Thursday, 29 September 2011

River Heights Rundown: Green's Elizabeth May Cameron

Welcome to the 4-part Battlegrounds: River Heights candidate rundown.

I will rank all four (yes, four) RH candidates according to my fantasy preferential balloting system.

Then I will explain why I chose them they way I did, at length, with way too many words, as usual.


Candidate #1:

Elizabeth May Cameron, Green Party

Rod Rouge Preferential Ballot Ranking: My Second Pick. (High praise for a newbie, I know.)

Got the robo-dial poll yet, RH resident? Doesn't even include Elizabeth May Cameron. And that buh-lows, right? Boooo, robo-polsters. You messed up on this one.

Fiesty newcomer Elizabeth May Cameron is studying historic precedence for trading in our loonies for carrots. And other tasty vegetables. (And I said about the carrots, 'finally, a fiscal policy I can really sink my teeth into... carr-uncy... mmm...' Heh.)

Her on-line bio says she organizes large crowds of volunteers, and rolls her sleeves up to grow great things on exclusive grounds. Excellent traits for a great MLA, and I am serious.

In her YouTube Interview by Adam the librarian, Ms. Cameron delivers a candid and seemingly unscripted roll on such topics as the oil sands (booo!), sustainable development, and the danger of basing infinite growth targets on finite resources.

(Ok, less than unscripted... she is clearly uncomfortable with the 'quick, what's the policy' format. And I actually like that because I _hate_ that format, too. So sick of parrots who speak trained things, empty things, on demand.)

(Then there was the mumbling bald guy. Listen carefully to his part. The mumble-to-Jazz puts you in a trance in under 10 seconds. The guy has powers. Maybe he's on staff, she doesn't say.)

Ms. Cameron scores on free Transit, a very interesting GP policy. It targets the low-and-middle class, takes thousands of cars off the road, and puts bucks (or carrots...) back in pockets to be taxed later.  The Green Bus has merit and bears investigation.

I'm giving Elizabeth May Cameron (IF that is your real name....) my second vote, and here's why:

Being a great MLA has little to do with policy, and everything to do with helping your constituents. You will not be the boss, so don't bother pretending you will run our area. You won't. You will facilitate things at best (and the PC's are the best at facilitating lately, aren't they, Minister Clement? Hmmm?)

Anyways, what you will do, if you are a great MLA, is work hard for your constituents. When they get the shaft, grab on tight and take the shaft out. When they are lost, start the fires and shine the light. When they move against each other, prepare beautiful common ground. As some celebrate, remind that we all share their joy.

Be with them, among them, and for them.

After watching her video, I think Elizabeth May has huge potential for such things.

She looks really young, so perhaps she'd consider the big red machine one day... (dude, the headlines, 'Elizabeth May Runs for Grits in Winnipeg'... national news, right?)

Let's hope this is her first kick at the can. Seriously, Elizabeth May Cameron. Think about it.

(Oh, hey, Elizabeth May...

Just in case you didn't find it yet...)

Revisiting David Asper's Letter of Recommendation

(... Sleep on it, I thought.

The letter from David Asper rankled you. Get a little sleep, a little distance.

Research. The Internet is right there, use it.

Maybe you aren't being fair enough to David. Maybe he has a right, or even an obligation, to recommend the PC candidate in writing to you and your family.

Maybe he does. I am not in his shoes, or postal code.

I have not walked his mile.)

So, up early, and to work.

Everyone knows that I am a huge fan of the Black Rod. Huge-huge, maybe the hugest. So after some general Googling, I went to the site, clicked the David Asper link, and set to reading.

And now I am... hugely conflicted, Black Rod style. I... I need your help. There, I said it. It feels... better to admit it.

The Black Rod's published transcripts from a CJOB interview with Asper last year:

*"Everybody needs to stay focused... and not get distracted by Mr. McFadyen's cheap slogans," hissed Asper.

"It's so incredibly disappointing, frankly, to hear the scope of how uniformed or ill-informed he is."

"You really have to wonder the value of his contribution to this debate."

"It's a fundamental, fundamental, misunderstanding by Mr. McFadyen of what this deal is all about."

"I just find it very disappointing and, you know, I think that Mr. McFadyen certainly has the education to be a smart personbut..." ...

"... you juxtapose that---you sort of compare that to the guts that it takes from the Premier and the Mayor to actually make something good sure takes guts to make something happen..."

(*Of course, the stylin' text confirms the authenticity of my Internet source. All rights belong to the Black Rod, I'm only republishing so you feel the true depth of my internal discord.


Folks, don't be shy. Write a comment, and guide me a little. Show me some charity, and tell me:

Does David Asper really support the PC candidate in a party lead by Hugh?

What... what should I think when I read David's letter, then the Black Rod's transcripts of David's interview?

I can be a little simple sometimes, I'll admit. I so appreciate your support. Thanks.

