Shannon Sampert

  • 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.
  • Tories insult victims of massacre

    Geneviève Bergeron. Hélène Colgan. Nathalie Croteau. Barbara Daigneault. Anne-Marie Edward. Maud Haviernick. Maryse Laganière. Maryse Leclair. Anne-Marie Lemay. Sonia Pelletier. Michèle Richard. Annie St-Arneault. Annie Turcotte. Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz. These are the names of the 14 women killed by Marc Lépine, 25 years ago on Dec. 6. It's important to remember their names and to understand why their deaths still resonate for many Canadian women. This year, it seems that it's even more important to talk about Geneviève, Hélène, Nathalie, Barbara, Anne-Marie, Maud, Maryse, Maryse, Anne-Marie, Sonia, Michèle, Annie, Annie and Barbara. Because for some reason, Justice Minister Peter MacKay seems to have forgotten why they were killed and this country's commitment to them.
  • My mother gave the gift of Christmas

    My mom was a big believer in Christmas. As in most families, she really was the keeper of the Christmas traditions, and when Christmas Day rolled around, she was often the first person diving under the tree to open presents. Back in 1963, my family lived in the tiny village of Fort Simpson N.W.T. Fort Simpson is about 500 kilometres west of Yellowknife on an island between the Liard and Mackenzie rivers. In the 1800s, it was a fur-trading site and became an official village when the Hudson's Bay Co. put up a trading post in 1822.
  • Sexual-assault myths persist

    Over the course of four weeks, media outlets have talked a great deal about sexual assault allegations against individuals, both high profile and not so much. Each one of these cases involved historical claims. In other words, victims did not immediately come forward and only now are making their case. Some analysts are suggesting victims have become emboldened by the discussions recently about sexual assault and feel they will now be believed, and so are comfortable to speak out. I say it's more safety in numbers. You can deny one claim. You can't deny five, nine or 16.
  • Speaking to voters

    Oh the political campaign. As things settle into the new normal after the municipal election and we bid goodbye to the mayoral political campaign, we now head into the next election or two with all eyes on the final prize, winning government. Make no mistake. Nothing, I mean nothing, can be taken for granted in politics. Every move, every word, every look can be seized upon and parsed to determine if it's part of a candidate's brand. Don't believe me? Talk to failed mayoral candidate Gord Steeves about a four-year-old Facebook rant. Someone with an agenda hung onto that information before it was made public in the middle of his mayoral bid. And it clearly derailed his campaign.
  • Naming the victim

    Few people have been left unmoved by the attack on Rinelle Harper. Harper, 16, was beaten and sexually assaulted by two men last Friday and left for dead on the riverwalk. She was found early Saturday morning and rushed to hospital in critical condition. The Winnipeg Police Service on Monday took the rare and unusual step of releasing her name to the media, in a bid to catch the perpetrators. By Wednesday, arrests were made. Two men, aged 17 and 20, were charged, not only in Harper's case, but also for a sexual assault on another 23-year-old woman that occurred two hours after the Harper attack.
  • Maybe it's time for a female premier

    Premier Greg Selinger may have a problem with women. The so-called Gang of Five, calling for the resignation of Selinger, is made up of three strong women, Jennifer Howard, Theresa Oswald and Erin Selby. They are joined, of course, by Andrew Swan and Stan Struthers, but make no mistake, it's the women who were running the show, with Oswald firmly in control.

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