Make Pallister a one-term premier

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epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Resisting the Pallister Attacks

Public services in Manitoba are under serious assault.

The majority Progressive Conservative government, elected in April 2016 following many years of milquetoast social democratic rule from the NDP, predictably promised to maintain frontline jobs and improve services for Manitobans. Hints were made of impending spars with public sector unions and plans to cut tax rates.

But little prepared Manitobans for what was to come in the government’s second budget that was released in early April.

It wasn’t an overt slash-and-burn budget out of the Ralph Klein or Mike Harris playbook. Many leftists in the province initially sighed relief, concluding it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. 

Then the province started to see the fallout. 


Waiting for the NDP

But Manitoba’s Left largely has no idea how to respond. Almost two decades of NDP reign has turned the aspirations of many local activists to mush, resulting in incantations that Manitobans simply must mobilize — in the form of very occasional and very ineffectual rallies, petitions and  postering — for the next provincial election, in order to get the NDP elected again in 2020.

That’s it. That’s the gameplan: the sole form of “resistance” to vicious austerity measures.


Indigenous Nations Rising

Luckily, we’ve already been provided examples of alternatives.

Mostly by Indigenous peoples in Canada, actually. We obviously can’t draw immediate parallels, with struggles by First Nations, Métis, Inuit and non-status Indians representing a unique sociopolitical struggle grounded in distinct cultural, spiritual and legal relationships with lands and waters.

But the tactics born out of that are certainly worth exploring.

It wouldn’t seem it from all the glowing profiles about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but the territory known as Canada is ablaze with resistance and resurgence from Indigenous peoples and communities.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture


The Canadian Federation of Students - MB is ringing alarm bells about impending tuition hikes by the Pallister PCs, and building up toward action against the bill. Solidarity with the student movement in this struggle! Free education for all.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Province can cut more than $20M in education funding: KPMG report

KPMG has told Education Minister Ian Wishart there are tens of millions of dollars in cost savings to be squeezed out of the public education system — immediately, if he chooses.

In its massive financial report on government spending, KPMG says it's unfair to give $26.1 million to 22 of Manitoba's 37 school divisions that don't deserve the money under the province's complex funding formula....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

So You Hate Capitalism. What's the Alternative?

Wednesday, May 23 at 7 PM - 9 PM

Millennium Library, Anhang Room

251 Donald Street, Winnipeg

Climate change. Famine and war in the Global South. Jobs getting worse, growing debt and attacks on public services everywhere.

This is just some of what the capitalist system is doing to the world. But is there a positive alternative? Is capitalism the end of history? Or could capitalism be replaced with a better society? If so, what does that mean for us today? If you're sick of the system, join us for a discussion.

*Free childminding will be provided for this event. Please let us know in advance if possible to let us know if you need a spot.

*Accessibility note: the Millennium Library is a wheelchair accessible building. Please contact us as soon as possible if you have any other accessibility needs and we will do our very best to fulfill them.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..1st in a 3 part series

The State of Manitoba’s Activist Left

The Manitoba Progressive Conservatives under premier Brian Pallister have been implementing harsh austerity since their 2016 landslide victory, imposing emergency room and clinic closures, wage freezes, significant budget cuts, job cuts, harsh anti-labour legislation and more.

Yet responses from the left have been largely muted and ineffective. Anyone who would suggest otherwise is lying to themselves. Two years into his mandate, Pallister’s popularity is actually increasing in the absence of popular opposition.

The consequences are serious. Insufficient fightback is giving the PCs a free pass to implement their agenda with minimal resistance. This is resulting in job losses, cutbacks to healthcare and public services, and the subsequent fallout to public well-being and the livelihoods of Manitoba’s most vulnerable citizens.

More serious and concerted efforts from the activist left are necessary....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

This is the second piece in a three-part blog series.

Why is the Manitoba Left Struggling?


5. Electoral Politics No Replacement for Organizing

Decades of neoliberalism coupled with limited fightback by unions in Manitoba have helped create a culture in the prairies and other parts of Canada where unions place the bulk of their “political action” on parliamentary and electoral politics.

Conversations with elected union leaders in Manitoba confirmed this. One elected union leader said a core means to get rid of the Tories is “being active and being engaged and involved in the Party [ie. Manitoba NDP]. Volunteering and working for them and encouraging others to do the same.”

The problem with this approach is that there is virtually no non-electoral mobilization taking place outside of fragmented protests and small advertising campaigns. (There are some positive exceptions to this.)

The absence of an effective popular campaign that is waged through collective political action in workplaces and communities is giving the PCs a free pass. As stated in the first post in this series, popularity for the PCs is actually rising.

It’s time to build popular fightback against the PC agenda and there are plenty of good building blocks to work with. In short, it’s time to organize.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

So sad but true.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

This is the third and final piece in a three-part blog series.

Five Ideas for Building the Manitoba Activist Left


5. Support Organizing and Movements

Most unions and organizations in Manitoba have limited capacity when it comes to a core base of members or organizers. The majority of the grunt-work is done by a dedicated few, who often work on multiple campaigns and occasionally burn out.

