Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Don’t hold the phone
You may recall that the Manitoba Tories had a lot of fun at the expense of Deputy Premier Rosann Wowchuk a while back when they released a photo of her driving on Portage Avenue while talking on her cell phone.
They posted the picture online — and later turned it into a fundraiser, in which supporters could buy one or more "virtual cell phones" for $10 each.
The point was that a government that was banning drivers from using hand-held phones — the law has been passed and will take effect later this year — should follow its own rules.
Now, I don’t have a photo as proof to post with this blog, but I did spy with my little eye a high-ranking member of Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen’s staff drive away from the Legislative Building Thursday morning while holding a cell phone to his ear.
I was on foot at the time and he was still on the Legislative Building’s grounds when I saw him on the phone.
It could be that after he passed by me — and before he swung onto Assiniboine Avenue a second or two later — he put his phone away. I will never know for sure.
But politicians of all stripes and their staffs — and journalists, too, for that matter — will find it darn hard to break old habits, I wager, as the proclamation date for the new law approaches.
And Rosann Wowchuk won’t be the only one to be labelled a hypocrite.
-By Larry Kusch
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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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