Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Politics in the flood zone
Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
It's a lesson for any politician who wants to stick their neck out and be seen in the flood zone.
There's a good way to do it and a bad way to do it.
First the good.
Morris Progressive Conservative MLA Shannon Martin has spent the better part of July sandbagging in and around St. François Xavier, which is part of the constituency he represents.
Martin has posted quite a bit on Twitter and Facebook on sandbagging efforts, not showcasing himself or making any snide partisan remarks, but thanking people, including the military, for their hard work.
Martin also posted a photo on Twitter of him and mayoralty candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis, who was also sandbagging at the same time at the same place.
For those who've been living on the moon for the past 30 years, Judy is as NDP as it comes.
Shannon and Judy standing together, arms around one another, gave some folks a jolt that two people, complete opposites on the political spectrum, could actually work together. And smile about it.
It didn't take long after Martin posted the pic for the comments to come:
The lesson? Martin and Wasylycia-Leis show us how it's supposed to done in tough times. It rises above the crass partisanship that other politicians wallow in without thought.
Which brings me to federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair.
He flew into Winnipeg to whine that Prime Minister Stephen Harper wouldn't let him talk to the high-ranking troops in the flood zone. Why he couldn't just get in a car and go to St. François Xavier, he didn't explain other to say he wanted a briefing on the flood situation from those at the top.
Mulcair spoke at The Forks, which is nowhere near the flood zone let alone a sandbag.
Certainly, Muclair's brief appearance portrayed Harper as an evil manipulator that plays well with those who believe Harper is an evil manipulator. It accomplished nothing more.
And to the rest of us it only showed Mulcair is no Shannon Martin or Judy Wasylycia-Leis.
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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen
Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.
Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.
At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.
Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.
He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.
Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.
In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.
You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.
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