The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Name:
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stickhandling won't save Selinger this time. Is his end sooner than expected?


So Greg Selinger lied to the public, lied to the Legislature, and lied to the press.
Since when is this news?

Why do you think we call him the dirtiest politician in Manitoba?

Even the most recalcitrant taxpayers caught on to his lying ways when he broke his (useless) word, during the last provincial election campaign, not to raise the provincial sales tax. He also openly broke the law to do it. Then he lied about why he lied, coming up with a new excuse for why he had to raise the PST as quickly as an old one was disproved.

Now he's admitted another lie, but only because he got caught dead to rights by CJOB.

In 2012 when it was revealed that NDP MLA's were gorging themselves on free tickets from public utilities and a raft of private groups to see the Winnipeg Jets, Selinger pretended to care.

He told the MLA's to pay back the cost of their freebies, to apologize to the people, and to promise not to do it again.  He failed to mention that he was among those at the trough for free tickets.

(Believe it or not, The Black Rod believed Selinger was  lying even back then:
MONDAY, MAY 14, 2012
Premier Greg Selinger isn't talking about his free Jets ticket
When Premier Greg Selinger released a list of 13 NDP MLA's who got free tickets to Winnipeg Jets games he forgot one name -- his own.)

On Wednesday, he remembered that, oh yeah, he did watch a Jets game on a free ticket. But, he reasoned lamely, it wasn't really free because five weeks later he made a charitable donation to a group that had nothing to do with the Jets, the arena, or, well, hockey in any way, shape or form. See, all cleared up.

Uh. Nope.

This time everybody knows he's lying. They know it because the news outlets are citing Hansard from May 9, 2012, when Selinger was asked specifically about taking free tickets:

 Mr. McFadyen: And so I just - I need to ask the Premier, and I think he knows I need to ask the question: I know he had the opportunity to attend games, did he have any tickets provided to him that he didn't pay for personally?
Mr. Selinger: No.

That was a lie, we know now.  Selinger attended a game on Dec. 29, 2011, on a "ticket provided to him that he didn't pay for personally." 

Selinger was the guest of Ken Cheveldayoff, a Saskatchewan MLA and, it just so happens, the brother of Kevin Cheveldayoff, executive vice president and general manager of the Winnipeg Jets.

Now, do you think that Kevin is so chintzy that he's not going to comp his own brother?  He's going to make his brother buy a couple of tickets on the VISA, but let him sit in the MTS Centre's private box so those pricey tix go to waste?  Puh-lease.

Ken got a couple of freebies and, God knows why, took Greg Selinger with him.  Selinger says he offered to pay for his ticket, but Ken C. said to forget it.  Of course he did. What? He's going to get comped tickets, then sell one of them for beer money?

Selinger says Ken told him to make a donation somewhere instead of paying for the Jets ticket.  And that's what Selinger said he did -- five weeks later he "made a donation of $300 to Friends Housing Inc."

Here's the problem -- Friends Housing has no connection with the Winnipeg Jets! Or Ken Cheveldayoff. 

The only way Selinger could pay back the cost of his free ticket was to write a cheque to either of those two,  the team that sells the tickets or the person who provided him with the ticket.

Friends Housing is a third party with no relationship to either. So any donation to them does not benefit the Jets, which is the purpose of selling tickets in the first place, or to Ken C., who could legitimately claim ownership of the ticket used by Selinger. 

If Selinger had made a donation in Ken's name to a charity and sent Ken the receipt, then maybe he would be off the hook, provided, of course, that the cost sitting in the MTS Centre private box is $300 and that's a true price.

Greg Selinger made a personal donation to a non-profit organization. It was not repayment for a free ticket provided to him; the person who took him to the Jets game didn't even know about the donation.

The more serious offence is Selinger's statement intended deliberately to mislead the Legislature.

That is contempt.

Following the Throne Speech today, Oppositon Leader Brian Pallister must make a motion to hold Selinger in contempt of the Legislature for his lie. 

He has to do it Thursday, because previous rulings in the Legislature on the issue say such a matter must be raised "at the earliest opportunity" or be dismissed.

If the Speaker rejects the motion (to refer the contempt to the Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs), the Opposition could ask the House to overrule him. He may count on the votes of the five rebel NDP MLA's who have challenged Selinger's leadership.  He may flush out others in the NDP caucus who support the rebels, and who would have a way to open up an internal campaign to replace Selinger as leader. Can you say Christine Melnick, who was thrown under the bus by Selinger for lying to the Legislature?

And speaking of the rebellion against Selinger, who was it that leaked the Jets story?  Of the Gang of Five, three (Stan Struthers, Andrew Swan and Erin Selby) were among the 13 shamed for taking free tickets to Jets games.
 
