Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The topics and guests of the first quarter of 2009

Quarterly review

This has been a very busy 3 months and we want to thanks all our listeners who have contributed with an avalanche of emails and calls that kept the shows moving at a rapid fire pace throughout.

January Top Stories:
- Exclusive:
The truth about the Horace Avenue carjacker and the "vigilante hate crime beating" that wasn't
- Free Press publisher Bob Cox ignores a complaint that Dan Lett personally insulted a reader because apparently, emailers are not allowed to be "anonymous"
- Chief McCaskill tells James Turner " we never thought much of it...we missed the boat on crack"
- Bus union wants driver shields
- Exclusive: FP "Ask the City Editor" online feature ignores questions about Porkgate
- Exclusive: Details of U of M anti-Semitic incident and of Pro-Israel rally confrontation (and how the FP hid the photo)
- The Monday Manifesto: This year, it's about "the untouchables"- Government appointees such as judges, government funded boards and universities,
- Exclusive: Caller explains the life and death of meth addict DJ Vanden Bosch who committed suicide when surrounded by cops in the west end
- 16 year old Alexander Avenue home invasion/stabber gets easy sentence, FP ignores his membership in Native Syndicate street gang
- Murder victim Shawn Beauchamp, member of Bloodz gang, worked for Free Press, chased, bear sprayed, shot, police claim not a gang crime
- The 3-1-1 with Spirited Kenny, predicting inquiry phone line disaster
- Exclusive: a dozen Somalian street gang members bust up all ages party at Exchange Event Centre.
- FP Raccoon Carney story- 1 paragraph, 2 sentences, 3 mistakes, 0 corrections
- Two Tier Justice: "no break in, no injuries, no weapon" accused gets more time (56 months) for attack on Crown attorney's house, than Native Syndicate punk did for nearly killing Alexander Avenue resident in home invasion (21 months)
- Hydro backs down on Exchange District block-busting plan
- Listeners complaint to Kick-FM refuted
- Exclusive: Inside the Free Press job sharing proposal/intenral union conflict
- Van stolen from VJ's Drive-In kills 2 university students
- Lanzellotti "laughing girl" denied bail

January Guests:
Scott Taylor on Sports
Stacey Ashley of CTV on Montana drug pleas by 2 Winnipeg men
Ron East explained the truth about Israeli 'atrocities" in Gaza
Chris Jericho on being a Red River College Cre-Comm legend and his wrestling comeback
CTV's Kelly Dehn with Crimewatch
City Councillor Jeff Browaty on Disraeli reconstruction and area issues
Bryan Danielson, pro wrestler of the year 07-08
Kelly Holmes, Resource Assistance for Youth (RAY), on the meth problem in Winnipeg
Colin Craig, CTF, on federal budget
Mike Sutherland, Winnipeg Police Association, on changes in major unit assignment limits
Slam Sports' Jon Waldman
CJOB talk show host-turned council candidate Geoff Currier
Joan Wilson, Unicity Taxi
Andrew Allentuck about his new book, "When Can I Retire"
Ken Klassen, engineering technologist, critiqued the Ikea proposal

Jon Waldman, Slam!Sports

February Top Stories:

- Health Minister Theresa Oswald ducks CJOB as MSM heats up brown envelope scandal
- Details of Brian Sinclair HSR Emergency room video revealed by exasperated Chief Medical Examiner Balachandra ahead of Judicial Inquest
- HSC honcho Dr. Brock Wright finally decides to look at Sinclair video, changes story about triage desk role in death, WRHA invents 3 excuses of how and why video was (not) reviewed
- Bloggers come of age: My Left Nut (with compilation of blogger and MSM reports), Policy Frog ("Oswald toast") , Progressive Winnipeg, and James Cotton, dissect WRHA excuses, NDP spin, and MSM coverage of Sinclair affair
- WRHA press conference fails to control the spin on Sinclair, raises even more questions about who knew what when
- CJOB's Vic Grant inexplicably defends HSC, attacks Balachandra and other critics as 'vigilantes'
- EXCLUSIVE: CJOB General Manager sits on HSC Foundation board
- Newspapers across continent start to waver and collapse, Canwest shares collapsing
- Photo radar tickets tossed due to lack of actual construction workers in protected zone
- FP bias showing- no mention of 300 homes at risk in HSC "Bio-Med City' expansion plan in West alexander neighbourhood
- WRHA releases legal "opinion" preventing publication of Sinclair death internal review, as CJOB softballs Premier Doer and HSC mouthpiece Alan Fineblit, meanwhile a Free Press editorial demands Oswald apologize for misleading public and legislature
- Paa Pii Wak, gang -run halfway house, closes after staff gets busted
- Critics blast Judge Ray Wyant taking control of Sinclair inquest, demand outside arbiter
- Tan Le, accused in Monty's bar shooting, outed as dating twin sisters, detail unreported in FP
- "Aboriginal journalist" Colleen Simard supports Native chiefs whine that blogs be censored for "hate speech"
- EXCLUSIVE: native online mag calls whites "The Scum Dogs of Europe", Simard et al silent
- NDP ignored offer for private clinic to help relieve pressure on HSC ER; plan to open across from HSC in honour of Brian Sinclair announced by darin Jorgenson
- Blogger James Cotton goes to city ER's, in 12 hours gets approached zero times about whether he is in need of care
- Vancouver shooting/drive-by epidemic
- Exclusive: Phil Walding plan for sensible Disraeli and Louise bridge reconstruction
- Experts speak out in letters to the Free Press -- and reveal WRHA practice of having unqualified personnel operate Concordia Hospital EKG's risk patients lives contrary to assurances of WRHA officials
- Katz win in ethics vote portrayed by FP as loss as smear campaign continues
- 311 disasters emerge in emails from listeners
- WRHA hires $125,000 consultant to improve 'communication' while they ignore media requests for information and interviews
- Exclusive: details of stolen paramedic SUV chase through North End
- Disraeli closure surprises NDP as top byelection concern
- Concordia nighttime ER closure almost kills woman suffering ectopic
- MPI buys Citiplace, ratepayers outraged

February Guests:
Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen on WRHA brown envelopes and the planned provincial audit; Doer and Oswald "misspoke" 13 times about how Brian Sinclair asked for HSC ER help
Dr. Jon Gerrard demands firing of top WRHA and HSC officials
Scott Taylor - how the Manitoba Boxing Commission almost got MMA fighter Dean Lewis killed by poor supervision
CTV's Kelly Dehn
Retha Dykes, general manager, Misty Lake Lodge, Gimli
Councillor Grant Nordman defended his opposition toMMA bouts at Convention Centre
Mayor Sam Katz brought light to Crocus Fund receiver motion that was dismissed by court, called Porkgate a "schande"
Mike Sutherland, WPA on Crimestat information gaps
Colin Fast, candidate for Wpg. School Division trustee
Regan Woolfrom, Liberal candidate in Elmwood
Exclusive: Brian Smiley of MPI, with all the answers about the Citiplace purchase
Jon Waldman, Slam!Sports


