Sunday, October 31, 2010

Crappy Coverage on Winnipeg Election

I won't go into content as that is a separate subject. I am more concerned about the TV news not showing up till one hour after the polls closed. In some cases, they really didn't show up at all.

Where were you CBC TV? was Dragon's Den more important than local election coverage?

Would you have skipped covering Toronto's election if Dragon's Den was on?

Well, the above would indicate that you did cover the election results through television last week in Toronto. Manitoba's civic election doesn't seem to have mattered as much.

The polls closed at 8. First to televise was Global at 9 pm. On at 10 was CTV. City TV doesn't do news anymore, do they? How do they even get a local licence?

CBC, the organization with the biggest news room for radio and TV's combined operations really only did a radio outing this time around. No slight on the radio people but TV visuals are hugely important in election coverage.

CBC Radio, CJOB and Kick FM all did radio coverage. Good work showing up to do civic duty, in my view.

The Free Press did some interesting work with a live feed. Good work on updates from the counts. Poor work done on what appeared on the counts in the margin.

Perhaps in a future civic election, someone from the paper will put up the unofficial count from their media group versus the count reported in to the election website.

Good to see some new people giving analysis. However, the half-hearted coverage and the late reporting showed a lack of preparation and care.

The overall effect was that anyone wanting to get election results and some excellent coverage was left bereft in terms of TV coverage, confused at print coverage with its live feed but out of whack elections numbers or radio coverage that lacked the visuals.

A provincial election is a year away. News media groups should be considering how they will cover this election in terms old technology and new technology. No doubt that cell phones and texting can update faster than anything we have seen. However, someone has to mind the fort and put up the data on screens whether it is the TV screen or computer screen.

Having someone who moderates the huge influx of info and offers context is an absolute must. Moreover, good analysis can help when data is slow in coming and background helps bring understanding of the candidates, the campaign and the issues.

While the non-mainstream media can cover certain aspects of an election, they generally don't have the resources to do what major media groups do when it comes to election night. This time around, the major media groups showed that even having better resources doesn't necessarily mean great coverage. I hope they put a better effort in these next months in advance of the provincial election.

In the mean time, alternative reporting can and should do its best to cover the provincial election.

I propose that we get numerous bloggers to shed some insight into the various ridings in the province and cover the election the best we can.

I am willing to work the Tuxedo riding as that is my home constituency. I will try to put some effort in a few adjacent ridings as well but hope that others will lay claim to some areas for themselves.

If someone could have a central webpage for the articles, all the better.

Let's hope for good election coverage in the weeks and months ahead.

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Terrorist Overflight of Canada Follow-Up

We know this all too well in Canada: There is no difference if a bomb is in the passenger cabin or the cargo hold of an airplane. In 1985, unaccompanied luggage in an Air India jet blew up over the Atlantic Ocean. On that flight, 329 people died including 280 Canadians.

One of the worst attacks in history in terms of terrorism and Canada was not only the source of it but one of the main victims as well. And it could have been much, much worse. A Canadian Pacific Airlines flight also carried a bomb and in the process of when it was being transferred to an Air India flight at Tokyo's Narita Airport. Two baggage handlers in Japan died while transferring the bag. Hundreds of additional people could have died had the transfer happened.

Canada did a terrible job investigating the Air India terrorist attack. We have also done a poor job on the issue of security for air cargo, not just unattended baggage.

The bomb used on the Air India flight was inside a Sanyo tuner. The explosives on the UPS cargo jets were inside toner in copy machines.

How little we learned.

We concentrate on taking naked pictures of people with a scanner and terrorists can simply mail a bomb without even going to the airport and takes just as many lives.

Apparently, the bombs on the UPS jets were first carried by passenger airlines.

The Emirates flight that Canadian CF-18s escorted doesn't seem to have had any issues once it landed in New York. However, it is now apparent it could have.

The sad thing is that this hole remains open and we remain vulnerable.

Only an intelligence report detected this and it happened after the aircraft in question had taken off.

I don't know that this can be considered a victory because it could have ended very badly since the explosives had been transferred a few times via airlines.

I still don't know what Stephen Harper and the Conservative government response to this is. Do we have a plan to stop cargo luggage from certain countries? Is there a timetable to check all cargo packages? Do we have enough overseas intelligence to protect ourselves from attacks?

