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!


  1. Jesus H Christ. Do none of these idiots "get it" yet? The people of Manitoba are FED UP with gangs and crime. They want someone to step up to the plate and DO something about it. Screw automatic bail, screw promises to appear, screw "programs" to fix these assholes. People just want to feel safe walking down their goddamn streets.
    Pardon my french, but I can't stand the friggin waffling any longer.

  2. In your first paragraph, it is written Aston. heh

    Is he an arse or what?

    I think that the first candidate to suggest doubling or even tripling police forces across the province might break from the pack.

  3. Very thoughtfull post on leadership. It should be very much helpfull.

    Karim - Mind Power

  4. Good post, and it shows that none of these so-called "leaders" have a clue. You'd get more ideas talking around the water cooler.