(Oh, and BTW, it does take guts to make something happen. Look at how the Jets came home. Look real, real hard.)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Ok, Marty, last one for the day, I promise....

I've been wondering... how on earth do the Liberals punch so far above their weight when this broken election system doesn't even grant them party status (and the funds required for crucial research staff).

Marty Marantz to the rescue. Again. He's great, eh?

I read his post about Manitoba Liberals taking the vote tax. Now I'm thinking... hmmm... do we want the Liberals to have a researcher or two on staff, paid for by the public?

Ya' think??

Then I think, don't the two 'official parties' (PC, NDP) already get a bunch of the same kind of money just because they have more than 5 seats??

Then my little brain thinks, whoa, hey Marty... you turned down the cash for votes because you _already get a bunch of cash from the public for research staff, etc._

Now Marty explains it a wee bit differently (maybe he forgot about his party's public cash, lets give the guy a little latitude, right?)

"Historically, political parties and individual politicians have raised money through private donations. Having to raise money by way of donations forces a politician to engage with the public and persuade them to support his or her ideas with their pocketbooks."

Umm... 'persuade them' Marty?

I wonder if Marty would write about how the NDP 'persuades' its 'private supporters' to financially support NDP ideas? I'll bet he could write us a tell-all book about it. Heck, a bunch of us could write that book.

The missing manual on how the PC's 'persuade' supporters with their ideas isn't holding anyone in suspense, either. Common folks seem to know who the hard-core supporters of the PC party are, and what it takes to pursuade them to part with the contents of their pocketbooks.

(Did I mention I just got a letter from David Asper....?)

Hey Marty, it isn't your ideas they fund, ok? The fiscal conservatives that outspend the NDP... right.

We'll support a party that punches above its weight, maybe more gladly than one that punches waaayyy below its weight, ok Marty?


(Hey, Blue Rod. Get back in the game, please. This nonsense has to stop.)

...and You, Sir, Are No Izzy Asper.

I'm fairly young.

And I'm fairly Jewish. (Ok, now that will blow my secret identity for sure.)

So what I know of Izzy Asper, of Blessed Memory, comes mostly from friends who knew him, stories about him, and the trail from deeds he left behind in places that I've educated my kids, studied, played, and lived.

I am not so young that I don't know his son, David, as more contemporary. Still, I sure as hell didn't expect to get a spam letter from him. (Ummm... save a tree, ok, David? Seriously.)

Recently I read Dr. Gerrard's history of the Manitoba Liberal Party. It is called 'Battling For A Better Manitoba" I learned things about the big red machine. Like they got us equalization payments when times were tough on the farm. Like they caught the overspending Tories in Legi-gate contracting scandals, and brought them down.

Like the kind of Manitoba Liberal Leader Izzy Asper was.

About Izzy Asper, Dr. Gerrard writes, "By not electing Izzy Asper as Premier, Manitoba missed an incredible opportunity to move the province forward economically, socially, and environmentally. Yet even a loss was a stepping stone for Asper. He once told his son David, "you need in your life to lose really badly because only if you've lost and plummeted the depths of being a loser can you appreciate even small success."

David Asper has written letters to my home carrying a message of support for his PC candidate. David must understand how carefully I weigh the measure of his words, given the fact that his father once drove the big red machine.

David should also know that, as impressed as I am with his father, his letter comes unwelcome. News coverage about David is rarely good. He is rarely portrayed as a man dedicated to being good for Manitoba. In all fairness, most press shows me that David is hoping Manitoba will be good to him.

And so that's how I read the letter. "Vote for my candidate, so Manitoba can be a better place to live... for me."

Gee... I'll... I'll think about it David. I really will.

While I walk the streets in close proximity to Herzlia, and see all those blue signs, I will seriously think about it, David. When I read about the monies you are paid for your generation of 'vision', I will consider it. When I read Ms. Spivak's posters... err.. articles, I will consider it.

But consider this. I would take such a letter by Izzy very seriously. But David, you sir...

Well, fill in the blank, ok?

And stop sending the letters... in case I wasn't clear enough already.

What to do about Harry Wolpert... hmmm...

Harry Wolpert, the fiery Liberal candidate from St. Vital, seems to have developed some kind of verbal tick.

Symptoms include barfing out disrespect to the leader, and delayed public apology-itis.

Don't worry, though. Many folks go on to lead productive lives despite such ailments as Harry has recently displayed... in the newspaper.... and on Twitter....

In politics, verbal tick-ing isn't always a bad thing, right? See corruption, blurt out 'hey, that's wrong' before you consider the implications. See an opportunity, shout out 'we need to do this' before you consider how much investment will be required. Its the gut-reflex, emotionally driven method of the Ecstatic.

And Ecstatics change the world too, right?

Stasis, the bane of Bacchus, is assaulted by tick-driven Dionysians like our friend Harry. The status quo takes a good hard kick in the pants every time the blurter step up to the mic. Even the most rational and self-controlled among us secretly admit that we want, nay, we need oracular epiphanies from the ecstatics to shake sh-t up.

