Sunday, May 31, 2009

Photo radar emails galore, this week's guest list, and a tribute to John Tolos

Time to get into the blogosphere what we have been broadcasting on the show. Our work on the photo radar scandal was raised twice in Question Period at the Legislature - and resulted in Justice Minister Dave Chomiak having to personally call Mayor Sam Katz to apologize for falsely claiming that Katz stood opposed to refunding cash-grab tickets; and then Councillor Gord Steeves revealed on the show that Chomiak got him wrong too, and that Steeves did not have the authority to decide that if a refund of the city's share was ordered, the money would have to come directly from the police budget.

So many of the emails spoke about personal experiences, both pro and con, of the use and misuse of radar vans and red light camera's too. We lead off by reprinting an insider's advice on the program and its flaws:

Tickets are issued to red light runners with the emergency vehicle clearing seen in the background.

It is Legal to enter on the red light in order to yield right of way.
How many people blindly just pay the "fine". Weather and vehicle type (like motorcycles) can cause the plate to be non-identifiable so a lot of infractions are missed.

If the public truly wishes to stop the use of this cash grab then do the following: go to court on any ticket.


1) The prints must be produced for the court which cost money. (not the laser printer print out they sent you at $.10 a copy) You get a copy to judge for yourself.

2) If you are guilty ask for reduction of the fine which costs the court time and reduced the revenue to the city. Imagine what would have happened if 10% of the construction zone tickets were challenged in court (6000 cases). The crown would still be dealing with them. How long would the government allow the court time to be wasted if this tactic was used?

Some points for you to consider:

1) Amber light times are inconsistent in Winnipeg (one of the pending law suits will prove it) and in cities that have standardized amber times longer (to 5 seconds or more)
see their red light camera infractions go down exponentially.

2) Public safety?! CRAP The speeder (or red runner) continues at that speed down the road as no one STOPS THEM (like a patrolling police offer would) Do we have to wait until a speeder kills someone after the camera takes their picture? How can any city police officer make such an argument with a straight face? Put members on the street!

3) The camera vans must idle to function due to power requirements. Remember the school zone idle free campaign as the van sits in the zone? Good for the environment? NOT!

4) BC's photo enforcement campaign eventually imploded with everyone paid back (and helped cost a government an election) A lot of the issues coming up here in Manitoba are very similar.Please keep the pressure on this issue.



Did you read that article about the photo radar tickets? Talk about beating a dead horse! Doer and Chomiak just wont admit they screwed up…..

Now they are saying that because we were warned about the construction site radar the tickets were fair game…

Now does that not HIGHLIGHT that these tickets were for one reason only (to highjack money out of the citizens of Winnipeg)……certainly not to protect the workers that weren’t there to begin with!!

I almost feel sorry for Gary …..Its PATHETIC!!!!! You are wrong GARY give up!

How could a man so stupid make it so far in politics



This is just more of the same with this increasingly deceptive party. If anyone in the NDP party says anything of substance, chances are it is not true. I think this is why Gary Doer says so little of substance. Look what they did with their "end to hallway medicine" promises, their balanced-budget shellgame, their labour shenanigans.

They don't even try to pretend that they are not in bed with labour organizers, and this is particularly apparent at election time when teachers and nurses unions develop and air pro-NDP ad campaigns paid for by union dues that are generated by people believing that their money is actually going to making their lives better, and not electing a party that will do and say anything to get re-elected.

Sadly, Manitobans will get the government they deserve, and my generation is going to have to pay for their lies, reckless overspending, and shortsightedness, and it will only get worse.
In twenty years, the baby boomers will be 85 years old Marty. If you think we pay a lot for healthcare now, then you havn't seen anything yet.
Throw an increasing debt with decreasing capital that the NDP has generated, and we are all screwed in 20 years.

This is why i am seriously considering leaving the province in 10-15 years - there won't be anything left for the income earners.


Hey Marty

You know this whole scam reminds me of a saying I once heard. You can shear a sheep many times but skin it only once! The Doer government has been shearing the proverbial sheep that is the citizens of Winnipeg for too long! They got too greedy and look what happened! They citizens started to revolt! Way to go Gary ..

Smells a bit like a communist government and not a socialist one!!!!

Hey Marty,

I was listening yesterday when you said that the signage was illegally
posted in the construction zones.

