Mary Agnes Welch's Gripe Juice

with Mary Agnes Welch

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  • NDP bait and switch

    The NDP has just launched what it's calling its Fairer Deal for Renters campaign. Flyers and emails (like the one below) are appearing in people's mailboxes directing them to a website where citizens can fill out a brief survey on how to fix the province's rental crisis.

  • Free Fido!

    In the last few months, I've been dealing with some laughably outrageous fees levied by the city for access to information requests.

  • A tale of three Tories

    Let me acknowledge something right up front: Journalists like people who return their calls and say stuff. We sometimes mistake accessible, open politicians for those with real talent, smarts or insider knowledge.

  • $2m for (boring) byelections

  • Not Making Census

    Most data nerds look forward to census day, and I’m no different. Last Wednesday, I was pretty geeked up about the last release from the 2011 national household survey, the juicy stuff on income. I knew the data would probably be dodgy, but I held out hope.

  • Open Oil

    I traditionally use this space to gleefully slag government, especially for being secretive and stingy with what ought to be public information.

  • Thanks, baby

    Normally, I use this space to gripe about government types. This time, I am full of love.

  • Alice Taylor meets the preem

    Alice Taylor (, who is quickly becoming my favourite Manitoban, had an unexpected visit the week before the provincial election.

  • Conservation speculation

    The sexy speculation in political nerd circles seems to swirl around who might be finance minister and, like Dan, I’d put money on Theresa Oswald or Big Mac. Jennifer Howard used to be a health policy wonk, so she’s an obvious choice for health if Oswald moves.

  • Election bumf

    The Grits recently got to the bottom of some online shenanigans that have been wasting their time and clogging up their website. The culprit might surprise you.
  • Women candidates "abhorrently disgusting"

    We get a lot of crazy emails and phone calls here at the Freep, as does every newsroom.

  • Grit spin

    Victory for Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard would be four seats, which would give him official party status for the first time in years. Perhaps hoping for a last-minute surge like the one that catapulted the federal NDP into opposition in May, Grit party folk are feeling hopeful (and possibly delusional) about these four:
  • Adam Beach, Tory?

    Adam Beach is a lot of things – good actor, handsome and charming, clearly committed to Manitoba’s aboriginal people.

  • Elaborate, Mr. McFadyen

    We had a rather dispiriting scrum with Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen Friday afternoon. I fear it’s the first of many where the guy — who is known to be a policy wonk — does nothing but duck real policy debates.

  • Cheesy move, NDP

    My boss on our news desk got an innocuous call this morning from a staffer in the Selinger government’s media office. The staffer (who was also at the NDP’s 2015 vision launch yesterday) cheerfully offered us a tour of the new birthing centre in St. Vital.

  • The NDP’s Indo-Canadian problem

    I dropped by the NDP nomination meeting Sunday afternoon in Concordia, a race that caused a lot of heartburn within the party’s establishment. It offered some stark evidence of the chasm that exists between the party’s old guard and its new Indo-Canadian members. The meeting was held at a local high school, which was a pretty apt setting. Like the Grade 12 cool kids, the party establishment all hung out together while the brown guys in turbans kept to themselves. If that continues, the NDP might have a problem in a few months.

  • What’s next for Rebecca Blaikie?

    NDP candidate Rebecca Blaikie lost by 117 votes last night in a squeaker in Winnipeg North, thanks to Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux’s strength in Tyndall Park and some advance votes that bumped him over the top.

  • Does this wikileak make my story look flat?

    The American embassy in Ottawa called me a crap journalist, but I don’t care. I made Wikileaks!

  • Is Maloway getting bruinooged?

    Elmwood-Transcona hasn't been on most people's lists of ridings to watch, including mine. But in the last few days, several politicos of all stripes have hinted that NDP MP Jim Maloway may be in a tighter race than expected. His key challenger, Tory Lawrence Toet, has a significant number of signs up in the riding and is no rookie on the campaign trail. He ran Thomas Steen's successful bid for a council seat last fall, and my impression is Toet was the tough brain behind Steen's gentle charm. Toet was also one of the area's leading challengers of the proposed OlyWest hog processing plant, a fight that took many months and consumed the riding.

  • Badly done, Ottawa

    I wrote today about 30-year-old Kevin Taylor, a guy with cerebral palsy who lives in St. Theresa Point in a home with no running water that’s not wheelchair accessible. His dad has to carry him to the outhouse. When Taylor can’t use his crutches, he drags himself around with his arms.

About Mary Agnes Welch

Mary Agnes Welch joined the Free Press in 2002, first as a general assignment reporter and then covering city hall and the Manitoba legislature before moving to her current post as public policy reporter.

Before Winnipeg, she worked at the Windsor Star and the Odessa American, a small daily newspaper in West Texas. There, in addition to covering more than 20 counties, she took high school football scores from coaches all over West Texas by phone every Friday night.

Mary Agnes is a graduate of Columbia University’s journalism school, has won several Western Ontario Newspaper Awards and has been part of two teams of reporters nominated for a Michener Award. In 2011, she was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the beat category. She is also the former national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

She once misspelled "Shih Tzu" in the paper and received 37 emails from angry dog-owners.


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