Sunday, December 28, 2008

Final guest list for 2008, and holiday replay schedule

As we wrap up 2008, our thanks to the great guests who have appeared on the show since October:

Mayor Sam Katz

Kelly Dehn, CTV News

Bernie Farber, Canadian Jewish Congress

Jon Waldman, Slam!Sports

Brad Slater, Team 1260 Edmonton

Hugh McFadyen, Manitoba Conservative party leader

'Dirty Money' Shaun Myall, Island Sports and Entertainment

Phil Walding, federal election analyst

Steve Andjelic, Halifax based blogger

Ryan Wood, professional hockey referee

Nick Penner, MMA fighter

Coun. Scott Fielding (St James)

Scott Taylor, Citi-FM Sports Director

Kenny Omega, Indy Wrestler of the Year

TJ Bratt and Anthony , Atlantic Pizza

Stacey Ashley, CTV News

Caroline Barghout, CTV News

Prof Michael Bennaroch, University of Winnipeg Dean of Business ( and a dear childhood friend)

Paul 'Willie' Williamson, Winnipeg Free Press automotive columnist

Loretta Hunt, editor and MMA writer,

Joan Wilson, general manager, Unicity Taxi

Chic Devanney, coach and GM, Winnipeg Alliance Indoor Football Club

Ron Schuler, PC MLA (Springfield)

The Amazing Mentallo, Mexican lucha libre/ pro wrestling star

Robin Black, MMA fighter and musician

Judy Eastman, "anti-coalition" rally organizer

Justin Johnson, Global Reporter web project

Rob Galston, Rise and Sprawl blogger and Free Press contributor

Nick Bockwinkel, 4 time AWA World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion

Jarret Storey, Exchange District BIZ Association

Mike Sutherland, Winnipeg Police Association

Mod Marty and 'IndieRawker' Catherine, The BEAT Deejays and Kick-FM hosts

Ace Burpee, HOT 103 morning man extra-ordinaire

Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, President, Red River College

Brandon Trask, community newspaper columnist

John from VJ's Burger stand on Main St. @ Broadway

Graham Hnatiuk,


Silent Mitch (good luck at Lance Storm's wrestling school kid, you're going to need it), Outlaw Adam Knight, Slurpee Girl, our operations crew- Kiirsten, Adorable Adam, WonderBoy Taylor, Dave "I'm a comic" Shorr, Spirited Kenny, Young Josh, Shannah-Lee, senior producer Captain Audio, and Frank The Italian Barber !

To all our sponsors - Atlantic Pizza, CDI College, Unicity Taxi, Canada Sheli, Diligence Works, Focal Point Opticians, Exchange District BIZ, Sing Like a Pro, and to our listeners, callers, emailers, and yes even to our critics -- thank you for your participation with our show.

Replay schedule:
Wed Dec. 31st: One hour with Mayor Sam Katz (Nov. 27)
New Year's Day: The 2nd anniversary show from Nov. 20th (with Dr. Jon Gerrard)
Fri Jan. 2nd: Friday November 21st (throne speech reaction and crime galore)


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Burpee and Bockwinkel audio online/ big party tonight and other plugs/ replay schedule thru Monday

Recently we presented two of our most popular programs, and have had a number of requests already for the audio.

This Monday we hosted Hot 103 Morning man Ace Burpee, a big fan of our show and of the alternative media.

He sat in for the entire show and joined Spirited Kenny, Wonderboy Taylor and the inimitable Dave "I'm a stand-up comic, really I am" Shorr, as we discussed news coverage of the day's events and he chimed in during our Porkgate update. Ace had picked up on the scandal, and the harm it has done to the reputation of Winnipeg Harvest, and was the first mainstream media personality to raise it on-air with Mator Katz (on Hot103 last week). He also went toe to toe with Frank the Italian Barber comparing losing SportSelect tickets.

I can't thank Ace enough for his kind words and support.

Courtesy of our esteemed fearless leader, Rick the Boss, the link for the entire program with Ace is here:

(You'll note in that post, that Rick has also provided separate audio of a discussion with a caller, about his views of the state of local media and the importance of our program. Give it a listen.)

Last Friday, Dec. 12th, we were honoured to interview former AWA World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion Nick Bockwinkel, one of the classiest and most intelligent athletes ever to grace our Arena.

Below is the link for that entire program that includes the retrospective with Bockwinkel (the interview begins about 1.08.00 into the show)

We are on live today at 4 PM with Scott Taylor, sports director of Citi-FM; he did 15 media appearances yesterday about the financial floundering of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes and whether the team might again become the Winnipeg Jets.

Our special guest today will be our old friend John, the man behind the counter at VJ's, the historic best burger stand in Winnipeg at Main St and Broadway. It's all about the best french fries ever, VJ's dripping-with-calories special burger, and the secret of the chili sauce today at 4 PM.


Hosted by The BEAT Deejays Mod Marty and Catherine ( heard every Saturday from 2-3 PM on Kick-FM's Breaking and Entering), this will be the best Chanukah party ever, with dreidel games, fresh fried latkes, a beautiful menorah lighting, and proceeds going to Jewish Child and Family Services. Doors open at 8.30 and it's happening all night long.


Our thanks to blogger Jim Cotton, who took time on his blog this week to endorse not only our show, but also our nifty new mugs! (Great pic Jim!)

While we're at it , don't forget to check out the playlist and pre-order the Kick-FM music collection HomeSpun 2: The Revenge, a solid way to support our station and local music, and sponsored by Half Pints Brewing Company:


Our replay schedule the rest of the week:
Xmas Day: The Best of Cheez Whiz, or, the
NDP says Northerners don't need no stinkin' fresh milk.
Boxing Day: The interview with Nick Bockwinkel.
Sunday Dec. 28th - 5 episodes starting at 7 PM.

Live programing returns Monday at 4 PM with a return visit from wandering hockey referee Ryan Wood, and on Tuesday, CTV CrimeWatch reporter Kelly Dehn will give us his top stories of 2008.

A peaceful and happy Christmas and Chanukah and Kwanzaa to all our listeners and friends.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Evolution of a blog post: Kenny and Josh discuss the gaming industry crisis

This is a geat example of how we foster stories for the show;

I picked up on a short note on the Wrestling Observer about the video game business having a economic downturn that was going to affect TNA on Spike TV, and sent it on.

Which led to a fascinating exchange between Spirited Kenny and Young Josh about the inner workings of the industry, and the development of a blog post by Kenny -- which is linked to at the end of this exchange and is well worth reading.

Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2008 18:24:07 -0800
From: marty
Subject: gaming takes hit
To: spirited_kenny; josh

"Midway laid off 150-200 people today and closed down their Austin studios. Their main Chicago branch also laid off 20-25% of the staff, and the big news is that with the exception of Mortal Kombat they have suspended development on all future titles, including the proposed TNA Impact 2"

From: kenny

this was weeks in the making, when the Sumner sold his shares in the company to Thomas. This activate some law where the bondholders to get some 70 million dollars from the company in about 50 days. Midway has also been kinda mis managed in the past years too.

