Dan Lett

  • Throwing away the key just throws away justice

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper is most definitely a man of his word. Even if keeping that word will have the effect of setting back Canada's justice system decades, if not centuries. On Wednesday, the prime minister kept a 2013 promise to eliminate parole for murderers who employ sexual assault, kidnapping and confinement, terrorism, the killing of police or corrections officers in their crimes, and first-degree murders found to be "of a particularly brutal nature."
  • What's missing is action

    Most Canadians understand government moves pretty slowly. It's the nature of a complex organization with competing interests (political versus administrative) and many different goals. In this context, it is often a good idea to go slow when citizens' money, or welfare, is at stake.
  • Win, lose, Selinger a no-go

    A week away from a historic gathering of the Manitoba New Democratic Party -- where a sometimes-bitter leadership race will be decided -- many questions still hang in the air. The most asked question is the also the most obvious one: Who is leading the leadership?
  • Li case exposes ugly truth about Tories

    The ugly truth has been revealed. Like many observers, I have always assumed the Conservative government's efforts to more harshly punish citizens found not criminally responsible for their crimes because of mental illness was part of a cynical but deliberate strategy to pander for votes.
  • Organized labour the key to NDP leadership

    After more than 50 delegate selection meetings, thousands of phone calls and too many twisted arms to count, the NDP leadership race has boiled down to the union vote. Most of the province's 57 NDP riding associations have now voted on which of the three leadership candidates they will support on the first ballot. Although each candidate has slightly different numbers, they mostly agree Steve Ashton leads with a small but comfortable margin over Theresa Oswald, who leads Premier Greg Selinger by another small margin.
  • Messy politics aboard a bus

    Steve Ashton has often heard allegations he exploits ethnic communities to serve his personal political interests. The current NDP leadership battle, which culminates in a convention March 8, is proving to be no different. It was the case in 2009, when the veteran NDP cabinet minister and MLA ran unsuccessfully against Greg Selinger for the leadership. At delegate-selection meetings, Selinger's organizers reported huge influxes of Indo-Canadian, Filipino and Chinese party members, many of whom had only become members a few weeks before. They often spoke little English, had scant involvement with the party and tended to vote in blocs.
  • Governments play privacy card far too often

    In politics, transparency is a great concept. But it is also a cruel mistress for politicians. Just ask Mayor Brian Bowman.
  • Oswald hauls out big gun with 2016 in mind

    Wracked by turmoil and paralyzed by internal political bickering, could the Manitoba NDP still somehow win the next provincial election? Most of the political world outside the NDP would say no, particularly with a messy and acrimonious leadership race going on and poll results that hover on the "edge of the abyss" territory.
  • Weighing the odds in NDP race

    It was hardly a surprise to anyone watching the melodrama that is the NDP leadership that MLA Jim Rondeau ended up in Steve Ashton's camp. Rondeau (Assiniboia) had been a minister in the cabinets of premiers Gary Doer and Greg Selinger. However, he was unceremoniously and surprisingly dumped by Selinger in a 2013 shuffle.
  • Stubbornness of MDs poses a health risk

    It is with great disappointment that Manitobans learned this week the province's 2,700 physicians will not be -- for the time being -- providing after-hours, on-call care for their patients. The disappointment comes from the fact this one simple idea from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba represented a glimmer of hope that we can start healing our health-care system
  • It's still way too early to count Selinger out

    The race just got real. For the last few months, we've been watching various camps within the Manitoba New Democratic Party battle each other in a rather vicious manner to see who will lead the party into the next election.
  • Sheegl sowed seeds in current drama at city hall

    Right now, former Winnipeg chief administrative officer Phil Sheegl is probably somewhere having a good laugh at the mayhem he has unleashed. Mayor Brian Bowman is scrambling to mend fences with True North chairman Mark Chipman after rashly and erroneously alleging True North got favourable consideration on the purchase of a lot at 220 Carlton St. owned by the city's downtown development agency, CentreVenture, as part of a $400-million development.
  • High political IQ missing in mayor's camp

