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.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Start Living campaign timed for Doer's triumphant return from China?

Information about the results of the Premier's trade mission to China arrived during the show Friday, and we simply did not have time to review it.

Now we know why 'Son of Spirited Energy', Start Living, was launched all of a sudden this week.

The talking points so far for both initiatives are all identical. It's as if Robert Ziegler was in China evaesdropping, instead of on CJOB with Richard Cloutier Thursday morning.

As we roundtabled on Friday's show, callers joined Spirited Kenny and Young Josh, agreeing with their observations that the guiding hands of this rebranding exercise ( now sitting at over $4 million dollars with an executive director yet to come ) have not succeeded at convincing young adults- 28 to 40, those starting families and businesses ( let alone people outside the province ), that living and investing here is a viable option. How the failed infrastructure and fear of crime isn't something normal people will turn a blind eye to. That the Province and City of Winnipeg seem to be doing nothing, spending nothing, to RETAIN our own people who leave for Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, and for all we know, have-province Newfoundland.

And to top it off, upon examining the promotional website, Kenny described it as "fluff".

However the government memo is very useful.

It contains lots of positive news about
* Winnipeg colleges and their education initiatives with China,
* deals related to CentrePort, and
* identifies other Manitoba leaders who attended and lobbyied.

The official press release is reprinted below.

Best of episode replays :
Monday = Oct. 30th interview with Mayor Sam Katz
Tuesday = (compilation) Our analysis of the NDP's endorsement of a non-whole food substitute for Milk as a source of calcium in Manitoba's North aka Let Them Eat Cheez Whiz

Wed. - live show with CTV's Crimewatch reporter Kelly Dehn, and more of your calls and emails.


November 7, 2008

- - -
Manitoba's New Inland Port, Business, Education Agreements Among

Two Manitoba companies joined Premier Gary Doer in Shanghai
yesterday to announce business deals with Chinese companies
including one for energy-efficient windows and doors for new

Loewen Windows of Steinbach will be providing windows and doors
for a high-end housing project in the Shanghai region. Parker
Hannifin, which recently acquired Vansco, will be supplying
Lonking Holdings' construction machinery with electronic controls

that are manufactured at the company's Winnipeg facility.

"Manitoba businesses are known for producing high-quality
products and China is in need of such products in order to meet
the challenges and demands of its continued economic growth,"
Doer said. "I want to congratulate both companies on their
success in breaking into significant new markets."

The Canadian Leaders' Mission: China 2008 included Premier Dalton
McGuinty of Ontario, Premier Shawn Graham of New Brunswick,
Premier Robert Ghiz of Prince Edward Island as well as former
premier Pierre Marc Johnson of Quebec. Doer left the mission
early to travel back to Manitoba for the funeral of long-time
friend, colleague and cabinet minister Oscar Lathlin.

The mission also included more than 110 representatives from
industry, education and other Canadian organizations including 30
from Manitoba.

Expanding trade into new markets such as Asia and Europe was one
of the outcomes of the Oct. 20 premiers' meeting on the
economy. Manitoba's trade with China has risen more than five
times in the past five years. Manitoba's exports have jumped 586
per cent, rising to $545.9 million in 2007 from $79.5 million in

Promoting Manitoba's new inland port, CentrePort Canada, to
Chinese companies and investors was a key focus of the Manitoba
delegation's business mission to China.

"CentrePort Canada is open for business and has much to offer
Chinese companies that are looking for new, more affordable and
efficient ways to distribute their products," Doer said.

"Manitoba is located in the heart of North America and we
offer many competitive advantages. It is great to be here with
Manitoba business leaders who share our vision for building
CentrePort Canada."

The premier and Manitoba business leaders held a special session
in Beijing with Chinese investors and companies whose business
interests are in the areas of logistics, transportation and

Several leaders who helped create CentrePort Canada participated
in the session including Jim Carr of the Manitoba Business
Council, Graham Starmer of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce,
Dave Angus of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and Chris Lorenc of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association. Don Streuber of Bison Transport, Erla Glesby of Westco and Michael Rodyniuk of Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) also took part in the presentation.

"We have a tremendous story to tell," said Rodyniuk, chief
operating officer and senior vice-president of WAA. "Flying
through Winnipeg is much more cost effective than flying deep
into the United States. We can cycle aircraft faster and have the
best established dedicated cargo capacity in the country. This,
connected to Manitoba's incredible road and rail infrastructure,
means major U.S. and Canadian cities are easily accessed from
here. We are a true multi-modal international gateway to North

The Manitoba delegation also promoted the inland port to officials from the Province of Henan and signed several agreements aimed at increasing economic development and co-operation between Manitoba and Henan.