EA is also decided not to open a new studio in BC.

Also a number of people are getting laid off from Gamespot after CBS interactive bought CNET.

The only company that seems to kicking ass and chew bubble gum in nintendo

From: josh

That's what happens when you make products with massive hype that soccer moms can afford and their kids can enjoy -- you kick ass and chew bubble gum.

It doesn't help that Midway's been churning out mid-card, underperforming titles for the last several years (Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe? Please), and nobody ever got really excited by EA's stuff pre-2008. Gamespot can keel over and die, as far as I'm concerned -- last year, they fired a veteran editor for giving a bad review to a game that had been massively sponsoring their site, and we can't have that kind of shit if games journalism ever hopes to become respectable.

I know we had been talking about the video game industry being recession-proof, but here's something we've got to consider: game development studios aren't like music studios, where they've got a bunch of albums on the go all at once. Any studio outside of EA, Ubisoft, Activision/Blizzard, or Square-Enix, the whole studio will work for years on a single title, and if that title doesn't perform well, the studio can go under just like that. And that was *before* the 2008 market corrections hit. Some studios (Rockstar, Bungie, Infinity Ward, Epic, to name some recent ones) get lucky and make blockbusters. Most (Clover, Ensemble) don't. Atari is barely surviving, and that's only thanks to its history.

And finally, regarding Midway, it really doesn't help if your new CEO is named Matt Booty. That just doesn't bode well!

From: kenny

What most of the big boys are doing now is buying up smaller companies that have big titles. EA tried to do it with Rock star, and Atari picked up ghostbusters from sierra.. and so on...

Its dog eat dog out there right now.

From: josh

Yes, that's true, Kenny -- although, the only really successful one I've heard of is Activision merging with Blizzard. Blizzard is the studio that makes World of Warcraft, and they rake in almost $2 billion a year from that game alone.

Kinda makes it all the more shocking that Jim Rondeau doesn't have straight answers for us on fostering game studio development here in Manitoba, eh? We go crazy for Hollywood films to shoot here, when they're here for only three to four weeks, and their industry's revenue is a fraction of that of the video game industry.

A new Winnipeg studio under Take-Two, Ubisoft, or EA would create 100-200 permanent jobs, requiring little more than office space, and a triple-A title from that studio would not only keep them here in Manitoba, but would also boost our own economy. (Especially if they're Harmonix employees, who got $300 million in bonuses this year from the success of Rock Band.)

And a game studio can show those profits and boost our economy about a year earlier than the IKEA on Sterling Lyon and Kenaston!

From: kenny

The merger of Activision and Blizzard was more a mutual thing. Blizzard has been dieing to get back into the console world, and Activison has never had a presence on the computer. Its some what different then the hostile take overs that are being seen now. Particularly EA, and now Ubisoft is on a mad dash of buying.

It’s the way the business is going. The ideals of have a small studio and making a game every 3 to 5 years is done. It’s all going corporate. Businessmen are taking over the business part, and artists are making the games.

I was reading an article from Gameguru I think, some emailed in asking the best way to break into game designing with just a programming degree, not one specific for gaming, they also had quite an active social schedule.

Gameguru pretty much told him that if he couldn’t manager his time now with the full time job and family and friends, and he couldn’t find time to take a course or start programming flash games, and then mini games that he would never make in the game publishing field. (Insert dream crushing sound here for millions of people my age)

I will try to find the article tomorrow if fire it to ya both…

Nite boys!
and finally, here is the link to today's blog post at kenorama:

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Sampling of Listener Letters

A sampling of recent LT-me's, as we call 'em ( as opposed to LTE's- letters to the editor). Send yours to



I know you don't listen to early morning radio, which you told me when I called re: Bob Silver panhandling on CJOB for the United Way one day.

This morning on Hot 103, Ace Burpee had the Mayor on and asked him about Porkgate. Some interesting notes Sam mentioned:

1. Both the City AND Province have been looking into this.

2. Sam is so upset by this he had had a meeting specifically on this topic, with who not sure.

3. He said the main problem is that no one is talking about this and they cannot get any answers.

4. He honestly doesn't care about the who what where and when on how the pork got out, just that he doesn't want anyone to get sick.

5. No coverage since the MSM is not doing anything on this topic.

Now you may know all of this, some thigns might be news to you, just thought I would give you the update since you give me the updates everyday on the newest info on this topic.

Thought it was a curious thing for him to say the Province is looking into it. I thought Minister Wowchuk said this was dealt with?? Why are they looking into it, if it was dealt with?

Perhaps your next interview with the Mayor you can ask him about his meeting. If the Mayor cannot get answers on this, does that not seem strange?? Doesn't he have any leverage if he is that worked up about this? He seemed genuinely concerned on the radio this morning.

I understand that his main concern is finding the pork so no one gets sick, I guess that's the best approach in order to get to the bottom on where the pork is before someone gets sick. If you promise you don't care about the mis-deed, then perhaps someone will just come forward and not worry that they are going to get the blame.

I guess that's the Pork Amnesty approach.

Personally I'd rather see someone get fired. This could have been dealt with easily and without major incident, but it wasn't.

If not for someone providing Richard Cloutier with 3 packs of this pork, I would almost say this story was a complete fabrication made up by the union in order to get sympathy. Kind of a passing "boo hoo poor us but then some nice decent person came and dropped this off to save us all" story that GSJ would write in his standard column. They would get their raise as public commentary would be poor Freep staff and everyone would move on. Instead it totally backfired and now they don't know how to find a way to come clean on an incident that was made up in order to drum up public support.

It would explain why no one can get any answers, and why there are minimum 6 published stories on this that are all different in some way.

People talk, things always leak, especially when there are this many people involved. How many people were on the line that day when this pork showed up? How can none of them have a straight story on this? Is every member of the union that sick to believe there was nothing wrong with this? I can understand how there might be a brother/sisterhood in the media not to tell on their collegues, but this is ridiculous.

I can only assume The Sun won't let Brodbeck go to town on this due to some sort of you scratch, we scratch policy. He's got all the time in the world for every government or police story it seems whenever someone needs to be publicly shamed, but for this silence.


love the show, keep it up.
more Porkgate


I was listening to the Sunday Night replays and noticed something about that reporter from the CBC French TV channel 'interviewing' James Cotton (it was more like interrogating, I thought).

She was trying to pigeon-hole Cotton about whether he was an "independent journalist or a blogger." She said, "There's a difference you know. You need to be aware of that."

First of all, Cotton is clearly an independent journalist whose medium is the blogosphere. But I was struck most by her arrogant, didactic tone and just how utterly condescending she was. She seemed to barely know what a blog was but she was quick to hammer Cotton on a 'difference' that exists in her mind solely to her ignorance.

I think her attitude is typical of mainstream media, especially publicly funded media. It's an elitist attitude that has ceased to be self-critical and has subsequently developed an unconscious insecurity.

