Dan Lett

  • 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.
  • 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.

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