Its refreshing to see a man blurt his real heart on his sleeve, a fashion sorely missed of late (the fake hearts you see everywhere, of course. I think they manufacture them in China now...)


This time, Harry's words actually got traction in the media. I'll bet he's a little overwhelmed by all the attention (go easy on him, everyone.) I'll bet he's had a letter or two from the big red machine, and unlikely they were birthday greetings. A lot of ears this time, eh Harry?

So what happened? Why did the mega-phone suddenly show up at Harry's lips? Why did the intrepid Steve Lambert, Winnipeg's Canadian Press on-the-ground guy, suddenly start listening to Harry's epiphanies?

And why is this story the most popular on-line Freep Liberal story to date?

(... and why no follow-up story of Harry's response to the article?)


There is a battle between orange left and blue right which is of late held in the middle. Annoyingly, the middle is occupied. So both blue and orange soldiers are forced to dance amongst the red, who also swing swords. Maddening inconvenience, especially for the Orange soldiers who feel red should be on their side anyway.

Orange thinks that if the red King left the field, his soldiers would run to the orange flag. And so the orange Kings and Queens would vanquish blue, forever and ever, Amen.

That's a story that sells newspapers.

Orange minions click on that Freep link as if tickling the Oracle. "Oh Bacchian Oracle, tell us we might be rid of the Red King."

Hey, keep clickin' kiddies. Wear your mice out on that one. Have a blast, have a clickin' party, and get all Bacchian up in there. You crazy kids.

Now, for the rest of us:

Have you noticed that not even G-d has unanimous backing here on planet earth?

Does Dr. G. exist on a plane so far above any other leader that he could not ever be questioned, challenged, or blamed on any point?

Did someone spike the red cool-aid?

We need events like Harry's Dionysian blurt-fest. We must be reminded to look hard into every corner, every nook and cranny. The unexamined life is not worth living, and it is always time to take a good, hard look at ourselves. The unexamined leader is not worth supporting, and it is always time to talk about the pro's and con's of one's leaders.

Well... almost always time, right Harry?

I'd say right now, Harry needs a big rouge hug...


Chill out, dude. And welcome to the show.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Gary Doer's Wife Does a Poll...

... and people actually rely on it?

Even, so desperate for any information from Manitoba, jumps at the chance to publish anything about the poor data-less Keystone province.

I'm stunned.

So I'll stop typing now.

(Gary Doer's WIFE??!!)

Friday, 23 September 2011

Manitoba Liberals Index Promised Spending to Inflation, NDP and PC's Blow our Children's Money to Buy Votes

Pretty cool title, non?

Difference maker #2: the Grits say we all ready spend enough money to get what we deserve.

The NDP promises amount to double the inflationary rate of increase.

The fiscally conservative, proper... Conservatives?

The Con's bloody quadrupled inflationary spending with promissory notes. And then some, right? Unreal, right?

Right. Bunch of garbage, Hugh. And don't intimate that you will pay for it with the savings from Hydro, ok? We aren't that stupid, honestly.

So, the big red machine says Manitoba does not need to speand more to get more. What we need, they say, is better management of what we already speand.

Dr. Gerrard was in the Federal Cabinet that made Canada the fiscal envy of the world, right?

Was Hugh?

Was Greg... or Greg?

Nope. Just Jon.

And look what Dr. Jon is telling you now.

When a Doctor trained in Economics who represented us in the Cabinet that saved Canada prescribes no more speanding increases, we had best listen up.

Because this is difference maker #2: The Grits won't rob your kids piggy banks.

Think about it.

Will Single Transferable Vote Wake the Slumbering Bison?

Remember the line in the televised leaders debate last week where Greg says, hey, we had an STV system.

It was too complicated.

We scrapped it.

So... was he right?

I think he was half right, and terribly wrong. In the balance, he should be ashamed of the position. Maybe he is, who knows....

So, the Grits prescribe the Single Transferable Vote. And guess what, they will likely try it if they get enough power (balance of power election thoughts, anyone...?) And guess what.

It won't work, too complicated to explain. Sorry folks.

To save the day (you're welcome) my prescription for quick and effective Manitoban electoral reform:

1. No election is valid unless a minimum of 90% (or so...) vote. There are several ways to get that vote, and we use the elicitation tool set pragmatically.

2. A pure 1,2,3,4 ranking is used (in Manitoba's case), and you are welcome, Mr. Beddome (BTW, keep going, man.) Count the scores for each candidate from each ballet, tally, and the 'most preferred' wins the riding.

Sooo simple. Greg could not possibly deny it. Too simple for the pundits, though? I mean, would this pass the majority criterion, the mutual majority criterion, the monotonicity criterion, the independence of clones criterion, and the...