Her badgering Cotton wasn't much different from Bruce Owen's outburst. The MSM, or at least the Free Press and CBC factions, have become so over-run by the Left group-think that it reacts bitterly to any opposition with the vigor of religious zealots towards any heterodoxy.

Keep up the good work,



WRHA and Anaesthetists

I was particularly glad to hear you pick up on the Anesthesia thing at the U of M / WRHA. I'm not sure who clued you into that, but it's all true and it certainly won't stop with one department. The involvement of the current dean of Medicine in issues that have always been outside the purview of the dean (such as recruiting, contracting with and providing privileges to clinicians) is unprecedented here, and is very dangerous.
It's all about power and control, despite the rhetoric from the University and WRHA.

a doctor

WRHA and consolidated after-hours surgeries

(from Free Press story) Earlier this week, Winnipeg health officials announced their plan to cancel emergency general surgery at three community hospitals after surgeons complained there are too many on-call positions for too few surgeons.

Dr. Brock Wright, vice-president and chief medical officer of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, confirmed after-hours emergency general surgery was stopped at Concordia Hospital on April 7, and all urgent cases are being sent to St. Boniface Hospital instead.

Wright said if things at Concordia go well the plan is to consolidate after-hours urgent surgery at four sites -- St. Boniface, Health Sciences Centre, Grace Hospital and Seven Oaks -- so surgeons have to work fewer after-hours on-call shifts.

There are 34 general surgeons in Winnipeg, but Wright said they would need to recruit eight more surgeons to properly fill the on-call shifts.

So according to that statement, they are already not doing after hours general surgery at the Vic?

I don't know about the general surgery call schedule, but as residents they perform somewhere between a 1 in 3 to a 1 in 5 call schedule.

The Residents' Association mandated a 1 in 4 call schedule years ago, but general surgery always argued that there would be a dilution of experience.

Even with the very acceptable 1 in 5 call schedule, you only need 6 surgeons per site (5 for call and one on holiday).

Therefore, four sites require a minimum of 24 surgeons, five sites = 30 surgeons, six sites = 36 surgeons

I think that you need to dig a little deeper.

dr. x
fake 'disreali freeway public consultations'


here's a timeline and commentary on disraeli-gate (or mini stink bomb, how to lie in public... ):

1. tuesday, april 29,2008 norquay community centre-first public open house on the disraeli bridges rehabilitation project.- no mention at all about a separate bike /pedestrian bridge east of the disraeli project-final concept and traffic management plan to be released late 2008

2. per story monday september 22,2008 'city adds new bridge to disraeli freeway project'-'the new vision of the project would cost about $15 million more than previously anticipated , the report says.-one day later, tuesday september 23,2008 'the city's standing committee on infrastructure renewal and public works will hold a special meeting ... to discuss the plan.'

3. wednesday sept.24,2008 per free press, ' bridge repair nears impass'-public works committee ties 2-2 the previous day to go ahead with freeway plan-
special meeting of epc , today, sept.24,2008, then same day off to city council-council approves of disraeli project, 11-4, and includes the extra bike/pedestrian bridge so what the hell, eh?

we 'outsider' winnipeggers first hear of this extra 15 to how many million dollar 'extra bridge' on tuesday sept.22,2008 and two days later on sept.24,2008 city council approves of the whole shebang.

i was wrong. this beats the hell out the 10 days it took to ram through the downtown arena scam.

mayor katz on your show this past thursday immediately responded that there 'was public consultation' on the second added bridge project.

in 48 hours this deal went from general first knowledge to being passed through council, so for sam to claim public input took place is just so much horse manure .

was sel burrows privy to this extra bridge? the artists? residents on rover?

his claim is bogus. he's been caught in a public lie and i don't care his spin to come: ( well we talked to the manitoba cycling association...)

public is public , not some select group in a secret location. what is this, a fucking banana republic? (not sure who said this first but it applies here)yeah, he's a different kind of politician. well, he's our new mayor who doesn't wear a tie and has a nice shiny star over his heart, such a sweetheart.

anyways mr. g., if you don't mind, sam deserves a heavily spiced grilling on this one.

don't lying politicians bother you as much as the general public of millions of people out here that are beyond fed up with this abuse of power and disdain of public concerns?

it's only 15 million dollars...public money mr. katz. an open house on the extra bridge proposal should have taken place, end of story. on his claim the extra bridge is really a cost saving measure.give us the new numbers then.

the main stream media didn't cite this 'conclusive' information, rather the opposite. where does sam get his numbers from?

that's about all for now. if you need more info or comment by me on this

listener in south Point Douglas

downtown crime

My boyfriend and I were both mugged while living by the University of Winnipeg for one god-awful year. You know what the Winnipeg Police's advice was to us? Don't live downtown...

Well, it was two separate instances (2004 or 2005). A girl tried to mug me as I was leaving the U of W campus – a security guard showed up after about 5 minutes of us scuffling. He then asked what was going on, blah blah blah and then asked if I wanted to press charges. I told him I didn’t know, as I didn’t even know what the hell just happened! So he let her go and told her not to come back to the campus.

When I went inside to collect myself, a different security guard asked me where the girl was – I told him what happened and that Security Guy A let her go. Well, he wasn’t too impressed with that; apparently she should have been detained for the cops, and they decide what to do. Like I’m going to know that.

I spoke to the head of campus security a few days later, and he said I should go to the police and give a description, etc, etc. I thought about it, but never bothered to. Really, what would happen to her? She looked to be only about 15-16 years old. Home arrest which she would promptly ignore? Maybe an umpteenth stint in juvie?

Instance number two was my boyfriend walking home at about 11:30 at night from his friends place on Donald, close to Portage (we lived beside the U of W on Young). He told me later that he thought two guys were following him, but a couple of blocks from our apartment, they disappeared. Well, they reappeared as he was opening the building door, hit him in the head with brass knuckles and a 2 x 4 and took his wallet (considering recent events, he’s lucky that a black eye and mild concussion were the worst of his injuries).

The two officers who responded were quite nice, and in defense of their comment, I don’t believe they were faulting us for living downtown. I think the police are just as fed up with the situation as the rest of us.

What’s the point of them arresting any of these assholes when there’s no repercussion, no jail time, no reason at all for them to be something other than human filth? Every working day for a downtown beat cop must feel like an exercise in futility. Police presence doesn’t solve the problem – it just pushes it to another area of the city.

Oh, and in response to the caller yesterday who talked about being able to physically defend yourself, my boyfriend has plenty of martial arts training and was involved in a number of fights in his home country (Sri Lanka) as a teenager (the police don’t really get involved there). That all counts for nothing when you’re jumped from behind. This isn’t the movies; a hard blow to the back of your head means you’re fucked (pardon my French), and you’re not getting back up

Okay, I better stop this rant before it turns into a novel.

Cheez Whiz

Again Marty - well done your humour and straight talk of the facts never ceases to impress.

I was re listening to your talk with Councilor Browaty - and it was the mention of the NDP and there advestising of Cheeze Whiz as a milk subsitute - we joked (and it truly isn't something to be joked about) of it all weekend -

I look forward to todays show - as I'm sure with the events of today - there will be much to discuss.


story of the year

Hello guys.