When opportunities for temporary coalitions around a specific mobilization or campaigns exist, it is worth making the tent big, even if there are groups at the table that you disagree with. Education work becomes essential here as it’s important to have a broadly shared perspective and common goal.

One of the benefits of working together is that campaigns, actions, and plans can be coordinated. Groups without anything on the immediate horizon can contribute personnel and resources to aid the cause when an action or event is taking shape.

Campaigns and actions organized by unions and groups like Communities Not Cuts, Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition, Fight for $15, CUPE 204, teachers, nurses and others are just a few examples of opportunities to collaborate.

Supporting organizing and movements by contributing resources and – most importantly – personnel, helps build a culture of solidarity that must be cultivated across unions, communities and grassroots groups during these difficult times.

The activist left in Manitoba already has several amazing organizers in grassroots groups, community organizations, and trade unions. There is emerging potential and momentum, however slow-brewing. Planning should be underway now to create a season of discontent this fall that builds ongoing momentum into 2019 while Pallister retreats to his Costa Rican villa.


I have 2 major issues with the articles epaulo just posted:

1 The article mentions "Solidarity Winnipeg." I'm sorry, but that just about says it all. The fact is, there is no solidarity in Winnipeg. It is nearly 100 years since the class divisions were openly exposed. There are areas of the city that have deep pockets, particularly in the south and the west. Pallister's popularity may be lowest in the provincial capital, however these parts of the city will continue on voting for PCs and putting up with all the negatives associated with it, as long as it stops the crazy socialists from spending the province into the ground. The Doer-era sweeps are never coming back. The reason the PCs were able to lose government is the support the NDP had in rural areas. That is now gone, and those seats are mostly PC. There are no elected officials in the rural areas to present a voice of opposition to the Pallister government. It is great that they are talking about reaching out to First Nations communities, however that alone will not be enough to dislodge PC MLAs in the next election. From what I've seen briefly by checking media out of Brandon, very little of what is in the article is penetrating the consciousness of people who live outside Winnipeg. In fact, the government recently announced that they were going to build a badly needed new school in Brandon East, to open in time for the 2020 election. Brandon East is a formerly safe NDP seat, now represented by the PCs. There had been talk about the need for a new school in Brandon for years, and yet the PCs finally got the wheels going early in their term. Hey NDP, good luck running against the school you talked about forever but never actually built! There was some consternation about the temporary cancellation of an MRI unit in Dauphin, but construction on that is now going ahead, so it is a moot point. You absolutely need to find a way to communicate with people in Brandon, Dauphin, Swan River, Selkirk, Lorette, Gimli and the Interlake in the interim, and branch out to people in Portage la Prairie, Neepawa, Minnedosa, Russel, Souris, Lac du Bonnet, and even Steinbach, Morden, and Winkler and to tailor that communication to the needs in those communities. Deciding what do to based out of Winnipeg is not going to cut it.

2 The article mentions the Manitoba Federation of Labour. These guys are the absolutely last people anyone should go to for sound political advice. They have no idea how to win elections. In Winnipeg they consistently run candidates in wards throughout the city, but are only ever successful in electing candidates in areas where a ham sandwich would win for the NDP. They also blew 2 consecutive civic elections that were theirs to win. On the provincial scene, their alliance with the NDP was more important than doing any actual grassroots organizing and meeting with people in their communities. And what did organized labour get for it? It certainly didn't help to increase union membership. They didn't get anti-scab legislation or the ability to form unions with a 50% sign-up. And the NDP was allowed constantly run over the MGEU in ways that the MGEU would have screamed bloody murder over if a Liberal or PC government was attempting to do the exact same thing. It was also the MFL that led the push away from one-member-one-vote back to delegated voting for leadership. I actually heard a union activist at one meeting after the election speak vehemently against one-member-one-vote. A great deal of us working people cannot afford the time or the money to attend political conventions, and would never dare ask for time off work to attend an NDP convention. It waxs very angering to hear a member of an organization that supposedly speaks up for the working class defend a process that makes it harder for working class people to participate in politics. And if the unions in Manitoba are about supporting union activists, then why when the Manitoba NDP held leadership votes post-1999 did they snub a union activist who was elected off a picket line 3 times? I'm sorry, but in the call centres, retail stores, and other areas where people struggle with bad jobs, low pay, and few benefits, unions are not on the radar of the people who work there. The best reason that the MFL could come up with to stop Pallister was Pallister's plan to end card check certification. That is not an issue for anybody currently in a union, and not enough people want to join a union to care that it is now harder to do so. It is because, as I said, that controlling the NDP seems more important than actual advocacy on behalf of the community. Forget that the NDP never passed anti-scab legislation, can any of our Manitoba members remember any campaign on behalf of the MFL to argue as to why this would have been in the public interest?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Manitoba Hydro’s dirty power — and dark legacy

A new Clean Environment Commission report released this week is another reminder that there’s nothing “clean” about the power produced by Manitoba Hydro.

The Crown corporation has neither a clean environmental record nor a clean conscience when it comes to sabotaging the lives and livelihoods of Indigenous people in the north over the past half-century.