March Top Stories

- Canadian Museum of Human Rights fundraising flounders
- Porkgate apologists and Free Press loyalists attack defenders of poor and hungry, as new details emerge from Winnipeg Harvest insider about distribution and spoiled food issues that plague organization
- Exclusive: music promoter Rob Hoskin, 54, loses battle with cancer
- FP job movements and layoffs include crime reporter James Turner
- More newspaper layoffs and closures across America
- Rapid Transit corridor expropriations expedited
- More bedbugs overrun Manitoba Housing complex
- Ron Schuler to propose bill to allow 16-18 year olds the right to go to high school even if parents refuse to sign permission waivers
- NDP begins to worry about Disraeli backlash in Elmwood byelection
- FP book reviewer admits no evidence of Jim Walding getting bribe to defeat Pawley NDP budget in 1986 -- despite Gordon Sinclair insinuations
- Bike lobby controls "consultations" on new bridges and traffic flow for Point Douglas, shuts out non-artists in neighborhood from group, opposes new Louise Bridge and wants gated community for "artists"
- more shooting deaths in Vancouver as gun seizures in 'peg gun play on rise
- FP Trust loses $5million after fall strike and buyouts
- Shades of Porkgate: FP editorial on lemon car dealers says not naming them due to 'privacy' is like protecting identity of spoiled meat distributors!
- Taxi study says no new cab plates except for winter season
- IKEA plan gets sharp rebukes from bloggers and southend residents facing expropriation
- Exclusive: Spirited Kenny hosts TGCTS in solo effort on March 13
- FP wastes 3 Sunday pages on new archive, a week after Gordon Sinclair plagiarizes his own 24 year old column in plug preview
- Blind granny mugged in EK hate crime by 10 kids, First Nations leaders and human rights grandstanders silent
- Hespeler residents suddenly facing expropriation despite no indication in original Disraeli reconstruction open-houses their land was needed
- "left of centre" John Orlikow defeats Geoff Currier to rise to council seat
- Exclusive: CBC and other newsrooms editing racial identification out of police crime descriptions
- Exclusive: accidental head injury from fall that killed actress Natasha Richardson, mocked by Margo Goodhand in Free Press Editors Bulletin' to online readers
- EXCLUSIVE: NDP Elmwood candidate Bill Blaikie answers questions about pension, promises more money to keep Disraeli open, supports WRHA honchos
- Peguis members not on list, may have had treaty card, but still had to meet with chief and council before being allowed to vote
- 93 year old woman forced out of HSC one hour after amputation of toes
- Listeners critique Blaike interview and election result
- Free Press scooped by Sun x 2 on convictions in deaths of Nathan Starr and Tannis Bird, respectively
- Justice Minister Chomiak, in a budget chat with reporters, admits car theft mainly stopped by locking up the perps
- 2 for 1 sentencing break exposes folly of 'holistic approach'
- Exclusive: 311 tells District 6 cops to shovel their way out of snow storm to get cruisers to calls for help from public, can't provide number for plowing supervisor
- Free Press blogger Brian Huycke dies of head injury in accidental fall; editor Goodhand keeps jokes to herself this time
- CBC cuts amateur sports telecasts
- FP story about 3 gangs involved in Tony Lanzellotti murder by stolen SUV crash into his taxi begs the question- why aren't gangs that recruit FASD kids charged with child abuse?
- Young Josh and Dave Shorr leave TGCTS for new challenges; Silent Mitch returns from Lance Storm's Wrestling Academy in one piece
- Unreported in mainstream media, 21 studies purporting that COX2 drugs such as Vioxx and Celebrex were safe, used faked or fudged data
- Gordon Sinclair column rants about restaurant "etiquette" after long wait for table at a local eatery; he scalps a blog post by an anonymous waitress about 'campers' who don't pay their bill and leave quickly, but Gordo fails to link to, or credit the blogger. Take note how at the end, she says she doesn't mind all campers: http://tipsfromservers.blogspot.com/

AND a special postscript: one of the customers Sinclair was complaining about, left a comment online for him -- and beneath that are comments by others who have seen Gordo's act in person:

Posted by:ks123
April 1, 2009 at 12:16 PM
Well, this is not the first time this columnist has irked me the wrong way. But it is the first time I have been the target. Thank you, Mr Sinclair, for tainting my day after reading that rubbish.

Since I was one of the two young ladies that "hogged" a table, I'd like to clarify a few things. First of all, I waitressed though university and am well aware of the 'camper' term. However, I do also understand that some times people need a venue to get out and talk, and guess what... sometimes that place is a restaurant! It just so happens that my girlfriend needed to talk about some very unfortunate events occurring in her homelife and couldn't exactly talk openly about the issues in her own home. I have 2 young children, so my home is not the most condusive site for such discussion. I thank badkat for recognizing that there is always more than meets the eye.

And for the record, we finished our lunch around 2, which I'm pretty sure is not peak hours, and I did tip the waitress well for our time, because I do recognize the issue. By well, I mean 50%.

So again, thank you for undertaking such compassionate, investigative journalism and getting all the facts. I am very sorry that you had to wait for a table - I have apparently not shown you the respect you think you deserve. But perhaps by writing this piece, you have not shown my friend and I any respect either.

Posted by:gohabsgo
April 1, 2009 at 7:09 AM
A restaurant is a business, and when your business is concluded, move on. If you do not order an item after a reasonable amount of time, your bill will be provided. The term I've heard friends in the business use often is 'entitlement'. People feel that the table is theirs to use as they please, be it a business meeting, viewing pictures of a trip, etc. I've seen a server return to a table every few minutes after billing to offer more products and services. The continual 'yappus interruptus' didn't do the trick, and the server grinned and bore it.

Mr. Sinclair declares he hasn't "seen them all", so I will offer one I have witnessed him use: the customer who refuses to sit at the table he was assigned. It's a table. They're all the same. Square, with chairs. The food comes from the same kitchen. Get over yourself. From our table, you looked like an arrogant spoiled brat. Acquire some restaurant etiquette before commenting on it.

Posted by:GFinn
April 1, 2009 at 3:29 AM
I've personally witnessed Gordon Sinclair linger in Fresh Cafe for over an hour AFTER finishing his meal. I arrived just after his server was clearing the table and bringing more coffee. He was in a group of 8+ people. Hypocritical.

Posted by:Statusquo
March 31, 2009 at 11:52 PM
For those who think this is a real issue worth all of the hand wringing...shut up or do something about it. If it's such a constant problem that apparently EVERYONE who waits tables has to deal with, restaurants would go belly up because of it. Just do something already and stop complaining because people are acting in a way that YOU don't like.

PS Gord...you must've REALLY wanted to eat at Fresh and only Fresh. Wanting to see and be seen? Can't believe you couldn't bear to go somewhere else if the wait was so excruciating that you had to go "investigate" and then creepily keep tabs on other people by timing their lives. Wonder how they would've felt if they knew? Like you couldn't have walked somewhere else as most people do when they don't want to wait.

Posted by:Donovanf
March 31, 2009 at 7:50 AM
Seriously,Did they publish this in a newspaper? Breaking news, some people stay too long in restaurants!

People who have a subscription for the Free Press should feel insulted that they actually just paid to read this.

March guests:
Adrien Schulz, PC candidate for Elmwood
James O'Conner, Managing editor Brandon Sun, remembrances of Rob Hoskin
Geoff Currier, River Heights/ Fort Garry council candidate
Carlos James, WSD trustee candidate
Susan Tymofichuk, CTV weeknight news anchor/reporter
Regan Wolfram, Liberal party candidate in Elmwood
Brian Glow, world-famous illusionist
Jim Carr, Business Council of Manitoba president, provincial budget review
Colin Craig, CTF, provincial budget review
Kelly Dehn, CTV Crime watch
Jon Waldman, Slam!Sports
Coun. Jeff Browaty says 311 must be fixed immediately


Wednesday: Kelly Dehn of CTV will make April Fool's Day extra-special; and we'll have an exclusive report about a lawsuit filed against the Province of Manitoba over the seizure of animals from a legal business. The seizure made the news, but the true story was obscured by the 'save the animals' mind-set of the MSM.

Thursday: An exclusive report into the botched treatment of a Winnipeg women by Health Sciences Centre Emergency staff - this was the red flag about HSC ER dysfunction YEARS before Brian Sinclair was ignored. When you hear this story, you'll understand why we say, what happened to Sinclair was predictable and avoidable. Her family came to TGCTS asking for our help, and the file review a doctor conducted for the show's use, will reveal the missteps and mistakes the family now wants an explanation and apology for from the HSC.

Friday: At 5.50 PM, a Wrestlemania 25 preview with our very special guest, the pre-eminent ring journalist Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer and Jon Waldman of Slam!Sports and Spirited Kenny.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Vioxx/COX2 studies faked by leading anaesthetist, stunning medical world

Awhile back, I heard something about Vioxx during an interview on Richard Cloutier's morning show that caught my ear.

Why? Well, one reason is that it had been prescribed for me when I lived in Los Angeles when I had arm trouble; when a friend found out he told me there were a lot of potential side effects. The drug worked, but I discontinued use.

The other reason it got my attention was because of what was said in the interview.

To explain further, here is the correspondance between myself and Cloutier's guest that day, Professor Arthur Schaffer.

-----Original Message-----
From: Marty Gold [mailto:talk@kick.fm]
Sent: Monday, February 02, 2009 9:58 AM
To: schafer@cc.umanitoba.ca
Subject: Vioxx deaths

Hello Professor Schafer,

I heard you on CJOB this morning. I am writing in regard to your citation of Vioxx as an example of influence-peddling within the medical system and that there were thousands of deaths before the drug was pulled from the market.

Can you direct me to your source about number of deaths?

Thank you,

Marty Gold

On Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 5:45 PM, Arthur Schafer wrote:

Dear Marty,

I have attached a book chapter I published this autumn, which focuses on Vioxx (and its fellow COX 2 Inhibitor, Celebrex) and which gives a source for the estimate of deaths and injuries relating to Vioxx. My source was John Abramson's book "Overdosed America", published by Harper Collins. But the figure I used is frequently cited in the literature (both scholarly and popular).

Do you mind my asking why you want to know my source? Is it because you doubt the reliability of my claim?


From: Marty Gold [mailto:talk@kick.fm]
Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 8:01 AM
To: Arthur Schafer
Subject: Re: Vioxx deaths

Thanks Arthur,

I have learned that, upon hearing of a statistic about a significant public issue for the first time, it is wise for me to research the source and details, as my audience will be sure to raise questions when it is broadcast on my show.