For the story of the year, I have to go with something from the Upper Fort Garry debacle.

You did a great job exposing the selfish hypocrisy of the so-called "friends", who plot the destruction of our downtown while sipping cognac in the Manitoba club lounge enjoying their unobstructed view of the red river.

Now, for my books, I want a first edition Don Quixote, and a hard cover copy of A Brief History of Time signed by the author. For my key chain, I want mini Rubik's Cube.

Thanks, and keep up the good work.



Today at 4.40 PM -- more about Porkgate you won't want to miss;
Tomorrow, a special Lesson In Journalism- what the Winnipeg Foundation report about Centennial Neighborhood didn't talk about and the media didn't ask.
Wednesday - how are those changes to emergency room protocols working anyways ?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dr. Reynolds firing, anaesthetists' working conditions, alleged Porkgate assault among last week's highlights

Last week the health beat was front and centre, as we uncovered insider information about planned changes by the WRHA to the way anaesthetists will be assigned to cover after-hours call. It's an attempt to alter working conditions and make those valued specialists de facto employees -- this months after (as we exclusively reported) the doctors resoundingly rejected a new contract that would have made them employees under tax law.

We also reported about cancellations of surgical slates at Children's Hospital because, despite the recruitment of anaesthetists, the critical shortage of nurses continues to impact patient care. And just wait till the call system changes, and surgeons who schedule procedures for after-office hours are forced to wait for anaesthetists to run around the city from hospital to hospital in blizzards because, well, the bureaucrats from the WRHA prefer to inconvenience patients rather than deal with staffing issues responsibly and ensure all hospitals have an on-call anaesthetist.

There was a lot of reaction to the firing of family medicine head Dr. Larry Reynolds by the WRHA and U of Manitoba, which seemed linked to an ideological battle between pro-life and pro-abortion philosophies, rooted in a 2004 flunking of a student trying to exercise their rights under the Canadian Medical Association to refuse to refer patients for procedures that violate their personal beliefs.

The U of M took the position that students studying to be doctors do not have that right; Reynolds was clearly opposed and we dug up a similar incident in 2001 in Ontario where a student was not flunked for stayign true to their beliefs. Meanwhile as this province faces a serious shortage of family doctors, 50 residents studying to enter the field are in limbo while the University scrambles to replace the well-respected Reynolds.

Another major story you heard exclusively on TGCTS was the alleged assault of a blogger who was following up on our Porkgate series. Jim Cotton tried to ask Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk how the potential danger of tainted donated pork held by Free Press strikers being targeted to hampers for the poor, and if it fit into her much-ballyhoo-ed announcement about the new Food Safety Act (it doesn't by the way).

Cotton has filed a police complaint against Free Press reporter Bruce Owen in relation to the incident where, he says, Owen got in his face demanding to know who he was, pushed him, and swore loudly at Cotton in an act of pure intimidation by a mainstream media gatekeeper.

Only TGCTS brought you the audio of Jim Cottons' press conference outside Wowchuk's office in the Legislature, the ignorant questioning by a CBC French TV reporter of his right to ask the Minister how she would protect public health, and the attempt by a government spin doctor to identify who had covered Cotton's announcement, going so far as to deny she was a witness to the incident and that getting names and numbers of peopel who interview critics of the government was "what Cabinet Communications does".

As Cotton revealed, 2 cameras in the hallways captured the confrontation, and he identified the girl who admitted "eavesdropping" on his press conference, as a witness to Owen's inexcusable actions.

Listeners last week also heard our exclusive report about the funeral of Spring Taxi founder Tommy Springman; an interview with PC MLA for Springfield Ron Schuler; and Justin Johnson explained his plan to launch Global Reporter, a web-based citizen journalist project (and as the Mumbai attacks proved, MSM is increasingly being forced to share the stage with eyewitnesses using technology to get information out to the world without restrictions like expired broadcast permits from foreign governments.)

Tuesday: More on the ouster of Stephane Dion as Liberal leader after the failed federal coup;
additional information about the cab-commer who wanted so desperately to know who we are - and now we know who SHE is;
and a reminder at 4.40 PM on Friday Dec. 12th, legendary former AWA Heavyweight champion of the world, and the most hated man ever to wrestle in Winnipeg, Nick Bockwinkel, joins us for a rare interview.


We have launched TGCTS brand merchandise, just in time for the holidays. Order your t-shirts, coffee mugs, hoodies or other items by going to our online store:

Friday, December 5, 2008


I guess Darlene Dziewit and the Manitoba Federation of Labour have to admit one thing: for a "fear-mongering campaign", it looks like there is way more fear of a prospective Prime Minister Dion taking orders from Jack Layton and their separtiste friends, then there is of letting Stephen Harper prove his mettle.

Need help viewing / downloading a PDF? Click Here
December 5, 2008

Canadians Call for New Election; Harper Would Win Big Majority, Sweep Seat-Rich Ontario and Overtake Liberals in Quebec

A Canadian Business/COMPAS Poll

Canadians Call for an Election
Below are highlights from a new Canada-wide, COMPAS Research poll on the recent turmoil in the House of Commons. Permission is granted to publish or broadcast results provided COMPAS Inc. is appropriately cited.

For comments or inquiries, please contact COMPAS President Conrad Winn at (416) 598-0310 or on his direct cell at (416) 460-5844.

By a more than 2:1 margin, Canadians call for another election if the choice faced by the Governor-General were between inviting Stephane Dion to form a government and hold a fresh general election weeks after the most recent one. That is the key finding from a national representative poll completed December 4, 2008.

If an election were held today, Stephen Harper would win a large majority based on nation-wide support of 51% compared to 20% for the Liberals, 10% for the NDP, 6% for the Greens, and 8% for the Bloc.

Harper would sweep seat-rich Ontario with 53% of the vote compared to 24% for the Liberals and 10% for the NDP in that province and would surpass Dion in Quebec with 32% of the vote compared to 19% for the Liberals and 35% for the Bloc.

Key factors in this lightening speed transformation of public opinion:

66% of Canadians oppose the Bloc Quebecois having a say in who forms the government;

48% have confidence in Stephen Harper as Prime Minister in the current economic climate compared to 14% for Michael Ignatieff in second place, 11% for NDP leader Jack Layton, 8% for Stephane Dion, 4% for Bob Rae, and 3% for Gilles Duceppe;

58% believe that the Coalition's real or main motivation was a power grab while 28% perceive the Opposition as honestly believing that Harper is a poor manager of the economy;

61% believe that the Liberals, following their drop in support in the October election, should not be trying to form a government.

MEDIA CONTACT: Conrad Winn (416) 460-5844

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jim Rondeau Minister of Science, Energy, Mining, and all Technology -- except Video Games?

When the ESRB released the new videogame summary, a number of American politicians that have been very critical of the content of games, and how they were rated were more than happy to praise the ESRB.

