Dan Lett

  • Time for infrastructure plans to do more than just fill potholes

    Of all the cabinet appointments made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, none may be as quietly poetic as that of Amarjeet Sohi, the new minister of infrastructure and communities. Sohi, an MP from Edmonton, is a former bus driver and a two-term city councillor. He could be the most qualified infrastructure minister ever.
  • Selinger hitches trade cart to national deal

    There are good reasons to criticize the Selinger government. The province is mired in chronic deficit financing. Outcomes in key service areas, particularly health-care wait times, child welfare and public education, are not favourable. Internal fighting among NDP MLAs and cabinet ministers has left a deep scar on Premier Greg Selinger's leadership. However, of all the reasons to criticize the government, one of the oddest has to be its refusal to join the New West Partnership.
  • Tory leader's denial of flip-flop hard to reconcile

    Politicians rarely ever die from a flip-flop. It's denial that leads to their demise. A good case in point comes from Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister, a man who has been very newsworthy of late. From last week's alternative throne speech and high-profile fundraising dinner to Tuesday's Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Pallister has been a one-man headline machine.
  • Premier plays politics with rail-yard relocation plan

    NDP Premier Greg Selinger — whose political life is hanging by a thread — will attempt to bolster his chances for re-election when his government announces plans for a comprehensive process to relocate major rail lines running through Winnipeg, including the CPR Winnipeg Yards. Government sources confirmed Monday’s throne speech will contain a commitment to striking a special committee of government and private-sector representatives — including officials from CN and CP — that will begin the arduous task of negotiating a deal to remove most of the railway assets that criss-cross the city now. The sources said that group could be unveiled as early as next month.
  • Pixie dust and promises

    The Manitoba Progressive Conservatives tried as much as possible to make their mock throne speech, unveiled Friday, feel like the real thing. A large committee room at the Manitoba legislature was booked for the event. Dignitaries were ushered into the room, just before a procession of Tory MLAs and candidates. Then, leader Brian Pallister arrived for a triumphant stroll to the podium.
  • Changing laws they opposed a challenge for Grits

    Change is what people voted for, and change is certainly what we're getting from the new Liberal government. The cabinet unveiled last week symbolizes that change. It is more diverse, in terms of visible minorities and women, than ever before. It also features new departmental titles that add terms such as "refugees," "indigenous people" and "climate change" to the federal government lexicon.
  • Selinger prepares for an election after rough year

    It was little more than a year ago the ground beneath Premier Greg Selinger shifted profoundly. On Oct. 25, 2014, the Free Press published a story indicating members of the NDP caucus and cabinet wanted Selinger to step down from his post. The dissidents believed new leadership was needed to restore the NDP brand and improve its chances in the April 2016 election.
  • Manitoba's Liberal leader could surprise with strong showing

    A third-place party with a youthful but untested leader and some interesting but potentially risky policies. You might think that describes Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in August when the writ was dropped on the federal election campaign. And that does capture the general scenario facing Trudeau and the Grits in the early days of that campaign.
  • Sixteen years of dealing with 'hand grenades'

    He's coming home. Well, that's not quite true. If you ask Gary Doer, Canada's ambassador to the United States and former Manitoba premier, he will tell you he never really "left" home when he took up his job as Canada's top diplomat in Washington, D.C., six years ago.
  • Being open and accountable: easier in Opposition

    It's almost impossible to get elected to anything these days without promising more open and accountable government. That doesn't mean we get open and accountable government. Only that it's so darn easy to promise and so diabolically difficult to deliver.
  • Tories must reflect and change course

    It didn't take long for the panic to set in. Within 24 hours of the Conservative defeat on Monday, a group of disenchanted Alberta Tories had organized a Facebook page under the name "Republic of Western Canada."
  • Trudeau's plan to run deficits buoys Manitoba's NDP

    When Justin Trudeau's Liberals won a majority mandate Monday night, there were a lot of grins to go around in Manitoba. Certainly, the Manitoba Liberal Party and its leader, Rana Bokhari, were pretty giddy. Bokhari claims to have a close relationship with Trudeau, the hottest political property in the country. And there are high expectations some of the Red Wave that broke across Canada this week will slosh over and into the Manitoba election, scheduled for April 2016.
  • Campaigning done, time to cast your vote

