Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

JINGLE BELLS, ne'er-do-wells...

It's Santa letter-writing time at city hall

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Removing all the snow

And picking up the trash

That's what cities do

With all your hard-earned cash


It pays for lots of cops

And paves a bunch of streets

And also pays the salaries

Of 16 council seats!


Ne'er-do-wells! Ne'er-do-wells!

Answer my email!

Tell me why Emterra can't move faster than a snail!


Ne'er-do-wells! Ne'er-do-wells!

I voted for you, pal!

Now here's some Santa letters that explain your rationale:


Dear Santa,


All I want this year is for this year to end. Period, end of story, that's all there is to it.

No. 1, any astute person would know this year is over. No. 2, I believe yours truly has already shared his opinion of the matter. So the year will end, we'll move on and council will decide what happens next year. I've always said council is supreme.

- Little Sammy Katz


Dear Santa,


We need more audits, Mr. Santa. Lots and lots of audits. I want your elves' toy-making expenses audited. I want Rudolph's nose-brightening bills audited. I want an explanation for each and every candy cane on every gingerbread house at the North Pole.

And after we're finished auditing the North Pole, we'll audit the South Pole, Mr. Santa. And the premier's office. Whichever is closer to Transcona.

- Little Russell Wyatt


Dear Santa,


I tried asking the fire-paramedic elf, the chief administrative elf and the chief operations elf, but none of them will tell me: What's with the cost overrun at the North Pole fire-paramedic station?

While we're at it, may I have a committee to chair again? Not that those two questions were connected or anything.

- Little Paula Havixbeck


Dear Santa,


All I want is an end to photo radar. Given the speed at which you circumnavigate the planet, I'm sure you share some of the concerns of my constituents.

And seeing as this is my last term as a councillor, I wouldn't mind knowing what the big guy is gonna do in 2014. And I'm not talking about you, Santa.

- Little Scotty Fielding


Dear Santa,


Thanks for putting me back on EPC. Again. What I could really use is another one of those vroom-vroom machines, with the wheels and the engine. What the heck are those called again?

- Little Mikey Pagtakhan


Dear Santa,


Thank you so much for giving me the public works portfolio during a year when a new garbage-collection scheme was rolled out. That was awesome. I'm sending you the best Christmas card, ever. Emterra is going to pick it up so you should get it right away.

- Little Danny Vandal


Dear Santa,


Chief Peguis Trail is awesome! The Disraeli Freeway is awesome! P3s are awesome! That's all I gotta say.

- Little Jeffy Browaty


Dear Santa,


Thanks for easing up on my workload this year. Now build me some of those schools the Dippers promised to build in Waverley West.

- Little Justy Swandel


Dear Santa,


I was going to ask you for some Chicken Delight, but I've changed my mind. I have an unusual craving for a Harvey's burger.

- Little Jenny Gerbasi


Dear Santa,


Oh, boy do I have a big list for you. I want to get rid of all those railroad silos and I want that old fire-paramedic station on Grosvenor Avenue and I want the same old speed limits forever and ever on Grant Avenue and I want a wider Kenaston Boulevard and I want trees, trees everywhere. I also like smiling. Smiling's my favourite.

- Little Johnny Orlikow


Dear Santa,


Bring the elves down to the North End and pick up the garbage. It's an apocalypse, I tell you. I would never exaggerate, nor would I waste your time talking about anything. I know when to be quiet.

- Little Rossco Eadie


Dear Santa,


Thanks for the cane, buddy. Let me tell you this: I prefer the candy kind.

- Little Harvey Smith


Dear Santa,


What happened to those plans to sell golf courses and build new hockey rinks? I'm new enough to assume you actually follow through on this sort of thing.

- Little Bri-Bri Mayes


Dear Santa,


Thanks for giving me all that power during the water-park vote in April. Maybe think of something else to give me next year.

- Little Devi Sharma


Dear Santa,


Thanks for building that new rink at the old Kelvin Community Centre spot. I'm not sure if you know this, but I used to play hockey.

- Little Thommy Steen


Dear Santa,


As the speaker of city council, I'm going to take the opportunity to speak on behalf of all of my colleagues and ask for a lot less crazy in 2013.

- Little Granty Nordman

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 23, 2012 A8

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About Bartley Kives

Bartley Kives wants you to know his last name rhymes with Beavis, as in Beavis and Butthead. He aspires to match the wit, grace and intelligence of the 1990s cartoon series.

Bartley joined the Free Press in 1998 as a music critic. He spent the ensuing 7.5 years interviewing the likes of Neil Young and David Bowie and trying to stay out of trouble at the Winnipeg Folk Festival before deciding it was far more exciting to sit through zoning-variance appeals at city hall.

In 2006, Bartley followed Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz from the music business into civic politics. He spent seven years covering city hall from a windowless basement office.

He is now reporter-at-large for the Free Press and also writes an outdoor-recreation column called Offroad for the Outdoors page.

A canoeist, backpacker and food geek, Bartley is fond of conventional and wilderness travel. He is the author of A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada’s Undiscovered Province, the only comprehensive travel guidebook for Manitoba – and a Canadian bestseller, to boot. He is also co-author of Stuck In The Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg, a collaboration with photographer Bryan Scott and the winner of the 2014 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award.

Bartley’s work has also appeared on CBC Radio and Citytv as well as in publications such as The Guardian, explore magazine and National Geographic Traveler. He sits on the board of PEN Canada, which promotes freedom of expression.

Born in Winnipeg, he has an arts degree from the University of Winnipeg and a master’s degree in journalism from Ottawa’s Carleton University. He is the proud owner of a blender.

On Twitter: @bkives


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