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Social media and news cycles
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Social media and news cycles

As the convoy rolled across Canada, it dragged all the media attention in the country with it. Ever since the protest arrived in Ottawa last week, it has dominated social media and news cycles — despite the propensity of its participants to say they’ve been “silenced” — and put downtown Ottawa under veritable siege. It has also become, as Dan Lett wrote this week, “a lightning rod for a broad collection of grievances.” 

In Winnipeg, it has emboldened incidents of anti-Semitism and misplaced aggression. In that way, it’s not new and not just about vaccine mandates; mostly, it’s just another chapter in a long sociocultural battle that won’t be ended anytime soon.

Trucks parked on Broadway Friday as part of the protest against COVID-19 restrictions. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

With all that going on, I was extra grateful to have brought a little good news to the paper last week; I was especially honoured to spend a morning at Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata’s urban Indigenous vaccine centre, meeting the people who are truly doing the work of caring for their community, in ways that go far beyond the shots. And I was inspired by sports writer Mike Sawatzky’s long piece on local soccer icon Desiree Scott, and her emotional journey to balance both her athletic career with her legal guardianship of her teen foster brother.

That said, there’s one person who hasn’t had a great news week: Premier Heather Stefanson. Last week, Free Press legislative reporter Carol Sanders broke the story of how Stefanson had failed to correctly disclose her share of over $31 million in property sales, although the premier stated she did tell the province’s conflict of interest commissioner. Then she had to demote an MLA for throwing down support for the convoy. Contrast that with how, at the federal level, Candice Bergen got herself made interim Tory leader for doing basically the same thing. What a mess.

Elsewhere around Winnipeg over the last week, a historic Portage Avenue block went up in flames, as did a condo complex, where residents took heroic efforts to ensure everyone was able to evacuate safely.

Oh, and what is going on with Mark Scheifele, anyway? 

Until next week, stay warm and be well.

P.S. Happy Year of the Tiger to all who observe. To mark another lunar transition, Eva Wasney had this beautiful piece touching on the intersection of food, community and tradition — complete with one family’s recipe for Chinese nian gao cake. 

Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin, Reporter-at-large

Melissa Martin

Photo of the week

Crews at 575 Portage Ave. were putting out hotspots after a fire started Wednesday morning. The two-storey building is a total loss and will be demolished. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

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