RE: Vioxx deaths
Wednesday, February 4, 2009 8:24 AM
From: "Arthur Schafer"
To: "'Marty Gold'"

Good luck with your show. Is it broadcast on CJOB?


I looked up the information he cited and did some additional research, and found the source of the death rate claims. Here is a synopsis of the most pertinent aspect:

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee,


Good morning. My name is David Graham, and I am pleased to come before you today to speak about Vioxx, heart attacks and the FDA.

By way of introduction, I graduated from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and trained in Internal Medicine at Yale and in adult Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. After this, I completed a three-year fellowship in pharmacoepidemiology and a Masters in Public Health at Johns Hopkins, with a concentration in epidemiology and biostatistics. Over my 20 year career in the field, all of it at FDA, I have served in a variety of capacities. I am currently the Associate Director for Science and Medicine in FDA’s Office of Drug Safety.


In March of 2004, another epidemiologic study reported that both high-dose and low-dose Vioxx increased the risk of heart attacks compared to Vioxx’s leading competitor, Celebrex. Our study, first reported in late August of this year found that Vioxx increased the risk of heart attack and sudden death by 3.7 fold for high-dose and 1.5 fold for low-dose, compared to Celebrex. A study report describing this work was put on the FDA website on election day.

Among many things, this report estimated that nearly 28,000 excess cases of heart attack or sudden cardiac death were caused by Vioxx. I emphasize to the Committee that this is an extremely conservative estimate.

FDA always claims that randomized clinical trials provide the best data. If you apply the risk-levels seen in the 2 Merck tria ls, VIGOR and APPROVe, you obtain a more realistic and likely range of estimates for the number of excess cases in the US. This estimate ranges from 88,000 to 139,000 Americans. Of these, 30-40% probably died. For the survivors, their lives were changed forever.

So the 28,000 is actually heart attacks and/or deaths, not just deaths.

And the study says it is more likely says 30-40 percent of people died, which is where the 26,400 figure comes from. Estimates, revised estimates of what he thinks is "likely."

The bottom line---never believe a number repeated in the media, unless you know where it comes from.

Schafer focused on influence peddling, and my curiosity focused on the supposed number of deaths. I saw his comments as ideological in nature, and investigated to determine the accuracy of his facts.

However, the entire subject of the safety of Vioxx just became far more troubling -- and I now agree that the question of influence-peddling raised by Schafer on CJOB should be revisited. He may not have had all the facts, but he was accurate in his concern.

In a breaking story that has been almost totally unreported in the mainstream media, the basis of any claims Vioxx was safe in the first place has been completely undermined.

And shockingly, it took over a decade for authorities to find out.


" Medical journals have been asked to retract 21 studies that touted the benefits of Vioxx, Celebrex and other drugs. According to The Wall Street Journal, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Mass. is asking the journals to make the retractions because its former chief of acute pain, Dr. Scott S. Reuben, had faked data used in the studies.

In addition to Vioxx and Celebrex, some of the 21 studies involved the fibromyalgia drug Lyrica and the antidepressant Effexor XR. Reuben’s study claimed to show that these drug worked well as painkillers, the Journal said. All of the studies were published between 1996 and 2008.

According to The Wall Street Journal, these studies had a great deal of influence on the practice of medicine. Because of Reuben’s “research”, it had become routine for doctors to combine the use of painkillers like Celebrex and Lyrica for patients undergoing common procedures such as knee and hip replacements, the Journal said.

Reuben even had the ear of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and had written the agency asking it not to restrict the use of many of the painkillers he studied. He often cited his fake data to make his case, the Journal said."

An investigation by Anesthesia & Analgesia found that 21 articles based on patient data had been partially or completely faked.

This next article dated March 10, 2009, provided by a doctor who listens to TGCTS, details just how corrupted the research and verifiction process was:


- "Reuben, 50, has been stripped of his research and educational duties and has been on medical leave since May. He received his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences in 1985 and did his residency at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. In 1991, he joined Baystate, which serves as the western campus for Tufts University School of Medicine, and has worked as a staff anesthesiologist and the director of acute pain management ... (and) revolutionized the way physicians provide pain relief to patients undergoing orthopedic surgery for everything from torn ligaments to worn-out hips."

- "He claimed that using COX2 inhibitors, such as Vioxx, Celebrex, and Pfizer's Bextra (valdecoxib) in combination with the Pfizer anticonvulsant Neurontin (gabapentin), and later Lyrica (pregabalin), prior to and during surgery could be effective in decreasing postoperative pain and reduce the use of addictive painkillers, such as morphine, during recovery."

- "A 2007 editorial in Anesthesia & Analgesia stated that Reuben had been at the "forefront of redesigning pain management protocols" through his "carefully planned" and "meticulously documented" studies."

- "Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., began investigating Reuben's findings last May after its chief academic officer, Hal Jenson, discovered during a routine audit that Reuben had not received approval from the hospital's review board to conduct two of his studies"

- "... in 2004, Vioxx and Bextra were pulled from the market because of their link to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, leaving Pfizer's Celebrex as the only COX2 inhibitor available." (One of the most widely used drugs ever withdrawn, Merck had sales $2.5 billion from Vioxx in the previous year.)

- "Celebrex sales plunged 40 percent after a (2004) study ... suggesting that it, too, posed a heart attack risk. Despite this, Reuben continued to present "findings" in research funded by Pfizer that trumpeted Celebrex's alleged benefits and downplayed its potential negative side effects."

- Dr. Evan Ekman, an orthopedic surgeon at Southern Orthopaedic Sports Medicine in Columbia, S.C. "began to suspect foul play. In addition to collaborating with Reuben on the now-retracted Celebrex study, Ekman agreed to review a Reuben manuscript on surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. But when he asked the anesthesiologist for the name of the orthopedic surgeon on the study, Reuben ceased communication with him.

Then, last year, Ekman was invited by Pfizer to give a talk. While there, he was handed a version of the very manuscript Reuben had asked him to review, which had subsequently been published in Anesthesia & Analgesia.

To his surprise, and horror, he was listed as a co-author: Reuben had forged his signature on the submission form, Ekman says."

- " Although Pfizer funded Reuben's research between 2002 and 2007, Baystate has no records of those payments and says that the research funds could have been paid directly to Reuben... Baystate spokesperson Jane Albert says "I don't know how many dollars went to Dr. Reuben or his group."

The reason why this could go undetected for 12 years?
The audit rate is only about 5% of the 200 or so studies published each year.

And there is plenty of blame to pass around: the article states in the final paragraph, "Anesthesia & Analgesia editors Shafer and White admit that it should have been a "red flag" that Reuben's studies were consistently favorable to the drugs he studied."

So although the anti-Vioxx scepticism of critics such as Prof. Schafer may have been ideological in nature (the ideology of anti-Pharma), so too was the support for Vioxx being thrust on a trusting public -- the ideology of naked greed.

In this case, an excess of caution may in fact, have been the appropriate response after all.

And this should serve as a warning to all of us, that the drugs that our family doctors and specialists trust, are only as good as the research and studies that back them up- which might not be any good to start with.

Postscript: Tonight, Merck is claiming that a Saskatchewan class-action suit about Vioxx has had its certification dismissed. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601082&sid=af0pNIm3X7Ek&refer=canada

Friday, March 27, 2009

Budget and floods elbow Brian Sinclair questions off MSM radar

This past week, Premier Gary Doer paid tribute to the former Winnipeg Free Press legislative columnist Arlene Billinkoff, who had just passed away.

"(She) provided a lot of accountability for all members... because of her long institutional memory.", Doer told the Free Press. "I enjoyed reading her columns before I was in politics and respected her column after I was in politics."

Her forte, said former writing colleague Gerald Flood, was "as a writer of record rather than a reporter of news. She would exhaustively research her columns to ensure she had the whole story. It often meant that her columns appeared after much of the news had played out, but they also were always the best single source of information on a issue."

How fortunate indeed for Doer's government, that the latter-day version of the FP does not have the same commitment to research and being "the best single source of information" on the Legislature, that they lauded in Arlene's Under the Dome columns.

If it did, then readers would not only have been reminded about the Brian Sinclair emergency room death as a backdrop to a budget announcement.


"One month after health officials came under fire for their botched explanation of Brian Sinclair's death, the province announced it will shell out close to $6 million to "strengthen" Manitoba's emergency rooms."

Despite recognizing the role of the Sinclair death as a motive for the ER improvements, the Freep failed to report the latest on the other side of the equation-

"In February, senior Winnipeg health officials and Health Minister Theresa Oswald incited public outrage for their explanation of the man's death. Security tapes released by the province's chief medical examiner revealed Sinclair did approach the triage desk."

So focused was the Free Press and other MSM outlets on the provincial budget, and the flooding crisis hitting North Dakota and Manitoba, no coverage was given to the issue of accountability for the "explanation" of his death that was left on the record in the House.

