Monday, December 19, 2011

History repeats itself: CMHR boondoggles exposed, Free Press attacks Museum critics

Two days late and two dollars short, the Winnipeg Free Press has come late to the games that the Canadian Museum for Human Rights plays with telling the truth to the public about their dubious finances and questionable activities, tactics that have been flagged for years by the very citizen journalists and newspaper readers whom the newspaper of record still deride.

The floodgates sprung a leak about the CMHR work on, or rather in, the ground:

" ... the museum said Thursday evening its critics should be aware the archeological study's final report is still being written and will be released sometime next year.

"We want to ensure we tell the whole story," said Angela Cassie, the museum's director of communications and external relations. "

This comes only 21 months after we reported on Kick-FM the whole story about the Museum running away from any acknowledgement about the lands beneath it being a graveyard.

"The truth about the bones beneath the floor was an inconvenient truth, for the human rights crowd of Manitoba.

Armed with extensive historical clippings and academic studies of the region, Carriere took his case to the vaunted Round Table consultations at the Forks in January, when CMHR officials ostensibly were asking for citizens to come forward with their ideas of which human rights stories the museum should tell.

As he described it, "THEIR JAWS WERE ON THE TABLE".

Carriere is not asking for construction of the Museum to stop.

He is not asking for existing structures to be torn down.

All he is asking for is a cairn, a plaque, a memorial, to allow visitors to the Forks and the CMHR to give pause and remember the exploitation of a native burial ground by land developers.

Apparently, for the Gail Asper's of the world, such an act would require too much time away from high-society hobnobbing and panhandling for donations from gullible school children and photo-op craving Premiers.

CMHR head cheerleader Gordon Sinclair of the Free Press also brushed off the concerns, based on assurances from the museum's handpicked aboriginal "experts" that enabled the pet project of millionaires to proceed unabated." "

The same day, another story exposed even more excuses for why the wheels are falling off the buses to the Museum, and Free Press readers reacted with a barrage of criticism not only for the pet project of millionaires, but for the newspaper that supports it:

"The museum recently revealed its 2013 opening has been pushed back a year, but didn't say why.

Now, 2014 isn't carved in stone either.

"2014 is contingent... by March, we can confirm that date," Cassie said... "When is the optimal time to open a museum? You have one opportunity to throw your doors open to the world."

Cassie said the museum needs to choose a specific month to open that would best align with school tours and conferences anxious to use museum facilities.

She acknowledged some groups have had to postpone such events scheduled for 2013." "

(Online comments)


12:01 PM on 12/16/2011

@soolkyut... What the blackrod does is analysis. Drawing conclusions from the information. They were bang on about the last cost overruns, that were verified three months later by the Freep.


7:51 AM on 12/16/2011

I see they (CMHR) now have a feel good commercial running on TV begging for more private donations. Their "well-heeled" private donors must have finally awakened and shut the tap off. Fortunately our federal government has done the same. Note to Greg and Sam: Any more money into this will be political suicide for you guys. Don't even think about it.

Lubomyr Luciuk

6:16 PM on 12/18/2011

Over budget (again), not paying existing bills, behind schedule by several years, still refusing to listen to what most Canadians want - it seems as if the CMHR needs Jacques Marion of BDO Canada to come in as a third party administrator to sort out this continuing mess - he's not wanted at Attawapiskat so he might as well go to Winnipeg to figure out why this boondoggle just keeps getting further into the hole.

On Saturday, a follow-up story revealed that CMHR board chair Arni Thorsteinson was de-boarding the sinking ship with a startling new detail that pushed readers to the edge:

"Sources say the museum is as much as $45 million over its $310-million construction budget, mainly because of the rising costs of interior work and the technology needed for the unique exhibits that are planned"

A small sample of the 400 comments:

earl tunnley1

9:24 AM on 12/17/2011

Absolutely no more tax money for this very carelessly run project. Not a penny of "bridge" financing, either. Get a loan from a bank or from the very powerful and wealthy supporters. This project was shoved down the throats of the public and the public is saying in no uncertain terms, No to donating money. It's high time the Free Press acknowledged the other side, ie., the public's disinterest and outright opposition to the project. There's a story here, Free Press. Why don't you tell it?

Steven T

9:29 AM on 12/17/2011

Say what you will about The Black Rod Blog, but he's been warning about this sort of thing for quite some time...

