a year and two months ago) The Black Rod reported exclusively that Tina Fontaine WAS NOT MISSING when the police met up with her in the early morning of Aug. 8, 2014.  Nobody informed police that she was a missing person until the following day, Aug. 9, 2014.

Shooting Mark DiCesare: Did he have a gun? Or was it murder?

Manitoba's shiny new office to investigate police shootings has failed its first major test. When 24-year-old Mark DiCesare was surrounded by a veritable army of gun-toting police officers and blasted to eternity in an empty field in River Heights, the public wanted an answer to one, and only one, question. One. Count 'em. One. Did he have a gun? That's it. That's what everybody who heard the shocking news wanted to know. Did he have a gun? Once people knew the answer to that simple question, they could debate the need to shoot but at the same time would let the investigation take its course. "A police source" told the Winnipeg Free Press on Friday, Nov. 6, the day DiCesare was killed by Winnipeg police, that he did have a gun. And CJOB reported that "Brendan", who goes by one name like Madonna, also saw DiCesare with a gun, a "large" one. Yet, since the day police unloaded their deadly weapons, they've been strangely

Winnipeg Free Press: manipulating election coverage to boost Liberal fortunes

How far will the Winnipeg Free Press go to manipulate their election coverage to promote the Liberals? We got the answer Saturday when FP columnist Dan Lett went so far as to invent a scenario which allegedly took place at an all-candidates meeting in Winnipeg South Centre, one of the ridings the Liberals hope to recapture in Winnipeg, and which he then used to smear the Conservative incumbent. Under the rubric 'Analysis', Lett, who had been the moderator at the meeting, wrote: "It was all going well until (Joyce) Bateman piqued the ire of the crowd when she starting reading off a list of names from the Liberal campaign -- volunteers, paid staff workers and candidates alike -- who had been identified by the Tories as "enemies" of Israel ." Mission accomplished . The column was gleefully snapped up and reprinted in pro-Liberal sites across the Web.   It was enough to attract the attention of media watchdog Ezra Levant who did a bit of digging

"Fair and balanced" election coverage, as defined by the Globe and Mail

With the federal election campaign in full swing, it was only a matter of time before the issue of media bias bobbed up. On Saturday last, the Globe and Mail published a column by its "public editor" (remember when they were called ombudsmen?) Sylvia Stead which was titled:  "Who complains about campaign coverage – and why". The newspaper, said Sylvia, has an editorial code that "requires that The Globe maintain a reputation for “honesty, accuracy, objectivity and balance." Whiners aside, the Globe has lived up to its code, she said, and she, personally, is monitoring the balance of "overall coverage, where it plays within the paper" and even  "the number of photos."   So there.  Case closed. Welllll  ...  readers of The Black Rod know that we like to check assertions out for ourselves, so we went through Saturday's Globe cover to cover to see how Sylvia defines "fair and balanced" news coverage. Uh oh.

Is Tina Fontaine's mother among the Missing or Murdered?

One year after teenager Tina Fontaine's body was discovered  in the Red River, two memorial events were held.  One was on the Sagkeeng Reserve where she was raised by a great- aunt from the age of three;  another, much smaller, was at the Alexander Docks near where her body was located accidentally by a search party looking for someone else. The news media was out in force, feeding on the grief.  But none of the "professional journalists" seemed to notice that one important person wasn't at either of these gatherings. Tina's mother. At first glance, maybe it came as no surprise that Valentina Duck wasn't there. She's persona non grata on the reserve, where the responsible side of the family blames her for leading her departed 15-year-old daughter deep into the dark side where the seeds of her death are thought to lie. But her absence at the Alexander Docks is more troubling. The inner city is her turf. There's more than one connection wi

Tina Fontaine: pregnant, tortured and drowned. Her brother spills what he knows.

Fifteen-year-old Tina Fontaine was pregnant at the time she was killed. That's just a smidgen of what her older brother Charles revealed during an interview last week with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) in which he delivered a carpet bombing of details about Tina's sad life, horrific death, dysfunctional family and possibly murderous associates. He blamed his and Tina's mother for getting Tina hooked on the hard drug crystal meth and into prostitution.  He said his mother told him she was disowning him and "that if she ever sees me she's going to beat the shit out of me just like she did to Tina." This provides confirmation of a statement made a year ago when the Winnipeg Free Press interviewed Thelma Favel, who raised Tina Fontaine, on the Sagkeeng Reserve from when she was a child.   "... Fontaine claimed she had been beaten up by her mother and even texted pictures of her face, (Favel) said." (Winnipeg Free Press,

The Party line trumps free speech, privacy and democracy: NDP education apparatchik

Like most in Winnipeg, we were first shocked, then titillated by the news stories about the damning report into the Winnipeg School Division by John Wiens, "dean emeritus and professor, faculty of education, University of Manitoba," that was  released last week. Then we read the report. We can't recall ever reading a more alarming political document in recent Manitoba history. Instead of what we had been lead to believe from the news accounts --- that Wiens found the school board so dysfunctional that the province may have to seize control -- we found a biased attack by an NDP insider with a major personal conflict of interest whose intention was to discredit the school board to set up a hostile takeover by the NDP government. But that's not even the unnerving part. A careful reading of  the 106-page report revealed a chilling mindset of authoritarian governance that would be perfectly normal in North Korea or Soviet Russia---but never, ever in a free an