Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Vandal jumps off board EPC

Saint Boniface Councillor Dan Vandal has jumped
off the Sammy boat by quitting EPC.

Image Source:  Marine Insight
March of this year I asked James Hope Howard if "civic centre-leftists like Brian Mayes and Dan Vandal [were] destroying themselves by joining aboard the failed Katz administration" while conservatives like Paula Havixbeck were jumping off the Sammy boat. James Hope Howard's ever hopeful answer provided a hilarious piece of postmodern Winnipeg municipal political fan fiction.

It seems that centre-left councillor Dan Vandal realizes just disastrous his link to Sam Katz is. Yesterday, Vandal quit the rightwing fake populist's Executive Policy Committee (EPC).

Who knew exactly what about exactly which scandals in the Katz admin is still up in the air. Following a dubious land swap deal with Shindico - a firm with links to the mayor -, Katz buddy Phil Sheegl quit.

Our mayor never paid much attention to what a conflicting and unholy relationship business interests could have with City Hall. Sam Katz opposed bans on corporate and union donations to city council campaigns because that'd hurt "right of centre" councillors.

Apparently, mayor Katz was unaware of the conflict of interest getting paid by private interests could have on city councillors.

The mayor also stood against P3 Accountability - i.e. safeguards to ensured we, the public, don't get screwed over by private business interests.

Councillor Dan Vandal (left) with Mayor
Katz (right).

Image Source
Obtained from Winnipeg Free Press
The enormous blind spot of our country club Conservative mayor has finally come home to roast. Even folks fooled thrice by Katz, like the Winnipeg Sun or Charles Adler, are abandoning the fake populist's ship.

Vandal, however, came late to the Sammy boat. As Glen Murray's Deputy Mayor and a contender for .
mayoralty in 2004, Vandal started off as a critic of Katz. Nevertheless, the Saint Boniface councillor was appointed to the Mayor's EPC in 2010

As an EPC councillor, Vandal (along with fellow centre-leftist Brian Mayes) has voted for the reckless and unsustainable development of Ridgewood South. This continued with subsequent votes, including the most recent Ridgewood South precinct plan vote where centre-right councillor Paula Havixbeck voted no to this costly 'burb.

In the run up and aftermath of announcing his run for the Federal Liberals in Saint Boniface Vandal has distanced himself from the Katz mayoralty. He introduced a (successful) motion to compensate 'Peggers whose laundry was damaged by brown water - which the civic government initially said it would not do. The Saint Boniface councillor has also introduced a successful motion to legally review the audit of the land swap scheme.

All motions serve to highlight his status as a reformer and opponent of "business as usual" on Sam Katz. Quitting the mayor's inner circle serves to further wash his hands of the boondoggles at City Hall.

Nevertheless, one wonders if this'll be enough to disassociate him from the toxic smell that is the public trust burning Sammy boat.

Monday, 28 October 2013

New Manitoba Liberal Leader

Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana

Image Source: Manitoba Liberals
Well, it's a new era in the Manitoba Liberal Party. For the first time since 1998, the Party has a new leader in lawyer Rana Bokhari.

Rana Bokhari wins MB Liberals

It's been a sad few decades for the Manitoba Liberals, as their support's been eaten up left and right. Only the socially liberal upper middle class riding of River Heights sent a Liberal to Broadway last election. This is a long way down from forming the Official Opposition of Manitoba with 20 seats and 35.5% of the popular vote in the 1988 provincial election.

The Manitoba Liberal decline continued under Paul Edwards and Ginny Hasselfield - a leader who's era was so strife filled that two of the few members of the Party caucus left. The election of Jon Gerard as party leader did not stop the Party's ongoing decline (despite throwing everything - including the kitchen sink - at Dipper governments throughout his tenure). The Liberals were witnessing the tide of history turning against them, with little any individual leader could do to stem their significant defeats.

Jon Gerrard announced that he would step down as party leader after the 2011 provincial election. This presented a chance for new blood to enter the party and the Liberals ran an actually competitive leadership race, unlike the coronations seen so often in the Manitoba CONs.

Bokhari is a younger leader, a first generation Canadian who grew up in the rural southern Manitoban community of Anola, and former president of the Manitoba Law Students Association. She claims to not just be running for the "Winnipeg Liberal Party" and wants to reach out to rural Manitoba. How she'll make inroads into either the ultraConservative rural south or the solidly New Democratic rural North remains to be seen, but perhaps some Interlake ridings will be up for grabs if disaffected New Democrats can't stomach Pallister.

Right now is, indeed, the best time in decades to be a Manitoba Liberal. Manitobans hate the PST hike, with most (rightly or wrongly) blaming it on "poor fiscal management". With 20% popular support, including strong performance in southern Winnipeg, and 10% of 2011 NDP voters up for grabs, the Liberals have much room for growth.

The Manitoba CONs choose a man with 1950s social attitudes, the Liberals chose a dynamic, young individual as leader. If NDP support remains low amid the heat of the 2016 election campaign and Pallister continues fixating on trivialities, the Libs might just make some breakthroughs in seat count.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Pallister angry with "delay" in byelection

Mavis Tailleu, Pallister CON
who quit mid-term.

Brian Pallister is angry that
a by-election isn't happening
"soon enough".

Image Source: PC Manitoba

(obtained from reproduction
on ChrisD.ca)

Manitoba Conservative leader Brian Pallister is angry because the NDP "delayed" the provincial byelection in Morris until January 2014.

This whole issue of when to call a costly by-election in Morris emerged because Pallister CON Mavis Taillieu decided to quit her job as MLA for Moris midway through her term.

As Fort Whyte Green Party candidate Donnie Benham pointed out, byelections forced by midterm resignations from MLAs of both major parties have cost the Manitoba public one million in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars.