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Battle for Winnipeg North Part 1

The battle of Winnipeg North has begun in earnest. Jack Layton and Michael Ignatieff were both in town to promote their candidates. Kevin Chief was selected by 800 NDP members to be their candidate. Around 1000 Liberal members choice Kevin Lamoureux as their candidate.

Traditionally, the NDP have claimed this riding very regularly. However, the provincial NDP have been in place for some time in a dynamic similar to the 1980s. The NDP push into civic politics this year was not very successful.

The Liberals have leaped from 100 memberships in the riding to 2,300. Lamoureux is a different sort of animal that the NDP is facing. There is perhaps no one in the province of Manitoba with a better constituency presence on the ground. He literally has taken a page from the NDP's most successful organizational efforts and adopted it for his own and has routinely defeated NDP candidates with it.

The NDP has selected a great candidate in Kevin Chief but he will need experienced organizers on the ground to get the vote out for him. Voter turnout is poor in the riding. Historically, the riding along with Churchill and Winnipeg North Center have the poorest voter turn-outs in Canada. He is an educator at the University of Winnipeg.

The riding's make-up is a large grouping of aboriginal, Filipino and Ukrainian. Interestingly, Lamoureux is none of those. The NDP candidate is aboriginal, the Conservative candidate Julie Javier is Filipino.

Javier is a last minute replacement for Ray Larkin who is not running. He is the father of Marnie Larkin, chief campaign organizer for Sam Katz. Javier, a Filipino immigrant, nurse and officer in a Filipino organization is likely hoping to capitalize on the very large gains in Conservative support in the riding. In the last election, Liberal support collapsed.

Rounding out the candidates is Pirate Party of Canada candidate Jeff Coleman who is a resident of the riding and leader of the 600 member Manitoba chapter of Fair Copyright For Canada. He is a business owner and community activist.

The Green Party had a spike in their support in the riding as well. Their candidate John Harvie is a resident of the riding. He is also a business owner and writer.

With the defeat of Judy Wasylycia-Leis in the mayoral race, it will be curious to see if she goes door to door with Chief to rally support. Or will he politely limit her involvement if she offers it to establish himself as his own man?

I will try to cover what I know about the race in the next days and weeks.

In the interests of disclosure, I was on the executive of the University of Winnipeg Liberals when Kevin Lamoureux was there. I worked on his leadership campaign several years ago.

At present, I don't have any Liberal membership although I donate to the federal Liberals. I am thinking of re-upping my memberships although given my work schedule won't be campaigning in this byelection. I am a centrist by disposition and have found that I generally fall within Liberal thinking as a result.

In the interests of honesty, I believe that Winnipeg North Center will be extremely hard for the Liberals to win. However, I do know that no one can predict byelections as easily as they do national elections. The focus is truly and quite rightly on the individual candidates during a byelection.

With that in mind, expect an interesting campaign and many people won't know the hearts and minds of the people except if they are right on the ground at a door to door level. And even then, will those supporting a particular candidate show up to vote?

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Breaking News Terrorist Overflight of Canada

Associated Press is reporting that U.S. fighter jets are escorting a flight thought to be suspicious from the Canadian border. The flight was reportedly handed off from Canadian fighter jets.

New reports are saying the flight is being escorted to John f. Kennedy Airport by F-16s. The flight is believed to be UAE Flight 201.

President Barack Obama will be addressing the U.S. soon.

At 2:20 pm, you can listen to the flight coming in live from air traffic control here.

The FBI is reporting:

"Since two of the suspicious packages that were intercepted were addressed to religious institutions in Chicago, all churches, synagogues and mosques in the Chicago area should be vigilant for any unsolicited or unexpected packages, especially those originating from overseas locations," FBI Special Agent Ross Rice said.

Cargo aircraft that have arrived via Yemen are grounded in the U.S.

The Transportation Security Administration earlier said that cargo flights that landed safely at Newark and Philadelphia airports were being searched after "reports of potentially suspicious items onboard."

Both flights appear to be UPS jets.

At 2:35 pm, the Emirates flight is touching down in New York.

Yeesh, where are the Canadian news reports? Where is the statement from Canada's prime minister?