Score: 21


12:35 PM on 12/17/2011

I trust the Black Rod blog more than the mainstream press for any news regarding the Human Rights museum.

Reader RJF summarized:

Of all the new projects going on in this city, this was the one we needed the least. It was the media elite who demanded it; not the public

Faced with losing control over the narrative which was decaying under the flood of mismanagement stories, the WFP editorial (credited to "Staff writer") insulted its own readers and told them to start going "MOOO", as they were to be treated as milk cows for the failing CMHR farm, regardless of how they felt.

"It would be unreasonable to demand that the Friends do more, particularly when they are struggling to fill the last $20 million gap. The rising demand on private funds, moreover, means nothing will be left for an endowment fund that was to help bring students from across Canada to Winnipeg.

Nor would it be acceptable to dumb down the museum, or reduce its noble and necessary mission. The city too easily cuts corners on defining projects, such as the downtown arena, which was originally supposed to be more architecturally significant.

The Harper government has said it will not increase its capital or operating grants, but it should reconsider. The original financial projections were simply unrealistic.

Ottawa, which recently awarded $122 million to the Royal Alberta Museum, a provincial facility, needs to show more interest in a museum that will represent all Canadians. Instead, it seems intimidated by a small group of naysayers."

Readers told the Mountain Avenue braintrust how wrongminded they are:


1:11 PM on 12/18/2011

"All Canadians, in fact, should be prepared to stand up for the museum to ensure that it fulfils its destiny as a truly national institution with an international reputation."============== Perhaps the powers that gave the CMHR its 'destiny' shoud have predestined its construction not commence until adequte funding was secured? It is telling that the editor uses a gambling metaphor. This thing was started on a bluff: 'even though we don't have enough money to finsih the museum, if we start building it anyway we will be able to shame the public into picking up the rest of the tab.'========= The proponents of this project often mistake it for an act of human rights. The CMHR is, if anything, a fiction to tell themselves


4:17 PM on 12/17/2011

"Instead, it seems intimidated by a small group of naysayers." SMALL group of naysayers? Nobody wants this thing except the SMALL group of Asper sycophants. It has the potential to turn our city into a laughing stock. Oh wait, it already has.

Blue Rod Blog

2:41 PM on 12/17/2011

The wfp shows it's true colors. This is arguably one of the worst projects, not most important. It's clear the wfp has zero objectivity and abandoned their journalistic integrity regarding this project. For shame

earl tunnley1

10:45 AM on 12/17/2011

The organizers testified before a senate committee that they would not ask for more tax money above and beyond the Fed's contribution. Why on earth won't you mention this fact, Free Press? The public greatly resents having this museum forced on us. That is why their fundraising is suffering. The arrogance behind creating this project without any consent from the public, was astonishing but where was the mainstream media when the difficult but necessary questions needed to asked? You can and will continue to give us advertorials and editorials but we are not drinking your koolaid. You should do yourself a favour and cease trying to market this museum and just report the news.


2:54 AM on 12/18/2011

The best information available on the internet comes from the Black Rod. The Black Rod has been the most accurate source of information on the CMHR.

None of the dismissive and disrespectful attitude towards FP readers who don't drink the CMHR Koolaid comes as any surprise to listeners of TGCTS.

We laid it out 2 1/2 years ago:

"Conveniently, the paper never mentions that Bob Silver and his partner Ron Stern kicked in to the Museum too.

The term "conflict of interest" never crosses the lips of Margo.

Instead, we lack "visionaries". Those who speak out about the obscenity of $300 Million being diverted from existing museums and charities, and from the taxpayer, are not losers like those who oppose the Fort, we're... "people who think small".

Then, she says "my money's on Gail Asper."

In a bizarre twist, the day before the newspaper repeated history and mocked readers "who think small", editor Margo Goodhand was portrayed in a new, tolerant light:

"Free Press
editor Margo Goodhand went outside and waded into the middle of the protest to give the newspaper's side and to hear from the protesters. Goodhand later spoke with the opposition as well.

"This is a free and democratic society, and we welcome opinions of all kinds," Goodhand said.

"I'm glad these people came out to express their perspective, and we will continue to investigate the issue. We will not be intimidated by protests or petitions or threats on either side.