We're betting on Swan who got no sugar from Selinger during the ticket scandal in '12. Revenge is sweet.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Brian Bowman as Mayor. Day One -- Promise Number One. Broken.


Brian Bowman has set a new record for the shortest time spent by a mayor before breaking a major election promise.

Even disgraced Mayor Sam Katz waited a few months before revealing to voters that they had been suckered by his stance while campaigning against Judy Wasylycia-Leis against raising propery taxes.

Bowman on Tuesday hadn't even been sitting in the Mayor's chair long enough to warm it up before he announced that his vaunted promise to let city council elect the members of the powerful executive policy committee was null and void.

And, like a weasley lawyer, he came prepared with an excuse for why he couldn't do the very thing he had been telling voters for months that he would do.  He blamed somebody else. Actually, he blamed pretty much everybody else except himself.

He blamed the law. It had to be amended by the provincial government, and he would get right on that. He blamed the city administration which broke the news to him that a council election was forbidden.  And he blamed his advisors for giving him bad advice.

What he failed to do was say what the City of Winnipeg Charter actually reads:

Mayor's appointments
59(1) At the first meeting of council after a general election, the mayor must appoint
(a) a deputy mayor;
(b) an acting deputy mayor;
(c) the chairpersons for the standing committees of council, if such committees are established by council; and
(d) members of the executive policy committee of council under clause 61(1)(c), if any.
 
EXECUTIVE POLICY COMMITTEE AND OTHER COMMITTEES
Executive policy committee established
61(1) There shall be an executive policy committee of council composed of
(a) the mayor, who is the chairperson of the committee;
(b) the chairpersons of the standing committees of council, if any such committees are established; and
(c) any other members of council appointed by the mayor.

Hmmm. Nothing that would ban the mayor from holding a vote to gauge the will of council over who should sit on EPC before he appointed the members.

So much for 'change' and 'can do' spirit at City Hall.  Instead of showing bold leadership, Bowman showed the limited mindset of a lawyer who is looking for reasons why he can't do what he promised.

Worse, is how easily the city administration made him their puppet.  This is the same administration that's rejected all criticism over the egregious mismanagement, if not actual corruption, behind the series of city construction projects that plagued Katz's last years in office. Bowman showed how easily he can be controlled.

Bowman's first act as mayor was to prove his ignorance of how the city works. 

If he continues on this path, he will quickly grow frustrated, like all Gen Xers who don't get their way.  Then he'll quit because 'this isn't fun anymore.'

Memo to Robert Falcon Oullette:  keep your election signs. You may be dusting them off for a byelection in a few years.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Explaining the worst political party revolt ever, in one word.

Let's play charades.  We'll start.
Four  words.

Washing hands.
Wringing.  Washing.  Soap.

Dirty hands.

Dirty.

Okay, next word.

Stripper pole.

Pole.

Pole...ish.

No.  Start over.  Vote.  Voting.  Ballot.

Oh, Pole-itics.

Next word.

Here.

Now.

Everywhere?   Map.

Man.

Manitoba!

Dirtiest Politician in Manitoba!

GREG SELINGER!!!!

Do we win?  

No. With Greg Selinger, everbody loses.

In less than a week,  the Dipper Follies has become the best show in town, with everyone glued to their radio and television sets for the latest twist and turn.

What melodrama!   Five dissident MLA's.  Careers on the line. Stare-downs. Ultimatums. Veilled threats of retaliation.  A resignation expected yesterday, today, tomorrow.

Like Scandal, the TV show? No, more like NDP Friends, with Stan Struthers in the Joey role.
 
The dissidents are called the Rebel Five in the press. It sounds like a rockabilly band.  Suddenly, in the eyes of the pundits, the gang-of-five are the hip kids in school;  the last time that happened to them was, like, never.
For those who tuned in late, here's a recap what the foofarah is all about:  five NDP cabinet ministers say that NDP Premier Greg Selinger doesn't listen to them.  He's mean and they'll never, ever get back together.  (Apologies to Taylor Swift.)

What?  You thought there was more?

For all the strum-und-drang in the news, that's it?

It almost makes you think ... this whole thing ... is a.. 

CHARADE.

We predicted three years ago, almost to the day, that Greg Selinger would be gone before the next provincial election:
http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2011/11/some-people-havent-yet-realized-that.html

By the next election, Greg Selinger will be 64. Unless he intends to be a Premier collecting an old-age pension, he will hand off the leadership of the NDP by then to a new generation and the NDP can present themselves as a renewed and refreshed government for reelection.

The playbook laid it out:  the leader resigns, a leadership convention is held just before an election is called, Kevin Chief becomes the new face of a fresh, shiny new party facing down a tired, old Opposition lead by a retread has-been.