Here is the report from the U.S. at 2:38 pm.

NORAD is escorting a passenger flight from the United Arab Emirates to New York's JFK airport “out of an abundance of caution,” a NORAD spokesman said.

Two Canadian CF-18s began to track a civilian aircraft that was “determined to be an aircraft of interest” as it flew over Canadian airspace, spokesman John Cornelio said.

The flight escort was called normal by Norad people in Canada. That drew laughter from the security experts commenting on CNN.

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Radisson Hotel Downtown

Two views of the Radisson Hotel Downtown Winnipeg

In the last year, under the new ownership of the Canad Inns, the Radisson Hotel Downtown has undergone a $5 million renovation of its rooms. Reviews have improved in the last year of the hotel itself.

One Man Committee wrote about the downtown hotels as well as some of the newer airport hotels going up on October 25.

I wrote about some of the new hotels back in July. They are still under construction and I will try and get some pictures soon of them.

I agree with him that construction of hotels downtown has hit a slow patch.

Winnipeg, unlike many places in North America, has never really had a hotel district. They are spread out all over the place.

We have been seeing a little more of a congregation of hotels in the airport/Polo Park area. That is not surprising given that this is the main retail area of the city and one of the place that would attract out of town guests.

I remember when the Northstar Inn (now the Radisson) was built in 1971.

Here is a commercial for it from 1980.

Of interest to note, parking was free back then. Today for guests, I hear it is $10.

I used to go the Northstar Cinema in the basement of the hotel through much of the 1970s and 1980s. For a time, it was the most modern theatres in the city and it is where I saw Star Wars in 1977. I can remember line-ups out the door and around the corner.

There were times during the summer when you could see lines for the Northstar, the Capitol, the Garrick and the Metropolitan all on the same night.

The Polo Park Cinema in the basement paled in comparison. I hardly went there in all the years it was open.

The North Star had great screens, great seats and the best sound in those years.

I would park in the parkade that towered over Portage Avenue. I knew several people who were terrified of that parking lot but that is where I would park my Plymouth Suburban station wagon that was the length of what the Cineplex Odeon used to be in Eaton Place.

The building was under construction starting in 1968 but fell way behind schedule. There was a flurry of building in that period with hotels and offices going up all over the downtown, albeit spread out from one another. Th hotel opened in 1971 officially but the theater and parking lot were up and running before that if I recall correctly.

The proximity to the MTS Centre is a plus for the Radisson. My personal view is that Canad Inns owner would do well to promote that fact in its other center of business operations, namely Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Our tourism promotion in North Dakota and Minnesota is negligent. Tourism info should run weekly in the Fargo Forum and Grand Forks Herald. Instead of going to concerts in Minneapolis, students and other folks from our southern neighbours should look to their friend to the north.

We have to put on our best face, gussy up our hotels and deliver a message that we are open for visitors.

The idea of an arts and entertainment area around the MTS Centre is not a bad idea. It is what the area used to be like when the movie theatres were on north and south Portage.

I think that if the focus is on enhancing that idea, we might see additional hotels and boutique hotels at that.

Till then, I hope the Radisson Hotel continues to spruce up its little corner of Portage Avenue.

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Polo Park 9 Calendar Club...Rainforest Cafe? hmm

Indigo-Chapters book store is also a 50 per cent owner of a seasonal retailer called Calendar Club, a retailer of...calendars. They have recently opened a store in 10,000 of the 20,000 feet of McNally Robinson's old Polo Park location.

Polo Park managers hope that people flock to the store so that it convinces Indigo to open a store permanently. That seems unlikely given the large Chapters store next door.

My view, given the large and unusual space of 20,000 downstairs from the mall, is that Polo Park should be seeking a restaurant.

My suggestion is that they seek out Rainforest Cafe. The average size of their locations is 20,000 square feet. The inside and outside entrances and the ability to customize the exterior make McNally's a perfect location for the popular chain's third Canadian location.

I can just imagine now and steaming volcano on the exterior of Polo Park where McNally once was.

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Flumist in Manitoba

Why can't I get a flu mist vaccine for the flu in Manitoba?

I'll admit it. I hate needles. I submit to them hesitantly. I'd rather have a hockey stick used to draw blood. I can accept that. It is very Canadian.