What ** I ** want to know is if anyone or any company is going to be fined or charged for putting all the workers in the work zones in potential danger by not following the rules. Clearly the minister has admitted that the signage was improper at this point, the individuals and companies involved should be held to account. Maybe the province should pursue fines/compensation from them in the amount of the refunds they have to give since it was their actions (or lack therof) that led to this potentially dangerous situation in the first place.

Thanks Marty, I have been listening for about a year now and really
enjoy your take on the issues.


One of your loyal listeners here!

Just a comment I would like to make in regards to photo radar. I believe 100 percent that it is a cash grab and has nothing to do with safety! I don’t think anybody has brought this up on the air but I think it needs to be said.

In my opinion the key element that has gone missing in the law today is DISCRETION! Obviously a machine can’t make a judgment call so you tell me what’s going on here. (most cops have no idea how to make a call either)

I retired cop once told me that an office has a CHOICE to write a ticket! He doesn’t have to!

Somewhere in the process this concept of making a decision was lost. I wonder why that is…..hmmm MONEY maybe.

In fact I would bet that these cameras have caused more accidents that they have prevented. I know I personally get distracted when I drive though an intersection with a camera. How is that safe? I would love to hear stats on that if somebody can dig them up!

That’s my rant for the day!

I look forward to hearing you at 4:30 today!
Keep up the great work Marty!

Kind Regards,



Hi Marty

Just a quick comment/question here.

There used to be a camera at the intersection of St.Annes and Warde in south st vital…

It seems kind of fishy that as soon as the development of Van Hull Estates was under way the city removed that camera..

Too many complaints maybe, or did the city think it was bad for business having a camera light in the entrance of a new community..

You be the judge, it just seems a bit “fishy” to me!

As always keep up the great work!



Just to let you know,
my mom was in town from vancouver and got hit 3 TIMES on Bishop Grandin to the tune of $800!!!

Yeah, welcome to winnipeg. It sure leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you've already spent money on a car rental, stayed at a hotel, and ate at resturaunts, etc., etc., and then get hit with this.

You have to have to wonder if ticketing visitors like this is good for tourism? Maybe Sam Katz has an answer?

Enjoyed your spirited discussion on this easy today.

My question is: What constitutes a construction zone as far as enforcement to protect the safety of workers?

Two cases in point:

1) The much talked about Bishop Grandin BLVD. Am I not correct that most of the time (if not all the time), the workers are actually located on the bridge span that is closed to traffic?
For vehicles to be a risk to workers' safety, they'd have to hope the railing, fly over the red river and land on the opposite span.

2) The stretch of Waverly between Bison Dr and the Perimeter. It used to be 80KPH. They changed it from a straight roadway to some inexplicable curved detour, yet there are absolutely no workers present. They had the photo van there almost 24 hours per day. No workers present. Who's safety are they trying to protect?


Hi Marty

I have never received a construction zone speeding ticket (knock on wood) but something has had me thinking that I haven’t heard addressed, for the construction zone on Bishop Grandin did the reduced speed sign say “when passing workers”?

If it did then in my opinion every ticket issued for vehicles going 80 or less should be refunded, because the few times I went through that construction zone the photo radar van was parked just after the Construction zone beginning sign. This sign was probably a good half mile before the actual construction area giving ample time to slow down before passing any workers unless of course the person inside the photo radar van is considered a worker?

I was always under the impression that the reason construction zones started so far before the actual construction area was so that drivers had time to slow down since most construction zones (none that I have seen) don’t have any warning as to what the new speed will be until the speed actually changes.
If this was really for safety the van would be parked right before or right after the actual construction area, to catch people that are speeding past workers.

I would also like to point out to all your listeners that regardless of the time of day, day of the week or if construction has started or not workers may be present. Survey crews will always work prior to construction starting and usually work at irregular times, so don’t assume no one is working and please slow down.

P.S. I would gladly receive and pay one of these tickets if it meant the city was actually repairing the streets near my home rather then just filing the pot holes which needs to be done … again.


Hi Marty,

I am a Red River graduate who listens to your program daily on my way home from work (at least until my car’s poor reception is out of range). I have been listening to the photo radar debate for quite sometime now and didn’t feel the need to contact you until Friday, when Kenny asked if you have heard the point of view of a construction worker.

I think it might be difficult to get a construction worker on the radio at 4 PM to discuss this matter. But as someone who has street construction experience (three seasons while attending post secondary) I will give you my view on the situation.