Politicians like Senator Hilary Clinton and Senator Joe Lieberman have coming out supporting the new rating summaries.

When I heard all this, I thought for sure our political leaders would be more then happy to comment on the new ESRB summaries, and they were just waiting for the right outlet.

And who better to comment then our very own
Minister of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining? That’s right -- my very own MLA Jim Rondeau.

After all, what are videogames but technology? They also happen to be a major part of the entertainment sector, one that has billion dollar days, and we have yet to tap into it here in Manitoba.

Jim Rondeau, after all, did give a little speech at the University of Winnipeg when the MacArthur Foundation released the results of a $50 million dollar US research study that asked ‘Do Video Games Help Kids Learn?’

In January,
Jim Rondeau announced funding of just over $138,000 to the Manitoba Interactive Digital Media Fund. Some of the companies that benefit from this fund also develop videogames.

So he has got to be savvy, right?

MLA of Assiniboia should have been more than happy to comment on the new rating system, happy that the ESRB is making it easier for parents to monitor what their children are exposed to.

So on Nov 13, the day after the ESRB sent out the press release about the new game rating summaries, I phoned
Jim Rondeau’s office, and I was told he was very busy but that they would get back to in a week or so.

In the meantime, more American politicians give their unsolicited support to the new ESRB game summaries.

New Jersey Senate President Richard Codey, and Nebraska’s Attorney General Jon Burning have also created public service announcements (PSAs) helping to inform parents about the new summaries. Even the Attorney General of Florida Bill McCollum sent out a press release urging parents to check the ratings of videogames that they might be considering buying for their children this holiday season.

On Nov 28th, I hadn’t heard back from
Jim Rondeau, our NDP MLA and minister of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining in Manitoba. So I decided to phone his office. This is when I was told by a spokeswomen that:

“Jim Rondeau is not in a position to comment because his department does not rate videogames.”

When I pointed out that Senator Hillary Clinton did not rate video games, the spokeswomen pointed out to me that Hillary Clinton was not a minister in Manitoba, to which I could not argue.

I would have thought that as Minister of Technology, he would at least want to comment on a new system the regulators of one of the biggest economic sectors of interactive digital media has implemented.

After all, making a comment would focus the gaming industry’s attention on Manitoba, a sector that is inherently insulated against recessions. It’s not like we aren't living in times of economic volatility.

On his
website, Mr. Rondeau lists being accessible to the people of Assiniboia as his number one (of three) ways to stay focused and effective as a good MLA. I would like to thank Jim Rondeau for being so “accessible” when I tried to get a comment from his spokespeople.

I also emailed the
Canadian Teachers Federation to see if they had a statement about the ESRB rating summaries (you may remember the Canadian Teachers Federation asked for a boycott of a Rockstar game titled Bully) but they have yet to reply.

You can always find out more about the Gaming industry at;

Or by staying tuned too;
The Great Canadian Talk Show weekdays from 4PM-530PM on 92.9
Kick FM,
The Kenny Show every Tuesday from 3Pm to 4 then starting back up a 530PM all the way to 7PM on 92.9 Kick FM

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tommy Springman, former owner of Spring Taxi, passes at 76

We have just received confirmation that Tommy Springman, a legendary figure in Winnipeg's taxi history, has passed away after a lengthy illness at age 76.

According to sources, Springman was released from St. Boniface Hospital after a 10 day stay yesterday. He returned to his home, but had a heart attack at 1.30 AM today, and emergency treatment at Seven Oaks Hospital failed.

Springman was a third-generation resident of the small prairie community of Edenbridge, Saskatchewan, established on the Carrot River by Jewish emigree's in 1908. At a 100th anniversary reunion just last month, the
Canadian Jewish News reported Springman "recalled families working hard under harsh conditions. “It was a time and a place where honesty and integrity were important,” he said. Springman left Edenbridge in 1953 and moved to Winnipeg to pursue a teaching career."

Springman was a respected school principal at Andrew Mynarski School in the Seven Oaks School Division for many years, who came to own 8 cabs, a moonlighting and investment practice common among educators, railway employees and the like in the 50's and 60's. He was at the centre of a controversial termination of a teacher for extending a Christmas trip to India and missing 10 days of school in 1985-86, a decision upheld by the Arbitration Board.

Wielding more influence within Duffy's Taxi and semi-retired from the school system, he bought the 9 cab Star Taxi outfit from Sam Levi around 1989. When Duffy's wanted to charge him $20,000 per car to allow him to transfer them into Duffy's brand cabs, he opted to go on his own.

Changing the name to Spring Taxi while retaining the star logo, and maintaining the garage at 880 Logan Ave., he built a fleet of 18 licences with 22 additional cab owners eventually signing on to use his dispatch system, making his service the third largest in the local industry. He sold the company to Tejal "Paul" Atwal for a reported $2 million late last year.

"He was the last of the old-time taxi owners", said former taxicab owner Phil Walding. "He owned about 30 plates at one point and was known for his shrewd business acumen."

Springman was outspoken at Manitoba Taxicab Board hearings, particularly when the Board fielded applications in 1992 for more plates to resolve "complaints" of slow service.

Launching into spellbinding oratories about the complexities of dispatch issues such as a shortage of cars in the immediate area of callers and the spike in demand during winter storms and holidays, he derided such applications as being based on "the myth of instant service", and maintained that 15 minutes was a reasonable wait time in Winnipeg when compared to other major centres.

"Tommy was a leader in demanding the issuance of licences for accessible vans for the disabled, and many of the customers prefered us over anybody because Tommy emphasized service", said Trevor Dion, a veteran dispatcher and driver.

"He was not only a leader in the business community but he emphasized driver safety issues, such as adding security cameras to bolster the use of taxi shields. Tommy was a father figure to so many of us".

Funeral services are Tuesday, 10.30 AM, at the Eitz Chaim Synagogue, 123 Matheson Avenue (east of Main St.)

(My personal condolences to his family who are longtime friends and sports teammates, going back to elementary school and from my years in the taxicab industry. - Marty)

Friday, November 28, 2008

City health inspectors tracing tainted pork

Press Release

For immediate release

City health inspectors on the trail of spoiled pork

The City of Winnipeg Health Department have begun tracing the source of 1500 pounds of minced pork, which was delivered to striking Winnipeg Free Press employees in October.

Health officials will be seeking security camera video to try and identify the mysterious truck driver who handed out the meat, which had obviously been improperly stored. One of the reporters on strike wrote that strikers had to toss away some of the pork because it was spoiled, but planned to refreeze the rest and hand it out to Winnipeg's poor in Christmas hampers.

"I did speak to the inspectors and they were genuinely concerned... there's no doubt in their mind whatsoever that if it's thawed and refrozen, ya there's a health risk.", Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz said Thursday during an interview with The Great Canadian Talk Show on Kick-FM.

City health officials and the federal Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have both warned of the possible food safety problem that could be caused by bacteria growing in meat that has thawed.

