Mary Agnes Welch's Gripe Juice

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  • 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.
  • MP newsletters are kosher

    In recent days, three different voters in three different ridings have contacted the Free Press about MP newsletters arriving in mailboxes days or weeks after the election campaign began. The first to arrive, the week after the writ was dropped, was a “tax guide” from Provencher MP Vic Toews. A couple of days after that, reader Ian Wallace says he got another, more partisan mail-out from Toews that was mailed at government cost.

  • Wally takes swipes at Niki

    If it weren’t so Mean Girls, this (click here) might be kind of funny. Churchill Tory candidate Wally Daudrich is burning up his bandwidth with some familiar, if bush-league, swipes at NDP MP Niki Ashton.

  • Manitoba platforms wanted

    I was chatting with former federal cabinet minister Lloyd Axworthy recently about electoral reform and he mentioned that, back in his day as an MP, the Liberals would release a Manitoba-specific platform, with a list of promises and positions on local issues.

  • Iggy makes a funny

    This is possibly the best election ad of the campaign so far. The Twitterverse appears to be in love with it for its hipster humour and the speed with which the Grits got it made. I especially like the amalgamation of old-school Frankenstein-style grunting with Terminator-style cyborg face recognition software.

  • Strategic voting in St. B

    A group calling themselves Catch 22 is looking to foment strategic voting in 40 ridings across Canada in a bid to oust Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. They appear to be a grassroots group of lefties and they’ve earned a little press since they launched their campaign late last week.

  • Tale of two rallies

    I'm a couple of days late, but I've been thinking about the contrasts between Prime Minister Stephen Harper's rally in Winnipeg Tuesday and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff's town hall the following night.

  • Is that Tory a Dipper?

    They might be riding high in the polls but the provincial Tories keep getting dragged down north of Winnipeg.

  • Trumped by Manitoba Lotteries

    Polls paid for by taxpayers are supposed to be public, according to a lot of crowing about the province's new-ish access to information act.

  • An election is coming!

    Here’s how I know: Premier Greg Selinger is more in-your-face than Maria Aragon. He has made seven announcements this week, including one about a literacy award this afternoon.
  • McFadyen sets the table

    Along with five other nerds in the province, I sometimes spend quiet Fridays skimming the transcripts of legislative committee hearings. More often than not, I read Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen doing his courtroom drama thing and questioning a senior official like the head of Elections Manitoba. Often, I wonder what the hell the guy is on about. Then, a few weeks or months later, I figure it out, and the questions and answers become extremely useful.

  • The Tories bash back

    Wowza. Now that’s what I call an effective attack ad.

  • Nancy Allan, fix this

    Call it a case of delayed outrage, but I cannot believe the Winnipeg School Division doesn’t release agendas and reports before its regular meetings. This is, put simply, an affront to modern principles of open and accountable government. When Winnipeg city hall kicks your butt on the “open and accountable” front, you know you’ve got a problem.

  • Iggy on the Filipino vote

    Winnipeg North Tory candidate Julie Javier issued a press release yesterday evening saying it’s “regrettable” that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff suggested her candidacy is a game designed to sway Liberal Filipino voters.

  • A bright spot in a crap campaign

    Every election, reporters meet one or two gem candidates who probably won't win, but totally should. I was overdue for such a moment, in a campaign dominated by Sam n' Judy sniping, endless nastiness in River Heights and inconsequential issues like concrete barriers. This campaign hasn't exactly filled one with faith in the virtues of civic engagement.

  • Shindleman and Kowalson

    The blogosphere and the Freep’s comment section have been murmuring about the connection between River Heights-Fort Garry candidate Michael Kowalson and Sandy Shindleman, arguably the city’s most powerful developer.

About Mary Agnes Welch

Mary Agnes Welch joined the Free Press in 2002, first covering city hall and then 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. She has been part of two teams of reporters nominated for a Michener Award. In 2011, 2012 and 2013 she was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the beat category.

She was a Southam journalism fellow at the University of Toronto’s Massey College in 2012-13, where she studied indigenous issues, urban planning and political science. She is also the former national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists and has served on several boards.

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

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