Maybe the "fiscally conservative" Pallister could tell some of his MLAs to quit just before the election, rather than years after or before it. Heck, if you can reduce the public spending without hurting services by trimming 1% fat from each department (as the Pallister CONs seem to think there's enough "fat" to cut, quite like Rob Ford mistakenly thought there'd be at Toronto City Hall), surely getting his team to serve full terms would help.

But Brian Pallister seems to think the late date for the byelection is a ploy so the NDP will have time to market the PST hike to Morris.

Is he on the same planet as the rest of us? There's a zero percent chance that Manitoba NDP political strategists are targeting or looking for gains in one of the CONs' safest ridings in Manitoba.

The thing is, as Freep commenter Beekpr1 notes, Pallister has a habit of crying "politics" over by-election announcements. Pallister also complained about the timing of the by-election in Fort Whyte - again, caused by a CON MLA who quit rather recently after the last election. Apparently, the NDP was also targeting - with "cynical politics" - one of the safest CON ridings in Winnipeg.

Pallister, for the record, won that by-election.

One could probably understand if Pallister kept obsessing over these by-election issues when there was nothing popular to run on against the NDP Government of Manitoba. But a lot's happened since, including a deeply unpopular one percentage point or 14% PST hike that's opened up a groundswell of rightwing populist backlash.

Surely, Pallister has better, policy related stuff to talk about this by-election time than conspiracy theories of NDP ploys to win super-safe CON ridings.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

#SenScam2013 Heats up

Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader
Stephen Harper's senate caucus has out of control,
badly behaving members. If he's unable to lead  his
senators onto the straight and narrow path,
then is Harper a real leader?

Image constructed by the Analyst using a screen shot
from "Stephen Harper's solution" ad.
The Conservatives' Senate Expense scandal just keeps growing and growing.

The irony and karma of this latest low point in the Harper Misgovernment is just breath-taking given the high-minded rhetoric over AdScam that drove the Harper CONs to power in 2006.

Further highlighting the rank, moral hypocrisy of the Harper Misgovernment is the vindictiveness with which they're going after environmentalists, First Nations organizations, and labour groups.

Before their majority, the Harper CONs mocked Stephane Dion for having trouble controlling "his own Liberal senators" for votes.

Dion's weak party discipline in the Senate looks like child's play compared to the weak moral discipline Harper's asserting over his Senators. Inappropriate expenses, schemes to bury scandals out've the PMO, and even accusations against the PM himself have all come out of the Senate Expense Scandal. The Senate Scam is descending into a Conservative cesspool very quickly.

Let us also recall how the Harper CONs had to change tactics on Senate reform due to Harper's inability to control his own senators. Under Harper's leadership, the CON Senate Caucus has both weak moral discipline and weak party discipline.

 Last year, before the Senate Scam blow up, this same Harper Misgovernment tried to install a high priced third party manager (while the government was already co-manager -meaning they had to approve any Chief and Council decisions before it came into effect) at Attawapiskat First Nation.

Perhaps, rather than bullying the powerless with made up manufactroversies & coming up with ways to enrich private sector consultants, the Harper Misgovernment could focus its reform efforts a little closer to home.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Another former NDP Affiliated Councillor is going to run for the Liberals - What could be the possible reason for that; I'm just askin'

"The NDP has always been involved in civic politics, albeit in an informal way, said Lorraine Sigurdson, president of Manitoba's NDP. While party politics have no official role at city council, most sitting members have affiliations to one of the province's three major parties. Five have formal ties to the NDP: Couns. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge), Lillian Thomas (Elmwood), Dan Vandal (St. Boniface), Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre) and Russ Wyatt (Transcona)."


So once again, we have the spectacle of a formerly NDP affiliated city councillor deciding to throw their hat in with the Federal Libs. Haven't we seen this before? I'm just askin'.

"A former provincial New Democrat, Vandal has been a member of the federal Liberal party for only six months. Nonetheless, he was invited by Liberal Sen. Maria Chaput to co-chair Justin Trudeau's party leadership campaign in Saint Boniface.
Vandal said Tuesday that should he win a Saint Boniface nomination contest expected next spring, he looks forward to working with Trudeau.
"I'm not taking anything for granted. The first challenge is to win the Liberal nomination. I expect there will be other people interested in running," Vandal said in an interview." Really Dan? I'm just askin'.


Yes Dan, I'm sure you are "not taking anything for granted" and you ARE "looking forward to working with Trudeau". Cabinet Minister aspirations? No, that COULDN'T be it! Could it? I'm just askin'.

This has a very familiar, traditional LPC old style "politics" feel to it. Get a former prominent New Democrat to join the LPC and then run him in a nomination meeting where he'll run against " other people interested in running". Yeah, sure he'll run against "other people". Colour me cynical. Anyone ever hear of someone named "Glen Murray"? Again, I'm just askin'.

And what about Kevin Lamoureux? Two Cabinet Ministers from Winnipeg? I don't think so! Parliamentary Secretary to someone Kevin? Would you be open to that? I'm just askin'.

I say go ahead; people are not so easily duped and are so fed up with the way politics is played and cynical, they could quite well vote in a New Democrat, or even return Glover in response to a Vandal candidacy.

Don't expect the NDP to not run a strong candidate here. And no, it isn't the NDP's fault if the Lib candidate loses. And given how I feel about people jumping ship with what any reasonable person MIGHT think was the possible motivation of a Cabinet Position, seeing Glover being re-elected doesn't really bother me much. No, one Tory MP, DOESN'T, a Harper Cabinet, make.

Be careful for what you wish for here Dan, you might be in for a very rude surprise.

What would you do then?

I'm just askin'.