I will get a needle if I really, really have to but I looked with envy at the U.S. that has had flu mist for several years.

Now, it is offered in Canada. But can I find it in Manitoba? No. I have looked all over the place.

How is it that our provincial NDP government can't initiate a vaccine change that might up the percentage of Manitobans getting vaccinated?

I am not one of those people resistant to the idea of vaccinations. I think they are important. However, I would like an option available to Canadians and Americans that doesn't seem to be available here.

Message to Theresa Oswald: Get some flu mist vaccine in the province! I'll be down right away for it.

I'll get a flu shot if I have to but why can't you get off your duffs and get this vaccine which is approved for Canada?

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sports Radio 1290 Finally Goes Local

They still haven't updated their website to include a schedule of their programming. You have to go to their facebook page to find out anything.

One good thing is that they are finally adding a real local component. Starting on Saturday, November 6, the Illegal Curve show on hockey will air from 10 am to 12 pm.

What is truly astounding is that Illegal Curve started off as a blog and then moved to Red River College's radio station Kick FM in 2009.

This move is huge step in giving 1290 Sports Radio a local presence. Hope to see more of this in the future.

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Three Terms And Out?

I heard it a few times last night that this will be Sam Katz's third and final term. Not entirely convinced of that since he had previously stated that he would limit himself to two terms.

But what if he truly means it?

My guess is that we would see several councillors toss their hats into the right.

Off the top of my head:

Gord Steeves
Danny Vandal

Judy Wasylycia-Leis will probably want to return. One wonders what she will do the next four years but if she stays in the public eye, she could possibly do it. Certainly her pension money ought to keep her flush till then.

Given the tepid support he gave to JWL, perhaps Russ Wyatt might run.

Of the newcomers on council, look to Paula Havixbeck to possibly see the full Tory machine and unions support her.

There are a few councillors who might consider running but might stand down with NDP pressure quietly (or loudly) telling them to not to do it. That doesn't always work: Ask Harvey Smith about that. He decided not to be pushed.

If the provincial election goes badly for the NDP next year, we could see additional refugees from the NDP. Who that might be is anyone's guess. It is even possible that some provincial Progressive Conservatives might decide to run.

We should know shortly about the federal byelection of Winnipeg North Center. If Kevin Lamoureux doesn't capture the seat, could we see him make a try for the city?

From the federal Tories, might we see:

Rod Bruinooge
Shelly Glover
Steven Fletcher
Joy Smith

Between now and the next civic election, we will see a federal election. We could see a change of government or a few seat changes. Some of those MPs or former MPs might be looking at the mayor's job.

I expect that there would be a lot of interest from non-politician types. Expect at least a half dozen people to toss their hat in the ring.

In four years, police chief Keith McCaskill might run.

From the media side, maybe we see these people consider running:

Hal Anderson
Marty Gold
Geoff Currier

Another Liberal who might make a try is Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs leader Ron Evans if he decides to call Winnipeg home.

I expect a few aboriginal leaders to mull running.

From the business side of Winnipeg, I expect:

Dave Angus
Larry McIntosh

Could someone from the Chipman or Asper family decide to run?

I'm sure there are plenty of other names to toss around. Feel free to chime in here.

Or is this speculation all for naught? Will Sam Katz decide he really, really likes being mayor and run for a fourth term?

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Voter Turn-Out

Voter Turnout in Manitoba Elections

General Civic Election - Oct. 6, 1971 60.7 per cent
General Civic Election - Oct. 23, 1974 34.8 per cent
General Civic Election - Oct. 26, 1977 40.1 per cent
General Civic Election - Oct. 22, 1980 38.3 per cent
General Civic Election - Oct. 26, 1983 52.6 per cent
General Civic Election - Oct. 23, 1986 34 per cent
General Civic Election - Oct. 26, 1989 34 per cent
General Civic Election - Oct. 28, 1992 58.35 per cent
General Civic Election - Oct. 25, 1995 53.5 per cent
General Civic Election - Oct. 28, 1998 53.6 per cent
General Civic Election - Oct. 23, 2002 48.7 per cent
Mayor Byelection - June 22, 2004 58.77 per cent
General Civic Election - Oct. 25, 2006 38.2 per cent
General Civic Election - October 27, 2010 48 per cent

Source: City of Winnipeg

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City Election Results

It has been a hard fought battle in this city election. Sam Katz and Judy Wasylycia-Leis were the undisputed front runners for mayor.

