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.


Actually, that accusation of racism a couple of posts upthread is unfair. We only have one side of the story, and as they say, you have to hear all points of view before making up your mind. I'm sure that the security staff have a reasonable explanation that proves there wasn't any racism after all:

The officer said he worked for Real Canadian Superstores for a year, at three different Winnipeg locations, and was responsible for monitoring thefts.

He said he spent a good portion of his work days surveilling shoppers through CCTV and would often field calls from Superstore employees on the floor, who would phone security about "suspicious" customers and ask them to monitor them.

The officer said that customers are usually deemed suspicious if they are constantly looking up at the cameras or if they are adding too much of one product into their cart.

"I wouldn't even be at work for 15 minutes and somebody would call upstairs and say 'Hey, you know there's some Aboriginal people acting suspicious in the store, check them out,'" said the officer. 

"And that would occur mostly throughout the day. I [would] get plenty of calls during my eight-and-a-half-hour shift."

The officer said a majority of the people being reported as suspicious were Indigenous.

"When I'd get a phone call they'd say 'This person's acting suspicious' or 'These people are acting suspicious.' A lot of them would be Aboriginal, like nine times out of 10, all Aboriginal," said the officer.


In the mean time, the tough new drunk driving sanctions should make everyone feel safe, until they remember that Winnipeg police just pulled a number of officers off that campaign.


Fuck I hate the racism in this country of ours. Here is an article about a case from 15 years ago that is really the same pile of stinking shit but with another corporate mouthpiece spouting it. Fortunately the BC Human Rights Tribunal didn't buy the bullshit.

The Tribunal found that the Security Occurrence Reports filed by the security officers with respect to this incident identified Ms. Radek as a "suspicious person", although there was nothing in the appearance or behaviour of Ms. Radek or Ms. Wolfe on that day which could legitimately be characterized as "suspicious". Ms. Radek is identifiably Aboriginal, and was so identified by the security officers, as well as the two police officers that attended after the incident. She is also economically disadvantaged. She has a limited income, lives "on disability" and requires subsidized housing. Although poverty and economic circumstances are not prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Human Rights Code, the Tribunal found that Ms. Radek's economic circumstances were part of who she was and how she presented on May 10. They are integrally related to Ms. Radek's identity as an Aboriginal disabled woman. The Tribunal concluded that the security officers stereotyped Ms. Radek as "suspicious" because of her identity as a poor Aboriginal woman with a disability.

The Tribunal found that Ms. Radek was treated differently because of being Aboriginal and disabled. She was rudely questioned and followed when she entered the mall to get a cup of coffee. When she objected to this treatment she was told that she had to leave. When she stood up for herself and refused to leave, more security officers arrived. She was repeatedly told to leave the mall and prevented from going to Starbucks. This was not a normal experience for a person attempting to walk through a shopping mall, nor is it likely that a white person would have been treated in the same way. To treat a mall customer in the way that Ms. Radek was treated constituted different treatment in relation to a service customarily available to the public.


More allegations of profiling:


Desiree McIvor and her partner were out shopping on Monday afternoon and stopped at the Michaels store on Regent Avenue West.

"We weren't even in the door for about five seconds and this lady approached us and I thought it was going to be the usual 'Hey, do you need any help or assistance?'" said McIvor, a member of Sagkeeng First Nation.

"She said, 'Well, you're not welcome here and you guys have to leave.'"

"I was in complete shock, I couldn't believe what she said."

McIvor, who is eight months pregnant, said the employee then accused the couple of stealing from the store earlier that day.

"She said right to my face, 'You guys look like people who robbed us this morning,'" she said. "It was humiliating because everybody in the store stopped and stared at us."

McIvor said they tried to explain to the employee that they had never been to the store before but the employee insisted they leave. 

"I felt like I had no rights. It felt like I was two feet tall and I was just tiny. It felt like I didn't matter."