On Wednesday, both the Conservative opposition and Liberals asked hard questions of Premier Doer and Oswald for the public outrage their conduct of the file generated in February.

Rather than set the record straight as asked, the smear against Sinclair- that he did not seek help from the triage desk - remains the official record in Hansard.

Instead, the government ducked the issue and twisted the questions of the opposition, hiding behind "taking responsibility" for every other aspect of the case EXCEPT for the lies about Sinclair repeated in the House -- even after the Minister had received the internal review that refuted the version that sinclair was to blame for his own fate.

Or they tried to hide behind the notion that the remarks could be viewed as "preliminary" and should be revisited AFTER the judicial inquest that in all likelihood, will not even examine how the circumstances that resulted in Sinclair's death being distorted for months to the media and public by the WRHA and Health Minister.

Since no one in the MSM thought about following up on the public outrage, we will.

Here are the relevant portions from Hansard for Wednesday, March 25th, about Brian Sinclair (oh, and there's more about the brown envelopes as well):

Oral Questions
Brian Sinclair Death
Government Response to Subsequent Reports

Mr. Hugh McFadyen (Leader of the Official Opposition): Today is the first time the House has sat since the disclosures around the final tragic hours in the life of Brian Sinclair who was left to wait 34 hours in the emergency room before tragically passing away at Health Sciences Centre.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier, his Minister of Health (Ms. Oswald) and some of their officials repeated over and over again statements that later turned out to be false with respect to the circumstances leading up to Mr. Sinclair's death.

I want to ask the Premier if he wants to take the opportunity today to apologize for those statements and to set the record straight out of respect for Mr. Sinclair and his family.

Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): Yes, Mr. Speaker, out of respect for Mr. Sinclair, I would repeat what I said last September, that this was a tragic incident that took place in our health care system.

It was a preventable death. We accept responsibility, and for that, Mr. Speaker, we certainly are responsible to Mr. Sinclair and his family.

The facts are very straightforward in terms of what we said in the House, and, Mr. Speaker, our concerns, as they were in September, remain today, that this is a death that should not have taken place in the health care system. That's what I'd like to reiterate to the people of Manitoba again today.

Mr. McFadyen: Well, Mr. Speaker, if he had left the comments at that in the immediate aftermath of the death, then it would be a very different story. We might be able to accept today's comment without further question.

But the reality, Mr. Speaker, is that he and his minister went out on a campaign to create the impression that Mr. Sinclair didn't ask for help when he went to the emergency room. They said he didn't approach the triage desk. They said that the emergency room wasn't visible from the triage desk. They said that Mr. Sinclair wasn't somebody known to be in need of help.

We know it was all untrue now, Mr. Speaker. Why not just apologize for those falsehoods, set the record straight, in order to properly pay tribute to Mr. Sinclair and the tragic circumstances surrounding his preventable death.

Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker, we took responsibility in September 13 times in Hansard, at least I did, and the Minister of Health (Ms. Oswald) did it beyond that.

Mr. Speaker, on 10 occasions I said that this was a preventable death.

The member opposite is trying to frame different statements in such a way to mislead what happened in Hansard. He'll take a word here and a word there, Mr. Speaker.

As I said, 13 times I stated it was a preventable death. The Minister of Health did the same thing.

We also stated, and I also stated, that the death was preventable. I said it was a tragedy 30 times in the House in September, and it was. I repeat it today, and, Mr. Speaker, we have said, even within days of this incident taking place, it was a preventable death.

I recall raising questions about baby death operations that took place in the Children's Hospital, and six years later we still haven't had a member responsible for that issue take responsibility.

Mr. Speaker, obviously, we feel that it was a tragedy, it was preventable, and we've said so over and over and over again, and I'm perfectly prepared to say it again in the House.

I'm prepared to say it on the next question in the House. I'm prepared to say it in the further questions in the House and will continue to do so, Mr. Speaker.

* (13:50)

Mr. McFadyen: Mr. Speaker, we all agree that it was a tragedy. There's no dispute over that point. These hollow words coming from the Premier with no action to actually address what happened and no apparent concern for the fact that he and his minister deliberately went on a campaign to create the impression and the media in this House and through the public of Manitoba that Mr. Sinclair didn't do enough to let the people at the Health Sciences Centre know he needed help; we know he was crying for help. He went to the triage desk. Security guards went on his behalf. They didn't disclose those facts until it came out through Dr. Balachandra.

Will he apologize for creating the impression that Mr. Sinclair didn't do enough when, in fact, Mr. Speaker, he was asking for help?

Mr. Doer:
Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite wants to apply for the counsel for the judicial inquest, he's quite entitled to do so, but the member opposite raises a question about what action took place following the tragedy and the death and the preventable situation at the Health Sciences Centre.

Mr. Speaker, we didn't wait four, five years. We took action right away. The Minister of Health (Ms. Oswald) took action through the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
I would point out that the first point of entry for Mr. Sinclair was at the Health Action Centre. Mr. Sinclair saw a doctor and a nurse. That referral did not go in a formal way to the Health Sciences Centre emergency room staff. We changed that protocol.

The member says no changes were made. He's wrong. Changes were made. In fact, Dr. Balachandra said that these are good steps forward when he was commenting to the media on September 24, 2008. So to say that no action was taken is wrong, Mr. Speaker. Dr. Balachandra confirms action was taken, and it took place at the first point of entry of Mr. Sinclair where things went tragically wrong.

Brian Sinclair Death
Government Response to Subsequent Reports

Mrs. Myrna Driedger (Charleswood): Mr. Speaker, this Minister of Health has ducked her responsibility and her accountability every step of the way as it relates to Brian Sinclair. First, she misled the public about what happened to Brian Sinclair, saying that he never presented to triage. Then, a month after his death, when she received the administrative report, the report said that he did present to triage, but the minister never corrected her record.

Can I ask the Minister of Health: Why, at that time, did she not correct the record?

Hon. Theresa Oswald
(Minister of Health): I can say to the member opposite and to all members of this House that we know that when the tragedy involving Mr. Brian Sinclair occurred, the facts are as follows: a critical incident review was started immediately, started immediately upon the discovery of the tragedy of Mr. Sinclair, before the media reported the story, before members opposite endeavoured to politicize it.

We know that immediately after, within three days, an independent, judicial inquest was called, and we welcome that judicial inquest for all of the facts of the case to come out. We know within four days, the RHAs were directed to change protocols. That's happened, Mr. Speaker.

Mrs. Driedger: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health doesn't seem to understand that under ministerial responsibility, she should have corrected the record. Instead, she sat on the truth for five months and continued to make and allow misleading statements to be made about Brian Sinclair's death. It became an ER cover-up.

So I'd like to ask the Minister of Health: Can she tell us why she sat on the truth for five months?

Ms. Oswald: Mr. Speaker, I'll say again clearly for the House. When the tragedy occurred, a critical incident review was taking place immediately. Incidentally, a review that took place as a result of legislation that we put in place that members opposite supported, that within four days, we directed the regional health authorities to change their system to identify any patients that might be waiting in an emergency room waiting area. Within five days, we established a new protocol to ensure that phone calls went from community clinics to emergency rooms. Within eight days, additional staff was added to HSC.

We've said from the beginning that we want all the facts in this case to come out. That's why we support the independent judicial inquest that's going to go forward. We want all the facts to come out and we've said so from the beginning, Mr. Speaker.

Mrs. Driedger: Mr. Speaker, the Chief Medical Examiner got so fed up and frustrated with the government's spin and misleading statements that he did something unprecedented: He put out a news release so that the truth would be put out there.

The Minister of Health was then caught. Did she demonstrate ministerial accountability? No, she did not. She went into hiding instead and refused to speak to the media. So can this minister tell us: Why did she go into hiding and refuse to speak with the media about this very important issue?

Ms. Oswald: Mr. Speaker, as the Premier (Mr. Doer) noted earlier today, immediately on this side of the House we took responsibility for the tragedy that happened to Mr. Sinclair. I think a decade has passed since the tragedies of the pediatric cardiac deaths. We've never heard one member opposite take responsibility for that.

Further, Mr. Speaker, we took action to ensure that this tragedy would not happen again. Do you know what a responsible Minister of Health would not do? He wouldn't blame the front-line workers. He wouldn't say in The Globe and Mail that the front-line workers could have had flashing lights on their head and they wouldn't have done anything.

I'm sure a responsible Minister of Health would never say that about nurses, about doctors, about health care aides, certainly not this one.

Brian Sinclair Death
Government Response to Subsequent Reports

Mr. Speaker: The honourable Member for Charleswood, on a new question?

Mrs. Myrna Driedger (Charleswood): On a new question, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: The honourable Member for Charleswood, with a new question.

Mrs. Driedger: Mr. Speaker, this Minister of Health has ducked her responsibility and ministerial accountability every step of the way; instead now we have an ER cover-up.