But that was before the vaunted NDP machine imploded:
- A major broken promise in raising the provincial sales tax to 8 percent. 
- A string of billion-dollar deficits.  
- The bottom of the barrel in education and health measures. 
- An openly racist cabinet member applauded by his caucus. 
- Internal polls show the party is in "annihilation" territory.

An orderly transition of power is no longer viable. According to the "sources" feeding the Winnipeg Free Press,  that public is fed up with the NDP. So how to achieve the same goal, but in a different way?
Step One.  If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. 

Run against your own party.  Or, at least make it appear you're running against your own party.

Have you noticed that the Rebel Five are hardly rebelling against anything? They quit their cabinet posts, but plan to stay in the NDP caucus.  They will support the NDP in the Legislature, vote for NDP bills, and they plan to run as NDP candidates in the next election.

They're not even against the increase in PST.  

Struthers, as Finance Minister, happily introduced it and defended it, they all voted for it.  Their only beef, as we understand it, is that they didn't get to build a case for raising the tax before imposing it.  In other words, if you, the hoi polloi, only understood why the NDP raised the PST, you would support them.

They also hint that mean Mr. Selinger won't listen to them. 

About what? They won't say.

Step Two.  So, essentially, their "rebellion" is a PR campaign to allegedly pit them against Greg Selinger, to, ahem, "force" Selinger to quit so that the party can elect a new leader.  A "new" leader who supported the same Selinger policies for the past five years.  In a nutshell, a new face on the same policies.

This is straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook.  We explained how that works here:
http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2011/10/spilling-beans-on-selinger-where-he.html

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

The "rebels" have identified Greg Selinger as the target. You don't want the voters taking out their frustration on the entire NDP. With the Rebel Five, acting as voter surrogates, attacking Selinger, they can focus public antagonism on him, and bleed off that antagonism when he resigns (which he will).

Step ThreeA blood sacrifice is the only thing that will satisfy the mob.

Selinger is a good soldier. He will fall on his sword for the good of the cause.  He knows somebody has to take the hit to mollify the angry public. He will jump on the grenade if that's what it takes.

Selinger was behind the vile, gutter politics of the 2011 campaign. Only hard-core NDP voters aren't repulsed by him today. He's the perfect villain for an internal "revolt."  Semper Fi.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

WPD Chief Clunis knows the REAL reason police failed to detain Tina Fontaine


Winnipeg Police Chief Devon "Mack Daddy" Clunis is a big believer in prayer, and right now he's praying you don't find out that he might have been responsible for why teen runaway Tina Fontaine wasn't picked up by police the day before she was last seen alive.

By now everyone knows that two officers spoke with 15-year-old Tina Fontaine in the wee hours of August 8 after stopping a vehicle in which she was a passenger.  They took down her name, we're told, then sent her on her way.  But at the time, so the story goes, she had been reported to police as missing, and should have been apprehended.

The police department revealed the contact with Tina last month and announced an internal investigation of the circumstances.  Friday, Clunis said the resulting report would be sent to the Crown Attorney's office for review, implying that charges could be laid against the two police officers.

What he failed to say is that Tina Fontaine was probably released by the officers because they were following the policy introduced by none other than Clunis himself on dealing with street prostitutes.

Clunis, you see, wants police to be more social worker than law enforcer. Nine months before Fontaine was killed, Clunis announced the creation of an anti-exploitation unit to build relationships with prostitutes rather than arrest them.  Police would, henceforth, harass the johns but not the hookers, who were to be treated with kid gloves.  They were, after all, victims in their own right.

The incident where police spoke with Fontaine has all the elements of a roust. Police just happened to be around when Fontaine, who was known to prostitute herself in the area, got into a truck with an unknown male driver in the middle of the night. They stopped the truck and questioned the two occupants. Fontaine was released to go on her way; the driver, who was, allegedly, intoxicated, was taken to the drunk tank.

If he was drunk, why wasn't he charged with drunk driving? Because the officers didn't want to spend time waiting for a breathalyzer test. They wanted to get back on their "beat" asap.

Why wasn't Fontaine held in custody and returned to CFS care?  Here's where the story goes off the rails.
Tina Fontaine was a chronic runaway.  After running away from her aunt's care in Sagkeeng in November and being returned, she went missing again in July.  

RCMP in Powerview reported on July 11 that they had received a missing persons report regarding Tina Fontaine on July 10. She was last seen, they said, on July 1 in Winnipeg. Then, on July 17, they issued a news release saying she had been found safe and sound.