The 86-page report is a review of a joint Manitoba Hydro/provincial government “cumulative effects assessment” launched in 2014 on the impact of Hydro developments along the Nelson, Burntwood and Churchill river systems over the past 60 years. Naturally, government and Hydro didn’t think to consult the people directly affected by the developments when gathering their evidence. That was an afterthought, a consultation process carried out subsequently by the CEC. It wasn’t until 2017 that the current provincial government amended the CEC’s terms of reference to expand that consultation process to include in-person hearings.

It was from these hearings that we learned of the alleged sexual assaults perpetrated by male workers against Indigenous women in the 1960s around the northern town of Gillam — the ones Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires referred to the RCMP Tuesday — and of the many other horror stories around how Hydro walked into northern communities and shoved Indigenous people off their land, razed their homes, bulldozed their playgrounds, segregated their kids on separate school buses and destroyed their livelihoods.

Apparently, that was business as usual in northern Manitoba when it came to building hydro dams and transmission lines and setting up work camps and temporary digs for Hydro staff and their families.

“The things that happened, that changed so fast was the people who came into the community of Gillam,” Marie Henderson, an elder from Fox Lake Cree Nation who described at a hearing in January what it was like growing up in Gillam when Hydro came to town. “I remember hearing in Cree, that means electricity. And I couldn’t really understand what was really talked about, until I started seeing people coming into the community with all of these changes happening, wrecking the town that I lived in, taking over the community, wrecking our playground, wrecking the land that we so enjoyed…”

It was a nightmare, basically. And it put an end to a life of self-sufficiency for the local Indigenous population, as the construction of dams and transmission lines turned the ecosystem on its head, resulting in massive flooding, deforestation, blocked transportation routes, contaminated water and displaced game, the CEC report found....


epaulo13 and Aristotleded24 

Thanks for your illuminating articles. 


jerrym wrote:

epaulo13 and Aristotleded24 

Thanks for your illuminating articles. 

Add my thanks, please. Just because we don't always comment, doesn't mean we aren't reading and learning.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..thank you both for saying so. it means a lot to me.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

First Nation demands inquiry into violence linked to hydro development

A northern Manitoba First Nation is calling for a provincial inquiry into racism, discrimination and violence linked to hydroelectric development on its territory.

York Factory First Nation Chief Leroy Constant said Premier Brian Pallister should order an inquiry into the Crown-owned Manitoba Hydro.

“They need to acknowledge the collective and individual trauma that has been occurring through northern hydroelectric development in the province,” he said at a Winnipeg news conference Friday.

A report released last month by the province’s Clean Environment Commission — an arm’s length review agency — outlined discrimination and sexual abuse at the Crown utility’s work sites in the 1960s and 1970s. The report said the arrival of a largely male construction workforce led to the sexual abuse of Indigenous women and some alleged their complaints to RCMP were ignored.

The report said there was also racial tension, environmental degradation and an end to the traditional way of life for some Indigenous people.

Since the release of the report, Constant said traumatic memories have resurfaced in the Indigenous communities hurt by hydro development.

First Nations have tried to bring the issues up in the past, but Constant said it always fell on deaf ears. He said issues with hydro development, including harassment and racism, continue to this day.

“It’s impacted women for decades, since the ‘50s and nothing has changed. Women are still treated the same as then,” said York Factory Coun. Evelyn Beardy.

“I want to see a day where, before the project is done, that my member doesn’t phone me and say she’s been called a savage or she’s walking down the hallway and has been groped. I’d like to see that stopped. It has to stop.”....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Indigenous woman files human rights complaint against Manitoba Hydro

Indigenous people continue to suffer from racism connected to hydroelectric development in northern Manitoba, the grand chief for the area said two weeks after a review found abuse and violence dating back to the 1960s.

“Our people have been oppressed. Our people have been treated as if they are second-class citizens in their own lands,” said Garrison Settee, head of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak.

“There’s going to be a paradigm shift in how business is conducted in MKO territory.”

Settee was joined by Martina Saunders, an Indigenous woman who has filed a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.

Saunders said she resigned last year from a board of directors that has been overseeing construction of Manitoba Hydro’s Keeyask generating station, because she and other Indigenous members were being ignored and bullied.

Boards and committees set up by Manitoba Hydro – a provincial Crown corporation – in conjunction with Indigenous communities are ineffective because they are dominated by the utility’s representatives, Saunders said.

A spokesman for Manitoba Hydro said the corporation had been unaware of the human rights complaint.

“We are aware of Ms. Saunders’ views, but do not agree with them,” Bruce Owen wrote in an email.....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..time for me to have a peek inside wpg's finances. i see no better place for me to begin than the alternative budget that came out in jun of this year.

Imagine a Winnipeg...

Alternative Municipal Budget 2018

Imagine a Winnipeg... Alternative Municipal Budget, Winnipeg 2018 is a  community effort that dares to imagine a greener and more equitable Winnipeg. Placed in a balanced financial framework, this is a tough love  budget that challenges Winnipeggers to grapple with growing inequality, climate change and a formidable infrastructure deficit. It also calls on the  province to shoulder more of the heavy lifting when it comes to these issues.