I am a huge proponent of photo radar. Anytime I enter an area that has an orange sign with a man wielding a shovel, I prepare to slowdown; REGARDLESS of the day or time. I do this not only for the protection of workers but for myself. Now I have listened to opponents of photo radar who call in calling it a scam with their reasons to why they feel that way. So I will try to respond. I may not touch on all the reasons, but I will try as best as I remember.

Signage. People have made claims that construction zones don’t contain enough signage directing them what to do. Now there will probably be differing views on what "enough" signage would be, but every construction zone I have driven through has a sign letting you know construction is ahead.

If you go check the Class 5 Driver’s Handbook (that people should have at least skimmed through to get there learners license) and look under "Construction and Maintenance Signs", the quote they give you is "These signs warn you of road construction and maintenance areas ahead. Slow down to a safe speed. At some locations maximum speed limits are posted." But as far as I have seen, there is always a set of signs telling you what the reduced speed will be & then a sign telling you what the new maximum speed is. This has nothing to do with when workers are "present"; this is the max speed within the construction zone.
A sign letting you know where the construction zone ends. This is a silly complaint! When you don’t see any barricades any more, you’re out of the construction zone.

(ed. note- that was exactly the complaint of many people, that they got tickets because they sped up and the zone hadn't "ended" because the signs were not up -- which since they were required by law, is the excuse devised by Chomiak for dropping 870 outstanding tags and the appeal of the 9 tossed out by JP Sundstrom)

But the reason this complaint is silly, is that the radar vans are set up when you enter the zone. Sometimes maybe within the zone, but I have never seen one at the end.

After construction hours. Do people know what typical construction hours are? I worked daily from 7 AM to 7 PM, but there were days I could be there till 10 PM. There were times I was on a site by myself watching the concrete dry to ensure if was not messed with. How do people know I was there? The amount of times I caught people writing their names in it would tell me that people didn’t know I was there.

But once again this is not about workers safety in my opinion; it is about the driver’s safety too. I spent many mornings walking construction site putting barricades back up. Why was this? Because someone would have been driving through the construction zone not paying attention to their surroundings and would drive into them. If people can’t watch out for barricades, why do I feel any safer about them watching for workers?

Workers present. My story of barricades being knocked over is a good story for this concern. People should be focused on the road & what is within the construction zone; not looking to see whether there are people working. Just drive through the zone assuming that people are there. But the way I look at it, if people can’t see the obvious photo radar vehicle ticketing them as they speed by, what assurance would I have that they are going to see a worker?

Poor drivers. In general, there are just a lot of poor, inattentive drivers on the streets. I remember one day back in 2003 working on Fermor & being near two accidents in the span of an hour. First one was a lady (WHO WAS CLEARLY NOT PAYING ATTENTION) drove into a front end loader. This by the way had a flag man on the street letting people know they should slow down. About an hour later, people who were frustrated with the bumper to bumper traffic decided to drive down the shoulder of the road & crash into each other.

People need to pay attention. If you have to drive through a construction zone for most of the summer, you need to plan accordingly. Just slow down, you don’t lose all that much time on where you’re going and you will keep your money in your pocket.

I understand that the tickets went from 3,000 one year to 60,000 the next. But people were told that enforcement was to be increased. Think of how many tickets were for repeat offenders. Think of how many tickets were for legitimate speeders, regardless of the posted limit. I would like to think for a City of almost 700,000, there are a lot of people following the rules. People who still get caught…. Well, it’s an "idiot tax".

I for one am glad to see photo radar still on the street regardless of the time or day. Pay attention to the signs, slow down & you should be fine.


and now for something slightly different, Cruise Night

Good afternoon Marty

It was an interesting show yesterday about photo radar and the caller who mentioned cruise night. I try not to miss your show. I have to say that I agree with the caller and I wasn't surprised when there was immediete reaction that was probably from the people who drive around on cruise night.

I have to say I hate it. I can't stand anything about it. I really like cars and I drove a convertible Cutlass 442 in my day and I loved everything about it. It's not about whether or not the people can afford their own gas or pay taxes to use the street. Those reasons are comical and dumb. It's about many other things.