For further information contact:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Press release: Feds warn Porkgate poses "possible food safety problem"

Press release

For immediate release

Feds warn Porkgate poses "possible food safety problem"

Canada's federal food inspection agency has become the second public health service to alert Manitobans of the potential health hazard of 1500 pounds of frozen pork that was delivered to striking Winnipeg Free Press employees.

Free Press reporters have claimed that the taxpayer-subsidized pork came off the back of an unidentified truck courtesy of an anonymous supporter of the strikers. Some of the meat was obviously spoiled and had to be thrown out. Most of the rest was taken to strike headquarters and distributed to picketers, who refroze it with the stated intention of giving the meat to the poor and needy in Christmas hampers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reviewed the situation at the request of The Great Canadian Talk Show and warned:

"if the product thawed or was held for any length of time at temperatures that would permit microbial growth, it then becomes a possible food safety problem."

The CFIA is the second government agency to express alarm over the distribution of possibly tainted meat. Last month City of Winnipeg health officials cautioned that:

* meat that is not, or has not been, properly stored can certainly pose a risk if consumed;

* it is not recommended practice to refreeze meat;

* consumers should be cautious if they do not know how food has been handled and stored prior to receiving it.

Winnipeg Harvest co-ordinator David Northcott said the pork was top-grade and properly frozen in Harvest freezers before being distributed to one of the city's food banks. He has been unable to identify which food bank the pork came from, and he cannot say under what conditions it was stored once it left Harvest's control.

What's apparent from the accounts of Free Press strikers, is that the pork had become tainted by improper storage at some point.

Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk said on October 28th she was "very concerned with what happened in regards to the incident" and this week announced a new provincial food traceability system emphasizing "the importance of access to timely information, when needed, at any point along the supply chain, for safety and quality assurance reasons."
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, after consulting the Medical Officer of Health, referred inquiries about the possible safety issues of thawed pork to the CFIA.

The Minister of Health, Theresa Oswald has not responded to a subsequent inquiry asking if she is now investigating the source of the pork and how it was handled, or if she will issue a food safety warning about the possibility that tainted Winnipeg Harvest-labeled pork may be distributed in hampers to the poor this Christmas.

For more information contact

Today from 4-5 PM, our guest will be Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Surprise leak of $12 Million plan for BRT line expropriation will lead off Monday

Monday will start off with a question: after years of Bus Rapid Transit discussion and debate, when was the first time you heard about the city wanting to spend MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars to swipe land from private owners, whose properties stand in the way of the proposed BRT corridor?

For everyone I have asked so far, the answer was "today", in a Free Press expose of a leaked report, that is going to Planning Property and Development Committee on Tuesday.

All we ever heard was the phrase "rail line right of way", and never a syllable about "plus an extra $12.7 million for 11 properties we don't own".

Which by the time the lawyers and courts get involved, will be closer to $20 million. Of your money.

And today was also the first time anyone heard that city bureaucrats
insist BRT's co-funder, the provincial NDP government, must take away the right of property owners to appeal any expropriation -- because TRANSIT IS IN A HURRY to stay on schedule. For once.

We'll look at the story of one of the affected property owners, and whether this process, where the rest of us have rules to follow but Transit thinks they should stand above the law, is going to be supported by city councillors and provincial politicians who clammor about transparency and accountability and needing a positive business climate.

Also Monday; the post-Grey Cup review with Atlantic Pizza's TJ Bratt, Adam Knight, Kick-FM's Dave Shorr, and Frank the Italian Barber.

Tuesday -- Ron Schuler, PC member for Springfield, will join us for an interview;
Wednesday -- CTV's Kelly Dehn
Thursday -- The first hour will see us host Mayor Sam Katz live in studio.
Friday -- A preview of Ultimate Cage Wars event later that night at the Convention Centre, which will feature the man many Winnipeg music fans love to hate and hate to love, former Ballroom Zombie frontman turned MMA fighter Robin Black.

Congratulations to our prize draw winner Brent, who voted for "Cheez Whiz" for story of the year; it was named co-winner along with our scrutiny of the unreported multi-layered connections between the well-heeled Friends of Upper Fort Garry, the adjacent Manitoba Club, the unquestioning mainstream media, elected politicians, and millionaires with pet projects.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thank you for two great years of TGCTS on 92.9 Kick-FM !

I wanted to post a short note, thanking all the listeners of Kick-FM, as well as station manager Rick 'fearless leader' Baverstock, Red River College and the Cre-comm students who have manned the control room, our volunteers like Spirited Kenny and Wonderboy Taylor, our advertisers, and the many many guests and callers from all over the continent, for their support and participation.

The drive-home talk show, which I had first thought of over 20 years ago, has filled a gap left by the formats of Winnipeg commercial radio.

It has helped get the presence of the alternative media and blogosphere into the public arena.

It has given voice and context to our understanding of neighborhoods and victims and heroes and government transparency, to real news and critical viewpoints filtered out by the bias of the mainstream media.

I am very fortunate to be in this place at this time of my life - and I deeply appreciate the many words of support and encouragement to stay true to the Monday manifesto, to hold elected officials and the gatekeepers in the mainstream media accountable.

It is not only news and current affairs that we pay attention to. The challenges of parenting in the age of Grand Theft Auto and internet overload, rising stars in sports and music, pop culture in general, round out our 90 minute episodes.

I want to say a special thanks to, on the professional side, Shannah-Lee who is now senior producer and has been there come rain or sleet or dead of car battery; and on the personal side to my family for putting up with what is often a 2o hour per day occupation.

Thank to our guests this special week- MMA expert Loretta Hunt, Unicity Taxi manager Joan Wilson, Canada's rising wrestling star in Mexico's Lucha Libre 'The Amazing Mentallo', Manitoba Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen, Winnipeg Indoor Alliance soccer GM and coach Chic Devenney, Scott Taylor of the National Post, and Frank the Italian Barber, Slurpee Girl, Adam Knight, Dave Shorr, Young Josh and Spirited Kenny.

Today at 4 PM, Liberal leader Dr. Jon Gerrard responds to the NDP government's Throne Speech, we'll analyze news of the day, take your calls, and we will select story of the year. You can still vote by emailing us at

Thank you to all.


Monday, November 17, 2008

The Timeline Tells the Tale: Behind the Gordon Sinclair "apology" to readers

In Saturday's Free Press, columnist Gordon Sinclair was forced to deal with the expose in the alternative media of his columns about the Chantel Henderson 'eviction'.

After 3 stories we can now piece together how the story unfolded.

Good journalists know, the timeline tells the tale.

1) Thursday Nov. 6, 6 AM- Gordon Sinclair Jr. column, "It's a libel to label entitled generation" published in FP delivered to Winnipeg homes.

Sinclair wrote "Chantel explained she expected to be evicted Friday" and quoted her as saying "I'm on the brink of being homeless with my daughter."

2) Sinclair's neighbour Cliff King was first to contribute, cutting a cheque to pay the rent. ("Winnipeggers swoop in to help single mom" Nov. 8th.)