Her great-aunt Thelma Favel, who lives on Sagkeeng, had been unable to reach Tina in Winnipeg for over a week and had therefore reported her missing July 10.  Tina's mother Tina Duck later (after Tina's body was discovered) told reporters that she had spent "the better part of the week" with Tina, obviously unbeknownst to Favel.

Follow, so far?

Media reports say she was missing again on July 31, only two weeks later. Thelma Favel says Tina had been gone since about July 26, according to what she learned from a child care worker. 

Tina's aunt, Lana Fontaine, told CBC that the girl stayed with her over the August long weekend, Aug. 1 to 5. She added that Tina phoned CFS on Aug. 5 and was taken back into their care.

Neither Winnipeg police nor Powerview RCMP issued a missing persons alert regarding the July 31 disappearance of Tina Fontaine. 

According to the best evidence, she was back under CFS care as of Aug.5.

That means that when she was questioned by two Winnipeg police officers, in the early hours of Aug. 8, SHE WAS NOT MISSING.

Again....if what Tina's aunt Lana Fontaine told CBC is the truth, then 15-year-old Tina Fontaine WAS NOT A MISSING PERSON when she came into contact with two policemen on Aug. 8, contrary to everything you have been told or have read since the revelation that police spoke to her and failed to take her into custody 24 hours before her final disappearance!

She was reported missing Aug. 9, police issued a news release Aug. 13 "requesting the publics assistance" in locating her, and her body was found in the Red River Aug. 17.

When the officers spoke with her that night she was NOT a missing person; she was a hooker with a john.  The officers were just following the policy laid down by Mack Daddy Clunis when they questioned Tina and let her go.

Mack Daddy Clunis prefers his hookers to stay on the street rather than in jail or on bail.

But why he's letting false information stand without contradiction to let it poison relations between police and the native community is a question the Winnipeg bpolice commission needs to answer -- and fast. Amen.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Campaign financing laws are for chumps: union-backed Mayor candidate Judy W-L


The NDP-backed candidate for mayor, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, has broken election law by accepting donations from a union.

Two days ago the Winnipeg firefighters union announced it was endorsing her for mayor. But yesterday that endorsement exploded in her face when another mayoral election candidate, Robert Falcon-Ouellette, started asking questions about the extent of the union's support.

Union boss Alex Forrest sneered "It's a stupid complaint."  He then told the Winnipeg Free Press that the signs carried and t-shirts promoting Wasylycia-Leis by his members "were all invoiced to her campaign."   
 
Reporter Aldo Santin got confirmation from the Wasylycia-Leis campaign that the items will be a reported campaign expense.

That's what's known in police circles as "a confession."

The city bylaw governing municipal elections, passed under orders by the provincial NDP government, states categorically:

Prohibited contributions not to be accepted
9(1) A registered candidate in an election shall not
(a) solicit or accept a contribution from
(i) a person who is not an individual normally resident in Manitoba, or
(ii) an organization;

And:
"organization" includes
(a) a trade union, a partnership and an unincorporated association,

The union broke the law by contributing advertising material to her campaign, and she broke the law by accepting it, proved by her appearance at the endorsement announcement and her campaign's statement that the material will be reported as a campaign expense.  

This is the second mayoral campaign for Wasylycia-Leis, so she has no excuse for not knowing that union donations are specifically outlawed, whether they are reported as an election expense or not.

The penalty for breaking campaign financing legislation?  

None.

Anyone caught has to either pay for the illegal donation or give it back.  That's it.

This isn't the first time that NDP election campaigns have broken financing legislation. The fact they have never been punished may have encouraged the Wasylycia-Leis campaign to thumb its nose at the law.
In the 2010 election, attendees at a public meeting heard NDP-backed council candidate Ross Eadie declare he couldn't run if it wasn't for the financial support of the NDP.  Despite 8 complaints filed with Marc Lemoine, described as Winnipeg senior election official, he did nothing to investigate the matter.

In 1999, the provincial NDP party defrauded the province for $76,000 in rebates for election expenses attributed to union volunteers. The fraud was kept secret with the collusion of Manitoba's Chief Electoral Officer, Richard Balasko.  
 
See the details here:

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The Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Facts the MSM won't tell you.


The CMHR hasn't filed any financial reports for the past nine months. What are they hiding?
The last advance from the federal government was turned over in December. They were supposed to be collecting IOU's from donors throughout the year to keep in the black. 

