Shannon Sampert

  • Graphic campaign in Winnipeg

    In polite society, the adage goes, you should never talk about politics or religion. Maybe abortion should be added to the list, largely because this hot button issue is bound to start a debate on a highly personal topic. In Winnipeg, that debate was ignited with the arrival of a graphic anti-abortion leaflet in South Osborne. Toby Cygman found the unwelcome surprise in her mailbox on Sunday and she was not impressed.
  • The horror of waiting for missing women

    It’s hard not to tear up watching the Winnipeg police news conference with the faces of the exhausted family trying to hold it all together as police update media on the Thelma Krull case. Krull, 57, disappeared seemingly into thin air Saturday morning. She left her Harbourview South home for a walk in the Valley Gardens area and hasn’t been seen since. She was supposed to attend her grandson’s birthday. She was supposed to meet her husband at Canadian Tire. She didn’t show.
  • The ultimate job interview

    Years ago, when I first was out in the job market, I got a great piece of advice: don't pretend to be someone you're not just to get a job. Your employer needs to know who you really are to make sure you're a good fit for the task at hand. Wise words. It would appear Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has heeded this advice as well. In Winnipeg last weekend for a town hall meeting and some good old-fashioned meet-and-greets, Trudeau made it clear he's going to run this election his way, and if it resonates with the voters, so be it. If it doesn't? Well...
  • Nellies to honour Manitoba women

    "If men were all so intelligent as these representatives of the downtrodden sex seem to be it might not do any harm to give them the vote. But all men are not so intelligent. There is no use giving men votes. They wouldn't use them. They would let them spoil and go to waste. Then again, some men would vote too much... Giving men the vote would unsettle the home... The modesty of our men, which we reverence, forbids us giving them the vote. Men's place is on the farm... It may be that I am old-fashioned. I may be wrong. After all, men may be human. Perhaps the time may come when men may vote with the women -- but in the meantime, be of good cheer. Advocate and Educate." Whoa Nellie.
  • Aboriginal people may lose patience if report doesn’t stir action

    For many of us, Tuesday was a tough day. It was hard to watch the faces of people affected by the Indian Residential School system as they broke down, remembering the treatment they received at the hands of the government. To open up the executive summary and read in the first paragraph of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report that the establishment of government policies in relation to First Nations “can best be described as ‘cultural genocide.’ ”
  • The feminization of Trudeau

    Justin Trudeau -- he's just not ready. This is the latest in the Conservative's attack ads against the Liberal leader. As many have pointed out, it is eerily similar to the Manitoba NDP ad which criticized then-Tory leader Hugh McFadyen.
  • The motherhood penalty

    It was a wonderful understatement: It's normal until someone reminds you how ridiculous it is. And with that, Manitoba Teachers' Society president Paul Olson neatly wrapped up what happens when you treat women exactly like men and don't keep their important differences in mind.  
  • Politics, women and the F-bomb

    The F-bomb has certainly been getting a lot of media attention these days. Elizabeth May got herself into hot water over the weekend by dropping the F-word while speaking at the annual parliamentary press gallery dinner. The Green party leader blamed fatigue and the flu for a train wreck of a speech that went on far too long.
  • A pioneer in health of women is honoured

    Getting old is not for the weak. As you age, your eyes weaken, weight goes up, and energy goes down. For many women and some men, aging also brings with it the embarrassing problem of urinary incontinence. Dr. Chander Gupta is a trailblazer whom many Manitoba women should thank every time they sneeze -- and nothing happens. Gupta pioneered the field of urogynecology in the late 1980s providing an important service for women suffering from incontinence. Gupta was recognized Wednesday with the Eira "Babs" Friesen lifetime achievement award at the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg Women of Distinction Award dinner because of her work in incontinence. This is the 39th year for the women of distinction awards in Manitoba.
  • Liar, liar, pants on fire

    Question: How can you tell politicians are lying? Answer: Their lips are moving.
  • Don't count on the Grits surging

    The email came from the Manitoba Liberals just as soon as the numbers were tallied in The Pas byelection. "Despite its status as a long-time NDP stronghold, the Manitoba Liberal Party under the leadership of Rana Bokhari has shown continued growth by winning 13 per cent of the vote in The Pas, a clear improvement over the 2.8 per cent result in 2011." The news release suggested under Bokhari, Liberal numbers climbed in two other byelections as well -- Arthur-Virden and Morris. Of course, the numbers are still pretty low and the Liberals finished a distant third in both The Pas and Morris.
  • Blue-collar premium: University degrees are nice, but they don't fix the leaky faucet

    About five years ago, when I was still working as a university professor, one of my introductory political science students was failing my course miserably. He seldom came to class and when he wrote his exams, he would answer maybe two questions and then leave. Heading into the date by which he could withdraw from my class without academic penalty, I pulled him aside to warn him there was no mathematical way he could possibly pass and he should take advantage of the voluntary withdrawal date. His response? He wanted me to fail him.
  • Get ready for the biggest election spending spree in history

    The signs of spring are cropping up all over. Potholes. Pussy willows. Campaign advertising. A hole in the federal government's election laws means the fall federal election is already underway. And it's expected this one will be the most expensive in history with much of the spending outside the control of Elections Canada.
  • Depraved -- in the name of the law