In several of the wards, the departure of the incumbent councillor ensured someone new was going to be elected. In some cases, it would be someone new for the first time in decades.

At 8:30 pm, the tally is too close to call in Charleswood-Tuxedo.

Edit: 8:45 pm In Charleswood, Jarret Hannah has taken the lead. Just waiting for the advance poll numbers.

At 8:55, it looks like Jarret Hannah has conceded. The advance poll has him losing by 63 votes. Paula Havixbeck is the new councillor for Charleswood-Tuxedo.

At 9:05 pm. Bite my tongue. It doesn't look like Jarret Hannah has conceded. Think we might know in the next minutes for sure.

At 9:15 pm, Judy Wasylycia-Leis is conceding to Sam Katz.

at 9:45 pm. Paula Havixbeck in the lead but still not declared.

The final results:

Mayor: Sam Katz right of center
St. Charles: Grant Nordman right of center
St. James-Brooklands: Scott Fielding right of center
Daniel McIntyre: Harvey Smith left of center
Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry: Jenny Gerbasi left of center
River Heights-Fort Garry: John Orlikow left of center
Elmwood-East Kildonan: Thomas Steen right of center
North Kildonan: Jeff Browaty right of center
Transcona: Russ Wyatt right of center
Mynarski: Ross Eadie left of center
Old Kildonan: Dev Sharma unknown...
Point Douglas: Mike Pagtakhan right of center
St. Norbert: Justin Swandel right of center
St. Boniface: Danny Vandal left of center
St. Vital: Gord Steeves right of center

edit: Paula Havixbeck declared at about 9:55 pm.

By my count, Sam Katz has a conservative majority on council to do what he wants.

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Sears Zombie Website

Sears is having a little fun with their page which has been taken over by zombies.

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Civic and Provincial Election Coverage

I was a bit disappointed by the election coverage and the reporting on civics in general. Too often tough questions are not asked. The present mayor and council have too often been ignored in daily reporting on radio, TV and print media.

There are some good reporters out there and I enjoy their news stories and columns. However, there are number of news columnist who have free ranging columns who have not very rarely covered the civic election. There are some columnists who pick an issue and bloviate on it whatever the merits.

Tonight, it looks like the various TV news stations will cover election results and hopefully, they will have some good analysts because that is one thing I have not seen much of in the lead up to the election. I will be flipping around from radio to TV to print media sites to see the stories.

One tip of the hat goes to Red River College and its drive home talk show. I think it gave more candidate air time than any other medium. It covered civics even when a lot of the media put the "gone fishin'" sign up for the summer. The Great Canadian Talk Show did what no other media group did: Get attention and national attention at that. Marty Gold deserves a lot of credit for that.

A provincial election is coming up very soon. To a certain degree, the campaign has already started.

Here are my suggestions for better coverage of the election.

1. Assign reporters early to the leaders of the three main parties. However, don't ignore some of the other parties that might throw their cap in to the race.

2. Start now in determining dates and formats for debates. Make them an event. Host them together if that makes sense. Make sure that questions are not softballs.

3. Get your top columnists to do actual political reporting. And by all reporters, I'd even like to hear what the TV columnist might think of the ads each party is doing. I'd like to see the crime reporter analyze the policy platform in regards to justice.

4. Start covering the Legislative Assembly in more detail. This means that some editors who haven't left their office in years should go see the parties in action.

5. Make arrangements now for meetings with editorial boards and TV and radio appearances. The monthly premier report on a radio station doesn't count.

6. Do some investigative reporting. The basic question of whether you are better off now than at the last election is worthy of investigation.

7. Do the first rolling provincial poll as soon as the election campaign officially starts. Partner up with someone is if it expensive.

8. Bring back political panels. Given the amount of news time that the stations have to fill on radio and TV, bring in three (or more) spokesmen for the parties to give a weekly summary of what has happened. Have a media political panel. Have a blogger panel. For pete's sake, start talking about politics this year in advance of a provincial election.