Was there a problem with the collections? Is that why the museum is still not ready to open?
They made a big stink about holding the opening ceremonies the day before the museum's announced opening date.  But when that date (Sept. 20) came around, they were nowhere near ready for visitors.  Only 4 of 11 galleries were open to ticket holders, 9000 of whom were allowed in for free because the museum couldn't charge admission to less than half the exhibits.
Even then, the 4 open galleries were still unfinished.  Watching a CBC cameraman zoom in on a plywood board screwed to a wall, with the reporter asking a museum flak what was supposed to go there, was priceless.
The federal government is on the hook for at least $160 million for the CMHR, although they will claim their contribution is only $100 million. The federal and provincial government lost another $67 million in taxes because the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a registered charity and gives out tax receipts.
H/T to Dave Christianson, financial columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press who wrote this about the museum:
http://advisors.nbfwm.ca/en/teams/christianson-wealth-advisors/dollars---sense-articles/benefits-of-donating/
"And, since my newspaper contract requires it, let me tell you of the great tax benefits available to you by donating money or appreciated shares. Every $1,000 donated to a registered charity will generally save you $450 of federal and provincial tax. (The credit on the first $200 donated each year attracts a smaller credit, so combine all of the family donations onto one tax return.)"
The Harper government quietly forked over $10 million in 2011 because the museum was almost out of money for construction.  The money was supposed to be for annual operating funds, but the museum didn't need it for that purpose and got the okay to divert the money to capital costs. 

That's $10 million that won't be repaid.
The feds handed over another $50 million in 2012 when the museum was flat broke and facing disaster. The money is officially "an advance" to be "repaid" starting in 2016 from reduced operating funding. 

Yeah, like the CMHR will ever raise $50 million from admission fees and t-shirt sales.
Maybe that's why the federal government is refusing to pay the equivalent in city taxes. The bill has grown to about $8 million over the past two years, equivalent to a two percent cut in your property tax

CMHR president and CEO Stu Murray used to claim the museum would pay its tax bill. Reporters from the MSM don't ask him anymore.

It's a good thing, because he has no idea where he would find the money.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The Holocaust lie that won't die.



Last Friday, following the official opening ceremonies at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Winnipeg Free Press, the propaganda arm of the museum, updated with video and slideshow many of the stories it had published in the run up to the opening.
One of these was a column by "professional journalist" Dan Lett that appeared Aug. 1st. 
Something he wrote stuck in our craws back then and the update gives us an opportunity to remind Lett - he's entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.  He wrote:

"(The Holocaust) gallery, as promised, focuses not on the atrocity per se, but on how the Nazis used legal means to galvanize their genocidal policies. And how the Holocaust directly resulted in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, the first attempt to codify in international law the principle that no country can pass laws to dehumanize any group of citizens.

Er, no
We reported more than a year ago that that canard had been dispelled.   We quoted an interview Dr. Clint Curle, the former curator of the Holocaust gallery, gave to the Winnipeg Jewish Review:
http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2013/04/another-of-gail-aspers-human-rights.html
Dr. Curle: The organizational framework for the museum has evolved over time. One of our challenges has been to conceptually locate the Holocaust and the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in the Museum. The historical proximity of these two events suggested an inspiring relationship between violation and response. As content development moved forward, the Museum, with the input of experts in this area, realized that this relationship oversimplified both the history of the Holocaust and the history of the Universal Declaration, and exaggerated the actual historical connections between the two. In its present conceptual articulation the Museum has de-linked a direct causal relationship between the Holocaust and the Universal Declaration."

Added Curle:

"Taking the Holocaust on its own terms in this way speaks powerfully to broader human rights concerns regarding the power of the modern state, the vulnerabilities of civil society to become an instrument of oppression, and the controversial relationship between war and human rights protection, but
does not instrumentalize the Holocaust to tell a creation myth about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Questions about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights the MSM won't ask. Like this.


Two words describe the CMHR:  Bait and Switch.

Remember how it was pitched?
  A translucent, other-worldly shimmering wonder.  Like this:
 
 
 
Five years and $351 million later, we got a giant ugly blue blob:
 
 
 
Iconic?  Only if you think the Kaiser's helmet is iconic...
 
 
Can we get our money back?

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Monday, September 08, 2014

RRC president Forsyth wasn't the only one to leave under a cloud


This story is awkward to tell.

But it's necessary to tell it because the Board of Governors of Red River College has decided to hide from the public the real reason for the abrupt disappearance of Stephanie Forsyth, the college's president and CEO for the past four years.

One minute she was here; the next, she was gone, with the college issuing only a short statement that the Board "and Ms. Stephanie Forsyth wish to announce that as of August 31, 2014 Ms. Forsyth will not be continuing in her role as President of Red River College for personal and family reasons."

When pressed for more detail, Board chairman Richard Lennon elected to play word games. The Alice-in-Wonderland fairy tale woven by Lennon was captured best in the Winnipeg Free Press:
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/silence-surrounds-presidents-exit-273890331.html

"Lennon said the board did not ask Forsyth to go and he insisted it would be inaccurate to say she resigned -- Red River's favoured phrase is that Forsyth stepped down.
"She approached the board and that led to a discussion,..."
"There's an agreement -- we don't discuss the terms of a staff member's departure."