Puke, right? Makes you want to puke on the screen. WTF is all this garbage, some of my good friends would say. Hey, I'll say, the Poli. Sci. philosophers need work, and this is their Museum of Human Rights project (it will be sooo beautiful if ever finished, takes all our time and money, and stands out like a cancer while it waits to be finished. Just saying... but they need the work, right?)

The perfect system will never fly. It is a chimera anyhow. Forget about it, lets just keep it simple, lets replace what we have... the first-past-the-post to hopelessness system.

The current first-past-the-post voting system breeds hopelessness amongst the majority of the population. The entrenched friendships of the leading parties will trump new movements almost every time. Friends are rewarded, enemies destroyed, bystanders are collateral damage. You are either in a power circle, or you are out of luck. Either with us, or not.

Case in point, the Manitoba NDP favours 'labour'. Fair enough, and why not? However, so many of us feel that labour is overly favoured to curry back some favour come election time. They give sooo much to their labour friends, and they only ask for one little vote in return... well, that, and you must hate the PC's. 'Natch.

That very well favoured core then spreads the love and brings in more support from friends and family. Suddenly, voila, you have a very strong core of well paid hardened supporters. The current government's base vote (in my opinion), and man, do they hate the PC's.

The PC's are the naturally responding with a polar opposite. Who gets hurt the most under the NDP regime? The individualists, the businesspersons, the 'get your big government out of my back yard' types, G-d love them. They are mad as hell, and rightfully so, because when the Dippers are running things, they get the shaft.

And while they fight it out in the bloody battlefield of history, the rest of us get the shaft. Nice, huh?

A simple well formed voting system neutralizes friendship-based extremism so elegantly. The mad-as-hell types rate you super-low, which balances off your friends' super-high rating. The election goes to the ones that most of us like the most, and dislike the least. We get a result and the vast majority of us are between pleased and ok with it. Clear favour pandering types get smoked (there is only so much favour to go around.)

All the choices suck, you say. Fine, so run, and tell us what you can do. Or your new candidate can do, if you are too shy. Go ahead, because if you actually present something that most people are ok with, you could win. Seriously, do the modeling and the math.

"Gee, Rod Rouge, why do other jurisdictions have more complicated systems? What makes them so special...?" I hear you thinking it. Forget about it. Don't worry. Evolution takes time, and every locale has a different rhythm and pattern. Its ok, trust me.

And what makes my recommendation so much better, you ask?

It is simple enough to be implemented by the next election, I respond.

You don't need degrees in philosophy and political sciences to really understand it. You just need to be able to find what number 90% represents, then add 1, 2, 3, and 4 a whole bunch of times.

Unlike the STV system. Which, as Greg pointed out, is too complicated for the majority of us to even comprehend. Seriously, read up on it.

Because of this, it might never fly.

Because of this, we might be stuck in the current buddy vs. buddy system.

No good, right?


If we change the system, and awake the slumbering Bison, then watch out. Who knows what democratic feats we might perform, right?


Lib's get A- on this one.

(umm... hello? Mandatory vote count? Did you forget?)

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Winnipeg Free Press: Gerrard Wakes Up Election

While I sit and think about the 2011 Liberal Election Platform, read this article in the Freep:

I'm working my way down the list, too. But I don't have a deadline, so I can take a bit more time...

Very interesting. I only say those words when I mean them.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Manitoba Liberal Party Platform 2011, and Some Points of Difference

Like everyone who reads my blog (I hope), I want better government a la better management of the Province.

I said I looked for a difference maker.

Below are some examples of difference making, put down in writing, by Dr. Gerrard's Liberals.

I'll get to analysis tomorrow, I want to pause and reflect.

I'll tell you now, though, the STV is not my personal pick for change to the voting system. But it is still a sight for sore eyes to see a party commit to a much better system than we have now. Maybe I'll convince them to consider an alternative...


"Manitoba Liberals would legislate a sixth principle; our health care system must also be 
accountable. Liberals would end global budgets for Regional Health Authorities and 
focus resources and effor ts where they are needed — on the front lines."

"End global budgets for RHAs and base funding on front line ser vices delivered."

"Focus on reunification of families and better support foster families."

"Manitobans deserve better economic leadership. Innovation, new ideas, new products and 
new services are vital for Manitoba companies to advance and prosper. Our government must 
provide responsible leadership to build that success."

"Develop a long-term plan for Manitoba Hydro into the next decade with more 
accountability for and input from Manitobans."

"Establish a consultations office to scrutinize all government departments and ensure a 
strong Aboriginal voice in provincial decision making."

" Institute a new, fairer method of voting, in which voters can vote their preference 
in order. When no candidate has more than 50% of the vote, such a ballot would allow 
the transferring of votes from the candidate with the least suppor t to the voter’s 
second choice, until one candidate has more than 50% suppor t. In this way, ever y 
MLA would be elected by a majority of those voting in each constituency. 
Ensure more accountability in government by implementing mandatory screening 
of all appointments to the boards of crown corporations. 
Review the system by which Regional Health Authority boards are appointed and 
explore the possibility of having a number of representatives on these boards 
democratically appointed by the citizens of the regions they ser ve. 
Provide RHAs with greater autonomy and use key per formance indicators to hold 
them accountable to the province. 
Make the operations of government, such as Legislative Chamber debates 
and Legislative Committee meetings, available on-line to the citizens of Manitoba. "

Grits To Announce Platform, Some Wait to Breath Again...