A spokeswoman for Michaels said the chain is committed to treating customers with dignity and respect but would not elaborate on their store policies surrounding these kinds of events, or say what recourse a customer has if they feel mistreated.

"We are open to all and do not tolerate discrimination against any guest or team member and take any conduct to the contrary very seriously," said Mallory Smith, manager of public relations at Michaels.

"We are actively investigating the situation and will take appropriate action as necessary."


Shades of grey in Winnipeg hospitals?


The Manitoba Nurses Union says if changes aren't made soon to the way the Health Sciences Centre is staffed, it is going to recommend against nurses working at the Winnipeg hospital.

"I think what's most important is to see some action from the employer, to see the employer actually acknowledge that the nurses' concerns that they have been voicing for a very long time are valid, and that there are places that we can make improvements right now," MNU president Darlene Jackson said Friday.

"That's the goal — to start getting some improvements put in place in that facility right now so nurses are going to work in a situation that is safe."


In a statement emailed Friday, Health Minister Cameron Friesen said his department has been working diligently to stabilize Winnipeg's health-care system following significant changes.

Those changes, he said, "were overdue and based on report recommendations commissioned by the former NDP government."

He said he has met with the union's leadership several times to hear their concerns and discuss ways to move forward. 

"I have recommended to MNU that we continue to meet on a regular basis, to stay on top of issues of mutual concern and monitor progress on filling vacant positions and stabilizing the work environment," he said. 

His department will continue to collaborate with the MNU to streamline the hiring process, which will speed up filling open nursing positions at HSC and throughout the province, Friesen said.


Bad year for homicides in Brandon just got worse:


Brandon police are investigating a months-old homicide after an autopsy revealed a man's death was not from natural causes, says a news release distributed on Thursday.

Police were called about an unresponsive man in cardiac arrest at a home on Willowdale Crescent at Williamson Drive in Brandon's Westview neighbourhood on March 1 at 7:40 a.m.

The man, later identified as Eugene Kakewash, 49, was dead when police arrived.

An autopsy report said he died of unnatural causes, but police won't reveal the cause of death because that could jeopardize the outcome of their investigation, they said.


Dialysis expansion in Dauphin:


Access to life-saving treatment is being boosted in Dauphin, where the Manitoba government is adding 12 more spaces for dialysis patients at the regional health centre.

Two trained renal staff have been hired to support the addition of an evening shift at the centre, expanding weekly patient capacity from 24 to 36, the province said in a news release on Thursday.

Services provided at the centre include hemodialysis, which uses a machine to remove blood from the body, clean it and then return it to the body, and peritoneal dialysis, which cycles a solution into and out of the stomach through a tube to collect and get rid of waste and fluid.

The extra spaces will be available starting March 1 and will cost the province $300,000 per year, Health Minister Cameron Friesen said.


Dauphin Correctional Centre to be closed:

The province has announced it will close down the Dauphin Correctional Centre by the end of May, saying it does not meet modern needs -- news that comes as a 'devastating' shock for the community.



This concern is shared by NDP Justice Critic Nahanni Fontaine who said the decision to close the jail will have a domino effect on Manitoba's justice system.

"The vast majority of our jails are bursting at the seams," Fontaine said. "It's created a scenario where both folks that are housed in these facilities and staff are put more at risk and are forced to live and work within unsafe conditions."

With the closure of Dauphin's centre, the next closest facilities are in The Pas and Brandon.

Fontaine worries the closure will push inmates further south, making it harder for them to connect with their communities in Northern Manitoba.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont critiqued the government's decision to close the correctional centre down rather than build a new one.

Lamont said in a news release Dauphin has already been hit hard by cuts which he called "economic vandalism."

Lamont said removing the jobs from Dauphin is a mistake.

With jails already over capacity in the province, and with Dauphin being a major urban centre within, closing the jail is a bad idea. I agree with the NDP. Let's build a new correctional facility that actually corrects people's destrucive behaviours, so they can move on and become better people when they leave.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Dauphin jail closure: Manitoba NDP must abandon failed law and order politics


The closing of the Dauphin jail is a victory: keeping jails open is not a way to keep anyone safe, together with family, or to improve conditions in particular places.