"We stand by our reporters and the work they have done on this story." "

For more about how welcoming Margo has been about differing opinions and her track record when her understanding of the actions of her reporters is proven wrong, see

Readers who have called out the newspaper for their pro-CMHR bias and selective reporting, had best hope the editor doesn't find out where they work or who the funder is.

Hear the full podcast special about the latest Museum debacle and their mainstream media enablers here:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Comin' soon - new year, new website, new watchdog (PS: and RRC gets a message)

Later today, after the transcripts have been reviewed, a podcast about yesterdays City Hall meeting will be prepared. It was quite the experience for Osborne House CEO Barb Judt, who had never been down to see our elected representatives at work. It was also quite the experience for me, who has been going down there at various times since before Harvey Smith was elected.

More than ever, a watchdog over the actions of council and committees is needed.

That is why, as soon as it's ready we will have a new easy to use website for our podcast , with our archive, background information, new features, and ways for you to help move the work of TGCTS forward.

There is no ombudsman, no advocate, no voice for the people of Winnipeg coming from mainstream media.

That is our job here. And we'll continue to break stories they won't touch. Stay tuned.


On Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 10:55 PM, J wrote:

I used to listen to you everyday in my car. I was a financial advisor with xxx xxxx and would have your show on everyday while driving home or to a client's place. I'd even stream in my office if I was working late. Fast forward a year and a half and I'm at a different company in a different role and I ride my bike to work (no, not on the roads nor "rapid transit" anything - I take the paths along the river the entire way, year round). So the few occasions that I drive, I try to catch the show. Even my (now) 7 year old son still asks me to switch to your show if I'm driving him home.

Marty, WTF?

RRC should be ashamed.



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Two charities may have to cancel Christmas dinners; plus a Lesson in Journalism

Essential listening to understand what's going on in Winnipeg? You betcha.

Start with contrasting the state of the subjects on Winnipeg radio to our hyperlocal, relevant, informed content and style; how you'll be able to get involved with TGCTS thru our new website; then we enumerate our latest dozen followers (@TGCTS, it's booming!) on Twitter including United Way Winnipeg, Ottawa radio show The Album Drop, Cash Mob Winnipeg and Pulitzer Prize nominee, sportswriter Dave Kindred.

It's fascinating to watch the scope of awareness about our work spread across the continent, which sets up...

A Lesson in Journalism.

We examine the Twitterchat about the Jets licence plates, the Metro News story about Osborne House and their wish list and the issue of donor fatigue. How it relates to the CTV Late night news is part two.

Perhaps suffering from compartmentalization they missed a key point in their TV stories - with the Salvation Army and Indian Metis Friendship Centre being a combined $35,000 off the required donation pace for annual Christmas meals and gifts for the less fortunate, this issue of donor fatigue is now the elephant in the room in our city after the pet projects of millionaires sucked obscene amounts of dollars out of our community. (Remember, your favorite Museum is still panhandling for another $20 million. )

Also we reveal that Osborne House CEO Barb Judt is marching down to city hall later this week with a few messages for the Mayor and council.

In the crime report, we make a brief mention of the Grant Avenue Speed trap, the work of Colin Craig of the CTF and Tom Brodbeck of the Sun, as a Facebook member tries to find the good side of the fiasco; and a blogger discovers the city will issue an order on a derelict building, they just won't ENFORCE the order.

How Seinfeldian. Bizzaro Manitoba. Send this episode to everyone you know, here's the link:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

EPC ignores public consultation promises: why the public needs a watchdog

This powerful episode, recorded live on location, explains more background and ties together media reports about Red River College's privacy law woes, the scrambling of the CMHR plans to hire staff and open on - well it isn't on time cause it was already late - and their "Orwellian" question and answer exercise; and lastly, what happened at city hall when the Downtown Parking Plan was rubber-stamped with no regard for the unconnected common folk who are being denied input.

This is the third neighborhood this week to report an absence of fair treatment by city "planning".

Listen for an online comment about the difference between Coun. Eadie's tirade about his own backyard and the silence of councillors when other areas get steamrolled by city processes.

We explain how this ties in to the launch of a new website next week, and why the general public needs resources like our Podcast and our coverage of city hall, the Legislature, and local blogs to help them stand up to decision-makers and hold them accountable. Listen for how you can be part of the next stage.

Plus :
- more on homicides number 36 and 37,
- a Level 5 car thief tries to injure cops twice,
- the price of cocaine in Winnipeg plummets, and
- are the HA's picking up stakes?