Can the Alternative Budget capture the imagination of Winnipeggers? Our collective future depends on it.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

aptn video report

Independent investigators have been called in to look into historical criminal allegations by Manitoba Hydro employees, their contractors and RCMP officers.

The announcement comes a month after bombshell allegations were made public.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Manitoba is Ready to Fight for $15 and Fairness

Manitobans have been pushing for a $15 minimum wage for years. In 2016, students and labour organizers participated in a National Day of Action and delivered a petition to the University of Winnipeg. Last year, the Canadian Federation of Students ran a campaign on billboards and busses. In the media, the Manitoba Federation of Labour has repeatedly pushed for Brian Pallister’s government to help lift Manitobans out of poverty by mandating a minimum wage that is fair.

Make Poverty History Manitoba has also called for a $15.53 minimum wage, citing research by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives that states $15.53 as the province’s current living wage.

Now, it’s time to build on the foundations that have been laid and get out to communities and workplaces. Fight for 15 & Fairness Manitoba wants to ensure that every Manitoban working a low-wage precarious job has the opportunity to participate in the struggle to improve their conditions....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Climate Change, Colonialism and Capitalism

Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 7 PM – 8:45 PM

Room 1M28, University of Winnipeg (515 Portage Ave)

Capitalism is driving climate change. In North America settler-colonialism is baked into capitalism, and Indigenous people are at the forefront of challenges to climate-wrecking corporations and governments.

Join us for an evening of conversation to deepen our understanding of climate change and learn how to get involved in organizing for climate justice and building a left that fights for system change, not climate change.

Speakers TBA!


The results show that across the province 44 per cent of decided or leaning voters would support the Progressive Conservatives , 25 per cent would back the NDP and 20 per cent would vote Liberal. Only eight per cent of respondents said if the election were tomorrow they’d check the Green Party on their ballot.

Ken Burch

bekayne wrote:

The results show that across the province 44 per cent of decided or leaning voters would support the Progressive Conservatives , 25 per cent would back the NDP and 20 per cent would vote Liberal. Only eight per cent of respondents said if the election were tomorrow they’d check the Green Party on their ballot.

You'd have to wonder if Pallister would be considering a snap election based on those polls, in the hopes of wiping the opposition totally off of the map for awhile.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..from an email

Counter Protest on November 4th, 2018

Every fall, anti-abortion protesters picket for 40 days in front of the Women's Hospital, pacing and praying on the sidewalk wearing "Regret Your Abortion?" placards. They claim they're not there to antagonise anyone, but their mere presence is a form of harassment to passersby and especially to people trying to access reproductive services.

On September 30th, a small group of feminists and allies met them on the sidewalk with signs, noisemakers, and a pro-choice marching band to drown out their hateful messages. We hope to get a much bigger crowd out for November 4th, the last day of their vigil.

Please join us to stand up for bodily autonomy and to celebrate reproductive freedom!

Sunday, November 4th

1:00 pm

735 Notre Dame Avenue (Women's Hospital, Health Sciences Centre)

Feel free to bring signs*, noisemakers, and friends!


Organizing Meeting on October 19, 2018

We will be holding an organizing meeting on Friday, October 19th at 8:00 pm at the University of Winnipeg, room still to be decided. We're also planning a sign-making party for closer to the date.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..send a message

Raise Your Voice For Hydro-Impacted Communities with Wa Ni Ska Tan

Manitoba Hydro's dams power every aspect of our daily lives, from lights to phones to life-saving medical equipment. These dams also drastically alter Manitoba’s five largest rivers. These rivers are wounded, as are the Indigenous communities on their shores.

Manitoba Hydro promotes themselves as an environmentally-conscious and responsible corporation. Yet they use divide and conquer techniques when negotiating with communities and continue to deviate from their original licences, which has environmental consequences. The façade they create is far from reality and it can be a challenge to understand for those living in southern Manitoba - especially since most of us have not traveled up North or directly experienced the impacts caused by hydro development.

Indigenous communities impacted by Manitoba Hydro experience unnecessary flooding, the disappearance of rivers, the releasing of mercury into the environment, mass erosion, and destruction of both aquatic and non-aquatic wildlife habitats. Social impacts include a greater dependency on social services like welfare because traditional livelihoods have been lost to environmental destruction. In some cases entire communities have been relocated and ancestral lands and burial sites have washed away because of flooding.

Thank-you for standing with us to hold Manitoba Hydro accountable.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Women's March Winnipeg

Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 11 AM – 2 PM

Manitoba Legislative Building

Women United

One of our biggest goals during this march is to encourage a larger sense of unity within the women's groups and communities locally in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Internationally. While individually our reach is only so far, as a united force our waves can be that much larger.

Please join our rally on the steps of the Manitoba Legislative Building at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday January 19, 2019. #WomenUnited

Once gathered we will hear from three amazing speakers - Charlotte Nolin, Samantha Rayburn Trubyk, and Vivienne Ho. Our speakers will be followed by a March around the Legislative grounds.
Please watch for individual biographies of each of our speakers to be posted in this event.