But Stephanie Forsyth wasn't just a staff member. She was the staffer at the very top.


From the day her hiring was announced, she was touted as a role model for women and for aboriginals, each community able to point to one of their own in charge in one of the most powerful jobs in the province.

Her mysterious departure is a black eye for both of them -- women and aboriginals.
Forsyth was dogged almost from the start with the image of a dictatorial manager with an imperial lifestyle which she expected the taxpayer to pay for. But was it another lifestyle that finally sank her?

When word was circulating at the beginning of August (well before the unexplained approach Forsyth allegedly made to the Board) that she was toast, another scandal had already run its course.

A sex scandal.

A gay sex scandal.

Another high profile, high ranking college administrator had vacated their office on the QT before the new school year started -- and when Stephanie Forsyth was still the college president.

The sordid details had this administrator having a sexual affair with a student at Red River. Since no charges were laid, it appears the student was of age, and, we're told, was in a different faculty. The problem for the administrator was that they had taken the student on trips.

Was the college on the hook for the hook-up? We may never know.

But the Board of Governors has now opened the question: did the gay sex scandal have any bearing on Stephanie Forsyth's departure? 
 
Did Forsyth, a lesbian, know about the same-sex affair between a staffer and a student and do nothing?

Awkward.

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

Stephanie Forsyth punted from Red River College: The real story why.



Stephanie Forsyth knew the jig was up when they started asking about her new marble floors counter tops and backsplash. (h/t to someone who knows)

There's a saying in baseball.  No, it's not "There's no crying in baseball."  The saying is "Three strikes and YOU'RE OUT!"

Strike One was discovering in March, 2013, that Red River College paid for $205 golf shoes, and the new tires for her car, and even her driver's licence -- which led to some repayment and a lot of red faces. (h/t CTF)

Strike Two was the revelation in November, 2013, that the college covered the cost of rented tables and chairs for a party Forsyth held at her house for friends who were attending the wedding of somebody whose name is being kept secret by Red River. Forsyth paid back the cost, even though college officials said the expense was perfectly legitimate. (Once again, thanks to the Taxpayers Federation)

But how to explain how marble, bought for the remodelling of the Union Bank Tower into the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, wound up in Stephanie Forsyth's house on Wellington Crescent? Impossible.

We've been through enough forced resignations to see through the "official" explanation for Stephanie Forsyth's sudden departure.

The Winnipeg Free Press reported that Richard Lennon. chairman of Red River's Board of Governors, said Forsyth approached the board in mid-August to discuss "moving on," and her departure took effect Sunday "by mutual agreement"."

He lied.

Let the facts tell the real story.

In late June, Forsyth's female spouse Debbie Scarborough told friends she had taken a job as executive director of South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS) in Penticton, British Columbia. She described it as an umbrella organization for transition house, safe homes, children who witness programs and other programs. She called it her dream job.

"Stephanie is staying in Winnipeg and at Red River College. We are doing the distance thing and commuting," she stated explicitly July 3.

On July 7, Forsyth, still expecting to keep her job, posted on her blog a policy change regarding application forms:

Continuing to Create an Open an Inclusive Campus
July 7, 2014
I am pleased to announce that Red River College has a new application form that is gender inclusive. Now, when prospective students apply for programming at RRC they will no longer be limited in their to choice to self-identify.
Students will now be able to select if they are male, female, another gender identity (this may include Aboriginal two-spirit, transgender, and other), and they may also choose to decline to answer as well.

http://www.stephanieforsyth.ca/

She was still using her Red River twitter account on July 13 when she retweeted some inane messages about flying cars, roll-up televisions, and hot weather in B.C.

Then sometime in the following three weeks the curtain came down on Forsyth's career at Red River College.

By the first week of August, citizen journalists in Winnipeg had been alerted to the granite trail, and were given the heads-up that "she will be leaving by the end of August."

The whistleblower had it pegged down to the exact date of her departure. More than a week before "mid-August", her fate had been cast. The only discussion she would be having with the board was how much their gross mistake in hiring her was costing the college.

On August 25, she retweeted a flurry of messages.  Then her twitter account went dead.
https://twitter.com/rrcprez

Richard Lennon and the rest of the  Red River Board of Governors have every reason to spin a phony story about why their prize hire is getting the bum's rush.
They were alerted three years ago that she was bad news who thought she was above little peoples' rules, and for whom ethics was a mug's game.

That was when Forsyth did a favour for her friend Margo Goodhand, then-editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, by ordering her college minions to kill a talk show on the college-sponsored radio station after Goodhand complained that the show was upsetting her reporters by its criticism.