The Manitoba NDP is at a critical juncture. It must either distinguish itself as a party with new faces genuinely committed to new politics, or confirm that the party will continue with failed law and order politics which increased jail capacity by 52% while doubling the jail population during their 17-year hold on power.

The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU) is a major driver of the NDP’s jail construction agenda. Correctional officers are a powerful lobby within the MGEU, despite only making up 5% of its membership. The vast majority of members are health care professionals, community workers, social service providers, and educators.

The MGEU has falsely tied jail construction to the prosperity of its members. This is not only an important moment for the NDP, but also for the MGEU, which has been disproportionately favouring narrow correctional officer interests that run counter to the those of the majority of its members who depend on the expansion of the province’s life-sustaining public services.

What’s more, the future of the NDP and the future of the MGEU are wrapped up in the same questions of race and working-class solidarity. We all suffer when the health, safety, and prosperity of some working people is posed in opposition to those of other working people, in this case those who are criminalized. We are all at risk when the forces of state repression expand. The RCMP’s violence, as we write, against working people fighting for a better future for all in Wet’suwet’en and Regina are prime examples.

The Manitoba PC government’s law and order politics are full of nuance and contradiction that must be understood in order for us to take hold of this moment and consolidate it into a win for Manitobans.


epaulo13 wrote:
Dauphin jail closure: Manitoba NDP must abandon failed law and order politics


The closing of the Dauphin jail is a victory: keeping jails open is not a way to keep anyone safe, together with family, or to improve conditions in particular places.

The Manitoba NDP is at a critical juncture. It must either distinguish itself as a party with new faces genuinely committed to new politics, or confirm that the party will continue with failed law and order politics which increased jail capacity by 52% while doubling the jail population during their 17-year hold on power.

The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU) is a major driver of the NDP’s jail construction agenda. Correctional officers are a powerful lobby within the MGEU, despite only making up 5% of its membership. The vast majority of members are health care professionals, community workers, social service providers, and educators.

The MGEU has falsely tied jail construction to the prosperity of its members. This is not only an important moment for the NDP, but also for the MGEU, which has been disproportionately favouring narrow correctional officer interests that run counter to the those of the majority of its members who depend on the expansion of the province’s life-sustaining public services.

What’s more, the future of the NDP and the future of the MGEU are wrapped up in the same questions of race and working-class solidarity. We all suffer when the health, safety, and prosperity of some working people is posed in opposition to those of other working people, in this case those who are criminalized. We are all at risk when the forces of state repression expand. The RCMP’s violence, as we write, against working people fighting for a better future for all in Wet’suwet’en and Regina are prime examples.

The Manitoba PC government’s law and order politics are full of nuance and contradiction that must be understood in order for us to take hold of this moment and consolidate it into a win for Manitobans.

Sorry, but this is a bunch of crap. It's true that jails are over-crowded in this province. Closing down the Daphin jail will not solve the problem. People arrested and convicted of crimes will still have to be put in jail. I agree that we need to do more to reduce the numbers in jails and provide more help to people within. Even upthread I actually advocated to work those ideas into the design. However, people are free to make their own choices. Some people, regardless of the support or opportunities they are given, will continue to choose to act in ways that are dangerous and destructive to others around them. People like that must be kept away from the general public. That's why we have dangerous offender designations. I know this is an extreme example, but think of someone like Paul Bernardo. His crimes were so horrible that he should never walk the streets again.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture's not crap. the points made are valid. it's just a different pov than yours and the ndp's.