Its official, the Liberal Platform for the 2011 Manitoba Election is Printed.

The big question on everyone's mind is... will the Grits show their difference maker, or not?

I'm holding my breath, hoping the Liberals offer a truly different form of governance. If it takes much longer, I might turn blue... so lets hope, folks. Let's really hope.

Difference makers would stands up, point out management problem YY, and says 'We won't do that anymore. We will be different. We're going to do XX, resulting in good things like AA and BB.'

We'll be different, and here's how. So simple, watch this.

It's a *4 step program:

Step 1: Identify the problematic management technique.

Eg. NDP shovels money to local health authorities and says 'you figure health out.'

Step 2: Illustrate real effects of the problem.

Eg. Health authorities blow the wad on micro-managing local bureaucracies that achieve not nearly enough. We all suffer badder health. Badder health is... bad. Obviously.

Step 3: Identify your better management technique.

Eg. Health Ministry sets clear goals, pays for results. Rebellion against the largess bureaucracy.

Step 4: Illustrate real effects of better management technique.

More results = gooder health. Gooder health is... good.

(I know, so simple a child could write it, right?)

Our poor friend the Blue Rod (hang in there, buddy, hang in there...) points out the obvious: our youth are leaving. Our children are flocking off to greener pastures. You know the eventual effect of that (*cough cough... welfare state... cough cough.... just sayin'...)

Children figure, hey, if the grown-ups in Manitoba can't figure out a 4 step process like the above, they are too stupid to hang around. They will not do well, and lets get the hell out of dodge.

Manitoba is the parent on welfare that a child leaves early to make a better life for themselves. The kid that finally understands why they were born (more welfare) and rejects the premise. Its deep philosophical stuff, if you let your mind go there.

Kids are not looking for daycare promises, although they agree we should do better. They are not looking for health, education, crime, decorating, or fashion ideas from the Grits.

They are looking for change in management ideas, a la the 4-step program above.

The keystone kids listen to mommy and daddy come home from work (the best welfare suckers work for the province, right?) and complain about how they didn't do anything of worth today. How they witnessed waste, largess, fraud, and all manners of shenanigans. How they hate their job, and hate their boss, and hate themselves for being so complicit in the whole sad affair.

It happens.

So hey, Liberal party.

Show us your different governance techniques. Tell us that we already spend enough money, so we don't need to borrow any more. Tell us we could do better with less money if we demanded results.

Tell us 'everyone knows that's just the way is goes..' is dead. Tell us how you will get my mommy and daddy off the welfare gravy train.

We are all children of the keystone province. We all desperately need a difference maker to emerge. So come on, big red machine. Let Dr. G. do what he does best, and show us how we will really make a difference.

Or not, I suppose. It was just a suggestion, ok?

(*Bolding techniques brought to your courtesy of the Black Rod. All Rights Reserved.)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Manitoba Liberals Receive Glowing Report From The Black Rod

(First, a moment to explain today's headline.

Glowing: like the bright red (Rouge?) left post a damned good spanking.

Report: Like a gunshot, the 'crack, crack, crack' of a Rod across one's backside.

A Glowing Report. Get it?

I'm quite clever, right?)

Clever is a trait shared by many children who act out in order to receive some good old fashioned negative intimacy from their parents. Watch as the mind of the love-starved child crafts a platform of shenanigans in order to keep the tough love flowing their way. Berate me, shake me, spank me. Notice me. Validate me. Its clever, non?

Negative intimacy is better than no intimacy at all, sometimes. Sad, but true.

So watching the Black Rod get up all special on a Sunday morning to show little Rod Rouge some love, Black Rod style, has actually left me somewhat doe-eyed and calm. I got my fix. I feel validated. Its good.

And yet...

I remain unsatisfied.

It wasn't a great effort. The Rod did not rise as high, nor fall as hard, as Blue and Orange do so often inspire.

I mean, check it:

Senile Grandfather? Creaky old Jon Gerrard? Dude (s), ten bucks says Grandpa Jon runs and swims laps around you. Twenty says you already knew that. Weak sauce, sir (s).

And picking on the Other Justin? Are you going to kick my puppy next?

Hollow. The report rings hollow.

Except for the Ghost part. Now there you have something, Father (s). Let me push it a little farther, if you please.

Allow me to speculate that, of the 12 - 20% (just like 120,000 - 200,000 out of a million, no big deal) virtually none of them expect favours from the big red machine. Why? Well, as you point out, the Grits run neither the Province nor the Country (and Sam ain't likely a closet Liberal, but who knows, right?)

