Dan Lett

  • Bowman was able to grow

    No matter how you look at it, the proximity between the campaign headquarters for Judy Wasylycia-Leis and Brian Bowman is hard to explain. The two offices are located on opposite sides of Portage Avenue, separated by about the length of a Canadian football field. This odd reality seems now to be such an obvious sign that these two candidates were destined to go head to head for the mayor's office.
  • A search for the visionary mayor

    Ask political scientists, urban planners and civic political animals to name Canada's most visionary mayor, and you're likely to get a single answer: Calgary's Naheed Nenshi. The Harvard-trained academic and business consultant authored what is easily one of the greatest underdog election wins in Canadian political history, surging from single-digit support in pre-election polls to a commanding win on election day.
  • Murray caught up in political animosity

    Think of it as death by patronage. Just a few weeks after a splashy official opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, politics finally caught up with Stuart Murray, the CMHR's president and CEO, a longtime Tory who was appointed to the job just five years ago.
  • Nomination battles are the ugly side of politics

    Of all the things that dampen our interest in politics, politicians and elections, the shameless manipulation of riding nomination battles must rank right at the top of the list. Nominating a candidate to represent a registered political party is certainly among the least altruistic of all forms of politics. Take a popularity contest, mix in healthy doses of cliquey manipulation, remorseless rule-breaking and rampant dirty tricks, and you've got the recipe for many nomination battles in this country.
  • Don't count out NDP next election

    It's a lead, but what does it mean? Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives continue to run out in front of the governing NDP in the latest Probe Research poll, and by a significant 12-point margin. That's hardly bad news for the provincial Tories. But in the grand scheme of things, how much good news is there in this one poll?
  • Winnipeg police struggle to build relationships

    As many of you may know, the motto of the Winnipeg Police Service is "building relationships," a mostly positive, somewhat fuzzy expression of the force's overriding interest in connecting with the citizens of Winnipeg. But how exactly do police build those relationships? How can a police service connect with the broader community and build relationships?
  • Candidates need infrastructure tutorial

    The good news in this Winnipeg civic election campaign is all of the mayoral candidates have vowed to make infrastructure their top priority. That makes sense because, to no one’s surprise, infrastructure is the number-one issue for voters. A Winnipeg Free Press/CTV Winnipeg poll released today confirms repairing existing roads is the priority for more than six in 10 Winnipeggers.
  • From enraged to engaged

    Throughout the civic election campaign, Kevin Hart has experienced moments of both fear and hope. An aboriginal activist and chairman of Circle of Life Thunderbird House, Hart spends a lot of time worrying Winnipeg's aboriginal residents will, as they have traditionally done, ignore the campaign and not vote.
  • How not to run a campaign 101

    It has been said before, but let it be said again: The specific numbers in any poll are less important than the trends. On that basis, the latest Free Press/CTV Winnipeg poll conducted by Probe Research on Winnipeg’s 2014 mayoral race shows us the contest has a clear front-runner, a rising star in second place and a dead man walking.
  • How not to run a campaign 101

    It has been said before, but let it be said again: The specific numbers in any poll are less important than the trends. On that basis, the latest Free Press/CTV Winnipeg poll conducted by Probe Research on Winnipeg's 2014 mayoral race shows us the contest has a clear front-runner, a rising star in second place and a dead man walking.
  • Katz's regrets a Nixonian moment

    Shortly after Richard Nixon lost the 1962 California gubernatorial election, he held what would forever be known as his "farewell news conference." In it, a beleaguered Nixon -- who lost to Democratic incumbent Pat Brown -- mockingly suggested the media would miss him because they "won't have Nixon to kick around anymore."
  • No candidate possesses key to open government

    In the sphere of motherhood issues, accountability is the one that is most likely to be universally embraced by candidates looking to win elections. Who would argue against accountable government? When all is said and done in an election, you can bet that just about everyone has signed some sort of pledge, or made some sort of promise, to be more accountable than the folks who came before them.
  • Attacking Ouellette could spark blowback