..and you can't separate incarceration from poverty and racism. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture


A BC human rights tribunal has found that Vancouver police discriminated against an Indigenous woman when they ‘roughly and physically separated’ her from her son during his arrest. The tribunal then ordered the police board to provide training to its offers in the ‘legacies of colonialism.’ I might just mention that the members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation in that province, who are resisting the driving of a pipeline through their territory without consent, might question whether colonialism has been reduced to a mere legacy. However, I want to focus on the persistent liberal notion that police racism and brutality can be cured with a spoonful of ‘sensitivity training.’

   The last thing I want to suggest is that police persecution of poor and racialized people should go unchallenged. However, what I do want to argue is that the ongoing police assault on targeted communities is not attributable to a lack of training or bad attitudes but reflects the basic role that police discharge in this society. Canada is class divided and functions on the basis of a racial hierarchy and the active implementation of a colonial project. The police are the enforcers of state power and it is hardly surprising that they carry out that function in line with the needs of the prevailing social order. We need to understand why they don’t drive through upscale neighbourhoods looking for rich kids to stop and question but save that activity for those they know they are are supposed to patrol and control. If we have that understanding, we are far more likely to be able to place limits on their abuses than if we cherish false hopes of socially just policing. I want, then, to set out some basic history and political conclusions on the role of the police.

The State

   Before we can deal with the police themselves, we have to make sure we have a clear idea about the state power that they enforce. For most of the time human societies have existed on the face of this earth, there was nothing that we today would recognize as the coercive power of the state. Only with the development of agriculture about 10,000 years ago do we start to see a concept of private property and the division of society into social classes. As this happens, and a ruling class emerges, the need to protect property and to control those without it, including those who have become slaves, requires a central authority that takes the form of the state. That institution has evolved over the centuries but the vital consideration and the fundamental factor shaping the police function, remains the concept of the state as a body that serves the needs of an exploitative ruling class.

   With the advent of capitalism, taking England as the first model of this system, the need for a more robust, effective and centralized form of state power emerges. Writing of the royal dynasty that held power from 1485 to 1603, Lawrence Stone has written that ‘The greatest triumph of the Tudors was the ultimately successful assertion of a royal monopoly of violence.’ The ‘King’s Peace’ was more tranquil for some than for others, with the dispossessed former peasants, driven from their land en masse to lay the basis for a capitalist society, getting an exceptionally raw taste of state regulation and control.

In the first part of the 19th Century, with the growth of an industrial working class and greater centres of urban population, the need for a new form of coercive state power became clear. Police forces began to emerge. London’s Metropolitan Police Service was created in 1829. This combined a capacity for concentrated deployment, in situations of major unrest, with the ability to patrol working class communities and enforce social control. “When the London police were not concentrated into squads for crowd control, they were dispersed out into the city to police the daily life of the poor and working class.” In 1835, Toronto established a police department modelled on the Met. However, the policing needs of Canada were not entirely the same as in the Mother Country. Here, an internal colonial project had to be undertaken and a particular manifestation of state power was called for. Hence the establishment of the North West Mounted Police, forerunner of the RCMP, that was based on that tool of British colonialism, the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). This body was formed to oversee the dispossession of the Indigenous nations and to impose the reserve system on them.

Not Our Friends

   Given this history and the basic functions of policing that are revealed, the folly of trying to relate to the police as a body that can be modified in order to serve the needs of poor and racialized communities becomes clear. The oppressive nature of the police role in the lives of poor communities is not primarily attributable to the attitudes of the individual cops. (Although, to be sure, a certain type of person gravitates towards the tasks they carry out). In 2016, much attention had been focused on lethal police brutality towards Black people in Ferguson, Missouri and in Baltimore. The racist persecution that occurred in the latter city was not mitigated by the fact that, unlike Ferguson’s overwhelmingly white police force, the Baltimore cops were significantly integrated. The racist cop is a real phenomenon but the decisive factor is the needs of the dominant social class that the police serve and protect.....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture


epaulo13 wrote:'s not crap. the points made are valid. it's just a different pov than yours and the ndp's.

..and you can't separate incarceration from poverty and racism.