9. Have a weekly or monthly column from the political leaders. Let them mix it up.

10. Do full reports and interviews of every candidate in the upcoming provincial election. I'd like to see some forums on justice and environment with candidates from each party. Ensure that each riding has a candidate debate and film it for everyone to see.

I'm sure there is a number of other thing that can be done but let's start early. The next election is less than a year away.

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Manitoba Government Advertising Campaign

I expect we will see a full swing for the fences ad campaign from the provincial NDP government in the next months.

You have probably seen their Jeff and Jane ads.

I find it not unlike the federal Conservative ad campaign of Canada's Action Plan.

Instead, we see the ad branding of Manitoba Moves Forward. Expect to see a huge influx of ads this year pushing a feel good message with the NDP hoping it rubs off on them.

Here is one fact that people will have to get their head around. Deficit.

Much like the federal plan to slay the deficit, the provincial plan looks to 2014 very optimistically.

With a provincial election coming up in one year, expect a lot of spending and not a lot of cutting.

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And expect to see more ads. Lots of them.


Civic elections often have poor turn-outs.

I hope that the wide open wards draw lots of people. I hope the future of the city weighs on people when they look at the mayoral race.

And I hope people feel the importance of participating in seeing how the city is run and who are elected as its caretakers.

Get out and vote.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I tried my best in this election to cover as much as I could and attended the large debate at Charleswood United Church. I had no idea who to vote for. My opinion changed a few times as I saw and heard the candidates. I regret that I missed the second debate but I watched all the videos and gave summaries of a lot of it. I didn't get the whole thing done but anyone wanting to see the videos can follow the links I left up.

Congratulations to all the candidates and good luck in tomorrow's election. I am only one voter and for some people, they could have been looking for any number of the qualities that were exhibited by the Charleswood-Tuxedo candidates.

I encourage everyone to vote. It will matter in this ward.

For the mayor as well. It is too important to not vote. This city needs to address important issues related to taxes, crime and infrastructure.

Once again, sorry. I wish I could have covered more but I did my best and hope that it helped people get to know their candidates.

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Endorsement for the Elections Part 3

I am in Ward 1 in the Pembina Trails school division.

There is very little coverage of the campaign. I have looked at all the information on the trustees and thankfully the four who have run all filled out questionnaires.

There are three positions to fill.

My personal view is that education should be funded through provincial revenues instead of property tax. Until that happens, I have to judge how well the trustees have managed finances. Pembina Trails has been than some an still have to deal with the province in terms of interference. Chapman School would have closed were it not for the province.

I look at the property tax issue and generally how well the division is being run and find no major fault that would see my turf the present trustees.

Jim Komenda doesn't appear to be too bad a candidate but I see no reason why I should not vote the present group back in.

I therefore will be voting for:

Gail Watson
Dianne Zuk
Gerry Melnyk

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Endorsement for the Elections Part 2

Seven candidates is a lot. Charleswood-Tuxedo is an open race. Anyone who says they know how this might end is only guessing. There might be an advantage for one or two candidates but there are too many unknown factors in the ward.

How will Whyte Ridge vote? I have no idea. It is such a new area. Who caught their imagination? I have no idea.

In my area, you can see signs for all candidates side by side. Does that tell me anything at all? Not a bit.

I have tried to be completely open in this campaign. I have done profiles on every candidate in this election. If any reader hasn't decided yet, please look for yourself. I tried to be fair.

I attended one of the main debates and I have written a summary of the other debate in detail.

In the last election, I voted for Livio Ciarelli over Bill Clement. I did this because development was approved along Kenaston without service roads, because money that was borrowed when he was counsellor in the 1980s for infrastructure was only paid for in the last months.

This time I am not voting for Livio Ciarelli. He has put forward a strong effort but he has been abrasive and insulting and I don't know if that is going to work in City Hall.

Wendy Lenton has been not too bad in the debates but she has not broken through in a meaningful way.

Steve Szego has likewise not jumped out with something that makes him the candidate who will excite the public.

Dashi Zargani had some very honest answers in his questionnaire but he was absent at the first debate and in the second debate he was a little flat and a bit vague.

Timothy Martin was also honest but was inconsistent in terms of putting some detail on his platform.