    An endorsement by a powerful and influential lobby is supposed to be a good thing for a political candidate. And it usually is, unless the people doing the endorsing overestimate both their influence and their role. So it was this week when an endorsement by the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg (UFFW) began to go sideways on both the union and the mayoral candidate being endorsed, front-runner Judy Wasylycia-Leis.
  • Law and order is coming to WSD

    Education Minister James Allum is readying himself to bring some law and order to the Winnipeg School Division, which despite repeated warnings, has continued to conduct its business behind closed doors. The big question now is whether Allum can succeed on an issue that confounded his predecessor.
  • The best man for a problematic position

    The opening ceremony for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was marked by deeply emotional and symbolic moments. The blessings of First Nations and Métis elders. Moving musical performances by Maria Aragon and the Tenors. Accolades from Gov. Gen. David Johnston, Premier Greg Selinger and Mayor Sam Katz. A teary but joyful address by Gail Asper, daughter of museum founder Israel Asper.
  • True to Izzy's vision

    Until today, there have always been more questions than answers about the content of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Some broad descriptions of the content contained in the museum’s 11 galleries have leaked out over the years. But for the most part, we’ve only got disconnected bits and pieces.
  • New, not necessarily exciting

    For fans of democracy, a mayoral election in which no incumbent is running is typically cause for celebration. Not because long-serving incumbent mayors are traditionally quite unpopular when they leave office, which is true. But because incumbent-less elections often feature new, fresh faces floating new, fresh ideas.
  • Putting spotlight on all Canada's vulnerable

    It's a pretty good bet that when he took the podium at Yukon College in Whitehorse last month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper had no intention of sparking a national debate on the role of the federal government in the lives of the most vulnerable Canadians. And yet, intended or not, that's exactly what Harper has done.
  • Firing young PC staffer over blog wasn't smart

    The collision of politics and social media often produces explosive results. As a case in point, consider the recent travails of a 20-something Winnipegger named Spencer Fernando. Fernando was, until quite recently, employed by the Progressive Conservative caucus at the Manitoba legislature. He was also seeking a Tory nomination in the provincial riding of Fort-Garry Riverview.
  • A real solution needed on missing women

    I will admit there have been several times during this civic election campaign when I secretly wished Winnipeg police Chief Devon Clunis was running for mayor. Of course, it's highly unlikely Clunis will ever trade in his badge for a career in politics. The chief appears to be, for all intents and purposes, far too sane a man to want that kind of grief.
  • The campaign lie that won't go away

    Of all the fibs uttered in the heat of an election campaign, the claim that better government services and amenities can be paid for through "efficiencies" has to be the most fantastic. You can see the efficiencies myth sprinkled throughout the current mayoral race, as candidates battle each other to see who can conjure the biggest fictitious savings.
  • Ottawa's fiscal whims won't help new mayor

    Hundreds of thousands of Winnipeggers are, as we speak, readying themselves to choose the city's next mayor in October's civic election. We're wondering which of the candidates will restore trust and integrity in city hall. Or find a way to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. Or sustain key services without crippling property taxpayers with unbearable increases.
  • Bowman, Steeves making it a one-horse race

    Is this Judy's race to lose? Two different polls released Thursday -- including the first crowd-sourced poll by Probe Research -- show former NDP MP and MLA Judy Wasylycia-Leis with a substantial lead.
  • Firefighters, police have yet to fill dance cards

    It's getting close to crunch time in the Winnipeg civic election and two of the most important political players have yet to book a date for the big night. The United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Police Association, two powerful and influential unions that have played important roles in past civic-election races, have yet to announce mayoral endorsements.
  • MPI's lack of disclosure sign of bigger issue?

    It is hard to believe Dan Guimond, the president of Manitoba Public Insurance, believes what he is saying. MPI is currently before the Public Utilities Board seeking a 3.4 per cent hike to Autopac rates for 2015. Last week, MPI shocked observers by refusing to answer more than 400 questions-- about 40 per cent of all those posed to the insurer -- that sought information about road-safety programs and use of used parts in repairs.

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