A newspaper columnist and a local clothing designer now follow us on Twitter- you'll hear who they are!



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CMHR, RRC President Forsyth learning hard lessons in accountability; Is Parking Authority next (Updated after mtg) ?

It's been a rough week for the upstanding responsible 'leaders' and 'visionaries' of our downtown.

On Sunday, to the shock of many, the Winnipeg Free Press - fed by an actual caring student journalist - told the public how, yet again, Red River College president Stephanie Forsyth had some splainin' to do to the Provincial Ombudsman because of those pesky privacy laws and some detoured-from-the-shredder security reports.

One of our listeners wasn't so willing to let Madame Micro-manager pass the buck to just the lowly contracted cleaning staff :

The security workers working that night that put those files in the designated recycling area should be fired for not doing there job and locking them up. The cleaner should also be fired because they clearly don't understand the concept of having a shredding station and knowing paper is there to get shredded for a reason.. Whoever was responsible for shredding those papers should be investigated as well. If they were dumping their work of on the cleaners and not shredding stuff themselves they should be fired too.

Then on Tuesday, the pet project of Millionaires - still silent about being built on a sacred burial ground - admitted to the Winnipeg Sun that after years of living high off the hog and showing no regard for whose money was being spent - the taxpayers of Canada - suddenly annual spending was constricted by 50%, hiring was only 1/3 of the planned staffing expansion, they might not be able to afford the entire $310 million for the monstrosity on the Red, and oh yes, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is ANOTHER YEAR behind schedule.

On Wednesday morning, I will be appearing at the City of Winnipeg Executive Policy Committee meeting. To my surprise, a caller advised me that a report from the Parking Authority about a downtown parking plan is wedged into their crowded agenda.

It is written in almost incomprehensible bureaucratese, such as "Develop a range of customer input mechanisms". (HUH?)

None of which, it appears, included the term "public consultation" or "town hall".

No wonder, considering not a single human unaffiliated with a civic department or agency was consulted as part this plan set before "the Mayor's cabinet".

I will be reminding the EPC members who amongst them agreed with my presentation last March, and are quoted in Hansard agreeing with me, that the public should have a say in parking planning; deserve some fair recourse for complaints; and that public consultation meant the public as in "humans", not just the designated organizational "stakeholders" the parking czardom is cozy with.

HINT: it's a majority of the votes.

Will their words of assurance from March have meaning, or will voter cynicism about politicians be once again validated ?

Given that aside from my late-in-the-day registration to speak, NOT A SINGLE DELEGATION was scheduled to address the dozens of issues EPC is deliberating on, it appears civic engagement in River City is at an all-time low.

Little wonder, when those who have stated their case at council have been personally attacked -- on the record -- not for the validity of their arguments, but for having dared to speak out in opposition and participate in something that got those same councilors into their jobs in the first place - democracy and free speech.

We'll let you know how it turned out on the next podcast, which will be recorded at our special Facebook group gathering to which all are invited Wednesday night, 7 PM, at the Kings' Head tavern.

Here is the Twitter-ready version of the presentation - thanks to James Turner of the Winnipeg Sun:

James Turner
at EPC meeting to present on his views of the downtown parking plan.

James Turner
Says report is 'dense' in terms of how it's written. Talking public consultation.

James Turner
'The public had to be consulted' but stakeholders didn't include 'people' Gold says.

James Turner
'I have waited since March ... For a public notice", Gold says.

James Turner
Not a single record of WPA consulting public on downtown parking, he says. The plan affects Women's shelter

James Turner
'Would somebody please ask (the WPA) to start speaking english?' Gold says.
2 hours ago

James Turner
'How come the public is never mentioned as a key stakeholder group?' Gold asks.

James Turner
WPA references Los Angeles etc. In report: 'none of which have blizzards,' Gold says.

James Turner
'Couns. Must take some actions with regard to the Parking Authority.'

James Turner
Katz thanks Gold for his comments, no questions

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Museum & Simkin Centre update, Eadie's tirade, Realtor rules, homeless housing victims, Vandal vs consultation, boneheaded judge: All in one podcast !

Shout-outs off the top of today's podcast across the continent, to a crew that includes a Winnipeg student journalist, a realtor, a new member of our Facebook group from Thompson, a rock singer who is also an aspiring American politician, and a groovy Village retailer.