Paula Havixbeck had the slickest campaign but her tough as nails on crime consisted of following her union backed suggestions from fire and police services. I feared her promises could not be paid for.

In the end, I am supporting Jarret Hannah. He was the most genial, had some honest answers. I was disappointed he didn't answer my questionnaire but I heard and saw enough that I thought he would be an independent voice and would honestly represent the ward.

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Endorsement for the Elections Part 1

Judy Wasylycia Leis

Sam Katz

Brad Gross

Rav Gill

This has been a tough election. I can't remember a time that it took me this long to decide on who to vote for. I have gone back and forth a number of times on council and mayor.

First, let's talk about mayor. I will set aside the two other candidates Rav Gill and Brad Gross. I have looked at their campaigns and their platforms. In the end, they didn't stand up or stand out enough for me to support them.

It came down to two candidates: Sam Katz and Judy Wasylycia Leis.

I have taken a look at Sam Katz's record. It hasn't been an outstanding one unless you are only concerned about taxes. The property tax freeze remained but infrastructure continued to deteriorate. The reason: Because we are not doing enough each year, year after year.

Infrastructure has been a huge concern but I have to say that the overlooked issue this election has been crime. Statistics Canada emphasizes that violent crime is out of control in Winnipeg.

In six years Sam Katz, this should have been an area that was worked on continually. You haven't.

There are too many times that I think Sam Katz is in it for himself. There has been a string of broke promises not the least of which has been term limits. West End Dumplings is pretty concise about those promises.

Add active transportation which is Sam Katz's failure on such a grand scale and I am throwing my hands up in the air.

I looked at Judy Wasylycia Leis and my fear is that she has been an NDP team member for so long that she won't know how to be her own person. I still fear that.

Being mayor in Winnipeg is being a boss. It isn't a collective. And while a mayor is one of 16 votes, they are also the top dog in the city. It is a management job. I expect the mayor to stand up and fight for the city even if it is against an NDP premier or against NDP policy.

I am not completely convinced by the policies of Judy Wasylycia Leis. I'll be angry if mosquitoes are carrying me off next summer and I was not exactly happy with the campaigning following the shootings this weekend but I do know this: I appreciated someone saying taxes had to go up if we are to keep up with infrastructure and services. Sam Katz kept saying he would know more after the election whether taxes would go up. The promises of Katz have to be paid for somehow and I have not seen any indication of how that is going to happen. I found his stand unsupportable.

So, tomorrow I will cast my vote to turf someone out.

I am with trepidation voting for Judy Wasylycia Leis. My support comes in large part of my opposition to the drift I see in the city now.

You can bet that if my candidate does get in that I will be on their case to fight crime, repair infrastructure and manage finances well. I am perfectly prepared to toss my selection over the side in four years if that doesn't happen.

By the way, Sam Katz: You still owe me money. Please pay back your Crocus loan.

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Bartley Kives Assessment Of Charleswood Contenders

Bartley Kives' article on the races around the city made an interesting claim:

The death of 30-year councillor Bill Clement in May paved the way for the most crowded race on city council.

The nine-candidate list in the city's most affluent ward is led by Tory-backed Tuxedo resident Paula Havixbeck and Tory-affiliated Charleswood resident Jarret Hannah, who bills himself as an independent.

The other five candidates are not chopped liver. Timothy Martin is a lawyer. Steve Szego, a retired Air Canada employee, has an endorsement from True North boss Mark Chipman. Dashi Zargani is an entrepreneur. Livio Ciaralli ran against Clement in 2006. Wendy Lenton has also registered.

Timothy Martin questioned Kives about how he made the determination of who the front runners were and said Havixbeck and Hannah have the backing of the Tory machine.

I have no disagreement that Havixbeck has the Tory machine in support. They have said so. I have seen them at functions and debates. It is certainly an advantage in the election in terms of lists for Progressive Conservative and Conservative supporters.

I can find no evidence that Hannah has received any help from conservative elements.

In terms of front runners, there has not been a scientific poll that I know of that indicates who has a lead. My impression is and it is only an impression is that Havixbeck has an advantage.

I'd have to agree with Timothy Martin that it is premature to declare any front runners in the ward.

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