Last Sunday I was forced to sit at the lights at Portage and Sherbern for almost 3 full lights. I had to listen to loud engines and a few nuts doing brake stands at the lights, and that annoying subwoofer pounding sound and girls screaming. I finally was able to turn off of Portage and go to St Matthews like the 5 cars in front of me also did. It's a joke. I'm sure I'm leaving out a bunch of places but I saw parking lots full of cars at the old burger factory, at the Dominoe's Pizza, Dairy Queen, Shopper's Drug mart, Esso station and burger King. I'm sure that if these businesses wouldn't dare kick people out of their lot because car enthusiats aren't like they used to be. No one wants to have gangsta retribution come back at them. Polo park now has security and chains every sunday because it got so out of hand. No one can get into that massive parking lot now. They got smart. Polo Park doesn't want that BS on their property.

It's a ridiculous event. It makes Winnipeg look like a hick town, with all the loitering and the squealing and speeding and racing and yelling ect ect. You talk about Cobb County when it comes to photo radar. This is even worse. People on lawn chairs with coolers to cheer from Portage ave like it's the santa clause parade! But that's not even why I think it should stop.

We are supposed to be about green now. Everything is green. They even want you to unplug your cell phone chargers when you aren't charging your phones because it uses energy! So how much exhaust and greenhouse gasses are being added to the exhaust from weekday commutes when on Sunday night there is just like that guy said, rush hour traffic in both directions for way longer than a normal rush hour!

You can't believe it til you see it. I thought we were supposed to be environmentally conscience! And the cops can't be everywhere so a lot of things go uncaught. Racing happens and speeding happens and other illegal stuff. You can't go down Portage on a Sunday without seeing police cars with their lights flashing constantly. It looks like theres a riot going on half the time. People constantly being stopped.

The other guy was right when he said that it goes down Main Street too. I got into a email exchange with Tom Broadbeck who said that this thing only happens between certain streets in the west end. I don't know what he was smoking because for years everyone knows that it starts at least at Logan and Main and goes to at least Polo Park. If not, then why all the reving engines and souped up cars in those areas on a Sunday night driving that route? I've seen it with my own eyes. If not, why did Polo Park chain up their parking lot on Sundays?

I'm rambling but here's the deal.

If you don't want to go to things like the Red River Ex, then you don't go to the Ex grounds.

And if you don't want to watch football, you don't go to the Stadium.

But people do not have a choice about this cruise night garbage.

It's forced on the city that the main drag is tied up with excessive traffic and people loitering and thumping out their music. I sound like I'm old but I'm not. I have talked to so many people who feel the same way. They've all got their own stories about how much they hate it.
The only people who like it are the ones participating.

From an environment standpoint this is wrong and outdated. Plus it's forced upon us. It doesn't have to do with rights to use the streets and only being for four months. It's about irresponsible leadership in this city and this province.

I actually think that Sam Katz and Gary Doer are scared to say anything about it. The Free Press gets involved and advertises cruising downtown and people like Laurie Mustard write about it in the Sun like it's American graffiti out there.
It isn't about which side is louder or how many more people phone you about why its good vs why its bad. This isn't grade 3. The only people who like it are the ones doing it. That doesn't mean it should be allowed to happen



And finally, from a supporter of the Doer government , who considers grammer and punctutation secondary when defending the status quo and the untouchables from the lesser media:

mr. gold i'm tired of your show and the winnipeg sun talking about the photo radar scandal and about the constant criticism of the ndp, theses people who got the tickets desevered it. the tories will never be elected to government in manitoba. And what is your issue with the winnipeg free press they wouldn't hire you to deliver papers door to door and there reportors such as gordon sinclair, colleen simard and lindor reynolds are better journalists than you. as for the canadain human rights museum and upper fort garry they are worth spending the tax dollars on.

Michael W.


This week's scheduled guests: Monday: We'll be joined by Mayor Sam Katz in studio, with questions about Radargate and the letter sent by Coun. Steeves to the Manitoba government, Cruise Night Sundays, the undue influence of the bike path lobby, plus Frank the Italian Barber gloats about the Red Wings going up by 2 wins over the Penguins.

Tuesday: More follow up on the Winnipeg Parking Authority forcing the layoff of union organizers by the contractor charged with enforcing the parking bylaws; plus Macdonald Youth Services - contact us to find out how to support their June 23 Golf Tournament.

Wednesday: CTV's Kelly Dehn's weekly Crimewatch report at it's new time of 5.10 PM.

Thursday: Find out all about the local owners of the
Curb-Ease franchise- their patented property enhancement products are all the rage among homeowners looking to cut the effort of maintaining their lawn, gardens and cement walks and spend more time enjoying the summer.