The gesture backfired bigtime when the show's supporters did some digging and discovered that Forsyth was controlling the station through a secret and illegal committee that reported only to her. 

Once the CRTC caught wind of the scam, Forsyth scrapped funding for the station, killing it and eliminating the hands-on training given to radio broadcast students, and saddling Red River college with hundreds of thousands of dollars of the station's debt.
The Board covered for her during the radio scandal, and the golf shoes scandal, and the wedding party scandal.  But in a city ridden with one construction scandal after another for two years now, the granite was just too heavy to hide under the rug.

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Monday, September 01, 2014

The latest Winnipeg mayoral election poll: Next time try tarot cards.


It's hard to say who should be more embarrassed by the latest mayoral election poll --- the pollsters, the press, or the funders?
 
The first crowd-sourced election poll in Canada turned out to be such a bust that the pollsters had to invent something new to give its funders to justify taking their money.

Winnipeg's Probe Research Inc. issued a poll grading the support of the candidates for mayor, but with a 29 percent undecided response, the poll was less reliable than your daily horoscope. Ten percent undecided would be large.  Twenty percent would be huge.  But almost 30 percent is a joke, a bad joke that invalidates the alleged results.

In a desperate move to keep some credibility, Probe Research invented a momentum index, claiming to measure which candidates are moving up in public opinion and which down. 

When was the last time you heard of something like this?  Hint: NEVER.

But they had to deliver something to the private group, Manitoba Forward, and the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg who fronted most of the cost of this exercise and who should complain to the BBB of polling -- if there is such a thing.

Do you want to know how useless this mayoral poll is?  Just compare it to a similar poll conducted before the 2010 civic election:

Judy, Sam neck and neck in poll
Mayor a little behind challenger in one sample, a little ahead in other
By: Bartley Kives  Posted: 10/2/2010

THE METHODOLOGY Probe Research conducted telephone interviews with 600 randomly selected Winnipeg adults between Sept. 16 and 30. One can say with 95 per cent certainty that the results, taken from a subsample of 439 people who intend to vote, have a margin of error of 4.7 per cent. The sample was statistically weighted to conform to Winnipeg’s demographics.

THE LARGER SAMPLE If you look at the entire 600-person sample — including people who do not intend to vote — Katz is ahead of Wasylycia-Leis by a three-point mar­gin, 50 per cent to 47. The results re­main a statistical dead heat, within the margin of error of four per cent. Probe Research president Scott MacKay considers this sample a less reliable snapshot of actual voting intentions.
THE race for mayor of Winnipeg is now a statistical dead heat. Incum­bent Sam Katz has lost the polling lead he held all year and is now even with challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

According to a Probe Research poll conducted in late September exclu­sively for the Free Press, Wasylycia-Leis is the preferred choice of 50 per cent of Winnipeg voters. Katz sits three points behind with 47 per cent support and Brad Gross and Rav Gill garnered the remaining three per cent. The mar­gin of error for these results is 4.7 per cent.
snip
The overall results point to Winni­peg's closest mayoral race since 1998, when Glen Murray squeaked by Peter Kauffman by 10,569 votes.
  

Well.....as it turned out that poll was indicative of absolutely nothing.  Sam Katz trounced JustJudy by double digits.  He collected just shy of 55 percent of the vote, she not quite 43 percent. She lost by almost 25,500 votes, hardly the squeaker predicted by Probe.

The only benefit of the 2014 Probe mayoral poll was as fodder for the news media's narrative of the election campaign.  You see, modern journalists don't report the news anymore---they create the news, as CJOB's Richard Cloutier did when he disrupted a Gord Steeves news conference because Steeves wouldn't play the foil to CJOB's live broadcast. 

The current narrative is 'left-wing candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis (she's abandoned the folksy, aw shucks Just Judy persona) vs. a gang of right-wingers.' 

It's a retread. That was last year's media narrative also.

This year was supposed to be the sweep into City Hall of Brian Bowman, the Gen X candidate.  Only the Bowman appeal is zero with voters. His campaign has no traction. He actually thinks he'll win voters over with an endorsement from Winnipeg Jets owner Mark Chipman, a millionaire who collects millions of dollars in subsidies from Winnipeg taxpayers because, goodness knows, he doesn't have enough millions yet.
The MSM spent all of last week flogging the 'Wasylycia-Leis is unbeatable' angle. Prior to that the Winnipeg Free Press published three stories on one week attacking candidate Gord Steeves, demonstrating who they think is the biggest threat to Judy Alphabet, as she calls herself.  They even pronounced his campaign dead after they learned his wife posted a message on the Internet saying how sick and tired she was of running a gauntlet downtown of scary drunk Indian panhandlers.

