Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Manitoba's Future? NDP leadership hopefuls on Crime

So today we got to hear all three NDP leadership hopefuls (Aston, Selinger, and Swan) on the CJOB morning show. Today's topic: What they would do differently regarding crime in Manitoba.

So what did we learn?

Swan (sounding nervous) says "keep building" and "get people involved". Asserts people need to "step up" and partake in community based Citizen Patrols so they can to be "eyes and ears" for police.

Wisdom nugget? Swan says there can be no "justice solution without the police".... err, um, no kidding!

Asked if we need more jails? Swan takes flight and proceeds to recount how (once) he went to a meeting while an intern for a Justice Minister - but he doesn't answer question. Instead he states that "upstream(?)" resources are needed. Thanks!

"What do you tell seniors?", Swan is asked. Well he tells us of a program called 'Safety Aid' that is available to our poorer seniors to help them install deadbolts... um, so his message is that 'barricading' oneself is a solution?

Then Swan tells us that the "biggest thing" people can do is to know their neighbours and call the police if they see untoward activity. And, just in case we were unclear, he tells one and all that people need to get police the info they need to make arrests, cause that "empowers people." Also, he chooses not to bite on the 'get tough on crime' issue. Overall, a marginal performance.

Ashton: Well, yes he would "do things differently" but he sounds jargon laden and wonky. Ashton's wisdom nugget? First we must make efforts to "identify crime"! Using Pt. Douglas as an example, he states the "key thing" is "to look at things that are working"! Wow, as if we should consider looking at programs that are not. "Eyes on the street" are all important, as gangs are "a bit like cockroaches" who don't like attention. Did ya' know he was responsible for bringing in taxi cameras and shields?

MB Housing... what would he do? Need to look at underlying causes - cites Boston - get kids working- "break the cycle" - "deal with some of the causes of crime"... again, no kidding. Overall, Ashton's performance was uninspiring.

Selinger: Asked if government has done enough to combat crime. "No," he says "we haven't." Good on him, some honesty at least.

A "sense of community" needed. Then just like Swan he uses the "more eyes and ears" analogy. Yet, he goes further than his two opponents and admits that when it comes to "violent crime" there should be "hard time". Perpetrators must face "consequences" so they know they "can't get away with it" and then he cites US evidence that proves training and opportunity must be provided to transgressors to break the cycle.

MB Housing- warehousing model is flawed. Selinger believes that under-investment in the recreation and social aspect of public housing throughout the 90's has much to do with present circumstances(?). Proactive programs are needed and the "reality" is "we need more" police- more community policing and foot-patrols. Overall, the best of the three.

As CJOB's Clouthier reminds us: one of these men will be our next Premier. On this one particular issue (crime) Selinger sounded the most credible.

Later, our esteemed MB PC wet-dream, Wee-Hughie, is interviewed. What does he have to say? Well in fairness, it was reasonable. And maybe, just maybe, he was making a play for some turf in the political-center?

He tells CJOB's Clouthier that he "shares the feeling(s)", the "sick feelings", that many of us are experiencing about the criminal element. It's "not the Winnipeg I grew up in" he tell us (was it Tuxedo or Charleswood? I always forget.) The NDP leadership hopefuls are "not wrong" he says; and a workable "gang strategy" involves "more police", a "higher profile for police", and "meaningful and measured consequences".

Societies way of "showing love" to offenders must include consequences. Asked what does present situation mean to 11 yr old gang members - - "short term" more police followed by immediate "measured and meaningful consequences". However, a "long term" view must also be taken, he says, but until then, in the short run, Manitoba's justice system needs all our support cause "everybody needs to take responsibility".
"Broader community empowerment" is needed.

What differentiates the PC's from the NDP? Well, Hughie says, the PC's would get serious and enforce bail conditions, but then he also added that "a lot of what is fueling criminal activities in our communities is drug addictions" and, as such, he he would commit to more rehab programs for prisoners to cut down on the cycle of substance abuse recidivism. Overall, and in fairness to Hughie (trust me - I do not say this lightly)... he did a pretty good job.

Don't know about you, but all of the speakers sounded as if they were on the same page. Not a lot of difference in their proscriptions. I was most disappointed with Swan and most surprised by Hughie. The ablest of the bunch seemed to be Selinger - he sounded the most like a Premier.

Then again, what do I know- I'm just another Fat Arse in a sea of cracks!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mulroney... the nightmare now 25 years old

Look at that face, look at that glee, look ... he's laughing at you and me.
Compelling for sure, regrettable too; it's been 25 years since he first came to screw me, and you.