I have to say I'm not surprised that some Winnipeg-based writers would pontificate about matters concerning smaller communities in this province without fully considering the implications of what they are advocating. Dauphin is at least a 2 hour drive from any other major city in Manitoba. So Dauphin jail closes. What do the writers imagine is going to happen? They point out the disruption to family life that incarceration brings. Do you think that's going to be any easier if people have to drive at least 2 hours one way to visit their loved ones in jail? I know I'm being presumptuous here, but do you think the inmates want to be moved further away from their loved ones? Do the writers imagine that with the Dauphin jail closed that people in Dauphin arrested and convicted for crimes are all of a sudden not going to go to jail? And after the jail closes, do you think the Pallister government is going to make any other meaningful investments in Dauphin to help deal with the fall-out from that?

This reminds me of how mental institutions were closed in the 1980s, with the mantra of getting big government out of people's lives. Great idea, unfortunately the institutions were closed  and people were thrown out onto the streets without the supports they needed. It's important to think these things through. If you can point to any First Nations leaders or activists in and around the Dauphin area who are applauding the jail closure, I might reconsider my position.


He's not from Dauphin, but Manitoba Metis Federation David Chartrand had this to say about the closure:

What they’re doing is actually taking individuals to be greater distances from their families’ support and pack them up into Headingly or Brandon. So they’re really going to pack up those institutions if they’re not already packed as is. But if they could challenge for the working poor and individuals, especially indigenous people who struggle day-by-day. But to find themselves hardly being able to get to Dauphin, which is sometimes a 1900 mile drive, or get somebody to drive them, or hire a vehicle to try and go see their loved one or family member. Now imagine they have to go to Winnipeg or Brandon and how are they going to get there when they can hardly get to Dauphin in the first place?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..after overseeing the colonial project, after presiding over law and order politics, after presiding over racist and poverty policy that lead to incarceration the ndp doesn't get to score points arguing that it is concerned about the prisoners. the hypocrisy is to overwhelming.    


epaulo13 wrote:
..after overseeing the colonial project, after presiding over law and order politics, after presiding over racist and poverty policy that lead to incarceration the ndp doesn't get to score points arguing that it is concerned about the prisoners. the hypocrisy is to overwhelming.

You don't have to assume that the NDP cares about anything to see that while in theory we should close down jails, that in real-w0rld practice nothing good would come from closing the jail in Dauphin. In fact, the issue of separation of inmates from families has been brought up in the news articles about this story as one of the problems with this move. I also find it especially ironic that we're talking about racism where at least one of the authors in the article cheering the move is white, while Chartrand is not cheering the move. It doesn't look like the authors of the piece consulted with any local voices in Dauphin about how this would impact them, and they have set up a false dichotomy by arguing that if you support keeping the jail open then you must be a right-wing reatcionary law-and-order person.

What is the end goal? Is it to actually build bridges with communities and make positive change, or to lecture people about how things should be? That article comes across as having the latter intent, which may make some people feel good to write, but won't actually do anything to reduce the jail population in this province.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture #27 presents a positive alternative. if change (which is the goal) is to happen it has to begin somewhere. but the ndp i suspect will not change. so it has to come from elsewhere. in bc the ecosocialist party has formed as an alternative. i don't know what will cause the labour movement leadership to change other than the rank and file rising up.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..there's a need for community organising as well. here's a familiar description..a 9.5 min video that was posted in another thread.



The fact that the Manitoba NDP was happy to incarcerate people at rates higher than the national average is not news, and has been under discussion on these forums since the time was current.

The article at post 27 is very vague. It recyles the same left-wing talking points that come up whenever issues of crime and security are discussed (which I do agree with in principle) without making any effort to understand how these dynamics play out in small prairie cities that are separated from other centres by drives of many hours. The article cites no local sources to back up its claims (and in the context of a jail closure in Dauphin, the Winnipeg Free Press does not count as a local source). The John Howard Society of Brandon (hardly a reactionary law-and-order advocacy group) had this to say about the jail closure:


The John Howard Society said inmates moving to facilities further away from their families will also have an effect. 

