Hello. Registration has been disabled until I can get a Honeypot installed on here.
THE WORLD IS BEING TAKEN OVER BY BOTS!
Holler if you need to register, and are not made of metal.
pale (dot) cold at the gplace.com
A blog to take on the real RAG (Rightwing, Absolute Garbage) pieces that are printed in Winnipeg's press. This blog will house analysis and commentary on relevant social, political, and economic issues distorted by the RAG machine.
Part of the two-pronged approach of rightwing opponents - particularly the Pallister CONs - has been to claim that this bill is too weak by not mandating specific penalties while simultaneously claiming it's too strong because it grants protections to all supportive, anti-bullying student groups - regardless of whether religious bullies approve.
The later half of the Frontier Centre's policy note details their opposition based on this "religious freedom" issue: The other problem with this bill is that it threatens religious freedom. Specifically, Bill 18 requires all schools, including independent faith-based schools, to facilitate student groups that may undermine the schools’ religious values. In its enthusiasm to stamp out bullying, the Manitoba government appears prepared to run roughshod over the right of private religious schools to uphold their faith.
Obviously, some people will say that since some faith-based schools receive government funding, they should accept Bill 18 without question. However, the acceptance of funding should not eliminate the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom. Many parents, in fact, choose faith-based schools specifically because of the school’s values.
("Manitoba’s Bill 18 Fails the Test of Good Legislation". Clifton & Long & Zwaagstra. (Mar. 22, 2013). Frontier Centre for Public Policy) The Frontier Centre's paper chastises the lack of religious freedom, while ignoring the elephant in the human: the right of gay students to basic human dignity and safety. Instead, the Frontier Centre seems to be treating the rights of certain religious fundamentalists to express their hate by denying gay students a safe space above the rights of gay students to a safe and supportive space. In short, it seems that the Frontier Centre is valuing the rights of religious bullies over students.
As the Evan Wiens case shows, there is an existing problem with school administrators obstructing gay-straigt alliances in climates where anti-gay bullying is severe.
But what about the constitutionality arguments? Does the right to religious freedom include the right to deny students the freedom to start a gay-straight alliance? The American religious right was founded to oppose the desegregation of parochial religious schools.
Do religious schools have the right to bar minorities from attending because of "religious liberty"?
The belief that Bill 18 takes away the right of religious schools to prevent LGBTQ students from discussing their sexual orientation or ban openly LGBTQ students from the school. However, schools have not had this ability since the Canadian Human Rights Act came into effect in 1977 (and sexual orientation was specifically added in 1996).The Canadian Human Rights Act nor other human rights legislation, to the best of my knowledge, have been struck down for violating religious freedom. It's been well recognized in most western societies that religious freedom does not include the right to practice institutional discrimination.
Take, for instance, the case of school desegregation. The US religious right was founded to oppose it. Regardless of their "religious freedom", you aren't allowed discriminate against a class of people just because you think God says it's okay. Given that's the case in the much more hands-off, laissez-faire to religion world of the US do you think that courts are going to buy that religious bigotry trumps laws protecting gay rights in Canada? Religious rights do not justify the infringement of the basic rights of all people to dignity and safety.
On a final note, I find it ironic that the Frontier Centre's in-house education analysts have tackled the supposedly grave religious freedom violation that voluntary Gay-Straight Alliances pose. Why?
There's likely little benefit to the city in having a plethora of public or private golf courses. It'd make more sense for golf courses be converted into multi-use public parks, some used for the development of cooperative housing, others for mixed-used development or market-driven housing development, and a few retained as affordable public golf courses for all Winnipeggers.
A good way to conduct a review of our City golf courses would be to run a thorough public consultation. That way we could get citizen input on a broad range of alternative uses.
But the City doesn't seem to be conducting such an open-ended, listening exercise. Rather, it looks like the Katz administration is telling the public that City Hall should privatize golf courses. He's trying to use such ads to get constituents to pressure critical councillors to pass his measure.
