Criticism of Manitoba Conservative government and Pallister

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Misfit Misfit's picture
Criticism of Manitoba Conservative government and Pallister

Pallister got voted in to a second term. The old thread about make Pallister a one term premier has outlived its usefulness.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i have no problem with a new name or thread but there is an important discussion still happening in the old thread. there has been quite a few posts on it already that make it not practical to transfer over. txs.  


Guess who else is now calling for more addiction supports?


True North Sports and Entertainment owner Mark Chipman talked hockey contracts and the Winnipeg Jets at a Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce luncheon Friday, but spent the majority of his time speaking about something he referred to as the "most heartbreaking of circumstances."

The Community Wellness and Public Safety Alliance — an alliance of business and community leaders which Chipman is part of — is collaborating with emergency workers to quietly move ahead with establishing a 24/7 drop-in centre in downtown Winnipeg to help those struggling with addictions.


Chipman told the chamber crowd Friday that he became increasingly aware of the growing crisis of public intoxication and addiction in the city's downtown several years ago. There were two ways to look at it, he told the audience.

"Your city's reputation is often determined by that 10-block radius at the centre. So you could look at it in a practical way if you wanted to — but more important, you have to look at it from a human perspective. It's just not acceptable at that level," he told a hushed crowd.

So the NHL owner and developer, in his words, "pulled together some people … to get a better understanding," of the problem.

The article goes on to state that True North, along with several other businesses, are attempting to raise funds for an addiction treatment centre. What an abdication of leadership on the part of the Premier that business have to step in and do what the government should be doing.


Another public safety problem, buried in all of this, is that as per the Canadian Dimension article that seven people have already died after coming into contact with the police this year. I don't know how that compares to other years, but anecdotally that seems really high, and it seems as if we normally go entire calendar years without somebody dying at the hands of Winnipeg police. Officially, the police tell us that they only shoot someone as a last resort when there is an imminent threat to the life of officers or someone else. That means one of 2 things:

1) Somehow the police became more trigger happy and are more likely to shoot than before.

2) Criminals have become crazier and more violent

Neither scenario is good for public safety. We need to get this problem under control rather than reacting to headlines.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..from an email.

FTW: Call to Action - On proposed transit service cuts

After five years of FTW’s advocacy, the City of Winnipeg has put forward a
plan for a network of frequent, rapid and direct transit routes with the
Winnipeg Transit Master Plan. This is a network of 22 bus routes across the
City of Winnipeg that will run like a metro system.

However, we have just learned from Winnipeg Transit’s budget presentation
on Nov. 13 that the city has not included the Winnipeg Transit Master Plan
in the budget. In fact, the city is considering cutting evening service
after 12:15am, ending the Downtown Spirit and DART service, reducing bus
shelter and bus interior cleaning, and ending paper schedules. We have to
stop this, and demand better.

*We need you to come to the Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works meeting
on Thursday, November 28 @ 1pm and tell city council there must be no cuts
and the city must fund frequent service on all 22 routes on the
frequent/rapid/direct network to arrive every 10 minutes every day and into
the evenings.*

To get the service Winnipeg needs, we have to demand it.

The proposed Transit Master Plan, put forward by the city, involves
creating 22 routes with high frequency and more direct paths that allow
easy movement throughout the city. But the city has not committed to

We are very proud of where we’ve gotten, but *the only way to defend our
service and implement a plan that will fix transit is if we get a
substantial crowd to attend the committee meeting for the upcoming 4-year

This plan needs you at this very critical moment. Every single person that
attends will make a critical difference in ensuring our service is
protected from cuts and the frequent service network plan does not get
shelved. Your city representatives need to see that you care about transit.

Instead of having this route network implemented in 25 years, you can make
a difference now to have this plan implement in four years.

The Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works delegation meeting is at:

West Committee Room

Council Building

510 Main Street


So is it a coincidence that the day after there are calls for more police in the stores, we see a news article about a store employee being punched during a robbery attempt? Is this an attempt to gain public support for such a move? If public safety is really what's driving this, then why didn't the police provide any suspect description that the public might find useful?