Friday: His schedule permitting, an interview with former AWA Heavyweight Wrestling Champion and WWF superstar Rick "the Model" Martel , plus Jon Waldman of Slam!Sports.

Rest in Peace John Tolos.

The Golden Greek passed away last week at the age of 78 after a lengthy battle with cancer. The tanned, dapper Hamiltonian was one of the biggest stars in the history of both Vancouver All Star Wrestling (seen across Canada) and in Los Angeles. His tag team partners in Vancouver in the 70's included Steve Bolus, Duncan Mactavish, Dean Higuchi, Mark Lewin and CFL legend Angelo Mosca. {Career record link}

Branching off from his legendary tag team with his quieter brother Chris(they held the WWWF tag titles for Vince McMahon Sr. in 1964), a ranting maniacal interview helped compensate for a wrestling style that was basically punch and stomp. Former partner-turned-foe Dutch Savage told me Tolos was "a meat chopper", and Tolos was a recipient of the tongue -in-cheek Golden Potato Award from the fraternity benevolent organization, the Cauliflower Alley Club.

His August 27, 1971 grudge match against Freddie Blassie filled the Colossium beyond the 26,000 announced ticket-buyers and $142,000 gate as promoters shaved the numbers to rip off the State Athletic Commission (and the wrestlers, Blassie claimed). The newstand magazines were full of stories and pictures of the feud and blow-off encounter, and Tolos was considered one of the top heels in the era of The Shiek, Mad Dog Vachon and Gene Kiniski, and sports superstar in Los Angeles in the era of Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Roman Gabriel.

And my mom thought he was very handsome.

The Los Angeles Times obituary is here.

I was quite taken aback when Jon Waldman mentioned the death of Tolos at the end of our weekly sports recap on Friday.

When I worked in Los Angeles a few eyars ago, I had the opportunity to do a lot of wrestling writing, mostly about the old school era. The automotive industry was chock-full of fans of 60's/70's Channel 13 Olympic Auditorium wrestling with Dick Lane (the voice of the Roller Games T-Birds team). I learned so much more from them about the Hispanic wrestlers like Black Gordman and Goliath, Mil Mascaras, Raul Mata, and their place in local culture.

In August of 2001 I realized it was the 30th anniversary of the Blassie feud, and I sought out Tolos for a feature retrospective. I heard he lived in Northridge but couldn't figure out how to find him. A mutual friend told me that he and his son Chris were around but that John had gone back to Canada for awhile - I think this was when his mother was terminal or right after she died. His brother Chris had cared for her for years. I was also told he was insanely private and would not be likely to agree to an interview. But I didn't give up easily, and as a result I contacted and became friends with my adoptive 'Grampa', Dutch Savage.

Tolos was memorable to me, 30 years later, because he was very creative in advancing feuds with crazy gimmicks.

As a babyface on BCTV he would start out calm, a swarthy athlete all tanned, white teeth, sports-coat; by the time he was done gesturing and imitating his plans to brutalize his opponent, his jacket would be flung to the floor, he'd be sweating and screaming "If I wanna slam him, I'll slam him! If I wanna kick him when he's down, I'll kick him!", and thank Morrier politely for his time and say "remember Ron, there's only one way to spell wrestling - and that's T-O-L-O-S."

In January of 1966 John came back to Vancouver and was a regular for the next 4 or so years, seen across Canada on the syndicated All Star Wrestling show -- which is where via CJAY-TV I saw him form teams with Tony Borne, his brother Chris, and
Dutch Savage to reign as Tag Team champions.

In 66 the BC crew was THE wrestling at the Winnipeg Auditorium - this was just prior to the return of the AWA. Tolos main evented on Halloween night that year against Killer Kowalski in a battle of the top-rope kneedrops. I always thought it was too bad that Tolos didn't appear in Winnipeg again until 1983 at the end of his active career (for the AWA as undercard fodder for Jerry Lawler and Rick Martel), because in his prime I am sure the crowds here would have found him very entertaining.

Tolos was famous for his corkscrew finisher - a sort of noogie to the right temple that we were BANNED from using when play-wrestling as kids. (I just told that story to Outlaw Adam Knight a week ago.)

On BCTV, to counter Savage's thumb to the throat, he promised Ron Morrier that the fans at the PNE gardens Monday night would see "the block", which he would helpfully spell- B-L-O-C-K.

It was a dog collar that essentially broke Savage's thumb when he tried his finisher. Brilliant.