So I'm going out on a limb and saying that the entire block of Gritty support is from folks who honestly believe that Jon & Co. offer something we need. I'll creep a little further down the branch and name that something: good, clean governance. From the middle. For everyone, and not just someone's buddies.

And those questionable characters who hang like dirty moths around a power lamp? Hmmm... they seem to have left the building, right? That's part of the evisceration you speak of, right?

Now, on the planet I live on, this gutting of the buddy system is considered a good thing. Indicates to me a return to trustworthiness, purity of purpose, honesty, integrity. Old fashioned stuff we once believed in, back in the good old days. Before things changed.

Now-a-days we (the royal we) don't seem to desire the best for our Province. We are resigned to wallowing in the muck of partisan my-buddies-first politics, and watching as the buddies fight it out in a screwed up electoral system. We didn't just set the bar low on the integrity hurdle, we took the bar off and threw it on the ground. We aren't even asking them to jump over it to get to the power room any more.

Don't bother, just walk on in, all stinky and dirty. Everyone's doing it, right?

Funny thing is, we don't ignore the stink. I mean, that would be the polite thing, and we are still Canadians after all. Naw, we point at Stinky and say, 'hey, caught you being stinky again'. Like that is some big surprise, that political pigs-at-the-trough stink. Great bloody headline, "Extra: Stinky Stinks Again!" Big scoop!

Unacceptable. This state of affairs is unacceptable.

Albert Camus wrote about such unacceptable circumstances in The Rebel, right Father (s)? He said (I'm paraphrasing), one will rise in opposition not to usurp the position but to negate it. Not to spin a revolution turing back to the same start, but to foment a rebellion against it, to destroy and replace with something better.

Hmmm... you know what, Father (s)? I think I'm that kind of rebel.

You do not need to fear me, Father. Hey, take my offer, it still stands. Rate the candidates, pick your best pick.

In fact, why not rank them in order of preference? Like, oh, I dunno... like a preferential balloting system the Liberals are pushing for Manitoba? Wouldn't that be fun?? Couldn't we just have fun together for once...?

Or you could keep on pointing at stinky, exclusively.

No big deal, i guess.......

(... and don't think I didn't notice not a single bold in the middle of a paragraph Sunday. Its a good book, eh?)

Friday, 9 September 2011

Black Rod Lost in Voter Cynicism of Manitoba Election 2011

(Children attack their parents at their own peril. I get it, ok?)

The Black Rod is father and mother to all the other stripes of Rods writing from Manitoba. Sometimes mommies and daddies are the ones that need a spanking, right? (Not that I'm for corporal punishment, mind, but you get my drift.)

Oh, father, oh, mother, what earthly legion causes your eyes to turn to heaven? What insurmountable task or trouble cricks yer' neck upward at just the time we need your gaze steady on the battleground?

(Black Rod: "Heaven help us," they write yesterday. As if Heaven ever helped in an election. Seriously.)

And what's with the disrespect, dude? How come Dr. Gerrard doesn't get some 'sheesh'? Why just Goofy vs. the Micropander Monster over there at the Black Rod? You didn't slam the big red machine, not once, not even a little, not even a _crumb_!

I have gotten used to being the child in the corner. The one everybody forgets about while his sister is getting caught stealing, or his brother is flunking out of summer school. The one that quietly goes about their business with little love, little support, and little attention. The one who must make it on their own. I'm gonna start to bloody cry here soon. It hurts sometimes, ok?

But this utter lack of love from the Black Rod, this is far beyond the normal ghost child syndrome that I am used to. Verily, yesterday's Black slight sows seed of negation, rendering a Rouge just short of lightest veiled specter of pink to transparent, invisible. I feel stranded on a desert Island, alone, with no-one but Wilson. It is as if I am dead to you, or we are dead to each other.

So, key the old phrase, 'trust no man while his father still lives, or who has yet to be stranded on a desert island.' Right? Its time for little Rod Rouge to strike out on their own. Check, I get it.

So, hey, Black Rod. Let me tell you something quickly.

While you are busy trying to figure out yet another Font type for your page (dude, Elements of Style, read it, ok?) some of us have been busy actually trying to make valid points that people can look towards. Not to heaven, ok, but to actual earthly choices, earthly solutions, and earthly individuals that could very well help us all.

Now, I get wit' all the awful shenanigans you see, and drone on and on and on and on about, a body couldn't be blamed for getting just a wee bit jaded. 'Natch. Its still a sad situation out there, and I get that you feel blue... er, Black! Not blue. That was a slip.

You are not going to get away with being totally morose, though. I won't allow it. Portion morose, sure, but not totally morose.

Like it or not, you took an implicit oath when you struck out on this road. You have to do better than the Papers you bash, and the talking heads you slam. You have to do better, or else be stuck with the label of ineffective critic. The one that makes everyone feel... oh, what's the word... right, cynicism. And from cynicism, hopelessness, despair, depression. And more transfer payments. You want that on your conscience?