At the march we will be collecting donations to expand our Women’s March Winnipeg chapter. These donations will be used for things like printing chant sheets, making posters and buttons for future events, and hosting future events.
If you are interested in joining our chapter and volunteering with us please reach out to [email protected]


Something important that has not been discussed is that the constituency boundaries for 2020 have been changed. I'll outline below what that means geographically and what it means for each party:

The winners include suburban Winnipeg and the City of Brandon. For decades, Brandon has been divided into East and West. This revision takes the portion of the city north of the Assiniboine River and lumps it into the Sprucewoods constituency. In the mean time, that won't give Brandon that much more say, as that portion of Brandon will be drowned out by the surrounding rural voters, but it is still a significant change. It is the first time since 1969 that Brandon has added a seat, and when Brandon gets a third seat in the Legislature, that will be it. The second is that with the growth in the Winnipeg suburbs, the boundaries have been grown to reflect that.

The losers include the far north, rural areas, and urban Winnipeg. Arthur-Virden in the southwest has been eliminated and redistributed into Riding Mountain, Turtle Mountain, and Sprucewoods. The first thing is the addition of a "rurban" constituency that includes Winnipeg and part of the surrounding area, and the redrawing has come at the expense of urban areas. For example, in Central to West Winnipeg, originally you had the constituencies of Wolseley, Minto, and St. James. Minto has been eliminated, with the bulk of it going into the St. James ward, and part into the Greens. The rural areas continue to lose representation, and that was still the case here. Thompson has been extended to include the port of Churchill.

Here is how it breaks down for parties. Overall, this map helps the PCs, despite the loss of rural areas. The PCs continue to do well in suburban Winnipeg, which has gotten more representation. There is one exception. Thompson is currenlty held by the PCs, and that seat has been redrawn to include Churchill, which was isolated for a long time with the government doing nothing to help. That is part of a riding that voted Liberal. I don't have detailed maps of how they voted, but with the PC hold on Thompson tenous at best, if the anti-PC vote in Churchill can coalesce behind the NDP, the PCs will lose that seat. There is no change for the Liberals. Despite losing a large chunk of Keewatinook to Thompson, the boundaries around Liberal seats mostly remain intact. The NDP conversely suffers because urban areas in Winnipeg have been combined and reduced, and this is where the NDP typically gets its support. There is one exception. The meth crisis is getting a fair bit of press in Brandon, and there is also some frustration about bus routes being cut. Brandon East is the poorer of the 2 constituencies, and until 2016 could be counted on to send an NDP MLA to the Legislature. It is also ground zero for the meth crisis in Brandon. The removal of areas north of the Assiniboine River tightens the boundaries around that issue. Having said that, there have also been monster homes going up in the south as of late, and there is also a new school opening in Brandon East in 2020. The Greens lose the most. Their best showing was running in Wolseley under current boundaries. With Rob Altemeyer not running again and the Greens nominating the same candidate, that would have given the Greens the advantage going in. Unfortunately for them, the new boundaries brought in NDP polls from the former Minto riding, so that flips the advantage back to the NDP.


So now Goertzen is leading a review of Manitoba education. I suppose reviews are always welcome, however the fact that Goertzen is leading this after what he did to our health care system scares the hell out of me. Also take a look at who is on the panel. Janice McKinnon, former NDP Finance Minister in Saskatchewan is there. A quick glance into her background shows no background in education. I'm beginning to think that this is an attempt to brow-beat NDP-types into accepting whatever this group recommends, because hey, a former NDP minister says so so it must be okay. That's also because she was on the right flank of the Saskatchewan NDP. As for the list of other people on that group? Ian Wishart is there, since he was the former Education Minister. No word on who the other people are. Is there anyone there that has an actual background in education?


Janice McKinnon is a Professor at the U of S and her husband was the Dean of the Law school for many years.


kropotkin1951 wrote:
Janice McKinnon is a Professor at the U of S and her husband was the Dean of the Law school for many years.

Professor of what? It makes a difference whether she was a professor of education or finance or politics or any other thing. Absent actual qualifications in the educational field, I can only assume that her inclusion is being used as a tool to browbeat us NDP-types into accepting whatever this group recommends.


She is a History Prof. It is where I first met her. She taught a course that traced Canada US relations from the 1600's. I thought she was a great teacher. Her personal field for her PHD was the Loyalist side of history during the American revolution.

Her husband was the Dean of the Law School but he then went on to be the President of the U of S. Her political experience is primarily financial but she is an educator and married to an education administrator. She is a "balanced budget" acolyte and her political career attests to that.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The right to the city as a foundation for social justice

A view from the streets of Winnipeg

The right to the city comes out of critical theory, a branch of intellectual thought originating in the early 20th century at the University of Frankfurt. The Frankfurt School consisted of a group of radical scholars who theorized about the rise of mass popular culture and its effect on society. A December 2016 New Yorker article by Alex Ross, “The Frankfurt School Knew Trump was Coming,” points out how relevant their ideas are today: “The combination of economic inequality and pop-cultural frivolity is precisely the scenario [Theodor] Adorno and others had in mind: mass distraction masking élite domination.”