One of the overriding themes today - there is less news and information and more pollyanna-ism in Winnipeg mainstream media than ever with the return of the Jets - who will fill in the gap?

Part One: Follow-ups on recent featured analysis of

- The new slant of the Museum of Human Rights, apparently unwilling to allow discussion of human rights abuses and genocide by Nazi's and Communists but seemingly willing to commit a blood libel against Christianity as part of their Holocaust displays - a philosophy that all must disavow BEFORE more public funding goes to the pet project of Millionaires;

- the disregard of the Simkin Center for basic non-profit governance, as the CEO's contract was extended? renewed? no one's sure - without even needing approval of the closed-shop self - perpetuating Board of Directors .

Who in government or the MSM watches the public's back? Who will speak out about this abuse of power and is the watchdog against non-profits that break their bylaws, from bullying by the connected classes, from community dishonesty ? We ask, who's there to protect you ?

Part Two - City Hall behaves like a Grade 3 Class ?

L'affair Ross Eadie: F-sharps like "a newly peglegged pirate"; the real questions about his rant; naming names of who was for/against the 108 Scotia St. housing; and a blogger analyzes the cast of characters and explains how our impending civic budget ... um, well ...

"These are the people that we decided were responsible and mature enough to handle our money for us, and on the strength of their decision-making skills we will owe a billion dollars within the next three to four years without having solved any of our existing problems. Everything is terrible. There's your local news."

Speaking of politicians, a realtor brilliantly delves into how complacency harms Winnipeggers as both voters AND homeowners, and reveals a startling new era of accountability may be on the way - for realtors, anyways:

Part Three - Crime Courts and Public Safety

Just wondering, considering #35 was a homeless person in an abandoned apartment block, is #36 halfway there ?

Speaking of homeless people and public safety:
FP Reporter: In Winnipeg, At Home has produced a number of heartwarming success stories along with some spectacular failures.
"Wally Ruban, operations manager at B & M Land Co., which once rented 10 suites to At Home participants, said the company has pulled out of the program. "I think it's fallen flat on its face," he said Friday."
(A project manager said:) "I think it's been a learning experience for all of us."

Again the question is asked who speak out for the people that live in suites next to the "spectacular failures" AND I tell what someone in the private sector hears after trying the "learning process" excuse out on the boss.
And who speaks out for the victims of these failures, ie their neighbours especially in public housing ?

Meanwhile, Coun. Danny Vandal tries to find a way to knock the public (and their own responsibility as elected officials) out, once and for all, from having a say in transit fares by emulating the Parking Authority model -

"It also allows that independent intelligent analysis that is often lacking and avoids what happened on the floor of council," Vandal said, referring to the recent transit fare hike.

Memo to the Councillor: if we had something in this town called MANDATORY PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS, a 25c fare hike wouldn't have happened either.

And how can it exist until you and council get a handle on this next issue?

"The report shows that when it comes to feeling "not at all worried" about using or waiting for public transit at night, Winnipeggers had the lowest rate in Canada.

Only 33 per cent of Winnipeggers said they felt that way"

James Turner of the Sun - well, in this case of his blog

tried to reward the effort of a Crown attorney to protect the public from a violent sick 16 year old who beat up two innocents in 2 days last summer, kept out of jail because she might be around bad influences and then there's the little baby that needs her.

She walked away Wednesday with two years of supervised probation, admittedly with some stringent conditions for the first few months.

Despite randomly picking a stranger to attack, brutally beat and strangle for no apparent reason — two days after robbing another guy behind a 7-11 — S won’t do any real time.

(How long till bonehead judgements forces the Crown to rethink her career?)


LASTLY: From our former Kick-FM colleague Ezra of Illegal Curve on CFRW:

"Hello everybody.

As some of you already know, my father, John Ginsburg recently released the e-version of his book "Fine Times" on Amazon and the iTunes book store.

My dad began working on this book in the summer of 2009 and completed it in 2010.

The book is currently only available for download from iTunes and the Amazon book store. The cost of the book is $2.99 and it can be found by searching "Fine Times John Ginsburg"

I'm really proud of my dad and I hope everyone enjoys it.

-Ezra Ginsburg"

(Ed. note - It's about a girl who idolizes Moshe Dayan, so it must be great.)