28 Dec

People and Cars Don’t Mix

Like many others in the capital of the Socialist People’s Republic of Manitoba, I’ve been following the stories of the rash of pedestrians being hit by motorists over the past week. The number of pedestrians hit on Winnipeg streets has been steadily rising over the year and the trend is indeed disturbing.
While the bleeding-heart socialists scream for tougher measures against drivers, the root cause of the problem is not the motorists, but, in the vast majority of cases, the pedestrians themselves. As someone who travels frequently around the city, I see an appalling attitude shown by far too many pedestrians and joggers, who feel it is their right to do as they please on the streets. Throwing common sense to the wind, they act as though it is the public’s obligation to avoid them. So many people think nothing of just walking out onto a busy street without looking or treat major traffic arteries as extensions of sidewalks.
A healthy fear of fast-moving vehicles is rapidly disappearing from the minds of Winnipeggers and the fact that there aren’t a dozen people killed each and every day on Winnipeg streets presents a strong case that some sort of guardian angel is looking out for the pedestrians of this city.
Walking on a roadway when there is a sidewalk is illegal, according to the Highway Traffic Act. Unfortunately, this is one of the many laws that Winnipeg Police Service chooses not to enforce. Taking a proactive approach of issuing tickets to joggers and wayward pedestrians is something that you’ll never see in Winnipeg. Police would rather fawn after their golden children, then spend a day flaunting their power by blocking traffic within a five-mile radius of yet another pedestrian incident.
For this trend to turn around, the Winnipeg pedestrian must value his or her own safety. It sounds simple, but there’s little evidence out on the streets to indicate that personal safety is much of a concern to anyone on foot in this part of the world. Most joggers care more about getting wet than about getting hit.
As long as people expect others to take their own safety more seriously than they do themselves, get ready to hear even more stories of pedestrian deaths. If you don’t want to be one of them, place a premium on your own head. Look both ways before crossing the street. If you see a car coming, stay on the curb.
Safety begins at home.
23 Dec

Another Merger

Manitoba Makes Move to Merge Auto Insurance and Agriculture Functions
WINNIPEG (CP) – In advance of next year’s provincial election, Manitoba‘s NDP government has announced the merger of Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) and the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI).
Present at the press conference announcing the move was Marilyn McLaren, President of MPI, and Stan Struthers, the former Minister of MAFRI.
“We are delighted to be assuming the responsibility of agricultural functions in the province,” said McLaren. “The Government has challenged us with this daunting task and we will meet this challenge to provide even better service to Manitobans both on the road and on the farm.”
McLaren also announced that MPI will be changing its name to reflect its new role. Effective immediately, the Crown corporation will now be known as Manitoba Public Insurance and Agriculture (MPIA).
“Going forward, once the merger is complete, farmers and producers will be able to use our Claim Centres, conveniently located throughout Manitoba, to sell their crops. Many of our locations are already equipped to handle large vehicles, so they will be able to deliver their crops to us, where our adjusters can assess their value and arrange for payment. While we assess their crop, our adjusters can also examine their pickup truck or combine for damage and advise them as to whether or not to file a claim. Once we complete the necessary cross training for our adjusters, Manitoba will have truly broken new ground in providing this level of convenience for their farmers.”
McLaren also reached out to affected MAFRI employees.
“No one will lose their job as a result of this merger. We will welcome them into the MPIA family and begin the process of orientation immediately. Of course, some job functions may change as we streamline our processes and capitalize on the natural synergy between our respective divisions. We already have a Change Management team in place and we will be looking to place our new employees in the best position possible to serve Manitobans within the new mandate of the corporation.”
Struthers, who will be assigned a new role in the provincial cabinet, expressed optimism over the future of his former department.
“I know that MPIA will lead Manitoba into a new era of agricultural innovation and success. I am confident that this merger is truly in the best interest of Manitobans and our producers.”
Hugh McFadyen, Leader of the Opposition, questioned the NDP’s motives.
“This is just a cheap way of buying votes. This move only highlights the NDP’s level of desperation,” said McFadyen.
“It worked for us in the last election,” countered Struthers. “When we merged Driver and Vehicle Licensing functions with MPI, the Leader of the Opposition barely made a peep. We got more civil servants off the books and Manitobans bought it, hook, line, and sinker. We expect that Manitobans will again understand the wisdom of this progressive move and see that we have only their best interests in mind.”
17 Dec

The Irrelevant Party

Manitoba Liberals See a Massive Increase in Membership

Hope to hit double figures in 2011

WINNIPEG (CP) – An unidentified homeless man who wandered into the Siloam Mission is believed to be the fifth member of the Liberal Party of Manitoba.

