Thursday, December 31, 2009

Yellow Snow Public Service Announcement

Around this time of year we always see an increase in stabbings at all night drinking parties. Since New Year’s eve is one of the biggest drinking days of the year I would recommend to all those thinking of hosting an all night drinking party to hide all knives in the house. If you are hosting a dinner party, followed by an all night drinking party, you may want to consider using plastic utensils which aren’t as classy but generally are not known to cause fatal injuries.

And for those of you who are getting stabbed at all night drinking parties, you may want to reconsider who you hang out with.

Have a safe and happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The shelves aren't fully stocked at the Bay, the store must be closing

According to CBC, "small Christmas crowds" and shelves that aren't fully stocked are prompting concerns about the Bay downtown’s future. And does the CBC have any new factual information to back up a) that the crowds are smaller than usual or b) that the Bay is any closer to closing. Absolutely not, unless of course you count one shopper's opinion.


How big is the government surplus/deficit?

Depending on where you get your news, it could be a deficit of $512 million, $602 million, $592 million, almost $600 million or a surplus of $221 million.

So who has got it right?

Well, everyone. It just depends on how you count it.

$512 is the core operating deficit and counts the $110 draw from the rainy day fund + the $20 million for debt retirement

$602 is also the core operating deficit but does not take in account the draw and debt retirement

$592 is the summary deficit which includes the bottom line of core government operations and crown corporations

$221 is the positive balance based on the four-year rolling average of summary results under the new balanced budget legislation

Now, how is the average citizen supposed to understand all this?

Round 2, X-mas style

It’s round 2 in the media pissing match and the Free Press has not been in the giving mood this holiday season. They have once again opened up a can of worms going after the CBC, the Sun and CJOB for allegedly doing a little rip and read or cut and paste, depending on the medium.

Here are a few things to consider (for the 2 reporters who read this blog):

1) Just because you thought of an angle or believe you got an exclusive doesn’t mean other reporters haven’t also.

For example, Mr. McIntyre, (who ironically has a show on CJOB) if you “immediately recognized” the man as someone you had “written about several times previously”, what makes you think others haven’t.

Also, police, justice and government officials will often contact more than one outlet to “leak” a story. Just remember that your “sources” are likely blabbing all over town.

2) Everyone does it
The Free Press watches CTV, Global and CBC TV and listens to OB every day.
The Sun does the same.
OB, CTV, Global and CBC read the Free Press.

It’s called staying on top of things and there’s nothing wrong with it.

This doesn’t mean you can swipe a story but it does allow you to follow up and confirm the same facts.

3) If you want to keep your exclusive do not do the following:
Do not put your story on your web site.
Do not share it with the Canadian Press.
Do not include it with the editor’s bulletin.

And finally and most importantly remember that the public does not care who got it first.

On a lighter note. Mia’s blog got me thinking about how many politicians actually use the word “Christmas” in their cards. So far, I’ve seen one. And a merry Christmas to you too.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Today's breaking news

This just in, Manitoba Hydro officials have “conceded” that a western bipole route would leave Manitoba more vulnerable to power outages because of its proximity to Bipole I and II than an eastern route. This was “revealed” at a Hydro open house.

I’m not here to discuss the merit of east vs west, but the fact that a western route is more susceptible to weather related events than an eastern route is as newsworthy as Tiger’s latest exploits or as fresh and new as this former Olympian (who incidentally kinda looks like this Lord of the Rings character.

It was clearly stated in the Farlinger report of 2007. It has been discussed in the house ad nauseum (for an example see below) and it has been reported and discussed in numerous media stories and blogs etc.

So Bill, why are you pretending you’ve just uncovered some great hydro secret?

Hansard, December 19th, 2007
Mr. McFadyen: Hydro said two weeks ago and I quote, further a western routed bipole is generally closer to the existing bipoles 1 and 2 in northern Manitoba than an eastern routed line. So the chances of all three bipoles being interrupted from a weather-related event are greater with a western routing, end of quote.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dirty Harry and The Exorcist

Every once in a while, I come across a government news release that's actually fun to read and is not full of the usual rhetoric or bureaucratic mumbo jumbo.

Exhibit A: December 7, 2009.


"The last time Manitoba's population grew by close to 17,000 people in 12 months, Shaft and Dirty Harry were playing at the box office, John Lennon's Imagine topped the Billboard charts and The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty was listed amongst the New York Times' bestselling novels," Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade Minister Peter Bjornson said today.

Exhibit B

If anyone can think of others, send them along...

Friday, December 4, 2009

A little common sense

So Rosann Wowchuk got caught breaking the Election Finances Act.

I understand the intent of this rule. The governing party shouldn't be allowed to influence by-elections through advertisements or announcements. Pretty simple.

But the law should not be enforced so stringently. Can someone explain to me how giving a small cheque in Brandon is going to influence voters in Elmwood and The Pas? A little common sense please.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pay attention Kevin

Liberal MLA Kevin Lamoureux has a reputation for getting up in the legislature on procedural points of order. They range from quirky and odd to downright absurd and generally have little or no merit.

Well, you can add another one to the list.

Today in the house, Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard asked a question to the Premier quoting a letter in his possession. The Premier, in answering the question also quotes the same letter.

Obviously not paying any attention to what is going on, Lamoureux gets up on a point of privilege and demands that the Premier table the letter that his colleague had just read from (and tabled in the house). Way to waste the time of the legislature Kevin. Maybe if the two were able to sit together none of this would of happened. Oh right, they tried that one already (scroll down to matter of privilege, seating arrangement).

Here's the exchange:

Point of Order

Mr. Speaker: The honourable member for Inkster, on a point of order.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster): Yes, on a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier, in his response to the second question, made direct quote from a letter and, in accordance with our rules, the Premier is required to table it unedited. He made reference that he would want to table it in the future, but it should be tabled unedited. Thank you.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order. The honourable First Minister, on the same point of order?

Mr. Selinger: The leader of the Liberal Party will share the letter he tabled with his colleague in the Liberal caucus. I'm just quoting from his letter.

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker: Our rules are very clear that when members are quoting from a personal–personal, signed letter, that letter must be tabled, but I've just been informed that what the honourable First Minister was quoting from was the letter that the honourable member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard) had just tabled. So I–the honourable member for Inkster does not have a point of order.