She misled the public at the beginning. When she found out the truth months later, she failed to correct the record and continued to blame the patient for his own death. She sat on the truth for five months. She went AWOL instead of facing the media with some very, very significant questions that needed to be answered.

So we would like to ask this Minister of Health: Can she please explain her irresponsible behaviour as a Minister of Health?

Hon. Theresa Oswald (Minister of Health): I'll tell the member opposite again what a responsible Minister of Health does. A responsible Minister of Health ensures that there are critical incident review systems in place, check. A responsible Minister of Health ensures that immediately an investigation goes into place to find out what can be changed, like, for example, changing the process in the ER waiting room to identify all people, like, to change the protocol to ensure that phone calls are made from community clinics.

A responsible Minister of Health does not blame front-line workers like all the members opposite.

Mrs. Driedger: Instead, Mr. Speaker, she blamed the patient.

Mr. Speaker, this Minister of Health, when she stood up and made comments about her health care system being stellar, it was only hours after she had heard that Brian Sinclair died in an ER waiting room, and that's the minister that stood up and said she had a stellar health care system.

Art Schafer, an ethics professor at the University of Manitoba , said and I quote: The failure of the victim to approach the triage desk was the centrepiece of the story they fed to the public. If they knew it was false at the time they perpetrated it or if they discovered the truth and subsequently didn't correct the record, they are guilty of failure of openness, failure of honesty.

This minister is guilty of those accusations and we would like to ask her to explain: Why has spin become more important to her than patients?

Ms. Oswald: Mr. Speaker, the most important thing to me, and I believe for every member in this House, is to find out what went so tragically wrong on the day that Mr. Sinclair died. That is the most important thing.

It was a tragedy. It was preventable. We are going to welcome Chief Judge Wyant's inquest so that all of the information can come out, every bit of information which we have said we wanted from the beginning.

You know, the member opposite talks about quotes from the paper. A doctor from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority recently referred to the Tory Health critic as either having a profound ignorance of health care delivery or a disturbing proclivity for fearmongering. Their quotes alarm, Mr. Speaker.

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Let's have some order. The honourable Member for Charleswood has the floor.

* (14:00)

Mrs. Driedger: Mr. Speaker, we're speaking about a situation where a patient died under this government's watch after waiting 34 hours in an ER without care. So what the minister stands up here and says are absolutely hollow words. Her actions throughout this whole process have spoken louder than anything she has said, and we've got an ER cover-up.

What did we get from this minister? We've got a lot of spin, but we've got zero leadership, zero accountability and zero responsibility. So can she tell us why she deserves to be in this high position? Does she feel she's entitled to be in this position of trust by the public when she is failing the public every step of the way as it relates to the death of this man?

Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I would contrast the accountability and responsibility that took place with this minister, with this tragedy, over the tragedy that took place in the 1990s where nobody accepted responsibility, nobody said it was a preventable death, nobody would answer a question. In fact, it took five years later for the 12 families to get an apology from the member from Seven Oaks.

Now, yes, a tragedy took place. Did the minister say no tragedy took place? No, she said a tragedy took place. Did the minister deny that it was a preventable death right away with preliminary information? No, she said it was a preventable death. Was action taken to make sure that this did not happen again? Yes. Did the Chief Medical Examiner say that action taken were the right steps forward? Yes. I am proud of the Minister of Health.

Brian Sinclair Death
Government Response to Subsequent Reports

Mr. Hugh McFadyen (Leader of the Official Opposition): Mr. Speaker, four months after the Minister of Health and Premier received the facts from their officials about what happened with Mr. Sinclair, and they learned that he had been vomiting in the emergency room, that security guards had been looking for help, that he approached triage, four months later, the Minister of Health told The Globe and Mail that, in her view, the outcome of the inquest was going to be that they were going to conclude that Mr. Sinclair died as a result of kindness. This is what the Minister of Health told The Globe and Mail.

Does the Premier share his minister's view that Mr. Sinclair died as a result of kindness or does he live here on planet Earth with the rest of us?

Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): The advantage of Hansard , Mr. Speaker, is that there is a record of what we said with preliminary information a couple of days after the tragedy became public. We made a number of statements. There is a choice at that point to just say, we'll wait for the judicial inquest until we comment, as was the case in the 1990s, or there is a fundamental choice to accept responsibility in terms of the general situation and accept responsibility for a preventable death. We choose to accept responsibility. The minister choose to accept responsibility.

Within three days of the tragedy, we've all said that this was a preventable death at the Health Sciences Centre. We didn't say you had to wait for an inquest, Mr. Speaker. Now we are more than willing and accountable to take the comments we said, within a day of the tragedy taking place, within two days of the tragedy taking place, and compare the results and findings for the judicial inquest. We want to take all the facts, there will be cross-examination, there'll be evidence presented and the judge will make a decision and a determination. At that point, we are more than willing to take what we said and take what members opposite said and look at what we said in a preliminary way.

If the members opposite want to join up with a judicial inquest, if they want to apply for jobs, if he wants to apply for a job to be the general counsel of the judicial inquest, he's quite welcome to do it. Go ahead, apply for the job. The judge may or may not hire you, I don't know. But, Mr. Speaker, I do know that a judge will make the decision and we will be judged by a judge, not by members opposite.

Health Care Services

Mr. Hugh McFadyen (Leader of the Official Opposition): The problem with that rant, Mr. Speaker, is that his minister has already concluded that Mr. Sinclair died from kindness. She's already prejudged the outcome of the inquest. I don't know how anybody in their right mind could reach that conclusion based on what we know about the tragic final hours of Mr. Sinclair's life.

In addition to that tragedy, Mr. Speaker, we have heard from literally hundreds of Manitobans who have had terrible experiences in emergency rooms across the province, those that remain open, Mr. Speaker. We've heard tales of highway medicine, and we found out, around the same time that the facts came out about Brian Sinclair, that the Department of Health has a policy of allowing brown envelopes in the context of its tendering. The Minister of Health (Ms. Oswald) endorsed that policy. She said Mr. Sinclair died from kindness, brown envelopes are allowed in the tendering process, and that she's doing a stellar job days after learning about Mr. Sinclair's death.

How are they going to clean up the rot at the top of the health-care system when they don't even appear to be in touch with the reality of what's going on on the ground?

Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): Well, Mr. Speaker, we heard over and over again, in the last few weeks, about our record on health and the members opposite's record on health, and that's why it's always good to have this accountability.

Mr. Speaker, I would also point out that the article gives the impression that there's cash in envelopes. I know members opposite are sensitive to that, given the allegations against–well, not allegations–with the confirmations of the former Conservative Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney.

I understand, Mr. Speaker–

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Let's have a little decorum.

Mr. Doer: I have been advised–and the facts may come out differently with the Auditor General–but I have been advised that there was no, quote, cash in envelopes. I am aware in other tender processes, we always hear that the bids in tender processes are sealed and opened at the same time to ensure, whether it's in the Department of Highways, or whether it's bridge construction, or whether it's applying for a capital works in health care, you know, a number of times I've been involved where envelopes are sealed and opened at the same time so there can't be any allegation that bids are submitted, and then a lower bid is submitted and then there's a question of whether somebody had inside information.

So a sealed-bid proposal is something that I know that is often used by many public entities to ensure the integrity of the tendering process. We'll wait for the Auditor General again. The member opposite–I don't know whether he's condemned the Auditor General–I know most other officers of the Legislature he's condemned, but, oh, yes, I guess he has done that, too. But we'll wait for the Auditor General to report, Mr. Speaker.

Health Department
Call for Replacement of Minister of Health

Mr. Hugh McFadyen (Leader of the Official Opposition): Mr. Speaker, the fact is that it was the CFO of the health authority who said that we get cash in brown envelopes. We open the brown envelopes after the bids. Sometimes there's cash; sometimes there's nothing at all. Oh, we get together and find out what the prize in the brown envelope is after the bid. That was the CFO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority that said that on the record, and it's endorsed by his Minister of Health (Ms. Oswald).

In addition to that, Mr. Speaker, we have highway medicine around the province. We have a Minister of Health who misleads the public about the worst ER tragedy in our history, and we have a Minister of Health who has prejudged the Brian Sinclair inquest by already concluding that he died as a result of kindness.

Mr. Speaker, before any other Manitobans are killed by the kindness of the NDP, will he replace his Minister of Health with somebody who Manitobans can have faith in?

Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question is no. Furthermore, he's wrong on all the facts in all his allegations. He's always wrong. He frames one word here and one word there and one word over there.

Mr. Speaker, let's deal with the facts. The member opposite said in this House, in 2006, that the rainy day fund in Manitoba would be fully drained in three years. Well, tonight, if the rainy day fund isn't drained, will he resign?