Doer and Henan Gov. Guo Gengmao signed the Henan/Manitoba
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Enhanced Co-operation and
Economic Development. The agreement will support the development
of CentrePort Canada and includes provisions to increase
strategic co-operation and sister airport relations between WAA
and Zhengzhou Airport.

In addition, the Manitoba and Winnipeg chambers of commerce, and
the Henan Provincial Bureau of Commerce signed an agreement for
enhanced co-operation on business, trade and entrepreneur

"It is extremely important that we take a hands-on approach to
promoting Manitoba as a great place to invest and do business,"
said Starmer
, president and CEO of the Manitoba chambers. "The
mission has introduced local businesses to new opportunities in
China, which continues to have one of the world's fastest growing

While in Beijing, Canadian premiers also met with Chinese Foreign
Affairs Minister Yang Jiechi, held a round table with Chinese
governors including representatives of the provinces of Shangdong, Hebei, Henan and Hunan, and met with Cheng Siwei, retired vice-chair of the National People's Congress. They also attended the China Leaders Business Forum held by the Canada China Business Council.

In Chongqing, the premiers met with Chongqing party secretary Bo
Xilai and toured the inland port. In Shanghai, premiers met with
Shanghai party secretary Yu Zhensheng.

Manitoba's colleges and universities also joined Doer to announce
the signing of five agreements aimed at increasing international
education connections between the province and China, which sends
more students to Manitoba than any other country.

International education is an important part of Manitoba's economy and education system, with students from China and Hong Kong comprising nearly 32 per cent of Manitoba's international student body in 2006-07, up from six per cent in 2001-02. They contributed $23.5 million to Manitoba's economy through academic and related spending.

Highlights of the post-secondary education agreements signed in
China include:

- expanding the partnership between Red River College and
Shenyang Institute of Engineering to include two new combined
diploma programs in power-plant engineering and tourism in
addition to electrical engineering,

- renewing an agreement between the University of
Manitoba and Beijing's China Women's University to continue
providing a social-work intervention program for rural women in

- reaching a new agreement between the University of
Winnipeg and Concord College on a scholarship program for Chinese students attending the U of W,

- signing a transfer agreement between the University of
Winnipeg and TAIE International Institute to allow graduates
admittance to the U of W, and

- signing an agreement between the University of Winnipeg
and Jiangsu Province International Education to co-operate in
areas such as research, faculty and staff exchange, and
short-term academic programs.

At the start of the mission, Doer presented Dr. Stan Cheung with
the Order of the Buffalo Hunt in recognition of his outstanding
contributions to the province of Manitoba.

Cheung is a prominent businessman, philanthropist and Manitoba's
long-time honorary consul in Hong Kong, regularly advising
Manitobans on industry and education matters both in Hong Kong
and mainland China. He is also a distinguished graduate of the
University of Manitoba.

In recognition of Cheung's generous contributions to the U of M
over many years, the university named its animal science research
unit the T.K. Cheung Centre for Animal Science Research at a
ceremony in 2006. Cheung helped build the facility and provided
bursary and graduate student assistance, library support,
equipment funding as well as donations to other initiatives.

- 30 -

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vacant and Derelict Buildings, One Year Later, By the Numbers

Young Josh here, and by audience request, I've got the numbers on the Vacant and Derelict Buildings Bylaw from before and after The Great Canadian Talk Show's special reports in late 2007. Here you go!

When Justin Swandel made his declarations in October 2007…

Waiting List of Derelict Properties: 880

Number of Inspectors: 2

Number of Properties Available For Taking Title: 12

Length of Time Until City Seizes Property: 450 Days (roughly 15 months)

One Year Later, After TGCTS Releases Its Five-Point Plan…

Waiting List of Derelict Properties: 700

Number of Inspectors: 5

Number of Properties The City Took Title To: 11

Length of Time Until City Seizes Property: 360 Days (just under a year)

- - -

In the year since we covered this story on The Great Canadian Talk Show, the increases we've seen have been greater than in all three years prior to our coverage.

That being said, there's still a great deal that Justin Swandel and the other councilors at City Hall can do to improve their performance on this bylaw.

- They can hire more inspectors— perhaps students at trade colleges around the city would be willing to do the work during on-the-field placements?
- They can cut down the series of checkpoints and waiting periods even further— somehow, I doubt the existing set of three to five waiting periods are strictly necessary.

- Of course, the city is waiting for the provincial government to respond to a request to amend the City Charter (City of Winnipeg Act) to streamline the allowed seizure time down to 30 days, as the province now mandates 90, giving slum lords lots of time to play the system.

The final verdict? The wheels at City Hall are turning and grinding, but not fast enough.

I'm Young Josh, I'm on this story, and so are you.

Keep listening! Cheers.