    The campaigning is over. Now, all that's left to do is to roust the voters and go to the polls. After a remarkable 11 weeks and one day of campaigning, the result is still very much in doubt. Yes, the Liberals seem to have the momentum, if opinion polls have any connection to the actual pulse of the electorate. However, regional breakdowns and the unpredictability of voter turnout mean we can watch the results come in tonight without any clear idea of who is going to win.
  • Questioning the company they keep

    What can you tell about a politician from the company he or she keeps? In the late stages of a remarkable federal election campaign, this has become a pressing concern for voters. Particularly since several party leaders have been found to keep the company of some rather questionable characters.
  • Conservatives haul out heavy artillery

    In the last week of the 2011 election campaign, then-NDP leader Jack Layton was everyone's favourite political target. Surging in the second half of that campaign, Layton and the NDP raised for the first time the prospect of a party other than the Liberals or Conservatives forming government. That was enough to convince those two parties to launch an unrelenting attack on Layton.
  • NDP drop too early for Tories' liking

    With two weeks to go, there is strong evidence from a variety of opinion polls that the vaunted three-horse race we were all tracking has become, once again, a two-horse affair. Relying solely on survey results in the last week, it seems the NDP has fallen on hard times. Most polls showed the NDP, regardless of the front-runner, lagging in third place well outside the margin of error.
  • Prospects of a minority highlight small issues

    Let's face it -- in the grand federal political scheme of things, Manitoba has never been a big player. That will come as little surprise to people who live here. We are cursed with a tiny population, minimal petroleum reserves and only 14 federal seats. As a result, Manitoba has only rarely hit above its weight when it comes to federal political influence.
  • Tories' extreme stand a bid for Jewish vote

    As most of the crowd turned against her, Joyce Bateman's awkward smile melted away. Bateman, the Conservative MP from Winnipeg South Centre who is running for re-election, was sitting onstage at the Asper Jewish Community Campus in Tuxedo for an all-candidates forum hosted by B'nai Brith.
  • Excitement ramps up two months into campaign

    We are now near the two-month mark in the federal election campaign. Think about that for a moment.
  • Grit surge last thing Tories want

    Everyone knew going into this federal election campaign the Conservative party was going to need a little luck in the form of vote-splitting if it was to keep its 11 seats in Manitoba. Vote-splitting has become particularly important in this campaign, the closest three-way federal race in postwar history.
  • Harper's announcement on Kapyong shows Conservatives are vulnerable

    If you needed evidence the Conservative Party is worried about the federal election campaign, you got it this week in Manitoba. Making a second stop in Manitoba, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper stunned observers Tuesday by announcing a Tory government will not appeal a Federal Court decision on the fate of Kapyong Barracks and is consulting with First Nations on the future of vacant land in southwest Winnipeg.
  • NDP slide causes Tories concern, too

    The Free Press insider's panel offers its insights for Week 7 of the federal election campaign.  
  • Knocking on Canada's doors

    When it comes to Canada's sensibilities about immigration, there is the myth and there is the reality. The myth is Canada is one of the most enlightened, generous countries in the world. A nation built in large part by the immigrant experience. A culture that welcomes the world's most vulnerable people with open arms.
  • We Canadians aren't as enlightened as we think we are — and Harper knows that

    When it comes to Canada’s sensibilities about immigration, there is the myth and there is the reality. The myth is Canada is one of the most enlightened, generous countries in the world. A nation built in large part by the immigrant experience. A culture that welcomes the world’s most vulnerable people with open arms.
  • Ambitious blueprint for change spooks NDP

    If you listen carefully right now, you can hear the sound of NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair's campaign team all slapping their foreheads at the same time. Why so frustrated? This week, more than 100 high-profile Canadians, who include a number of truly famous authors, actors, musicians, academics, politicians, labour leaders and aboriginal leaders, released something called the Leap Manifesto. It is a far-reaching, wide-ranging plan for the reinvention of Canada's economy. In particular, it calls for an overthrow of the capitalist system and measures to permanently wean Canada off fossil fuels.


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