    Today, across Canada, people will remember Cindy Gladue, the 36-year-old woman killed in June 2011 in Edmonton. In Winnipeg, as well as Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Ottawa and other Canadian cities, people will gather and mourn both her despicable death and the atrocious way she was treated by the criminal justice system. The man responsible for her death -- 46-year-old Brad Barton -- was found by a jury to be not guilty of first-degree murder and manslaughter. Barton's lawyer argued the wounds that eventually led to Gladue's death were caused by rough, but consensual, sex. The Crown argued that Barton used a weapon.
  • Aboriginal activists working to rock the vote

    Lorrie Steeves' comments on Facebook two years ago complaining about drunk native guys have turned into a legacy I'm sure even she did not foresee. First, her comments, made known in August at the start of her husband's mayoral bid, started a conversation about racism and propelled Robert-Falcon Ouellette from relative obscurity to third-place finisher in the mayoral election.
  • Conservative fear-mongering keeps our eyes off the economy

    If I were to pay a lot of attention to the messages from the Conservatives, I would be afraid. Very afraid. It seems to be an ongoing theme in any of the prime minister's statements these days. It makes me wonder, why all this talk about fear and by focusing on fear? What is the government ignoring? Here's something I'm actually worried about: the economy, unemployment -- particularly for young people -- and crappy returns on my investments putting my retirement plans in jeopardy. Notice, there's no niqab on that list. Just saying.
  • Harper's hypocrisy and the niqab

    It was almost enough to warm the cockles of this old feminist's heart. Imagine, my prime minister standing up in the House of Commons to speak out against the niqab as being anti-women and anti-transparent. The big bogeyman in Canada right now is terrorism and the scapegoat seems to be Muslims. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood up in the House to defend his government's stance on banning the niqab, ostensibly during citizenship ceremonies.
  • Can you hear me now?

    A friend came for a Saturday-morning coffee and as usual, his visit was greeted by a cacophony of barking from my two mutts desperate to say hello and get their heads patted. When things finally quieted down and we were enjoying coffee, I asked him how his week was. And then it happened. The moment every hearing-impaired person hates.
  • You say you want a revolution

    Oh young people -- they really think they have invented everything. Sex. Drugs. Cynicism about politics. Unfortunately, it's not so. Brigette DePape, the 20-something former Senate page who garnered headlines for holding up a "Stop Harper" sign before being escorted out of the Senate and subsequently fired in 2011, spoke at the Free Press News Café Wednesday to talk about youth voting and their cynicism.
  • Mayor needs to consider #whennottotweet

    Brian Bowman is no Naheed Nenshi, that's for sure. Nenshi, the charismatic and popular Calgary mayor, was just named the winner of the 2014 World Mayor prize. The international prize was awarded by the City Mayors Foundation to the mayor who received the most nominations in relation to the size of their cities as well as the persuasiveness and conviction of testimonials received online.
  • Harper's pit bull leaves big hole

    It's the unspoken rule of politics. When politicians resign or die, you say only good things about them, even if you had eviscerated their perspectives hours before. For example, when former Alberta premier Ralph Klein died in 2013, tributes on his years in politics were highly laudatory. Forgotten was the tidbit about him arriving drunk at a homeless shelter and throwing quarters at the sleeping men screaming "Get a job!" And no one ran the infamous photo of Klein giving environmental protesters the one-finger salute when he was Alberta's environment minister.
  • Period taboo busted

    British tennis player Heather Watson, in a post-game interview at the Australian Open, blamed her loss last week on "girl things." She said she felt dizzy and nauseous and consulted a doctor as an explanation for her poor performance. And one more taboo got busted.
  • What would Hillary do?

    What would Hillary do? That's becoming my new rallying cry following a busy week for discussions about women in leadership positions. It began last Thursday, as I attended the day-long SHEDay 2015 conference on women in leadership roles organized by Economic Development Winnipeg and it culminated with me meeting women-in-leadership personified: Hillary Rodham Clinton Wednesday at the RBC Convention Centre.
  • Playing with numbers for 2015

    In some ways, the number of incumbents not seeking re-election can be seen as a bellwether of the party in power. If things are going well for a party, there will be a significant number of MPs who will decide to step down for a variety of reasons, including age, health or opportunity. But sometimes, MPs take a look at the lay of the land and weigh their chances and make the decision to bow out. Gracefully.
  • Government in a party of one

    My best friend got me Party of One by Michael Harris for my birthday this week. Clearly, my friend knows me well. As a political junkie, I thrive on these kinds of books featuring insider looks at politics. Warren Kinsella's Kicking Ass in Canadian Politics and Jeffrey Simpson's The Friendly Dictatorship remain two of my favourites. Harris's books join others in my book shelf (and my Kobo) that deal with Stephen Harper and his legacy, including Tom Flanagan's Harper's Team and Lawrence Martin's Harperland: The Politics of Control. Harper is the only sitting prime minister in Canada who has had, by my count, at least 13 books written about him and how he has changed Canadian politics. Most of them have been relatively negative. Harris's latest is no exception, laying out his argument Harper is anti-democratic.

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