That was just before he moved to L.A. and began his feud with Blassie. It was set up and executed so realistically, the fans actually thought Blassie has indeed been blinded by Tolos. Stealing Monsel's Powder (a boxing cut clotting concoction), from the ring doctor's bag, Tolos flug it into Freddie's face in a jealous rage over Blassie winning the Wrestler of the Year Award. The issue was drawn out perfectly, until the revenge match drew more money than anyone had imagined possible.

Another time in Los Angeles, after the Blassie deal, I don't remember offhand against who but it might have been against The Shiek (Detroit's Ed Farhat), Tolos finagled a handicap match and promised a secret partner.

He came out not only wearing the block -- but his partner was a poisonous rattlesnake! A famous magazine picture showed him shaking the snake to get it angry, before chucking it at his opponent into the middle of the ring to start the match. It semed logical since why would the snake have to tag ? One bite and the match would be over!

Tolos loved to enjoy life, and his lifestyle included running, tanning, and eating well. He entertained millions across the continent. He loved his brother and their devotion to their mother was admirable.

John Tolos lived a good life. A wrestler's life. Thanks for the memories, "Golden Greek".

Our friend Greg Oliver has
great stories about Tolos' escapades on Slam!Wrestling.

And here's a link to a MUST-HEAR podcast about Tolos's legend in California and US wrestling lore with lawyer Bob Barnett, Socal trainer Jesse Hernandez and historian Dan Farren - this is a great history of him: )

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chomiak misled House: admits Katz not blocking Radargate refunds, blames Steeves instead

For the second straight day in Question Period, information about the photo radar scandal uncovered by the Great Canadian Talk Show was prominent in Opposition grilling of the government.

And, it has caused Justice Minister Dave Chomiak to eat crow and resort to fallback strategies to stonewall opposition demands that illegal speeding ticket revenue be returned to victims.

Last Thursday, Chomiak was confronted about the denial that a conversation witn Mayor Katz even took place, let alone that Katz refused to repay the city share of fines because the money would come directly out of the police budget.

Today, Chomiak admitted he "misspoke", and in effect misled the House, and instead, hid behind an alleged May 7 letter from Protection Chair Gord Steeves - but again stumbled and started to claim the Mayor sent the letter before correcting himself.

Photo Radar Tickets
Support for Proposed Motion

Mr. Kelvin Goertzen (Steinbach): Mr. Speaker, I think those GDP projections must have included photo radar revenue.

Early last week the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chomiak) indicated that he had talked to the mayor of Winnipeg and the mayor had not given him permission to refund the money from tickets collected that the courts said should never have been issued. A day later we learned that the mayor, in fact, not only had never said such a thing, he said he never would say such a thing because the City holds no such power over the Province.

Will the Minister of Justice simply admit today, that he was not being a friend of the truth when he laid blame for photo radar at the feet of the mayor, Mr. Speaker?

Hon. Dave Chomiak (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, I indicated last week when I was talking about the conditions in the House that I had, in fact, stated some facts that were–actually, when I looked at the Hansard it was true that it was Councillor Steeves who had made that statement and corrected that.

Now having said that, Mr. Speaker, I want to make it very clear we delegate the authority to photo radar to the City of Winnipeg. They use it in three different circumstances in which they determine and the police determine. We do not have determination over that. Because of the difficulties that occurred, the Crown felt that the evidence provided would not support a conviction. They felt, ethically, they wouldn't go forward in the convictions of going forward, Mr. Speaker, and in terms of law, the cases that had already been dealt with in terms of law, had already been dealt with.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Goertzen: Mr. Speaker, in fact, the minister is correct. On Thursday, he did throw the court into Councillor Steeve's bailiwick saying that, that the councillor had said that any money refunded would have to come out of the policing budget.

But on Thursday afternoon, that very same city councillor was interviewed by a local radio station, and when asked whether any refunded money would have to come from the policing budget, he responded by saying, I don't know, I would have to take a look at it.

Mr. Speaker, instead of trying to pass the buck and confuse the record, why doesn't the minister just commit to refunding the money that the courts said should never been levied through these tickets?

Mr. Chomiak: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I was quoting from a letter that Mayor–that Councillor Steeves had sent to, sent to us, wherein he specifically said that and so–

An Honourable Member: In writing.

Mr. Chomiak: –in writing. So they can speak for themselves.