"The families of people who are incarcerated can also be victimized in their own ways by not having access to their loved ones," said Christopher Schneider, who is on the society's board in Brandon. "There's definitely going to be more strain.

"What that's going to do is make longer commute times for people to get to their families," he said. "We're also assuming that they're going to have the means of transportation to get to their families."

If the left is going to talk about empowering communities, actually listening to them and hearing them out is important, and I see no evidence to indicate that the authors of this piece have done so. I have given several specific local examples to explain my viewpoint. I doubt that many people in Dauphin see that closing the jail will have a positive impact on their community, however if someone wants to try and persuade them otherwise, it would be interesting to see how that pans out.

We've also discussed on these forums the refusal of the Manitoba NDP to implement labour reforms like anti-scab legislation. If rank-and-file union members do rise up to take on the union establishment in this province, I guarantee that supporting the closure of the Dauphin jail will not figure into this uprising at all.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture are built around ​law and order politics. no one can expect people to be happy about losing jobs. it's like losing a military base in this case. or losing a job in the oil patch. transition would be the way to go but there is no political party in man to carry that forward. that is the problem. 

..not someone taking a position of doing away with law and order politics. the authors are not people in positions of power. they are ordinary activists like you and i..having there own point of view. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Day School: Anti-Capitalism and Ecosocialism

Feb 15, Saturday at 9 AM – 4 PM

# 214 - 641 St Matthews Ave 


I'm going after them because they are cheering on the closure of the Dauphin jail while not demonstrating an understanding of how that will impact the community, especially when there are no local community voices (either First Nations or rehabilitation advocates) applauding the move. And it's not just the law-and-order aspect, it's the fact that when these inmates are moved to other facilities, they will be even further away from their loved ones than they are now. The people who would have gone to the Dauphin jail after it closes won't suddenly not be incarcerated in this new plan. That point has been repeatedly missed and glossed over in this conversation.

Many people outside of Winnipeg feel that the province caters to Winnipeg voters with no understanding of how their decisions impact people outside of the city. We call that "Perimiteritis." I heard that complaint all the time when I lived in Brandon, and even then governments of all political stripes made announcements in and about the city because of Brandon's strategic importance. That sentiment would be more intense in a smaller community far away from Winnipeg that can be relied upon to elect the same party election after election. This article is a perfect example of the Perimiteritis mentality that is derided outside of Winnipeg.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

What kind of politics do radicals need today?

Friday, February 28, 2020 at 7 PM – 9 PM

X-Cues Cafe & Lounge 

551 Sargent Ave

Austerity, rising greenhouse gas emissions and right-wing forces getting stronger make this a frightening time for radicals. We're under pressure to give up visions of liberation -- or to hold onto them in marginal isolation. What politics are best suited to winning struggles within capitalist society and ultimately moving beyond capitalism? Join us for a discussion with Kate Doyle Griffiths.

Kate Doyle Griffiths (they/them) is a longtime feminist and socialist organizer based in New York City, where they're a member of the Red Bloom collective.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

I'm going after them because they are cheering on the closure of the Dauphin jail while not demonstrating an understanding of how that will impact the community, especially when there are no local community voices (either First Nations or rehabilitation advocates) applauding the move. assign them responsibilities that suggest their arguments have no validity. that is not required to have an opinion. you use words like cheering and applauding to discredit them. stop it please. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture attack the left like you aren't left or that somehow you are the rational left and others, like the authors are not. stop it please.


I vehemently disagree with the article that was posted. I am allowed to express such disagreement.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture are. say what you want. i say those things because i want to be able to dialogue with you.  