Problem is that the $90,000 ad campaign of Responsible Winnipeg is funded with public money!!!
It's a City initiative, though initially the City logo didn't accompany the ads. Katz called this an oversight and subsequent ads now have the logo.
What this means is that the City bureaucracy is getting involved in a political, City Council debate - trying to influence a vote through public messaging and pressure politics.
If this isn't illegal then it should be. This is bloody obscene.
The civil service side of our City is supposed to be about implementing the policies of council, not making council chose certain policies. The City budget isn't Sammy's to use for whatever he wants, it's our money. Russ Wyatt should be swinging his financial axe at this waste of public money.
Strange that this use of taxpayer money for a political campaign hasn't caught their attention. I mean, as a taxpayer federation they're all about the prudent use of public monies, right?
It's almost as if the "Taxpayers Federation" cares more about an ideological, slash-and-burn agenda than the appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.
But that couldn't be right, could it? Regardless, I suggest our Mayor and the financial axeman respect the spirit of this initiative. If we're going to save big bucks privatizing public golf courses, why not start saving bucks now by privatizing the campaign to privatize golf courses?
I'm sure Sam Katz could fund the campaign for this deeply-held conviction of his. Heck, maybe Wyatt could give some of his salary to make this media blitz happen.
After all, one must make great sacrifices in the call of public service.
Our increasingly rundown inner-city roads have inspired complaints and demands for something to be done. City Hall demands more money from the Province, critics of City Hall demand less administrative fat, and the odd guy/gal out calls for raising property taxes again. But if we're serious about long-term spending solutions than halting suburban and extraurban development is essential.
As previously outlined, Ridgewood South has been identified as a New Community in OurWinnipeg. New Communities, such as Ridgewood South are large land areas identified for future urban development that are not currently serviced by a full range of municipal services. [My emphasis added] City Hall seems well enough aware that this new suburb will cost us money. Yet they continue to support the fiscal drag of suburban sprawl, subsidizing these costly to municipally supply communities with services and further thinning out our road budgets. We simply don't have the tax base to keep playing this game.
Here's Wyatt! He's terrorizing the inner-city & hard-working poor Winnipeggers by axing city services.
Picture not actually of Russ Wyatt, evident from guy looking too reasonable.
Image Source: Initially from film The Shining, obtained by this blogger from tumblrFor all the talks of "sustainable transportation" in the Our Winnipeg plan our city hasn't kept up with the need for bus rapid transit. After years of hassling and funding arrangements from other levels of government only a measly few klicks of BRT line are in operation. As well, our bikeway network is utterly disconnected and too geared towards recreational cyclists to be of use for Winnipeggers who bike to work.
What does the number two guy at City Hall think amidst all this? Well, Deputy Mayor Russ Wyatt is proposing deep cuts to the central city. Cuts that will disproportionately hurt hard-working poor Winnipeggers.
In this context, in which Wyatt thinks it's okay to hurt hard-working poor rapid transit riders, aboriginal youth, and those afflicted by crisis, we're seriously considering extending our infrastructure to a new outer suburb? This is madness. What half-baked rationalizations our councillors coming up with? Well, let's take a look.
"These new subdivisions that are coming up are filling up quite quickly, and I mean, if it’s not in the city of Winnipeg, it's in the bedroom communities beyond," said Browaty.
("Committee OKs plan for new Winnipeg neighbourhood". CBC (May 7, 2013)) Those are exactly the type of bright ideas that went behind the Waverley West project. The sad thing is that providing so many facilities on the edge of the city only encourages fringe-outer suburban and extraurban development by cutting the distance between city services and extraurban communities.
So the task at hand for the city is to balance off the demand for more development with the need to create more density, which is simply more people living in any given portion of the city. And that means doing what may sound unthinkable to hard-core urbanists: Winnipeg is opening up vast new tracts of land under the premise developers understand these new suburbs must be denser than the city's existing suburbs.
Imagine the fortune it'll cost to run roads through you!