I again want to reiterate, the Province and this Legislature and all members, except for the Member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard) voted for this, and the Member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Hawranik) wanted us to expand it.
Photo radar only applies in the city of Winnipeg as designated by the police. Signage is taken care of by the City of Winnipeg, Mr. Speaker.

We've clarified the regulations with respect to signage to try to clear it up, and if we have to do more in order to do that, we will, and I clarified what the legal situation is, and I did indicate on Thursday that I had misspoke. It was the Councillor Steeves that had said – had said that specifically to us in the letter mailed to us on May 7.

The letter from Steeves has now moved to the centre of the NDP's denying a refund to those caught by blatant speed traps is possible. Yet this document has never been tabled in the Legislature. And given how wrong Chomiak was last week about who said what to him, it seemed obvious there is only one way to get to the bottom of this.

We asked Steeves for the letter.

His response was quick -- and defensive:

Hi Marty,

I generally do not give out correspondence sent directly to someone without that person’s permission. Also, in this case, given it was intergovernmental correspondence I had better defer to the Mayor’s office for comment.


Gord Steeves
City Councillor - St. Vital Ward
Winnipeg, MB Canada
Chairperson - Standing Policy Committee on Protection and Community Services
Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs
Acting Deputy Mayor

Immediate Past President - Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Seeing this reply, we went straight to the top:

Dear Mayor Katz,

I have watched the province blame you and now Coun. Steeves for their refusal to consider the matter of refunding what are indisputably, speed trap tickets handed out in the finest Cobb County tradition of a "cash grab".

Immediately last Thursday, upon the opposition quoting you (from my blog) about Mr. Chomiak's version of your position on this matter, the NDP government resorted to using what they claim, is the contents of Steeves letter to them, as justification for their intractable position.

It is unacceptable for the City to withhold EXACTLY what was written to Chomiak, and allow the public to judge if those comments are being properly portrayed in the Legislature.

I am therefore making a formal request to you, to release to me a copy of that letter sent by Councillor Steeves to the Province, for use on my program.

Mayor Katz is due to appear on our show next Monday at 4PM.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

EXCLUSIVE - Katz to Chomiak: I didn't say that.

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz has confirmed to The Great Canadian Talk Show that he never told provincial Justice Minister Dave Chomiak that the city was opposed to, or could not afford, refunding cash-grab photo radar tickets.

Yesterday in Question Period, a frazzled Chomiak hid behind the excuse the city was to blame for his failure to right the injustices suffered by thousands of car owners, dinged with huge speeding fines despite missing or misleading signage, tickets issued when no workers were actually present in construction zones, or in outright speed traps.

"I said to the mayor today, will you pay back that money? They said, no. We have no legal right. We're not touching it. It's $10 million. We're going to take it out of our police budget." Chomiak said in the Legislature yesterday. (Today Chomiak resorted to hiding behind the police chief Keith McCaskill, who has never been put on the record about the propriety of his department being funded by illegally obtained fines.)

Today in a noontime interview, Katz stated he had no conversation with Chomiak yesterday, and had last spoken to him 12 days ago. (edit: The final version of Hansard corrected the record, and Chomiak did NOT, in fact, say he had spoken with Katz "today", as in, on Tuesday.)

Katz also said that the ball was in the provinces court, so to speak, if refunds were warranted.

"#1, I did not speak to him (on Tuesday). #2, whatever the province does we will abide by. It's their legislation and we are a creation of the province. If the province makes a decision, we're not in a position to say we're not going to refund. Yours truly has never made comments like that. Never will."

Katz went on to explain "I have worked with the Minister and we have an excellent rapport. There is very little doubt in my mind that he's under extreme pressure from 4 sides- the media, the public, within his own party and from the opposition... but we did not speak yesterday."

The only civic politician who has made any statement about the city not being able to afford refunding their share of ill-gotten fines was Councillor Gord Steeves. He has agreed to appear on our show tomorrow, Thursday at 4.30 PM.

Also appearing on the show tomorrow at 5.05 PM, will be CTV Vice-President and General Manager Bill Hanson, who will preview the planned open house this weekend as part of the Save Local TV campaign.

Today at 4.30 PM, the Mayor of Leaf Rapids, Ed Charrier, makes his second appearance on the show. He's going to follow up on his 30 day challenge to the NDP government to deliver much needed services to his community as they batttle rampant alcohol and social problems.