3) Later Thursday, Chantel's 10 co-workers passed the hat and gave her $600. ("Winnipeggers swoop in to help single mom" Nov. 8th.)

4) Thursday night, Sinclair drove to her house to deliver the cheque to cover the rent. He noted sled tracks leading to the door. Chantel said she and her daughter had been out delivering flyers. ("There's more to needy young mother's story", Nov. 15th).

5) The story began to twist when about the same time, blogger Jim Cotton posts that
he recognizes Henderson from a speech she made at the Manitoba legislature on Bill 38.

6) Friday morning, Chantel's co-worker took to her to pay the back rent. Later that day, Sinclair sent another envelope to her, with $1,100 in cash and cheques. ("There's more to needy young mother's story", Nov. 15th).

Henderson now had $1700 and her rent paid.

7) Friday afternoon in her bulletin to readers, FP editor Margo Goodhand promotes the follow-up story as "
Heartwarming news--
Generous Winnipeggers have stepped up to help a young single mom who was facing eviction from her west end home. Gordon Sinclair Jr. has the story."

8) Wanting credit for an act of humanitarianism, the FP takes a picture of Henderson with the envelope for the next days' column.

9) Friday night/ Sat AM - At one of downtown's few late-night hangouts, Cotton crosses paths with
Henderson and sarcastically blogs about seeing her drinking, thinking her rent had not been paid.

10) Saturday 6 AM, Sinclair's follow-up column "Winnipeggers swoop in to help single mom" is published, with the picture of Henderson and the $1100 envelope. He claims " I didn't have to ask anyone to help, and I didn't."

11) Saturday noon - Cotton, after reading the column and realizing why she was out drinking the night before,
walks through Polo Park mall. He sees Henderson again, this time with her daughter, their "hands full of shopping bags from high-end stores".

13) Sunday or Monday - Henderson's cousin emails Sinclair, complaining Chantel was out partying that weekend with the money from donors. At this point, Sinclair knew he had a problem.

14) His problem got worse the next day, Monday, November 10th - The Great Canadian Talk Show
posts a blog about how listeners had raised hard questions about Sinclair's two stories. Had she actually gotten an eviction notice? Had she appealed the eviction to Tenancies Branch? Had she applied for welfare?

15) The next day (Tuesday Nov. 11th), the heat on Sinclair was turned up even more when another blogger who has had enough of Sinclair's games spoke out.

Graham Hnatiuk asked "Is it crossing the line to call for the impeachment of this "award winning" "journalist?"

16) Hours after the call for his dismissal was posted, on Tuesday night Sinclair phoned Henderson ( "There's more to needy young mother's story", Nov. 15th).

17) The heat went past the boiling point on Wednesday Nov. 12th. TGCTS reported about a Hill Times analysis attacking the credibility of stories in the Winnipeg Free Press.

The article showed how the newspaper had manufactured concerns about a politician's personal life, then used their own stories as proof of him being controversial. No actual "concerned" voters were ever quoted.

18) Gordon Sinclair and the Free Press knew they had to address a real controversy and not one of their inventions.

In Sinclair's Saturday Nov. 15th column "There's more to needy young mother's story", Sinclair scrambled to assemble a defence.

* Henderson admitted to a shopping spree -- but claimed it was at Wal-Mart;

* She claimed that (after paying the back rent) "she had spent $1,500, most of it paying off debts, including money she borrowed from her mother";

* She admitted she was drinking - Saturday night at her mother's house.

* She admitted that she had left her 12 year old daughter at home alone.

And Sinclair took a cheap shot at Henderson's cousin who had emailed him, trying to portray her first hand account as coming from an envious publicity-seeking relative.

He also said he had another $3750 to give Henderson.

21) Sinclair conceded he had misled readers into believing Henderson was going to be left on the street with her daughter within 24 hours and admitted the blogosphere had shamed him into telling more of the truth.

But his "apology" does nothing to restore the credibility of the Free Press, so aptly shredded by the Hill Times, Winnipeg bloggers, and talk radio listeners.

22) The one loose end that he has not addressed, is whether Henderson had been delivering flyers for the FP owned subsidiary.

Was she short for her rent because of the Free Press strike? The employees union interrupted flyer deliveries to pressure management to settle.

In other words, was striking employee Gordon Sinclair responsible for Henderson's rent arrears in the first place?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Vote for Best Story of Year 2 and win...something.

As part of our 2nd anniversary show next Thursday, we are asking listeners to vote for story of the year.

And a prize package- ok 2 books and maybe a keychain- will be awarded one voter (drawn at random) from the responses we get. Please email with your vote before Noon on November 20th.

Here are some suggested nominees, if there is a story or issue we covered you would like added to the list we will do so (* denotes story broken by TGCTS):

Young Joshs' look into The Derelict Buildings bylaw, * flaws and all

* Spirited Kenny's work on The 10 year delay in the CanAlert/511 initiative plus the follow-ups by the province and the feds

The Winnipeg Police Advisory Board creation, and
* their appointees involvement in race-baiting tactics at the Dumas inquest

* NDP Elmwood MLA Jim Maloway's misadventures with constituency expense money

* Nick Hirst, former editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, provided at least one (unpublished) letter from readers critical of the Crocus Fund, directly to Crocus CEO Sherman Kreiner

* Free Press story reports truth about CJOB's Asper/Richardson fundraising stunt for the Friends of Upper Fort Garry, replaces it with propaganda/
and * FP silent on background of the week of a million dollars worth of donations and * the deep connections of the Friends to the Manitoba Club, which stands adjacent to the disputed land

* Personal attack on Mayor Katz by anti-Semitic protester

* The locations of crime cameras for city neighborhoods and
*Young Josh's documentary

* The death of Harold Buchwald

* North End activist Selina Driskell speaks out after threat by armed home invaders

* Wellington MLA Flor Marcelino vowing to stand up to Health Sciences Centre blockbusting of the neighbourhood as part of Women's Hospital move to Weston Bakery site

The convoluted attempt by David Asper to convince the CRTC to allow him to take over Flava 107.9 and
* the CRTC's unprecedented decision to kill the station

* Poor MSM reporting at Taman inquiry points to anti-cop bias

* The death of right to life case subject, Sam Golubchuk

* Native leaders threaten race riots in wake of police shooting on Simcoe

* Captain Audio's discovery of unreported intimidation against witnesses in First Nations CFS probes such as the Gage Guimond death and how almost no money was spent on foster parent training or criminal background checks

* Live on-scene interviews from Keenleyside when police clashed with a freelance photographer and his memory card went 'missing'

* Flor Marcelino endorsing Cheez Whiz as a substitute for affordable fresh milk for Northern Manitoba families

* Ousted federal Liberal candidate Lesley Hughes claiming Jewish leaders' stress was behind their critical view of her 9-11 rantings

* "Porkgate": City health officials warning against accepting potentially tainted pork from Free Press employees as the Minister of Agriculute expressed deep concern about them having taken pork labeled for Winnipeg Harvest clients

* Gordon Sinclair's manipulating facts to generate donations for a poor single mother "facing eviction"; she was seen by a blogger last weekend out on the town after she got over $1700 in cash and pledges

* Premier Doer's stepping off a plane to learn his offer of tax breaks to save Air Canada jobs was leaked

or finally,

* Premier Doer never responding to our personally-delivered invitation to appear on TGCTS.