People are taking matters into their own hands to stop theives in liquor marts, but that comes with risks:


Although there may not be serious consequences for the would-be thief, performing “citizen’s arrests” may result in consequences for the people putting themselves in harm’s way.

Winnipeg police have advised local residents to avoid getting involved in these situations, and there are potential legal consequences as well.

“You always want to be careful when you’re interjecting yourself into those kinds of situations, for a few different reasons,” lawyer Josh Rogala told 680 CJOB.

“First, you don’t know how this person’s going to react. They might be armed. Oftentimes, people are armed, and it can quickly escalate to a situation where either you’re going to be seriously injured, or they’re going to be seriously injured.

Rogala said although amendments to the criminal code mean there is some leeway for citizens to perform arrests, you’re essentially going to have to find a legal justification for assaulting someone.

“It’s really a circumstance that requires someone to respond to force or the threat of force with force, in order to stop an attack… or to stop someone from committing an offence, like theft in this case,” he said.

“The courts, when looking at things like this, are going to be looking at different factors when determining whether that lawful justification is available.”

Rogala’s advice for would-be vigilantes is to just let the police do their job.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Manitoba’s NDP and unions are helping advance a police state

Late last month, Arthur Desjarlais, a 38-year-old Indigenous man, was sentenced to 110 days in jail for six separate thefts from Manitoba Liquor Marts over the past year. He had just finished serving a sentence for liquor store thefts when he was arrested again in April.

Desjarlais is a child and grandchild of residential school survivors. Diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), he was abused as a child and spent a great deal of his youth in foster care. Three of his eight children have died, including one who was struck and killed by an off-duty police officer who was intoxicated at the time.

Despite full knowledge of this background, the judge sentenced him to jail, concluding “I’m afraid that we’ve been saying that for so many years that now everybody just thinks I can walk in and steal because the courts don’t think it’s that important. I don’t think that’s the message I can send out. I do think a jail sentence is appropriate.”

This sentencing occurred a week after a 16-year-old Indigenous boy allegedly wielding a machete was shot nine times by police outside a 7/11 store in Winnipeg, and a 15-year-old boy was arrested and charged for attacking three Manitoba Liquor employees.

Each of these incidents — the incarceration of a man suffering from intergenerational trauma and disability, the police shooting of a teenager in crisis, and a violent rampage by an even younger boy — are representative of a deeply sick society that has abandoned the most vulnerable with brutal austerity, relentless cuts to community services including resources for mental health and substance abuse, and ever-growing police power. Together, they are emblematic of how colonialism, capitalism, and incarceration decimate communities and advance white supremacy.


MGEU president Michelle Gawronsky said in a press release about liquor store thefts that they “hope that the announcement of Operation Safe Streets will bring about meaningful change.” Operation Safe Streets is an initiative of the PC government that will be fulfilled by police and security to effectively introduce bounties on drug dealers, provide more support to the Winnipeg Police’s SWAT team, and expand the province’s civil forfeiture process.

There is no doubt that these dystopian policies — more police, security, and increasingly severe prosecutions of alleged thieves — will lead to increased surveillance, harassment, and racial profiling of poor Indigenous people. The securitized entrances, requiring mandatory ID scans, have already come under fire from civil liberties organizations. Michael Bryant, executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, told CBC in a recent article: “There’s no way that they should be able to swipe people’s ID cards or driver’s licences, because then they’re going to be getting data that goes way beyond whether or not the person is the legal age.”

The PC government has appointed a special prosecutor devoted to prosecuting liquor store thefts, while a new Manitoba Police Commission report recommended the installation of CCTV cameras with facial and behaviour recognition software. This will mean that increasing numbers of already marginalized Indigenous people will be surveilled and forced into the carceral system. The possibility of adding more police into the picture is an incredibly dangerous one for Indigenous and black and brown people given that the Winnipeg police officers have shot and killed seven people in 2019 alone, including at least three Indigenous men and one man from South Sudan.

The NDP and unions know this full well but do not seem to care. They are playing an exceptionally cruel and foolhardy game of politics to appease voters and members without doing any of the work of understanding why liquor store thefts are happening and promoting meaningful alternatives to policing.