When that wasn't enough, Free Press columnist Dan Lett resorted to outright fantasy and fabrication to smear Steeves:

 "There was a time earlier in the campaign when it looked as if Steeves would drop out. He had a horrid start involving botched events and the resignation of some key campaign organizers.
Since then, however, he has delivered a barrage of campaign announcements, some intriguing, some poorly conceived. There was also the matter of an angry Facebook rant by his wife against homeless aboriginals."

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/columnists/bowman-steeves-making-it-a-one-horse-race-273147051.html

That never happened.

She never mentioned homeless aboriginals. This is a complete and total invention by Dan Lett.  Years past, Lett tried to show how clever he was by quoting his wife, who allegedly made the pithy observation that you're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

That, obviously, was before Lett found how much fun he had making up "facts".

This egregious attempt to malign Gord Steeves is just part of the pattern of Lett's writings. We addressed his confessed bias in his columns two years ago:

http://blackrod.blogspot.ca/2012/04/jury-is-in-on-dan-lett-verdict-guilty.html

At a real newspaper, he would be disciplined for printing lies. But the attacks on Steeves are part of the Winnipeg Free Press narrative on the election, and will be rewarded, instead.
*****************

Speaking of mainstream media incompetence, here's some of the ever-popular:
Professional Journalists At Work
"New crowd-funded poll gives Wasylycia-Leis 16-point lead in mayoral race
By: Mary Agnes Welch  Winnipeg Free Press  Posted: 08/28/2014 3:30 PM |
The poll was conducted over the weekend using a custom online panel and has a margin or error of +/- 4 per cent."
*****
"Wasylycia-Leis tops 2nd mayoral poll
By Kristin Annable, Winnipeg Sun
First posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014 02:43 PM CDT |
The data for the country’s first crowdfunded election survey was collected from 603 Winnipeggers between Aug. 22 and Aug. 25, and is accurate to +/-4% at a 95% certainty level."
*****
"Bowman Not Going To Leave Mayoral Race
Kim Lawson CJOBAugust 29, 2014 02:45 pm
The survey was conducted with 603 members of Probe Research’s proprietary online panel and has a margin of error of +/- 4 per cent, 19 times out of 20."
******The facts:  Probe Research Inc. Aug. 28, 2014:
This survey was conducted with 603 members of Probe Research’s proprietary online panel.

Because this is a non-probability sample,
no statistical margin of error can be ascribed.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lameduck Mayor Sam Katz steps up to fill Robin Williams' shoes




Is Sam Katz auditioning for a new career as a comedian?

He's no Robin Williams, but you've got to start somewhere.  

When the news broke that the province of Manitoba had asked the RCMP to review the trio of city audits that uncovered massive favoritism in handing out construction contracts "and to conduct any investigations it considers appropriate," Katz tapped his funny bone to knock off some one-liners in the form of a "statement."

His best: "The province has made their decision and chosen to exercise their right to refer to the RCMP, and all of council would support their decision, and I hope this brings closure."

Bwahaha. Now that's funny.

It may be too subtle for many people, but it's in the true tradition of understated British humour.

You see, Katz is saying just the opposite. 

He and his council cabal voted AGAINST sending the audits to the provincial justice department, a move made by councillors in the hope the province would call in the Mounties.  

The vote was razor-thin, 8-7 to approve the motion. One councillor didn't vote -- Justin Swandel, Katz's sidekick, his Ed McMahon to Sam's Johnny Carson, the guy who sits there and guffaws at his master's lame jokes.

The council meeting ran late and Swandel left for an appointment. If he stayed he would have cast the tying vote that would have killed the motion to refer to the province.

Now that's funny, Sam Katz's staunchest ally ensured the RCMP would be called in to investigate Sam Katz's administration.

Katz isn't running for re-election because the humourless electorate might not find the scandals that have cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars so funny. Instead, he's adopted the old adage: always leave 'em laughing.

But the RCMP review might not be the "closure" the lameduck mayor wants.

The police might just expand on the "prima facie" case built by the audits and dig deeper into the cozy relationship between the mayor, his best friend and the city's chief administrative officer, and his other friend and investor and beneficiary of the best friend's largesse. Who knows, the Mounties might just travel to Scottsdale, Arizona, to ask questions about the million dollar house Sam Katz bought from  sister of an executive of Shindico for $10 "and other considerations." 

But for a comedian it's all grist for the mill. Sam Katz even has his punchline written and waiting:
"When it comes to ability, intelligence and integrity, this jury wouldn't even qualify to be in the same building, let alone the same room, as Phil Sheegl."

Nanu Nanu.

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