The fundamental role that urban centres play in capitalism has only intensified under neoliberalism. We see it in what Brenner et al. refer to as the hyper-commodification of urban land, housing, transportation, utilities and public space. Housing prices in Vancouver and Toronto are driven sky high by speculation (see Michal Rozworski’s article in the November-December 2018 Monitor); public transportation has declined in many cities while single-use vehicles and app-based ride-sharing services choke our deteriorating roadways; developers exercise almost total control over urban spaces like True North Square in Winnipeg. These are all examples of how cities are built to meet the needs of profit rather than people.

The right to the city is valuable not only for helping us understand urbanization: as a theoretical framework, it is also extremely useful in helping us build resistance to mass consumerism and corporate control of our cities. The right to the city provides the impetus for those who are socially and economically excluded to take back the direction of their lives—to “expose, propose and politicize,” as Marcuse puts it. Groups working on single-issue campaigns including social housing, job creation, environmental issues, workers’ rights and poverty reduction, as well as anyone working within more transformative campaigns to disrupt neoliberalism and colonization, can mobilize under the RTC banner.


Exposing, proposing and politicizing in Winnipeg

Whereas a city like Winnipeg displays all the usual characteristics of neoliberal urban development—the dominance of developers, ever expanding suburbs and car-friendly infrastructure—its large Indigenous population means the way groups might collectively respond to this type of urbanization will differ from, say, Toronto or Vancouver. Decolonization must play a part in any RTC movement in Canadian Prairie cities like Winnipeg.

There are a number of initiatives in Winnipeg that align with a RTC philosophy even though they have not been expressly framed that way. We propose that more consciously framing our efforts under the RTC banner would draw out how much they share in common, with the potential to strengthen a co-operative power base from which we are more likely to achieve our social justice goals.


I didn't know where to post this so this seems to be a catchall Manitoba thread. Another government denying its responsibilities to those it is tasked with protecting.


Good riddance:

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell will no longer be leading a review of cost overruns of Manitoba Hydro megaprojects amid sexual assault allegations.

The Manitoba government hired Campbell last fall to mount an external economic review of the decision-making process behind the Keeysak Generating Station and the Bipole III power transmission line projects. Both are estimated to have gone billions of dollars over budget.

On Tuesday, a Manitoba government spokesperson confirmed Campbell will step aside for the remainder of the review and the decision was "mutual."

"The province of Manitoba is committed to being a leader in policies and practices that prevent and address harassment in the workplace," the government spokesperson wrote in an email Tuesday.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture


Email your provincial MLA

Last year, provincial cuts to transit set off the Winnipeg’s funding crisis that led to the city attempting to cut from 22 routes and raising fares by 25 cents. With the upcoming provincial budget, tell your MLA that cuts to public transit are unacceptable. Let them know you want matching funding for municipal transit restored.


Massive property tax hikes, cutting projects on the table as funding from province unclear:


But the biggest cloud looming over Thursday's meeting was a $40-million hole in the city's finances, setting up a municipal budget day on Friday that could see property taxes in Winnipeg rise by more than nine per cent in 2019.

As councilors debated a relatively modest agenda, an update to the city's finance committee was posted, outlining a gap in infrastructure funding from the province of Manitoba.

The provincial grant funding update, written by city chief financial officer Mike Ruta, says the provincial government will not forward $40 million in previously committed funds that were part of the city's 2018 budget.


Manitoba Finance Minister Scott Fielding continued his war of words with Bowman on Thursday, issuing a statement saying the mayor and council are responsible for managing their own budget.

"The decision to increase taxes is their responsibility — and theirs alone," Fielding said in the statement.

"Mayor Bowman has made choices. His council and administration have made choices. We expect taxpayers will hold the mayor and council accountable for their decisions."

Remember that Fielding was part of the EPC during the Sam Katz administration. So why is he doing this? I suspect that the PCs are unhappy with how the last municipal election went. Since the City is taking the blame for this and also took the brunt of the blame for the bus fare increase, I think this is a deliberate ploy by the PCs to undermine Bowman's popularity to the point that in 2022 the voters will beg for a right-wing mayor to enthusiastically carry out the PC's austerity on a municipal level as well.

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Millions in federal funding that could lift Manitobans out of poverty, homelessness sitting on the table

Millions in federal dollars that could make its way to Manitoba is sitting on a negotiating table, rather than benefiting thousands of people who are living in substandard housing or homelessness.

Access to genuinely affordable, adequate, safe and stable housing continues to be the biggest challenge facing low-income Manitobans. So when the federal government introduced the National Housing Strategy in 2017, Manitoba's Right to Housing Coalition was cautiously optimistic that we would see an increase in the much-needed supply of social housing where rent is geared to income.

However, the Manitoba government has yet to negotiate a bilateral agreement to bring new federal housing dollars to the province.

Other provincial governments have begun to address the Canada-wide housing and homelessness crisis by signing bilateral agreements. Ontario is throwing in $2.1 billion and B.C. nearly $500 million over a 10-year period, which will be cost-matched by the federal government.....


Pallister strikes again (emphasis mine):

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister fired back at Liberal MP Jim Carr on Saturday, saying finger-pointing is just a distraction from "real" issues in Ottawa.