Not all today's heros are fabricated by a corporation. Some steel themselves to the honest forge of the existential stage. Some lines get delivered from the heart, not the script, and without the intention of being heroes at all, but just honest men and women reacting authentically to life's challenges and opportunities. You, who have taken upon yourself such a task set and voice, must not allow periods of pure 'woe is me (us).'

You have to do bloody better than what you are doing now. Don't just tell us how it is broken. We know, ok? Tell us about ideas for repairing it, making it better. Throw us a frickin' bone to chew on that isn't putrid for once.

Hey, tell you what. I'm going to give you an idea. Free, no restricted use clauses or credit or nothing. You can have this:

Write a comparison between the leaders. All 4. That's right, I said 4. Don't whine about the extra load.

But... and this is important, you _have to pick a leader in the end of the analysis that you honestly recommend as the best choice._ Not tongue in cheek, or to be spiteful, or funny, but make a pick that you honestly think will help.

Put yourself on the line, my poor morose friend (s). Try consequential recommendation out, and then tell me later (in secret communication is fine) if having to make an actual recommendation with your name on it didn't give you a bit of a pick-me-up-kick-in-the-pants.

Its so much better than pharmaceuticals. And I can see you need something. Desperately. I'm here to help.

Ok, so... maybe, while I'm pointing fingers outward, I need to poke inward. Maybe I'm just so hurt that you had no unkind words for Dr. Gerrard that I.... ummm... hey wait.

Am I missing the point?

Nawww... couldn't be.

Could it?


Oh, and Elements of Style. Its a book. Your pages give me a headache sometimes. Just sayin'.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Dr. Gerrard Challenges Sellinger and McFayden to Daily Blog

Read articles worth reading to the end. Then go back and read between the lines.

Never know what you might find there.... like 3 real shames (oohhh, cryptic foreshadow. I love blogging, eh?)

Case in point:

Dr. Gerrard laid down a curious challenge on September 2nd in his 'Open Government' Blog posting. Check this:

"I am writing this note on my blog as part of my effort to increase transparency in government.  I believe this is important.  I challenge the other party leaders to write a similar daily blog in order to have improve transparency and openness in government in Manitoba."

Openness and transparency in Government? Blogging?? Daily???

What's next, televised thumb wrestling in the Leg?

Nothing is scarier to the PC and NDP parties that having unfiltered, unvetted, unscripted, unauthorized, unspun text floating up from the depths of their respective leader's minds. Hey, this ain't no pro-Lib blanket statement. Check my math:

Greg and the NDP

The NDP have their eye on sweet 16. The only thing that could possibly stop them: the truth about what they say vs. what they do. It takes a truckload of spin to mist the prying eyes of the electorate sufficiently to hide their awful track record. If Winnipeg ever wakes up and smells the real NDP coffee, then trouble could start a-brewin' for the Kings and Queens in Orange.

(Don't worry, Orange Rod. Absolute power corrupts absolutely all over the world. It just happens.)

A 'Live with Greg' Blog means by-passing the checks and processes and sign-offs and editing that the NDP must have in place to muddy the water through which we view their performance. Live Greg! would cause at least two strokes and 10 migraines a day. We the Tax Payers would be stuck with the bill (well... to be fair, the 'Have' provinces would foot 1/2 of it, but still....)

Will not fly. Ever. And that is the first true shame found lying between the lines of Gerrard's challenge.

Here is the second:

Hugh and the PC's

I'm big on

The PC's are not.

Hugh basically slams summer students as stoopid in a live CJOB debate. Hugh then says, 'well, heck, I was a summer student....' as if that makes it all ok. (Dude... keep talking. Its pure gold.)

Hugh's public blunders are complex like fine wines, with hints and subtleties lying beneath rich pallets of colorful, aromatic, intoxicating liquid. The hits flow from his lips like champagne flows from the popped cork. Its a sweet, sticky mess gushing and bubbling forth. (...right Blue Rod? I do not envy you such clean-up duty, sir. Sympathy.)

The PC's do not want that cork to pop every morning. I sure do, but they don't.

A damned shame, and that's number 2.

Jon and the Liberals

Now this gets interesting.

Jon already Blogs. Daily Posts? Sometimes more than one per day, sometimes less. It depends.


Don't his secret supporters get nervous? Don't they worry that their hidden agenda will slip out between his lines and so expose their shenanigans? Don't loose lips sink the ships hiding in the political mist?

Big business fears, I think. I think the Friends of the Kings and Queens in Orange thank their lucky stars that most transactions and reports never make it to the public. They can't have bred crumbs leading to the scene lying in a Greg Live! blog record. So... why aren't the secret supporters of the Big Red Machine putting the gag order down on Gerrard's darn-near-daily blog posts?



What does this challenge really say, boys and girls?