The man, who goes by the street name of “Buzz”, came through the doors of the downtown Winnipeg mission this morning and as he was fumbling through one of his pockets, a crumpled-up piece of paper fell out. A volunteer with the mission picked it up and noticed something very strange about it.

“It had some red lettering on it and someone’s signature on the bottom. I’d never seen anything like it,” said the volunteer.

Before returning the paper to Buzz, she read further and discovered it to be a membership card in the Liberal Party of Manitoba. “It looked real,” she said.

Dr. Jon Gerrard, leader of the Liberal Party of Manitoba, was overjoyed by the news.

“This proves that our hard work is paying off and that our message is getting out to the people. Manitobans are ready for a change and they’re turning to the Liberals,” said Gerrard.

Gerrard declined to confirm the authenticity of Buzz’s membership in the party, but expressed optimism that the card was genuine.

“I’m confident that once we do our due diligence, we’ll find that we have another supporter in our ranks.”

“I see this as a growing trend. By the time the election rolls around next year, I am confident that we will reach double figures. I knew that when I took this job we could outstrip the Marijuana Party in popular support,” added Gerrard.

The Winnipeg Free Press, an arms-length wing of the Liberal Party, announced that it will run a 10-page pullout section in this Saturday’s edition on this breaking story and the upswing in support for the Liberals in Manitoba.

16 Dec

Ode to a Stadium

Taxpayers brace for another major hit
More of our money will be thrown into a bottomless pit

The Blue Bombers make their demands
Governments line up to obey their commands

A stadium is a necessity, they say
Still more money you will have to pay

A minor league football team with a major league appetite for your cash
We must now build a place for 30,000 drunkards to crash

Warding off opponents, around City Hall the mayor builds a moat
So he can ram the stadium bill down our throat

Councillors obediently get into line
So they can pick your pocket and mine

This is a good deal, we are told
Not as good as if the team were to fold

The team is so popular, Bomber proponents moan
Yet it can’t survive without many a forgiven loan

It’s time to put the brakes on the gravy train
This team gives us all financial pain

13 Dec

Following Manitoba’s Lead

“Made in Manitoba” Solution for Riders New Stadium
REGINA (CP) – The Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders may get a new stadium after all and it might come from an unlikely source.
David Asper, the one-time prospective owner of the rival Winnipeg Blue Bombers who spearheaded a drive to build a new stadium for the Bombers, wants to do the same thing for the Riders.
“I believe in the Bombers and I believe in the CFL,” said the Winnipeg native who currently heads up Creswin Properties and was formerly the Executive Vice President of the bankrupt CanWest Global Communications empire. “”When I envision the kind of stadium we will be playing in, I can’t help but turn to Regina and see the condition of Taylor Field. I want to do something to help them as well.”
At a press conference today, Asper outlined his plan for a new stadium in Regina that would replace the aging Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field and serve as the Riders’ new home. The plan calls for an open-air facility that will hold 30,000 for football and could also be used for hosting concerts and other large-scale events.
When asked about funding for the proposed stadium, Asper replied, “I see this as a public-private partnership similar to the deal we negotiated in Winnipeg. The government gave, er, loaned me the money and, in return, I promised to build them a stadium. I see no reason why I would not be able to propose a similar deal here in Saskatchewan. If the government is willing to provide the funding, I can promise the fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders a new stadium. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
The announcement left many Riders fans giddy with excitement.
“What a deal!” exclaimed longtime Riders fan Ken Hnatiuk. “It sounds too good to be true!”
A spokesman for the office of Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall declined to comment until the government could study the proposal in further detail. In Manitoba, Premier Greg Selinger and his NDP government couldn’t wait to pounce on Asper’s offer and they hurriedly advanced him the necessary funds to get the project moving.
Though Asper refused to put a deadline on his offer to the Saskatchewan government, he cautioned that the deal may not last.
“I can’t keep a deal like this on the table too long. I would urge the government in Saskatchewan to complete its review as soon as possible. I am confident that, once the review is complete, the people of Saskatchewan will recognize a good deal when they see it and we can proceed without delay,” said Asper.
“All they have to do is give me the money and I’ll build them a stadium. It worked for Winnipeg and it can work in Saskatchewan.”
Sounds like an offer too good to refuse.
12 Dec

Jets Site Update

It’s been a while, but I’ve posted a new update at my Jets site. I’ve added a feature on the 1974 Save the Jets campaign, including a complete list of all the contributors. If you made a Founders Loan or bought a membership, your contribution has been recognized for posterity.


Incidentally, if you have a Jets fan in your life, a gift idea for this holiday season might be the DVD set featuring my e-book that details the Jets’ seven seasons in the WHA. Check out whahof.com for details.