"I think we need to work together effectively, and I think Manitobans are intelligent enough to understand why the federal Liberal government members are starting to point fingers away from Ottawa and at us," Pallister said in an interview with The Brandon Sun.

The premier made the comments following the opening ceremony of the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier on Saturday.

So he can't even put aside his partisan grudges long enough to enjoy a simple opening ceremony of a major sporting event happening in the province? A sporting event that is watched by many and generates money for the local economy?

What a truly reprehensible human being this man is!

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The story of Helen Armstrong, a working class woman and mother who blazed through the constraints of sex and class to become a legendary union organizer and strike leader for women workers in one of the most explosive labour confrontations in Canadian history--the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.


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..from an email


We're reaching out to provide a few updates about our provincial campaign and the city budget.

City budget

In the city's own 2019 budget consultation, Winnipeggers ranked public transit as their number #1 priority. However, in the current budget, the city is actually reducing funding dedicated to reducing overcrowding, increasing frequency and improving reliability. 

Come out to our meeting this Thursday (March 7) at 7 PM at Riddell Hall at the University of Winnipeg to learn more about the budget and what it means for frequency, affordability and accessibility.

Tell the province to restore the 50-50 funding legislation

Don't forget to contact your MLA and tell them the 50-50 funding agreement must be restored. In the last week over 130 Manitobans have emailed their provincial representatives through our website.

It's critical to keep reminding the province that funding for operating our transit network is a priority for Manitobans. Help keep up the pressure in advance of the release of the provincial budget on March 7.

See you on Thursday!

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..from an email


Great to see so many folks at last night's meeting! We talked about several topics, but the most time-sensitive issue is the city budget. We confirmed yesterday that there is no funding increase for service.

There is a small increase in funding for capital expenditures in this budget - namely for driver safety shields and additional bus shelters. There is, however, no additional funding for transit service in this budget and at yesterday's Public Works Committee meeting yesterday we confirmed the city plans on maintaining status quo service levels - ie no improvement to frequency, reliability or overcrowding.

The city's climate change plan calls for increasing the number of trips by Winnipeggers by transit from 8% to 15% by 2030. To do that, ridership will need to increase by 5.88% per year by 2030. By refusing to increase funding for service, the city is choosing to ignore their own climate change report and climate change in general.

While the city claims that they are in a tough budget year, the reality is they have the power to make tax and spending decisions. Additionally, public transit was reported as Winnipeggers' top priority in the 2019 budget consultation. It is shocking that the city chooses to neglect service given the mandate given to them by their constituency and the necessity posed by climate change.

Improving service means buses are less overcrowded, arrive more frequently and are more reliable. Research on public transit has found that these features are most important to enticing riders to use the system. That means in order for the city to meet their own climate change goal, improving service necessary. 

Attached are some images and charts to assist in understanding our current situation. FTW asks that our members and supporters sign up to speak at the Executive Policy Committee meeting on Wednesday, March 13 at City Hall. Climate change and the demands of Winnipeggers must not be ignored. If you have any questions about the budget process or about the information shared here, please send me an email or call me at 204-232-2023. I will be available all weekend any time and I am happy to explain anything from this budget in greater detail.

To register to speak at the March 13 Executive Policy Committee meeting, contact 311.

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PRESS RELEASE: CUPE calls on government to postpone The Health System Governance and Accountability Act

CUPE 204 President Debbie Boissonneault called on the Manitoba Government to postpone newly tabled legislation that would cause the further restructuring of health care, citing the current restructuring and bargaining delays as the reason to wait.

“Three years ago, the government announced they were going to shake up health care and see what happened,” said Debbie Boissonneault, “The government didn’t even wait until the end of the first wave of changes to announce another round of upheaval.”

CUPE is willing to consult and work with the provincial government on a plan to conclude the current round of health care restructuring, enter into bargaining and include a timeline for further changes, however, having multiple open pieces of health care legislation at the same time is confusing to workers.

“Health care workers are frustrated. We are frustrated with the chaos these changes have created in the health care system. It is negatively impacting patients and workers, and we are frustrated that these changes are preventing us from getting to the bargaining table,” said Boissonneault, “We call on the government to finish what they started and then bargain in good faith with health care workers before starting any more changes.”

Government needs to slow down, work with stakeholders, including CUPE, and find a responsible way forward....

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..from an email

I know it's been a lot of emails in the last few days. For the folks who just signed up for emails, just know we don't normally crowd your inbox as much as we have been over the last week. But given that the city wants to freeze transit service, contacting your city reps is very important.

This is just a quick reminder to sign up to speak at EPC if you are able to. If not, you can give your councillor a call and let them know how important it is to boost service funding. Your phone call can be as simple as telling your councillor that you are one of their constituents and you want them to increase the service budget for Winnipeg Transit.

You can find your councillor's contact info here

To sign up to speak at EPC, contact 311:


Liberals are dying on the vine, but the NDP are showing signs of life.