Okay, let's dialogue then. I presume that we are all in agreement that separation of inmates from their families and loved ones during their incarceration period is harmful (and not to mention can have a negative impact on someone's chances of rehabilitation), correct? The closest city with a jail to Dauphin is Brandon, which is a 2 hour drive away. Not only that, but as David Chartrand of the Manitoba Metis Federation points out, several people in the Dauphin jail already have relatives who are a far away drive there. Moving these people to Brandon means their families have to go even farther.

I presume we are also in agreement that the PC austerity agenda has hurt communities of all sizes outside of Winnipeg, correct? You'll also note in the news stories posted that many people in Dauphin felt blindsided by the move, which is a common pattern that people feel with this government. The Dauphin jail has had numerous problems due to its age, including the death of an inmate, which is why the previous government wanted it replaced. Can we not build a newer facility that would incorporate principles of restorative justice better than the old one did? Can we not also, in tandem, increase programming and supports for prisoners to live productive lives once they leave? Might expanding these services also create more jobs for people in Dauphin, in particular jobs  for MGEU members?

I looked around, and I couldn't find anything to suggest that the John Howard society had a branch in Dauphin. That shocked me. Maybe there's a need for more restorative justice programming in Dauphin that is not being met?


I would also love to hear from any (current and former) inmates about the closure, what it means to them, and how they feel it would impact their change of rehabilitation. Corrections workers have received a great deal of air time, there should be other perspectives brought to the table.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture


..i agree with pretty much all you've said in your last 2 posts. so how does this move forward? i doubt there is a way to save the jail seeing that we are not able to prevent hospital cuts. 

..i'd like also like to look beyond the the policies and politics behind the need for the jail to exist. and alternatives to that.   

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..sven robinson told me once that if politicians receive 1 letter on an issue there's another 100 people who feel the same way. so if applied to the almost 700 who came out in support of the wet’suwet’en struggle i see potential and possibilities. i continue to believe that folks are uniting under the climate justice banner and that is where change will come. 


Maybe ending jails is a worthy goal to aim for, but I don't think we are close to that being a practical reality. I do think there are some positive steps that can be taken that will have positive impacts in the mean time. The idea of designing the jail with restorative justice in mind has been brought up a few times. Or take the issue of inmates being separated from their families for greater distances once Dauphin loses its jail? Let's flilp that on its head. The idea that even Dauphin is very far away for some of the relatives of these inmates came up. Why not partner with First Nations in the central and Interlake regions to allow them to do more community supervision of offenders, thus reducing the need to put people in the Dauphin jail?

I do understand that justice and corrections eats up a good chunk of the budget. As we have seen with the community demonstrations in Dauphin and in Winnipeg, I think the justice and police lobbies are far too powerful to outright cut their funding. Once alternate programming has been in place, then the need for jails and police reduces. I think in a practical sense, the way we do this is to choose a few communities that are particularly vulnerable, and help them design pilot programs that meet their needs (i.e. more shelter beds, child care, school interventions, etc). The pilot programs accomplish many things. They are inexpensive, so that avoids the criticism you'll get from the right at "throwing money at problems." On the flilp side, since these interventions were targeted in challenged areas to begin with, the payoff will be immediate. Lower school drop-out rates. Fewer police calls for service. Fewer missing people reported. Fewer children removed from their homes. All of these can be verified with hard data that proves the benefits. Also, remember that the lack of crime doesn't make news as much as actual crime. To use one example, in the 2010 municipal election, Sam Katz capitalized on some high-profile shootings in the North End to scare people into re-electing him. Ironically, the first homicide in 2010 in Winnipeg was recorded in April, when that milestone usually happens within the first 2 weeks of January. When you have good periods like that, then you need to brag about that. Media will start picking that up and reporting on lower crime. Then add some stories in the Free Press etc from people saying why they feel safer in their neighbourhoods now than before, and the community at large will feel safer. Workloads for police and jails drops, savings in these areas start to roll in, and then public funding can be reduced by attrition.

As for the issue of cuts to hospitals, I agree with that. I do think that we can walk and chew gum at the same time by dealing with both.