Image Source: Winnipeg Free PressYeah, stopping suburban sprawl by making a few denser outer suburbs totally makes sense. I mean, if people really want supersized yards and strip malls I'm sure they'll settle for denser habitation so long as it's farther away from the central city services. Dense outer suburbs make little sense and even if there's some improvement compared to other low-density developments (which Ridgewood South is classified as) it'll still likely be a financial drag for the city upkeep infrastructure to Ridgewood South and will still shift more services to the city fringes, closer to the exurbs.
City Council has trouble with existing road repairs.
Now it wants to build more roads!!
Image Source: ChrisDIt's clear that City Hall can't make proper decisions and is using the risk of flight to the exurbs as an excuse for creating outer suburbs. As flashy as the precinct plan is - and much of it will be compromised away anyway - this represents a serious threat to our city. Fiscal axmen like Russ Wyatt are scheming about cutting services to our inner-city, which suffers from dilapidated physical and social infrastructure already. Thus far the Province has supported outer suburban developments, like Waverley West in a bid to woo South Winnipeg suburbanites.
For the greater good of our city and our province this has to stop.
To perserve our roads in the central city, we have to focus on inner-city and inner suburban development and redevelopment. We need supports for cooperative housing, rental development, and mixed-use facilities rather than more roads to more outer fringe suburbs.
If the City's unwilling to deal with sprawl, the Province must.
Image Source:Government of ManitobaThe Province still has some perverse political incentives that favour suburban development. As noted, there are many existing outer suburbanites who'd like further development along the southwest of the 'Peg. The form a critical swing demographic. Nevertheless, City Hall is still more beholden to the advocates of outer-suburbanization, with developers having unreasonable influence over City decisions. As well, the Province is the only entity that has the power to deal with the potential of exurban flight. Thus, a serious solution to unsustainable sprawl must rely on our province.
The Province has many policy tools they could use to stop this nonsense. For one, they could impose a binding urban growth boundary around the southwest of Winnipeg. No undeveloped lands outside of the boundary are to be developed until existing inner-city, inner suburb, and outer suburb neighbourhoods reach sufficient density.
To prevent flight to the exurbs, the Province could also restrict the development of newer exurban communities and impose growth boundaries around existing exurbs.
Alternatively, a more permissive approach could be taking by simply taxing those in newer outer suburbs and exurbs in a way that aligns the social cost of servicing them with their tax rates.
Either way, the Province needs to change course in regard to outer suburbs. The concerned citizens of Winnipeg need to petition the Province and City about this matter. The sustainability of our city depends on it.
Channelling his inner Wyatt. Image Source: Initially from film The Shining, obtained by this blogger from tumblrTranscona City Councillor Russ Wyatt is a man Sam Katz seems to trust. After all, our mayor gave him the second top job at City Hall of deputy mayor. Now, what type of sane and sensible things has the Katz's number two man done?
Wyatt threw a temper tantrum and called the NDP "socialists" for not redistributing provincially collected wealth to the City of Winnipeg.
This anti-socialist Wyatt is the same man who chaired Steve Ashton's campaign for NDP leadership in 2009. Yes Ashton, the most left-leaning candidate in the race!
Wyatt says that the Province's refusal has forced his hand. Obviously, he doesn't want to go hacking away at city services like a madman. But it has to be done 'cause the City just doesn't have enough money and needs to fix roads.
Wyatt's all for axing the Arlington Bridge, pictured second from the right at a Plessis Underpass funding announcement.
Image Source: CBC (top) Adrian Alleyne/Canstar (bottom)The funny thing about Russ Wyatt, the axman whose policies would afflict the afflicted, is that he seems to be sparring some folks from his plans. People like those who'd use his pet projects:
It is rather convenient that during Wyatt's hack-and-slash tirade, he avoided the Plessis underpass at $77 million and the expansion of the East End Community Centre for another $12 million. These are his projects, though, and one supposes do not require the same level of scrutiny.