    In this world, there are various and sundry forms of smart. There is book-smart, which refers to people who are well-studied and who retain large amounts of knowledge. There is street smart, a nod to people who gain expertise and knowledge through their personal experience.
  • CUPE role in NDP race an abuse of process

    Just a month away from a historic party gathering, where a sitting premier is being forced to defend his job against two challengers, the bloody civil war in NDP ranks has suddenly taken on an decidedly absurd tone. This week, CUPE Manitoba, one of the province's largest unions representing more than 25,000 employees, somehow convinced the NDP executive to award it nearly 300 delegates to the leadership convention. This is newsworthy because CUPE has never had this many delegates at an NDP event; at the 2009 leadership at which Premier Greg Selinger became party leader, CUPE provided about 100 delegates. Its numbers were lower because it is not officially affiliated with the party; unions that are affiliates qualify for larger delegate allotments.
  • Bowman already a far cry from predecessor

    Brian Bowman was swept to power last fall on a promise to change the culture of the mayor's office in particular, and city hall in general. How has the new mayor fared in this lofty goal? On Monday, Bowman convened a virtual town hall meeting -- a conference call open to all citizens of Winnipeg -- and held a news briefing to commemorate his first 100 days in office.
  • Chief's neutral approach to NDP war may be best bet

    No one has to tell Kevin Chief about the rock and a hard place. With his party in turmoil, and open warfare raging between Premier Greg Selinger and dissidents who want him to step down, the minister of jobs and the economy has found himself stuck between Selinger, a man desperately trying to save his political career, and the two challengers -- Steve Ashton and Theresa Oswald -- just as desperate to see that career come to an end.
  • Selinger had a better option for a tax increase

    What if? What if Premier Greg Selinger had not shocked the public, and his own party, by introducing a PST increase to fund infrastructure in 2013?
  • Cleaning up the culture of sport

    If you went on the basis of the headlines alone, you might be led to believe youth sport is in crisis. Allegations of sexual misconduct by players of the University of Ottawa hockey team. On-ice brawls between players and officials in Manitoba. Rampant concussion concerns in a variety of sports. Public disputes over transparency and accountability in Winnipeg youth soccer.
  • Anyone-but-Ashton camp has its work cut out for it

    Who will win the NDP leadership vote in March? For those following Manitoba politics, that is the burning question that seems to be on everyone’s lips. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to answer.
  • Let's stop the revolving door that is the CAO's office

    In the private sector, if a multibillion-dollar company tried to function for any extended period of time without a chief executive officer, you can bet investors and analysts would howl in disbelief, concerned the foundation of the organization was at risk of collapsing in a thunderous, dusty heap. Ah, but that's the private sector, where leadership is a key element in organizational success.
  • NDP flip-flop on voting very good news for Ashton

    And the rules have changed, again. The NDP's provincial council voted narrowly on Sunday to allow some form of remote voting from five northern ridings: Thompson, Flin Flon, The Pas, Kewatinook and Swan River.
  • Selinger's foes suck and blow

    The leadership crisis now engulfing the Manitoba New Democratic Party could be dismissed as a playground skirmish between petulant, ambitious politicians if it weren't for one significant, underlying narrative. The dissidents who have publicly demanded Premier Greg Selinger step down have alleged he violated the trust of Manitobans by raising the PST in the 2013 budget, a few months after promising he would not. Having lost the trust of voters, the dissidents believe the NDP needs new leadership.
  • Glimpse of a great motivator

    Imagine the possibilities. If Hillary Clinton goes on to become president of the United States in 2016 -- a race that begins, remarkably, in just a couple of months -- then at least 2,000 Winnipeggers will be able to say that they sampled a bit of political history.
  • Ashton in scrap over leadership-vote rules

    It is not clear whether Steve Ashton will succeed in his second bid to win the NDP leadership. However, if he does go down again, he'll go down swinging. Ashton attempted over the weekend to convince the NDP executive to change the rules for the March leadership vote.
  • Budget delay screams time to panic

    Despite a slowing economy, massive layoffs, declining oil prices and general volatility, Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver would like Canadians to know that it is definitely not time to panic. Unfortunately, even though that’s what he’s saying, almost everything Oliver is doing suggests panic has already taken root in Ottawa.

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