A full thirty-three years since he first appeared on the scene, it was then that he taught us our politics could be manipulated by men without principles, dignity, hubris, or a conscience.

Malice and enmity were his game, we all suffered under his Tory reign.

Isn't it funny and sad so little has changed?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

You know our world is imperfect when...

We poor Canadians certainly face many problems. A broken parliamentary system, rife with erratic and self-serving leaders. Endemic abuse at the hands of usury bankers. An inherent inability to provide fairness and justice for all. A spill-over of undue and banal US influences that leave the kind of taint only Hannibal Lechter could love. Too many petulant and misguided wieners. And, too many idiots!

These, and a myriad of other challenges, are undoubtedly concerning - at least to a certain extent. But before we start feeling too sorry for ourselves; read this item from South Africa:

TB Patients Sell Sputum to Grant Fraudsters

September 14, 2009 - by Brenda Nkuna

Cape Town — Desperate for an income, unemployed people are paying TB patients for sputum samples so they can dupe doctors into getting them onto the social grant system.

TB-ridden residents in Khayelitsha charge R50 to R100 for sputum samples in a ruse which involves 'sputum sellers' keeping a stash of sample bottles smuggled out of government clinics which are then handed, with the infected sample, to unsuspecting health workers.

Using the infected TB sample, healthy people get a card from the clinic indicating they have TB and use this to fraudulently obtain a temporary disability grant ....

Enquiries in Khayelitsha quickly revealed three TB infected residents willing to sell their sputum in order for fraudulent grants to be obtained.

This reporter approached one of them, a 54-year-old man who legitimately receives a disability grant for his illness, who sold two bottles with sputum samples for at total of R50.

He said on average he made about R500 per month selling his sputum to people wanting to fraudulently obtain grants.

But he said business was "not good" because so many people were infected with TB in the township, which meant he had a lot of competition.

Paid R50, the man, who cannot be named in order to protect his identity, provided two samples of fresh sputum, each in a health department bottle obtained from a stack he kept in his bedroom.

Going to the Nolungile clinic in Site C, Khayelitsha, for a TB test, this reporter was given two bottles by a health worker who said a sputum sample in each bottle was required for the tests.

The health worker did not insist the sputum be coughed up in front of them so it was easy to swap the bottles with those which contained the purchased samples.

Fortunately for the sputum seller, but unluckily for this 'client' the samples came back negative, indicating that the man who sold the sputum had likely been taking his TB medication.

.... some TB patients deliberately neglected to take their medication in order to remain on the grant system, in effect trading their health for money. .... [giving rise to incidences whereby] patients abandoning their six-month course of medication led to multiple drug resistant (MDR) TB or even extreme drug resistant (XDR) TB.

The World Health Organization's Global TB Report 2008 ranks South Africa fourth in the world for TB infection, with an incidence rate of 940 cases per 100 000 people - a major increase from 338 per 100 000 population in 1998.

The Western Cape health department said there were 50,156 TB cases in the province in 2008...

*** Don't know about you, but I am starting to believe that maybe (just maybe) the world is a relative place. And that, on any given day, we should all remember that some (though not all) of our problems aren't really all that bad?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

In Brad Wall's Saskatchewan anything is possible!

Saskatchewan has many things going for it, but this development speaks to the fact that under Premier Wall the insignificant is ascendant.

"Premier Brad Wall says the Town of Martensville, a bedroom community of Saskatoon, will officially get city status in November."

In Wall's World, apparently, the Sask Party thinks it can keep the Saskatchewan public distracted from real and pressing issues by engaging in empty and absurd exercises like granting a de-facto Saskatoon suburb 'city status'. At best a town, Martensville is nothing more than a faceless home developers dream of cookie cutting heaven. Really, it's nothing more than a burb where relatively affluent worker bees from Saskatoon go to sleep. Hardly a city!

However, that doesn't stop other boosters from overplaying the significance of the event:

"There's a great significance to yet another city in Saskatchewan because in the national consciousness, Saskatchewan is a place that time forgot - ... " says Bill Waiser, a professor in the history department at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

In fairness, Prof, Waiser knows not of what he speaks. And it's not his fault, he's been brainwashed by living most (if not all?) of his life in a province where a community must only have a population of 5,000 ... to get city status.

No matter what the new official moniker implies, Martensville is, and will remain, nothing more than a burb.

A new City?