Also, it's ironic that Wyatt is the same elected official who spent over $100,000 in taxpayers' money developing and promoting an arena and healthy-living centre project in Transcona when there was a similar plan approved and already on the table by another local volunteer group. But that wasn't his plan. So the $100,000 was worth it?
("Coun. Wyatt spares his 'legacy' projects from cuts". Scott Donald (May 1, 2013). Winnipeg Free Press)But I'm sure all that is much more important than the ability of North Enders to travel to western downtown or the West End for jobs they might have there. The $77 million Plessis underpass is just so much more important than a currently existing bridge North Enders have grown to rely on for their livelihoods.
Thanks, Axman Wyatt, for treating all Winnipeggers as equal citizens of our city.
Greg Selinger, Manitoba NDP Leader and current Premier of Manitoba.
Image Source: WikipediaThere've been many warning signs for left progressives and social democrats when it comes to Premier Greg Selinger.
We all know that Gary Doer was uninspired, unprincipled, and singularly obsessed with appealing to suburbanites in southern Winnipeg. Be it boutique tax credits or boosterism for unsustainable suburbs like Waverley West, Doer sacrificed the long-term sustainability of our province for short-term political gain. It's quite fitting that he's now a oil sands salesman down in D.C.
His finance minister Stan Struthers has embraced the flat-rate taxer conception of "fairness" to defend this.
"The PST is the fairest way to reach these goals because the cost will be shared by everyone," Struthers said, adding Manitoba's sales tax will remain the third-lowest in the country.
("Sales-tax hike to boost flood protection, but province first has to rewrite balanced-budget." Bruce Owen and Larry Kuschlaw (May 4, 2013). Winnipeg Free Press ) Selinger's finance minister is striking a stake through the moral centrepiece of fiscally progressive thought: that those with less ability to pay should pay less. Struthers's flat taxer idea of fairness implies that a working poor janitor and a millionaire heir paying the same flat rate on their purchases is fair because "the cost [is] shared by everyone", regardless of financial capacity.
New fairness: Everyone shares the cost equally, regardless of ability to pay.
The 14.3% or 1 percentage point increase in the PST, along with the accumulation of user-fee hikes over the years, will disproportionately hurt the poor. This sharing of costs theme sounds a lot like the hollow pleas south of the 49th parallel for "shared sacrifice".
The weak, powerless, and those with broken backs do most of the hauling while the able wealthy carry a lighter load. Some "fairness". Would you like to support this blogger? Consider making a donation or checking out their shop!
Distribution of The Winnipeg RAG Review reader responses to the poll question "which riding do you live in?" Image Source: Modified Wikipedia imageWell, the readership by riding unscientific poll has been done for a while. Might as well go over it.
Table of responses constructed by The Analyst.Sample size was 29 and a plurality of respondents (slightly above 27%) reside in the riding of Winnipeg Centre. Other ridings with a high portion of the poll respondents (each with just under 14% of all respondents) were Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia, Winnipeg South and Kildonan - St. Paul. Each of these other ridings were markedly less central.
Graph of responses constructed by The Analyst.
The Median number of respondents for a given riding was 3.5. Elmwood-Transcona (1), Saint Boniface (2), Winnipeg North (0), and Winnipeg South Centre (3) scored below this.
Of some interest, the riding with the most reader respondents is heavily New Democratic Winnipeg Centre, but a plurality of reader respondents from Winnipeg (or 69% of 'Peg respondents). The remaining just over 30% of 'Peg city respondents are those in Winnipeg Centre.
One respondent doesn't know or care, another is from out've Winnipeg, and a third prefers not to say.
swindleman 10:15 AM on 5/11/2013 Widespread development, dilapidated infrastructure & poor public transportation are what Winnipeggers want, so that's what you're going to get. Katz/Shindleman 2014 Honestly, Katz has embarrassed us with countless flip flops and poor plans on rapid transit.
And under his mayoralty our suburban sprawl problem is just getting worse as our infrastructure budgets are being spread thinner and thinner.
Hopefully, Winnipeggers will prove that they want better in 2014.