Whose input should be important in stopping downtown crime?


Sel Burrows, the co-ordinator of Point Powerline, a community-driven crime prevention program in the Point Douglas neighbourhood, told Up to Speed host Ismaila Alfa that the report fails to mention the role of engaging downtown residents.

"It's so frustrating for me, because the reality is that whatever we do in crime prevention, if you don't involve the people who actually live in the area, who know who has the guns and know who's dealing the drugs, it will fail," he said. 

Burrows said he thinks it would be more effective to give residents a way to safely communicate what they're seeing to police and landlords, so crime could be prevented, rather than having to be solved. 

"If the people … who live there, who know who the dangerous people are … are allowed to let landlords, police, others know, they can be dealt with before the serious crime is committed," he said. 

"If you look at who the victims of crime downtown, most of them are inner-city residents, downtown residents and poor vulnerable people."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Mayor calls for summit with PM and premier on 'crisis' in Winnipeg


The mayor says efforts must be made to target what he believes are the root causes of crime.

"So much of what we are dealing with right now stem from a greater need in our community to better combat mental health, addictions and families in crisis that aren't getting the support they need in our community," Bowman said Tuesday.

..the response


Pallister was asked if he agrees that there's a crisis in the city.

"I agree with getting results for Manitobans and safer streets are what Manitobans who abide by the laws of our province deserve to have," Pallister responded.

Bowman believes the status quo isn't working.

"The victims and their families don't care what level of government is going to help," he said.

"Something has got to change, and change is difficult, but that means we need to scrutinize how we allocate our resources."


A spokesperson for Bill Blair, minister of border security and organized crime reduction, said his office has been in touch with Bowman to set up a meeting "to discuss the situation in Winnipeg and how we can better work together to better protect our communities."


Could heightened security have a downside?


Edward Fitzgerald says he was at a 7-Eleven store at Arlington Street and Ellice Avenue on Nov. 21 when police responded to a robbery report — an incident that ended with police shooting a 16-year-old. 

He says in recent weeks, the convenience store has been locking its doors during the day as well as the evening — requiring customers to be buzzed both in and out by staff.

He said just after 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 21, he and his two children went to the store for a hot chocolate. Shortly after they were buzzed in by staff, Fitzgerald heard his son screaming about someone with a shiny weapon.

"My kids were crying, and I tried to calm them down and get out. But the door was locked. We were trapped inside," says Fitzgerald.

"As the clerk was freaking out, I screamed for her to open the door and let me and my kids out. She opened the till and ran back with another employee, and locked herself in the back room. I was screaming, but we couldn't get out."


I agree with something Police Chief Smyth said:


The WPS’s special duty program allows businesses and organizations to pay the Winnipeg Police Service to hire officers not on shift to work overtime in order to provide event or in-store security.

“Demand now is starting to increase, we can’t sustain this long term,” police chief Danny Smyth told reporters after Friday’s Winnipeg Police Board meeting. “I’ve certainly spoken with some of the retailers to go, ‘don’t be counting on police overtime to solve your retail theft problems.’


The special duty program allows private entities to hire police officers at a rate of $112 per hour for one constable – while it doesn’t cost the police financially, the extra hours which are voluntary can affect officers.

“We’re sensitive to the overtime,” said Smyth. “We recover our costs on it but it’s the time of our officers, they’re volunteering on their days off to do that. We don’t want to burn them out.

“We already have provisions, protocols within that so that you have to have clear hours of rest.

Hey, if the police are going to station themselves in stores to prevent theft, can we start stationing officers in people's houses while they are at work so the houses don't get broken into?

This is ridiculous! Massive police budget increases, yet community stations are closed making it harder for anyone who doesn't drive to report a crime, and cuts to impaired driving enforcement right during the busy holiday time? This is not adding up. We need to get on top of this problem in other ways, rather than spend large sums of money for the police to respond after the fact when the damage is already done.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Addiction and recovery: time for progressive strategies?