* (14:20)

Brian Sinclair Death
Government Response to Subsequent Reports

Hon. Jon Gerrard ( River Heights ): Mr. Speaker, the Premier has indicated that he has accepted responsibility for the death of Mr. Sinclair, and we in this House actually all know that the Premier, because he's done such a very poor job of running health care in this province, is the one responsible.

But, Mr. Speaker, the fact is that it was critical to understand quickly what went wrong and to correct it, and, yet, we waited many months for Dr. Balachandra to carefully review the tapes from the Health Sciences Centre emergency room before the basic details of what happened were known.

I ask: Why did the Minister of Health (Ms. Oswald) so badly fail Manitobans in not acknowledging the basic facts of what happened until Dr. Balachandra uncovered the truth?

Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): Well, Mr. Speaker, the basic facts on a preliminary basis were stated in this House that it was a preventable death. We took responsibility. I would point out that the first point of entry of Mr. Sinclair to the health-care system was not at the Health Sciences Centre; it was at the Health Action Centre where Mr. Sinclair was seen by a doctor and a nurse and the information was not formally transferred by protocol to the Health Sciences Centre. We took and changed that protocol and Dr. Balachandra has commented that it was a positive step forward.

Mr. Gerrard: Yet, when we look back at the painful last 34 hours of Mr. Brian Sinclair, desperately sick and vomiting in the Health Sciences Centre emergency room as recorded on that video, we see that the Premier and the Minister of Health are continuing to say, well, at some point in the future we're going to find out what happened because the inquest is coming. Well, you know, that's months and months away yet and while we wait months and months yet for some of these answers, the Premier and the Minister of Health continue to stonewall and to block the road to a better understanding and to improve functioning of the emergency room.

I ask: Why do the Premier and the Minister of Health continue to play cover-up and hide?

Mr. Doer: The member opposite uses the word "cover-up." I don't think anybody else has had their convention throw all the media out. He has no business lecturing this House, Mr. Speaker.

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker: Order. I would like to remind members that when the Speaker is standing that all members should be seated and that the Speaker should be heard in silence. I've been standing and I've been saying order and the members are ignoring the instructions of the Chair. There is a penalty for that. So I'd be very, very careful in the future.

Mr. Gerrard: We are all too aware of those painful last 34 hours of Mr. Brian Sinclair, desperately sick and vomiting, recorded on video. As we all know, he came to the emergency room; he waited those 34 painful and desperate hours for the help which never came, and we are still waiting for answers.

I ask the Premier: Is he going to keep his Minister of Health in her present position until we get some of these answers or is he going to shuffle the Minister of Health in order to further cover up the situation and keep her from answering questions?

Mr. Doer: The information has been fully available to the public through our answers in a preliminary way in September. The first point of entry, Mr. Speaker, the members opposite forget to mention or ignore or omit to mention that the first point of entry was at the Health Action Centre. We've admitted that. We've admitted it broke down at the Health Sciences Centre. We said it was a preventable death. We said it was a tragedy. We took responsibility. All of the material was sent to the Chief Medical Examiner. It wasn't covered up. The inquest was requested and it will take place with a judge, and we'll be accountable for the judge's findings.

We hope that the action that the minister took last fall initially is deemed by the judge to be the proper steps. I'm sure there'll be other action that will be taken after cross-examination takes place. But what happened was a tragedy, and we've said that.

What happened at the Health Sciences Centre should not have happened. We've apologized for that. Why it happened and whether the procedures we've put in place could prevent that in the future, we'll await the judicial inquiry. We have taken preliminary steps. The Chief Medical Examiner said those are positive steps forward.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Listener reaction to Blaikie win, U of W bottled water ban, MSM's gaffes and skewed priorities

More email from our listeners:

On our exclusive interview with Bill Blaikie and his Elmwood byelection win:


I just wanted to take some time to comment on your interview with Bill Blaikie on Friday. I was impressed in a couple ways, mainly on how you conducted the interview.

I think the reason the NDP refuses to give you an opportunity to interview them is because they are afraid of you. You are too well versed on the issues, and therefore cannot be buffaloed into accepting something that isn't the actual answer to your question. Because of this knowledge they are worried that if they don't give you an answer, you will keep asking them the questions and not let them loose.

I thought you were very professional and respectful. You asked Mr. Blaikie a question and you let him answer. You asked him some tough questions that I'm sure either made him cringe a little when he heard it, or made you cringe a little in your mind before you asked them. He gave you an answer, you may have followed up a bit or not, but the point is you didn't hound him to get some kind of answer that the NDP thought you were going to try and get out of him.

I honestly think that is why they have been afraid to come on with you in the past for fear that you would keep asking the same question until you got the answer YOU wanted. You proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the you would let them live or die on their own answers without prodding.

Bravo Marty, perhaps now they realize that they shouldn't be so affriad to come on your show and answer some questions on the myriad of issues that has plagued their government for years.

But back to the interview. I was not surprised Mr. Blaikie towed to party line on issues such as Disraelli or WRHA, really when in comes to policy issues, he simply cannot come off being this rogue candidate who is going to turn the government on its ear with his opinions. I never expected him to come out and say that he thinks certain Administration or Cabinet Ministers to resign over anything, 1. because that shouldn't be his decision, it should be Gary Doer's and 2. He possibly has to go into work tomorrow with these people and most likely doesn't want to start an internal war.

What I was impressed with however was his explanation on some personal issues that have been dogging him since he announced his running in the by-election. I'm glad he cleared up the triple dipping issue. I was not aware that he was considered an adjunct professor and equally not aware that it was a volunteer position. He also made a good point regarding his pension and taking on another government salary. Regardless of where his pension comes from, he has paid into it and he is entitled to it. He is getting it regardless of whether he wins today or not.

Whoever wins today will be getting paid to be the MLA, so to say that he is double dipping however true in a technical sense, simply doesn't account for the fact that all of that money is going to be paid out regardless. One way or another he is getting a pension and someone is getting paid to be our MLA. The only thing I think he skirted was the possibility of being in cabinet where he would get paid more then a normal MLA.

He provided a very reasonable reason for not being accounted for in votes in Parliament, being the Deputy Speaker, of course he would not vote unless there was a tie.

I'm not a fan of the NDP, and specifically has never supported Mr. Blaikie because of this reason. I am still not supporting the NDP today when I cast my vote, but am happy to see Mr. Blaikie clear up some of the issues that has been dogging him. Again Bravo on your interview with him, it was very interesting to listen to.

Thanks S.

A sceptic:

Hi Marty,

‘I’m entitled to my entitlements..’

Where have we heard THAT before? Mr. Blaike is so far removed from ‘the working man’ he supposedly represents, it’s not even funny! I’ve worked in health care for 30 years and I wouldn’t receive 3 million dollars in pension money if I lived to be 150!

Families worried about down-sizing and outsourcing. Young people wondering if there will be jobs for them when they finish school, and those nearing retirement afraid that their savings have vanished faster than the Rainy Day Fund….

Let’s hope the good people of Elmwood are more vested in the outcome of this byelection than those of River Heights/Fort Garry. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see if this spare change he assures us will be made available to prevent the complete closure of the Disraeli, will actually materialize. And while the discussions of everything from temporary bridges to lofty multi-span structures continue….may I suggest you take a walk down to the Disraeli or Louise in the next few weeks and witness the power of the river…let’s not wait too long! K.

Results grim for Liberal brand:

I have to admit I am surprised by the election results in Elmwood. Not that Bill Blaikie won, and to some degree not even that he won by a landslide, which is what you get when he outscores the other candidates alltogether. Let's get real, Bill Blaikie is a long standing politician, very well respected and should be a shoe-in in an NDP stronghold. This obviously held up.

What I am surprised with is the results for the PC's and Liberals. I truly thought that Regan Wolfram would give Bill Blaikie a run for his money. Coming down the wire it appeared to me as if the Liberals really had a chance to knock off Blaikie, or at minimum finish a very close 2nd. I even found myself questioning my long time loyalty to the PC's in the voting booth yesterday wondering if I should stratgically vote to help knock off the NDP.

I truly felt Regan Wolfram ran a good campaign and was a stronger candidate then Adrian Schultz, however in the end the PC's won out my vote because I support the party.

Based on these results though, does this not prove that the Liberal Party in Manitoba is really finished? You had a much stronger candidate then the last number of elections, someone with real community roots, residents knew by name due to work around the community. Yet no real change in the results. True they gained a couple of percentage points in the vote, but so did the PC's.

I guess the true test would have been if the NDP ran an unknown candidate, but they didn't, they ran a juggernaut. The Liberals weren't even able to knock off the Conservatives for 2nd place.

When the Federal election was on, Regan came to my door with Dr. Gerrard. They told me a good story, but I had to ask them a simple question that it looks like voters asked themselves yesterday in the voting booth. Why should I vote for the Liberals when even if you win it will give you only a 3rd MLA, what good will that do me? Why shouldn't I vote PC and chip away at the NDP?

