Category Archives: Cityplace

22 Feb

Ode to the Street Urchins

Sitting in Weirdo Central Station off by myself near midday
A group of would-be Idle No More protesters came my way
The nearby security guard strapped on the latex gloves, they did see
Someone must have passed out, perhaps one, maybe three
One laments that someone took a bottle from him, he can’t remember what
The thief probably saved him from poisoning his gut
Another wondered aloud if he should go to detox for five or ten days
For him, there undoubtedly have been prior stays
Meanwhile, back and forth the street urchins parade
None of them have ever likely practiced a trade
One of them was carrying a backpack
Peeking out was a cat that was black
The feline climbed out and ran around the floor
While the owner chased it to the door
I move on and spot someone uncontrollably shaking his leg
At least he didn’t approach me for money and beg
When it comes to weirdos and scruffy characters, there is no shortage
In the city built around the corner of Main and Portage
23 Jan

Viable, Indeed

Ever since Mark Chipman seized control of the Atlanta Thrashers a couple of years ago and relocated the franchise to Winnipeg, I’ve been asked many times as to how I think the team will fare off the ice.
I said at the time that I do not believe that an NHL franchise in Winnipeg can be viable over the long term and that, within five to ten years, it will be on the move again.
Since that time, there has been a run on tickets. Fans have bought them. Crown corporations, exceeding their mandate to provide a thinly-veiled handout, have bought them.
There has also been an explosion of merchandise sales. You can’t turn around without seeing someone with an “I Love Mark Chipman” T-shirt or jersey. Fans even expressed their love for Winnipeg’s most prominent used car salesman by purchasing special license plates with his logo on it.
At the end of the season, the team made so much money that it didn’t need to dip into NHL revenue sharing.
You were wrong, people told me.
“More than that it stated to the community and the world that no subsidies are needed in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Period,” said Chipman’s sugar daddy, David Thomson, to Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press.
But the weight of evidence is very much against the 3rdBaron Thomson of Fleet.
Even before the ink was dry on the purchase agreement for the Thrashers, Chipman was bounding up the steps of the Legislative Building. Into Premier Greg Selinger’s office he went bucking up for another handout.
In addition to the generous subsidy packages the three levels of government provided to build his arena and the practice facility that sits at the western edge of the city adjacent to his auto dealerships, he wanted more.
Sadly, “Greasy Greg,” eager to buy votes in an election year, gave in. And far too easily. “Help,” he euphemistically called it.
While farmers in the western part of the province and residents along the shore of Lake Manitoba, devastated by the flood of 2011, still wait for fair compensation, Chipman certainly didn’t have to wait for his most recent handout. This morning’s Free Press reported that $6.9 million of our money went to True North in 2011.
In that same Free Press article this morning, we get word that a casino is going up in cityplace that will pump even more money into Chipman’s pocket.
But I thought that they didn’t need subsidies. The 3rdBaron Thomson of Fleet said so.
Well, obviously they do.
You may argue that the revenues from this new casino don’t really come out of the taxpayer’s pocket. It’s a voluntary contribution. An “idiot tax” if you will. If I don’t want to subsidize Chipman, all I have to do is not gamble there.
Gambling revenues, however, are not limitless. The amount that people gamble is not likely to increase significantly as a result of this latest casino. All it means is that people who would gamble might spend money at this casino instead of going to, say, Club Regent or McPhillips Street Station.
And that means that money that would be going to the government is instead being diverted into Chipman’s pocket.
Guess who has to make up the difference.
Should the government be subsidizing Chipman or any other sports owner or team is another question. It is true that Chipman’s team does bring in other revenues that makes an arguable case, unlike the Blue Bombers, for example, who are simply dead weight on the public treasury.
But the next time someone wants to debate the viability of NHL hockey in Winnipeg, I’ll gladly debate the topic when and only when Chipman is taken off welfare and repays all the money that he’s taken from public coffers.
Then we’ll see if the cadaver that is the so-called “Winnipeg Jets” can breathe without life support apparatus.
19 Oct

From the Depths of Downtown Winnipeg

There is something weird to be seen in every visit to downtown Winnipeg.
Take today, for example.
While washing my hands in the washroom at Cityplace, a man comes up to the sink beside me after using the urinal. He wets the tips of his fingers and sticks them up his nose.
I didn’t bother to ask what he was trying to find as he ferociously gouged out the inner sanctums of his nose through both nostrils.
Next, comes this sign at the front entrance of the Millennium Library:
The library apparently now has a social worker.
I’m still trying to figure out why.
When you think “library”, you think books. Magazines. Encyclopaedias. Reading. Writing. Research.
The Oxford Canadian dictionary definition of “library” reads as follows:
“A collection of books, periodicals, recordings, electronic reference materials, etc. for use by the public of by members of a group.”
Not so in the capital of the Socialist People’s Republic of Manitoba.
Now, it’s a resource center to help you, as the sign says, to find housing, welfare, or the more politically-correct euphemism “social assistance”, employment and counselling. The list goes on ad nauseum.
These services, if they are needed at all, shouldn’t fall within the scope of any municipal government, let alone a public library.
While the councillors and the mayor keep patting themselves on the back on how efficiently they run the city, they authorize frivolous, redundant and no doubt expensive services like this.
Next time you wonder why your taxes are so high, add this to the multitude of reasons.