NDP making gains in Manitoba, but Conservatives still in lead: poll

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Fight for $15 and Fairness Manitoba

Workers demand a $15 minimum wage, criticize Pallister’s 30-cent increase

The Manitoba chapter of Fight for $15 and Fairness is calling the provincial government’s paltry 30-cent increase a cruel and cowardly method of increasing the minimum wage in Manitoba.

“What this province needs is a minimum wage that can stand up to the pressures of life and make sure workers aren't in poverty. Poverty is not acceptable,” stated Fight for $15 and Fairness organizer Tanya Andrusieczko. “Manitoba needs a $15 minimum wage now, and this insignificant increase is just not enough.”......

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Basia Sokal Resigns as Winnipeg Labour Council President


And, so I think about that often in this position as a woman and especially in the month of March where we celebrate International Women’s Day. And I’ve actually started talking to a lot of Sisters in the movement, some who are here today and some who are not here, and some who are able to speak up and others who are not. And I wanted to be that voice for those women because, being in a progressive movement, in the last 12 months alone, I have seen and heard, and been experiencing some of the worst things that you could ever imagine, that anybody would experience in the labour movement.

And it breaks my heart that I feel the need to tell you this. But we need to do better, we need to do so much better because as a woman in this role, I feel that I was basically tapped so that I could be told what to do, because it would look good to have a female president at the head, it would look great if we have a woman in a position. And I know that that’s what happens on executives everywhere. And I don’t agree with that, I don’t think that we should be asking women to run for politics or executives anywhere if we don’t believe that they have some value to give and to participate in this movement.


And I urge you to challenge yourselves. If you hear this, call it out. If you see it, say something. I can’t understand in 2019 why we are okay with calling out governments on their actions and what they’re doing, but we are a part of this and we are not stopping it. And we sit on executives and we sit on committees, and I know for a fact that there are people in this room that stay silent when these things happen. Because I know, because I’ve been in the presence of groups of Brothers that laugh when they make these comments to my face, like it’s a joke.
And I see that everybody in the room is shocked. And they should be. And what’s even more shocking is that when I have come forward with complaints to individual union leaders or executives, I’m dismissed. I have put forward complaints to my own union. I have put forward complaints with the CLC and the NDP. The NDP has yet to respond to my complaints since December.

How are we going to be a government when this is what is going on here?

So, I just wanted to announce that, because of all of these degrading and disgusting actions, that I will be taking a leave and I will be stepping down because I don’t believe that I want to be a part of this any longer. This is not what I signed up to do. I don’t believe that I can continue being a part of these injustices and part of this system. The systems need to change and the only way they change is with us in this room. And I have tried to change these systems, I have tried to call these things out, and I just get roadblocked, everywhere.

So I don’t want to be a part of this system any longer. I want to go back to my job as a letter carrier, I want to help in the community, and I want to promote unions to folks that are un-unionized, that are underpaid, under-waged, under-anything, you name it, and tell them all the good things that unions can do for them. And I want to leave these comments in this room, in this building, and I want folks to realize how hurtful these things are, and not only for the people that just suffer from these, but for the people around us. I see you all staring at me like you’re in big shock and you should be.


NorthReport wrote:
Liberals are dying on the vine, but the NDP are showing signs of life.

NDP making gains in Manitoba, but Conservatives still in lead: poll

Not quite NR. It's great that the NDP is now higher than 30% in the latest poll. Unfortunately not only does the party have to fight Pallister, but it also has to fight to regain its own base from the Liberal and Green parties. The real concern for me is that knowing what his party is all about, nearly half the voters in this province still support Pallister. We need to find a way to cut into Pallister's support and find a way to reduce his numbers. Perhaps if the Liberals move slightly right, and gain votes from people who pride themselves as being socially progressive, want their schools and hospitals to stay open but are terrified that the NDP is going to spend the province into bankruptcy?


epaulo13 wrote:
Basia Sokal Resigns as Winnipeg Labour Council President

I heard about that, epaulo. When I think my opionion of union bosses in Manitoba can't get any lower, I learn about these unacceptable allegations of harassment from the very organization that workers in the province are supposed to count on in order to protect them?


It seems that far too often we seem to be attracting the wrong kind of candidates. We need to find a way to stop the 'who gets the next government contract' focused candidates, and get candidates who are running to improve the lives of the less fortunate ones in our society.  The key is for voters though is to do a little detective work and find out before they vote which candidates are straight shooters and who are bullshit artists. 


Meeting with Pallister and Opposition leaders prelude to early election call?


A meeting organized by Premier Brian Pallister's office with the leaders of Manitoba's NDP and Liberal parties is fuelling more speculation that an election call is imminent.

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said he's been invited to a meeting on Monday morning to discuss election financing, which he perceived as Pallister's chance to alert his counterparts that the writ is about to be dropped.

"We haven't gotten any details," Lamont told reporters Thursday afternoon. "All I know is I've been invited to a meeting with the premier and the leader of the Opposition to discuss election financing, and for all I know the premier could call an election the day after that."


Lamont said fixed dates were implemented for a reason — and Pallister shouldn't defy it.  

"It lets people get organized," Lamont said. "If I'm recruiting a candidate, I can tell them, 'Look, this is when you're going to run. This is when you're going to have to take time off work. This is how you get permission.'"