The answer I got was that they would be a more effective representative for our riding and that it would allow Dr. Gerrard and Mr. Lamoureaux to split up their responisibilites and help hold the Government more to account.

It makes sense from their point of view, but at the end of the day, doesn't make sense to voters, since really nothing changed.

No fault of Regan's, I think he did a terrific job and should be commended. He ran the absolute best campaign I think he could have run. In fact I think he ran the best campaign period among the 4 parties. It's the Liberal Party brand that is the proverbial anchor around his neck.

The brand is effectively dead in this province, I think it's time for 2 long time MLA's to realize that and join the Conservative Party.

Thanks A.


University of Winnipeg bottled water ban

When I was in my second year there and taking a lot of English courses, one of the instructors received a $500,000 grant to study children's literature. Children's literature? Child development is important, but aren't medicare and infrastructure more important? That woke me up to the unspoken, profit-minded nature of universities themselves.

- After attending classes there for two years and being involved in their student life, I can say that the culture of the University of Winnipeg centres around liberal protestation without actual cause or effect. In everything from student governance to class structure, the people there take great comfort in being in an ivory tower, and not needing to contribute to society. Thus, to hear that they're patting themselves on the back for an ultimately impractical ban is not surprising.

Universities are mature institutions, and everyone in there is an adult. People can make their own choices, and should be allowed to make their own choices, instead of being parented. Choices are practical, mature, and what I'd expect of a good university. Banning items in a vain attempt to look like they're ahead of the curve is not. O.

ban no big deal?
I don't care that much about the water issue BUT.....it is a trend...just like not smoking in public places was a trend. Why NOT be ahead of the curve? All humans drink water, but not everyone drinks plastic bottled pop or other beverages. I do not. I don't like the taste of drinks, pop, juice, etc in plastic. But to compare University grant allowances to this is either ignorant or immature. Some people do want to point at things and connect them to suit their own interests. If I had to guess, that money went to Dr Perry Nodelman, winnipeg's world class authority on children's lit. We should be proud of that. F.

Freedom of choice
Where is my ability to choose to drink non-fluoridated, non-chlorinated water? Wouldn't that be taken away if I was unable to to purchase bottled water? D.

in my days...
Jesus! Who are these dehydrated students that can't make it through a class without a bottle beside them? When I was in University in 84 onward, there weren't any bottles to suck on when I was in class. HOW DID I SURVIVE?!! Water water water....blah, blah. BUY IT SOMEWHERE ELSE THEN AND CARRY IT EVERYWHERE YOU GO SO YOU DON'T DROP DEAD FROM NOT HAVING ON YOUR PERSON ALL DAY!! E.

elusive bossman
A thought occurred to me when you mentioned Axworthy's name. A friend of my wife's belongs to a committee that is hosting a national conference in Winnipeg next year. Supposedly they invited Axwothy to be a keynote speaker.. Over the course of about 3 months they sent something like 3 letters, one of which (possibly two) were registered and several phone calls and never heard back ANYTHING back from him or his office. Not even the obligatory 'thank you for your request, blah, blah, blah'.I guess he is too good for the worker bees. ;) V.
A round-up of media malarky

Once again, in their infinite wisdom CJOB on the weekend posted a news story on the internet. About a fire in the North end. As I live in the North end, I thought I would check it out. Well reading more of the posting, they go on to say it was on William Ave. When did WIlliam Ave become part of the North end? I sent a letter to Vic Grant on Sunday. You would of thought they would of changed the wording...NOT. I think Vic is out of town still, so I might let him off the hook. How about we all chip in a buck or two, and buy all the news rooms in the city a map, with all the different districts on it. ??? Gh.

misleading headline
Hey Marty,

Did you see this article in the Free Press on Sat?


The only problem with that? The title of the article is “Feds Quietly chop money for fetal alcohol program”. Read the article and you’ll see that that is totally not the case, the program has not been spending it’s allotted budget every year. Cutting funding and not spending the full amount of your budget every year are two entirely different things.


But then again, what can you expect when your lead editorialist is Gordon Sinclair. If you needed no other reason to hate the freep, he’s it. I think it is incredible that the Free Press promotes Raise a Reader, and yet this guy can’t even string together a proper sentence. I know grade 2 students that have better sentence structure than he has. And they are supposed to be the “good paper” in this town? Sheesh! C.

James Turner layoff from Freep

You know I'm a fan of your show.

Right now I am on travel through the U.S. The internet is sometimes dubious, so I have been missing news from my home (the Peg) as well as "TGCTS". but today...I just read that the Freep had let James Turner go.

Please, please try to get him the message that I have always admired and respected his work. The Freep has made a serious error with this lay-off and they will regret the day....

Marty....and crew....keep up the good work and thank you for reporting what isn't reported. B

in the NDP's pocket?
Marty, You speculated that the mainstream media has been co-opted by the NDP or has ceased to be critical of the provincial government. I think both situations apply. I would guess that the Province and its crown corporations are spending much more on advertising than the Pawley era. The Province and its subsidiaries also relieve the content crunch considerably for the MSM by feeding it a constant supply of press releases.

The aversion to criticizing the NDP, I think, indicates a generation cultivated by Left-leaning academia that is self-conscious of its ideological dependency to the extent of being so intellectually insecure as to fear any criticism whatsoever. There is probably also an instinctive reluctance amongst union comrades to criticize a party that has been pro-Union, at least historically. Keep up the good work, M.

FP create-a-story Sunday

Here is an idea for you if and when you get your chance to guest star in the Excuse Me? commentary on CJOB

I noticed in Sunday's Free Press, I think on page A8, they devoted a whole entire color page to entries from children on drawing our new provincial flag. I think you are even encouraged to send in a vote on which one you think is the best.


Are the editors at the Free Press that dillusional to think that this is actually going to happen? This was a one off policy thrown out at an annual NDP conference, which really got no support to run on. I remember when this hit the news, Richard Cloutier devoted some time on his show for this, I'm sure you did also. Many callers called in asking why he was even wasting air time on this issue. His answer - sometimes you have to put the absurd ideas out there so the creators of these ideas can see just how far off base they are.

Secondly, however cute it is to see children send in their entires on what they think a new flag should look like, is the Free Press that out in left field that they really think the Province will use a child's rendering as our new flag. Do they not realize that if the Province ever did decide to go ahead with this debacle, they would spend millions of dollars doing research, studies, focus groups, marketing firms, etc. before they came up with a new flag? Perhaps this is the Free Press's way of saving the Province money, who knows.

I guess the larger point here is, aside from giving valuable print space to a ridiculous idea, do they have nothing better to report on?

They are laying off valuable reporters, who have done great work, because they are losing money, yet they can devote AN ENTIRE PAGE IN COLOR no less to this so called story that absolutely no one other then a handfull of people care about.

Is it any wonder why the Free Press is losing money and readers? Not to me.

thanks R.
Yesterday we heard from CTV's Kelly Dehn about the Harper government plan to end the "2 for 1" practice where courts shave hard time off sentences handed to violent offenders, because of time spent in remand awaiting trial; and Jim Carr of the Business Council of Manitoba and Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation contributed their views about the new provincial budget and its success and shortcomings.

Carr, the former Carstairs-era Liberal MLA, also gave a warm remembrance of the late Arlene Billinkoff and echoed Premier Doer's comment that her 'Under the Dome' legislature column in the Free Press "provided a lot of accountability for all members..."

Today, more analysis and reaction to the provincial budget, plus;

- how the NDP spent Question Period dodging why Health Minister Theresa Oswald misled the legislature and public about the Brian Sinclair HSC emergency room death;

- more details from the Police Advisory Board report;

- a blogger dissects a Gordon Sinclair column and makes a shocking discovery, and

- we'll point listeners to this new blog that is tracking flooding conditions http://redriverrising.blogspot.com/

Sunday, March 22, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Blaikie pledges more cash to keep Disraeli traffic flowing; leak reveals estimate of his election promise cost

It only took 24 hours for Bill Blaikie to arrange an interview with The Great Canadian Talk Show, after we saw him outside his campaign office and let him know that our 4 previous requests to his staff had gone unanswered.

Departing from the policy of avoidance practiced by members of Premier Doer's government when faced with repeated invitations to address the campus radio audience, Blaikie's people called Thursday morning and offered to make time for us the very next day.

So last Friday afternoon, 92.9 Kick-FM broadcast our exclusive question- and- answer session with the retired NDP parliamentarian, who is seeking to replace backbencher Jim Maloway as MLA for Elmwood in the March 24 byelection -- and is certain to enter cabinet if successful.

As heard exclusively on the show, Blaikie said the Disraeli Bridge reconstruction was not only the top issue with voters, it was the top issue with Doer, who Blaikie said himself takes the Freeway to go to work at the legislature every morning.

"This was a decision taken by city council, over and against the wishes of the local councillors ... anybody who'se from northeast Winnipeg knows you can't shut down the bridge down for 16 months, without creating a nightmare for people."