* and as contributed by a listener:
I realize in terms of importance this is probably last on the long list of important stories but as a pro wrestling fan of thirty years now I want to throw your excellent coverage of Kenny Omega's rise in the wrestling world to the hat.

Thanx in advance,



Today at 4 PM we are joined by the best automotive columnist in the country Paul Williamson of the Free Press, and at 5.10 by Jon Waldman of Slam!Sports to preview the CFL East and West Conference finals.

Our weekend replays start at 7 Pm Sunday night, and we're live again on Monday at 4 Pm with MMA journalist Loretta Hunt reporting on the Brock Lesnar- Randy Couture battle at UFC 91 !

Monday, November 10, 2008

The people of Winnipeg gave the Winnipeg Free Press a lesson in the new journalism

This past week, Winnipeggers proved that our ongoing "Lessons in Journalism" have had an empowering effect.

The Winnipeg Free Press finds itself facing a crisis of public trust because of the lessons on how-the-mainstream-media-manipulates-news, learned by listeners of the Great Canadian Talk Show.

On Thursday we took note of
a column by Gordon Sinclair Jr. about a woman who could not pay her rent. The tale-of-woe wound through the typical Sinclairian path - a brave 26 year old aboriginal single mother born of poverty, struggling to raise a child almost half her age in subsidized housing, felled by the delay between paycheques of term jobs, reduced to using food banks and pawning possessions, expecting to be evicted Friday, "on the brink of homelessness."

But this time something was different. This time, instead of reaching for their hankies, our listeners joined in asking sharp questions about the obvious holes in the story. The Winnipeg Free Press was about to feel the power of citizen journalism -- Rule 1: everybody knows something.

* How can a woman going from a federal government job in September to a job at the city of Winnipeg in mid-October, not have saved or borrowed for her October rent, when it was ONLY $195.00 ?
* If her "Employment Insurance didn't kick in for a month", why did she not go to Social Assistance, to get temporary help?
* If all she owed her landlord was $390.00, why didn't Sinclair, a $90k per-year unionized typist, who had just walked the picket line to win a $2000/year raise, not lend her the money on the spot and wait for her EI to kick in to get his money back? How did this debt warrant a column?

Most of all,
people smelled a set-up. Watch, they said, for Sinclair's traditional 1950's style "so-and-so saves the day" follow-up piece, that would surely run on Saturday and (as Spirited Kenny suggested) be nominated for another "journalism" award.

Sure enough, on Friday, the emailed "Free Press Editor's Bulletin" that previews the next day's contents, breathlessly trumpeted:

Heartwarming news
Generous Winnipeggers have stepped up to help a young single mom who was facing eviction from her west end home. Gordon Sinclair Jr. has the story."

One of our callers, though, raised even more serious doubts about the column.

For this woman to be evicted, she would have had to be served a formal notice. Where was it? Had Gordo seen it?

And she can't be tossed out on the spot the way Sinclair's column implied, the caller went on, because there is a right to a Residential Tenancies Branch appeal hearing, and these things take time. Had RTB already held the appeal, decided the matter and taken the landlords side?

And lastly, "perhaps Gordon Sinclair has to go back to journalism school", she said.

But TGCTS was not alone in thinking there was more here than met the eye. Citizen journalists emailed us with new twists they uncovered to the story.

Then, a
blogger recognized the single mother.

This spring she had preceded him in making a speech to the Manitoba legislature
about Bill 38, the NDP's repeal of balanced budget legislation.

Among the gems in her lecture to Gary Doer:
"why doesn't a woman go into office and clear up this budget because a woman can budget every single day for everything?"

By sheer coincidence, that very Friday night the blogger spotted her at a downtown pool hall enjoying some liquid libation.

"Guess that's more important than paying rent",
he wrote late that night, not realizing what was to happen less than 24 hours later.

In his column, Sinclair lamely claimed "I didn't have to ask anyone to help, and I didn't. But offers of help began plugging my e-mail and voice mail anyway."

Regarding the thousands of dollars of charity given to this woman -- $600 cash by her co-workers who took her to pay the rent; plus a cheque for the full rent from Gordo's suburban neighbour ("Watch Gord Sinclair's follow up in the Saturday paper how some rich south ender came to the rescue" was predicted by the blogger); and even more pledged by others --
the blogger made the obvious connection:

"... I guess the money she got would explain my blog post in the wee hours of last night as well...The people that gave money were willing victims, and it was their choice to fall for it ...And today, Gordy made the story sound even more depressing. Her "new job" is only a term position and ends just before Christmas."

Well, the blogosphere discovered that Christmas came early.

Right after reading about the woman's windfall...
"I am walking thru the mall when guess who I see coming out of the Gap with her daughter and another friend ?


Their hands were FULL of shopping bags, from high end stores."
This Woman is the biggest con job I have ever seen in my life."

And everyone, including the blogger, spotted the slight but significant change in the story of rent arrears.

The impression left by Sinclair's first column was that they were getting turfed onto the street the very next day.

Sinclair counted on readers to jump to that conclusion, because otherwise, there's no story, no public outpouring, and no follow-up for Saturday's paper.

But as it turns out, "If Chantel didn't have the $390 by Friday, she was afraid she and Caley would be evicted", wrote Sinclair.

We'll leave aside the questions of why this woman takes term government jobs, instead of looking for steady employment. It appears that she is padding her resume with jobs suited to pursuing her goal of studying aboriginal governance at the U of W, as reported by Sinclair.

Maybe some working journalist will report on the full-time job openings for graduates of that fluff course, as compared for the demand in real occupations like nursing, engineering, and trades, that other single mothers and role models are pursuing at Red River College and elsewhere.

For now, the focus is on the crisis in credibility enveloping the Winnipeg Free Press.

In just the past two months, whose reporters got
scooped by the alternative media on the Lesley Hughes election campaign scandal? What reporters changed their story five times about where the frozen minced pork FP picketers took home came from? Who is ignoring the warnings from city health officials about giving that pork to the poor in Christmas hampers as planned ?

Imagine how bitter it must be for Free Press editor Margo Goodhand to realize that the public knows that her newsroom employees, celebrating raises on their $70 - $90,000 a year salaries, contributed not one dime to this cause, even after reading how this poor mother had to rely on food banks---just as the poor underpaid Free Press employees had to only weeks ago.

How sour the taste that from now on, good-hearted readers have reason to question every single sob story and column that is published on her watch.

Who can blame editor Goodhand for being bitter that the general public is on to the fact that the level of editorial oversight and commitment to news at her newspaper is so alarmingly low, with self-promotion and promoting personal agendas at an all-time high.

Who? Everybody who expects a quality newspaper.

Another lesson in journalism.