Informing the critical mind is like adding catalyst to an inoculate. Protects that much better.

A Leader's daily blog is information straight from the top (considering it is authentic, Ms. Orange. And only then, ok?) Add that to your critical mind. Then think about your government.

Q: Keystone Brethren, if you don't get a daily dose of straight-up leader thoughts post-2011 election, then what will you be getting?

Answer: Shame number 3.

I really don't want that for us. And so I blog....

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Will Manitoba Support Youth Post-2011 Election? (AKA NDP Dedicates Campaign to Jack)

Ah, youth.

What to say about youth that hasn't already been said a thousand times, in a thousand ways, to win public support for new bureaucracies and businesses that funnel public funds to friends of... ummm...

(...ok, we are starting off a little cynical today. Just heard NDP is dedicating the election to Jack Layton (thanks for the head's up, Blue Rod). Not families. Not youth. Not nothin' but Jack. NDP dedicates campaign to Jack. See: double-entendre. Grrr....)

Katimavik is one example of a program that works. Works for youth, who work for us. Everyone wins, and historically the program has been well enough run to avoid negative press like... oh, I dunno, the Manitoba Public School system gets?

The Manitoba public education system is an example of a program that doesn't work. Ask Tom Brodbeck, or read his columns (boy, Tom tickles my fiscal responsibility side big time...):

Dr. Gerrard announced last night a new Katimavik-like program specifically for Manitoba youth. Give to youth, they give back to us. Don't even have to write the business plan, its ready made.

So how much are we investing directly in youth under Dr. Gerrard's idea? Is it on par with the $32.9 million spent on administration in public schools (_just_ administration. Like it is so bloody hard to run a school system for a population of less that 1 million persons that you need hundreds and hundreds of 'administrators' to do it? Seriously???)

Nope, its not on par.

Hey, maybe at least 10%?

Nope, not even that.

Ummm... 1%?

Less than that, actually.

I hear around $300,000.00.

Less than a million. Less than 1/2 a million. Almost not even worth pushing the paper, as my banker used to say.

Now ok, the thin edge of the wedge and all, right? I mean, if Project Manitoba Katimavik budgets were on par with the mega-bureaucracy inside the K-12 Manitoba School system (oh, and I'll get to you later, post-secondary, don't you worry) then the PC's might cry "hey, quit spending all our money!!!" So let's start off slow. Prove to our Blue friends that yes, this is a good investment. OK, I get it, I get it.

So, let's start with the equivalent of 2 FT positions inside of one School Division Bureaucracy.


But this better be the thin edge of a bloody big wedge.

Looking for more funding later? Take it from the Administration budget. Don't ask them, or bargain with them, just take it and put it where it belongs. If they hassle you, call Tom Brodbeck to the meeting. You see his profile picture in the Sun? Who is going to mess with the sternest-looking-son-of-a-gun in the Province? No-one, that's who.

Just take it, and invest it directly in our youth. Who then return the investment, in spades, both right away and over time.

Hey, Orange Rod (btw, why no love? Write me some time, 'k?) Where have you guys been on this one?

Do the NDP even understand the direct connection between youth crime and lack of opportunity? Obesity and lack of physical activity? Do you understand the quiet desperation that youth slip into when you put them on poster's to get more money for your buddies?

My Grandmother would call this a sin, what you are doing. A sin made worse by the fact that you know it, and have turned it into something far greater than a cottage industry. I'd say shame, but I have a strong feeling there is already shame aplenty at your houses.

Jack Layton indeed. Dig his grave extra-wide, as he will spin, and spin, and spin.

Now, like the Blue Rod, I ain't on the party payroll (and I certainly don't have his influence). Sheesh, I doubt most people in the party even like me (although that might be my own issues talkin'.)

So I get to say, out loud, how disappointed I am that Manitoba Katimavik will cost less than the coffee and tea budget for the School Division office staff (a lot less. You know how many 'breakfast' and lunch' meetings these folks have? Come on, we _all do_.)

I am really, really disappointed.

I'm looking for a big bloody wedge, Dr. Gerrard.

Folks, forget the Federal Liberals. Forget the 'Other Justin'. Think local for a moment.

Take a good, hard look at the Liberals in Manitoba under Dr. Gerrard. Ask yourself, would Dr. Gerrard increase funding for this youth program?

Then vote for him. See if you were right.

Come on, think about it. Who's 'buddies' are the Liberals in Manitoba? Why would power-hungry baddies congregate around a party that 'has no hope' of getting into power. Why wouldn't the Lib's actually push the funds to youth?

Why indeed.

Their low poll numbers might be the Liberals greatest strength. They are clean of the 'baddies' that used to hang around the Federal party (back when they just couldn't lose...). You can bet your backside that anyone on the Liberal ticket actually cares about Manitoba, and really wants to do something good. You can believe they are willing to fight against all odds, and be brave for us all.

Like Dr. Gerrard.

Think it over.