Dan Lett

  • 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.
  • Developers' cash wanted like a sore thumb

    Have the developers been driven out of municipal politics in Winnipeg? Developers -- a catch-all term that encompasses real estate developers, management companies, builders and construction contractors -- have always played a prominent role in funding municipal political campaigns.
  • Province could end city hall's ethics problems

    Integrity. All the mayoral candidates in this fall's civic election are promising to deliver more of it. It's not hard to see why. Soon-to-be-former-mayor Sam Katz will leave a trail of ethical and moral transgressions in his wake when he retires from politics this fall. The crescendo to date was a decision by Manitoba Justice to forward three audits of city real estate deals to the RCMP for consideration. But what does "more integrity" really mean, and how exactly are we going find more of it at city hall, an institution that has shown nothing less than utter contempt for the concept?
  • Selinger needs balanced budget for re-election but calendar gets in way

    It is widely believed in NDP circles Premier Greg Selinger must, if he is to have any chance at re-election, slay the deficit. To date, Selinger has made little progress. Unforeseen expenditures -- many directly connected to flood events -- and a stubborn reluctance to invoke deep spending cuts have kept the province mired in red ink. The NDP has virtually no chance of delivering a balanced budget in 2015.
  • Where there's smoke there may, or may not, be fire

    When asked to comment on the news Manitoba Justice had asked the RCMP to review audits of city real estate transactions -- reports that showed rampant rule-breaking and patronage -- Mayor Sam Katz said he hopes this latest chapter in one of the longest city hall soap operas ever will accomplish one thing in particular. "I hope this brings closure."
  • Duck-and-run strategy is far from mayoral

    As Gord Steeves left Bonnycastle Park on Tuesday, an aboriginal man in a smart grey business suit approached him and asked for a chance to talk. The man, Kevin Hart, chairman of the Circle of Life Thunderbird House, had been watching Steeves respond to the controversy over Steeves' wife Lorrie's angry Facebook rant against "drunken native guys."
  • Handling of Steeves controversy bizarre

    From the bizarre to the absurd and then, finally, the incredibly awkward. Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves, soundly roasted in the media for a Facebook post his wife made four years ago, finally faced the media.
  • Solving the bogeyman problem

    It's civic election time in Winnipeg. And that means it's time to gang up on the city's downtown. In case you haven't noticed, it's a tradition in Winnipeg's mayoral races for candidates to trip over themselves in a race to disparage the core of the city.
  • Fast can win race... but not stupidity

    Some fables never lose their relevance, no matter how old or simple they may be. Like the fable of the tortoise and the hare. The well-known moral of the story is how patience and persistence can win out over speed and arrogance. Right now in the Winnipeg mayoral race, we've got a classic tortoise-and-hare battle going on.
  • Steeves chooses to go with Loch Ness Monster policy

    Pay less. Get more. In the political arena, it's the often-floated idea we citizens can pay the same or less in taxes and actually get more of something we really need.
  • Mental-health crisis claims another victim

    A true definition of insanity, it has often been said, is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. In that context, the police shooting last week that resulted in the death of a Winnipeg man and the subsequent suppression of all information about how police ended up using their weapons is a clear manifestation of insanity.
  • Attacking chiefs mindless

    Oh, the outrage. This past week, First Nations leaders were compelled to disclose their salary and benefits, the result of a new federal transparency and accountability law.
  • When it's a criminal matter

    For hockey fans who have watched in shock as teenage players and grown-up coaches have been charged with criminal offences, it's the single question that just won't go away. Where do you draw the line between hockey penalty and criminal penalty? Despite several well-publicized cases this year, it remains a mystery.
  • Flood swamps ability to be fierce deficit-slayer

    Between a rock and a hard place is bad enough. Add rising river waters, and you have an idea where Manitoba Finance Minister Jennifer Howard is stuck these days. Howard entered this summer with reason to believe the 2014-15 fiscal year would be a good one. Spring flooding was nearly non-existent, the economy was expected to grow steadily, if modestly, and the stubborn budget deficit her government has carried for five years would start to shrink.
  • Fringe candidates get attention they deserve

    In May, Idaho Republican Gov. Butch Otter stunned political observers when he demanded all candidates in the GOP primary race be allowed to participate in a televised debate. It was a stunner because in addition to Russ Fulcher, a veteran state senator, the primary campaign included two, shall we say, fringe candidates.
  • Hockey Manitoba still doesn't get the message

    Call it trial by YouTube. RCMP announced Wednesday that criminal charges had been laid against two teenage hockey players involved in a bantam playoff game held in Stonewall on March 30.
  • PC leader keeps far from flood fight's crucial front lines

    It is the biggest story in Manitoba, and yet not big enough to draw the presence of Manitoba Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister. Over the past three weeks, the province has suffered floods rivalling the surges experienced in 2011, one of the worst flood years ever.
  • Katz's masterful manipulation

    A train wreck. When discussing the performance of government on a matter of public policy, the metaphor implies the sudden and violent cessation of progress, a derailing of priorities and destruction of process and order.
  • How to win: Meet voters face-to-face

    That sound you're hearing is the collision of two great Canadian traditions. Summer and election campaigns.
  • Feds' stance on CMHR ridiculous and insulting

    For anyone looking for the ultimate definition of nonsense, we humbly submit the following. A dispute panel, created by the federal government, decided the federal government owes the City of Winnipeg more money in lieu of property taxes for a federally owned museum.
  • Rapid-transit referendum bad idea

    Just think of all the things we wouldn't have if we got our way. No Manitoba Legislative Building. No Red River Floodway -- neither the original Duff's Ditch nor the deeper, wider version from the recent expansion would have come to fruition.
  • Pallister must expand his universe

    Has incumbency become the ultimate political trump card? It's hard not to consider that question in the wake of Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne's remarkable majority victory June 12.
  • As a businessman, he inspired; as a politician, he let us down

    At a time when this city desperately needed some concrete dust in its nose, Sam Katz delivered. It was the spring of 1999 and Katz was almost giddy as he strolled through the nearly completed confines of his tiny, perfect ballpark.
  • Event not exactly a revelation

    The first lesson from the very first mayoral forum? When all is said and done, you cannot say or do much in an hour-long forum with seven -- count 'em seven -- mayoral candidates.

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