Noting the contractors bidding on the project are looking for techniques to maintain opening lanes and prevent a 16 month total closure, Blaikie stated,

"... if that proves possible, that may involve a longer repair time by keeping the bridge open, and if that requires more money or whatever it takes, the NDP goverment will be there to sit down with the city and make that possible."

He then emphasized, "We're not going to allow the bridge to be shut down for 16 months."

"We will find a solution to that - we hope the contractors will find it - and, and we will help make that possible", adding "if it means more provincial money to keep the bridge open or to in terms of an alternate plan (such as a second Louise Bridge), yeah, that would be my job as the MLA for Elmwood to make sure the provincial government and for that matter the federal government, that all levels of government," come to the table to fund a solution instead of the issue being used as a "political instrument".

Meanwhile, as Blaikie's words were being aired, internal City Hall email was sent to us -- that fleshed out how far the NDP might have to go to pay for his election promise.

"...Bill Ebenspanger, our Project Manager on the Disraeli project, (confirms) that a preliminary analysis by our Consultants indicates that keeping a lane in each direction open on the structures during construction would extend the length of the project by approximately 14 months and would add at least

$35 million to the cost of the project."

Hounded by the Disraeli issue when opposition candidates seized upon it, Blaikie was forced to formally raise the panic over the impending closure in a resolution at the NDP convention last weekend.

In the past few weeks, Mayor Katz had said no one from the provincial government, nor Maloway, had spoken with him about averting the closure. And even after the convention, Doer had not committed to additional money over and above the provinces' original share of the
$140M project.

With Liberal hopeful and area resident Regan Wolfrom nipping at his heels in a remarkably competitive race, Blaikie - who said he was running at the request of Premier Doer

- claimed his long career as area federal representative mitgates any perception he is a "parachute candidate"

- sloughed off suggestions that his "double dipping" - a combined MP's pension and MLA salary of $250,000 if they vote him into office -was viewed dimly by voters in the economically-mixed ward.

- said statistics showing he was tied for 10th in the most-absent MP list (with 103) during his final session on Parliament Hill was "misleading" (even though it comes from the parliamentary website), because it did not account for his actually being in the House in the role of Deputy Speaker.

Blaikie also announced that he would not resign his adjunct professorship at the University of Winnipeg if elected -- and felt it was not even a perceived, let alone actual, conflict of interest for him to sit in cabinet and choose between public subsidies for Lloyd Axworthy's U of W expansion, against competing funding requests from other post-secondary institutions such as Red River College. Doer told the Free Press last week that the upcoming budget, which will be tabled the day after the byelection, is focused on university and college infrastructure and training.

Blaikie also defended his record on crime, saying the federal NDP caucus he sat with pushed for a review of the 'inadequate' Youth Criminal Justice Act, which they had voted against in the first place.

"I don't remember exactly what (critic) Joe Comartin said but I know we were actually cooperating more with the Conservatives" on upgrading crime legislation then did the opposition Liberals. Depite Comartin's opposition to having deterence and denunciation enshrined as a sentencing principle for youth criminals, "Joe has been quite reasonable in the way he works with the government on that."

Blaikie also defended the Doer NDP 'holistic approach' to public safety despite Winnipeg being at the top of homocide, car theft, and gang statistics under his regime. "The (Manitoba) NDP government - in Ottawa - has a reputation of being tough."

With Blaikie widely viewed as a strong bet to become health minister sometime in the future if elected, the subject of public outrage towards the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority scandals involving the cover-up of the Health Sciences Centre emergency room death of Brian Sinclair, and the 'brown envelope' add-ons from undisclosed winning bidders was raised.

The NDP standard-bearer said he saw no reason to join the chorus of voices calling for WRHA honchos Dr. Brian Postl and Dr. Brock Wright to be removed.

"I wouldn't demand their resignations on the basis of either of them. The brown envelope thing ... came to light really because they were trying to be more transparent... (regarding Sinclair) there's an inquest coming and this is the kind of thing we want to learn more about obviously."

Blaming the "political right" for politicizing administrative and procedural health care issues, Blaikie admitted that if he were still an MP in Ottawa and the federal Conservatives told the public they'd have to wait 2 years for answers in such a death involving accessing public health care, he'd expect the same answer he gave us - that "proper procedures need to be followed".

He would not commit to asking to see the HSC surveillance videotape if elected, or report what it shows about the treatment of Sinclair to the public.

We ended the interview by inviting Mr. Blaikie to join us again to talk about matters political or theological, and expressed our thanks that he took time to answer the questions and concerns of Kick-FM listeners.

Audience reaction to the only full-scale media interview Blaikie gave during the campaign was swift:

"Great interview. Quite exciting from a journalistic standpoint alone. Exciting for the listener too.

Wolfrom might think there's a chance in Elmwood but it doesn't seem like it. The NDP machine is even more well-oiled than people think. They often count up exactly how many votes they need to win a riding and work to get just that many. That's what they did for Orlikow. Calculate the number they need to win, and then go to the voting lists and get on the phone to get the magic number.

It's why there are less signs in the area this year. That, and the fact that the Maloway signs had been bought and paid for many years ago. New signs are expensive and why bother if they don't need them? Maloway would often pressure for two signs on a lawn, that's no secret. But the party is spending less on signage and sticking to the phones to confirm enough votes from members and past voters, and NDP lifers. It's a numbers game and the NDP are ooooooollllllld pros at it. P. "


" Years ago when they fixed disraeli the southbound lanes crossed over into the northbound lane after the mennonite church. they fixed each side separately. They weren't concerned about extra construction costs then. They were concerned about traffic!! I think i'm going to lose my mind if I have to try to get across Redwood in the morning. If Blaikie is listening, which I doubt cause he sounds out of it, I have to say that the costs aren;t always monetary!

Regarding the other candidate's opinions, of course they are hearing backlash about the pension and the double dipping. Because a) they are telling you what the people who aren't NDP are saying or b) they are doing what every other breathig politician would do and saying that the people are talking about it even if they aren't.

PS maloway has NO clout compared to blaikie. Maloway was invisible to the party. Blaikie is the seasoned vet who is respected by the party. Why doesn't (Conservative candidate) Adrian Schultz know this??? M."


" I wonder what Brian Sinclair's family would think of Blaikie's chuckling during your back and forth with him about the WRHA, Brown envelopes and the emerg room death. B."


" Wow. Did he look as uncomfortable and unprepared as he sounded when talking about the Sinclair incident? He was actually gasping for air. Maybe he should figure out where he stands exactly on some of these issues. This isn't about a soft ride into old age. His pension is taken off of MY INCOME!!! What did this guy learn in 30 years on the Hill?! A CIVILIANS PENSION DOESN'T COME OUT OF MY WALLET! E. "


" Well! Kudos to you Marty! I didn't think it'd happen but obviously your show and it's influence has finally gotten to the NDP. I like it! I'll gladly eat my words. I didn't think it would happen. Might have something to do with actually speaking to him in the parking lot, but whatever. W"


Coming up on Monday:

* Last-minute byelection news including a report about the race from an alternative newsletter;

* more inside information about the WRHA and hospital care;

* Phil Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, holds a press conference to talk about rampant gangs and drug crime on reserves;

* another 311 horror story;

* which MSM newsroom needs a map to find out where the North End begins and ends?;

* The blogger Policy Frog debuts on CJOB radio as stand-in for morning commentator, Vic Grant;

* and an account from a listener, of yet another homocide in Winnipeg's downtown, as yet unreported in the MSM.

All that, plus sports with Frank the Italian Barber on the death of former NHL sniper Walt Podubny, the exciting NCAA Basketball Sweet 16 playdowns next weekend, and your calls and emails!

PS: Don't forget to support the RRC Cre-Comm class of 2010:

cre8ery hosts:
Creative Mix

March 27, 2009, 7 - 11 pm (one night only)

Appetizers will be served. Admission is free.

An exhibition & silent auction, of artwork by students in the Creative Communications program at Red River College. All proceeds from the silent auction are going to the Cre Comm 2010 Grad Committee.

Creative Mix features a wide variety of artistic forms, including: original paintings, photography, graphic designs & sculpture.

Artists: Steve St. Louis, J. Booth, Rheanne Marcoux, Sarah Lund, Meryl de Leon, Rose Dominguez, Matt Prepost, Tara Tuchscherer , Claire Gosselin, Amy Friesen, Aaron Cohen, Daniel Timmerman & more!

To view invite: http://cre8ery.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=149&Itemid=34
cre8ery gallery

2-125 Adelaide St

Ph# 510-1623


And --- the 2009 Brewnos are at The Academy, Stradbrook and Osborne, on Friday night April 3rd, with 6 great bands and after-party tunes by Kick-FM's The Beat DJ's Mod Marty and Indierawker!