The potential problem with the 12-step approach is in the general philosophy of the “problem and the solution.” A quote from ‘The Big Book’, a seminal text written by William G. Wilson, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, reads: “I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

This small quote is significant, as it is often repeated in celebratory meetings when a recovering person reaches a milestone, such as a year of sobriety. The recovering person is taught that it is not society—or class exploitation or alienation or oppression—but rather their own adaptation to society that needs to change for their recovery to be successful.

Is there an alternative to the war on drugs? Is there a new way to stay clean?


For many years, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe. Several years ago, a decision was made to legalize all drugs, and money from enforcement and corrections was redirected to drug treatment and rehabilitation. Today, drug use in Portugal has declined significantly. Drug users can now get the help they need, if they want it, to thrive and move away from negativity in their lives.

Another important development in Canada and the US is the current effort to prosecute large pharmaceutical companies that have irresponsibly promoted medicines such as OxyContin, resulting in harm and death for many vulnerable people.

The harm reduction approach has many adherents. Instead of having people die from addictions, governments can provide services like safe injection sites, needle exchanges, HIV and Hepatitis screening. Harm reduction is person-centred, based on the notion that we can reduce the harm drugs can do so long as we put our fellow human first.

While many people find that 12-step recovery or “Rational Recovery” programs work for them, we need to develop a more progressive strategy for addiction and recovery. Such a strategy needs to be user-specific and based on notions of empowerment, love and care for drug users, whether they choose to abstain or not (or not yet).

Most importantly, substance abuse care needs to be based on theories of social transformation and assistance to overcome experiences of alienation at the heart of capitalist society.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Of course the underlying poverty and racism kind of gets shoved aside as more reactionary measures get introduced. But those underlying problems are going to take much longer to resolve so I can understand needing to find ways to protect workers and public. Still, why here? Answer: because of the pronounced poverty and racism.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Still, why here? Answer: because of the pronounced poverty and racism.

..yes! and it is only from acknowledging this, from this place, that core solutions can be found. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Taking (private) stock: Manitoba's social housing plans follow failed examples

Federal government commits funding but provincial government sells off Manitoba Housing buildings

Manitoba Housing says it has 7,000 households on its waiting list, but rather than increase the supply, the Brian Pallister government is selling social housing and transferring management to non-profit agencies and the private sector.

This is happening while the federal government has promised to work with provinces and committed funding to increase the supply of social and affordable housing.

Manitoba Housing says approximately 800 units have undergone a management transfer, and many more are expected. As of November 2018, nearly 950 units have been sold. 

The province has also greatly reduced annual capital repair investments in social housing from $120 million in 2015-16 to $25.6 million in 2018-19 and has eliminated a number of jointly funded home repair/modification programs.....


Why does this not come as a surprise?


Chris Wescoupe has had to find a new place to shop after he was accused of theft at a Superstore on Dec. 1.

Wescoupe said he walked into the grocery store and struck up a conversation with a police officer. Approximately 10 minutes later a second officer came up to the two and told him to leave.

“[He] basically said to me that I had to leave as the manager of the store identified me as someone that was stealing before,” Wescoupe explained. “As I never stole anything ever I found it funny and then he was actually serious…I was taken aback a bit.”

Wescoupe then asked to speak with a manager but was denied. He went back to the store later that day hoping to resolve the issue but was told by the officer if he came back he would be arrested.

Despite this he went back six days later and says the same officer told him to leave again.

Wescoupe felt humiliated.

“I was wondering why me, why now? After all these years why confront me this way?” said Wescoupe.


However, Winnipeg Police say it wasn’t profiling – it was a misunderstanding.

“It had nothing to do with this person’s race… had pointed out this person was barred from the store before,” said Cst. Jay Murray.

“So, mistaken identity, yes. Anything beyond that, no.”

Did you know that police in the stores can set Loblaw's back $112 per hour? I say if they have that kind of money to burn that a better way would be to invest in lowering their food prices. Isn't this the same company that fixed the price of bread?

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Definitely not a surprise. And I was also pretty pissed off about the privatization of Manitoba Housing assets when social housing is so much in need.