And at 5.10 PM, Kelly Dehn of CTV will join us with his weekly Crimewatch segment, in a new time slot on Wednesdays to accomodate his busy schedule.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Photo radar insider adds to NDP's woes; CBC spins WRHA's leaked poll; MSM divided on suicide coverage

Today at 4.20 PM, we'll have an account of the outrage of residents of South St. Vital at Justice Minister Dave Chomiak and the NDP government - and the city - for the variety of ways they say, the rapid sprawl of the area has made them easy pickings for photo radar and red light cameras.

Plus, a photo radar insider has provided us an email with even more clues about the faults in the way tickets are issued. Some of the information jibes with the calls and emails the show heard last week, so it appears that indeed, the people cannot be fooled all of the time.

EDIT: here is the email from the insider:

Tickets are issued to red light runners with the emergency vehicle clearing seen in the background.

It is Legal to enter on the red light in order to yield right of way. How many people blindly just pay the "fine".

Weather and vehicle type (like motorcycles) can cause the plate to be non-identifiable so a lot of infractions are missed.

If the public truly wishes to stop the use of this cash grab then do the following: go to court on any ticket.


1) The prints must be produced for the court which cost money. (not the laser printer print out they sent you at $.10 a copy) You get a copy to judge for yourself.

2) If you are guilty ask for reduction of the fine which costs the court time and reduced the revenue to the city. Imagine what would have happened if 10% of the construction zone tickets were challenged in court (6000 cases). The crown would still be dealing with them. How long would the government allow the court time to be wasted if this tactic was used?

Some points for you to consider:

1) Amber light times are inconsistent in Winnipeg (one of the pending law suits will prove it) and in cities that have standardized amber times longer (to 5 seconds or more) see their red light camera infractions go down exponentially.

2) Public safety?! CRAP The speeder (or red runner) continues at that speed down the road as no one STOPS THEM (like a patrolling police offer would) Do we have to wait until a speeder kills someone after the camera takes their picture? How can any city police officer make such an argument with a straight face? Put members on the street!

3) The camera vans must idle to function due to power requirements. Remember the school zone idle free campaign as the van sits in the zone? Good for the environment? NOT!

4) BC's photo enforcement campaign eventually imploded with everyone paid back (and helped cost a government an election) A lot of the issues coming up here in Manitoba are very similar.Please keep the pressure on this issue. XXXX

* end email*

Also, this weekend the Black Rod revealed that the Crown Attorney's excuse for dropping their appeal of 9 overturned tickets (incorrect signage) doesn't wash with the facts enunciated by the judge in his decision - unless, of course, the court was lied to in the first place. We'll tie together all the information about radargate for a full update.

In addition, we'll also look at a story buried deep on the CBC website, with a most misleading headline,
about internal polling done by the WRHA. It's a mini-lesson in journalism, with the comments of the CBC readers at the forefront of picking the bones of this thinly veiled attempt to cheerlead for the health honchos.

Local media outlets are divided on how they should cover yesterday's public suicide at a University of Winnipeg property, and after 5 PM we'll juxtapose that situation, with last weeks' exploitation of a teen girl's tragic passing by Gordon Sinclair and Lindor Reynolds of the Winnipeg Free Press.

And of course at 5.15 PM, Frank the Italian Barber will update us on his view of the Stanley Cup finals and explain the odds facing the now-underdog Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks, all down 3 games to 2.

We open up the show today at 4.PM with a special interview with Sean Crawford of MacDonald Youth Services , previewing their Gala Dinner this week:

On Thursday, May 14, 2009, MYS will proudly present its second annual “Gala Dinner Under the Big Top” at Delta Winnipeg’s Grand Ballroom, in support of the Youth Emergency Shelter and other MYS programs.

This year’s Gala Dinner will continue with the vintage carnival theme including dazzling entertainment, fun games, exciting prizes, and a delicious meal! Last year’s Gala Dinner proved to be a success, with $17,000.00 raised for the youth emergency shelter and Positive Alternatives for Youth’s new program "Vehicle for Change".

This year will be just as exciting and more entertaining; with carnival games, an attractive new venue, and a new signature beverage “The Ferris Wheel”.

In addition to the fun and games, special guest Bill Knight, of Bill Knight Flooring & Carpets Ltd., will be honoured with the 2009 Sir Hugh John Macdonald Memorial Award. This award is presented to an individual who demonstrates the values and virtues of Sir Hugh John Macdonald, and practices assistance for youth to help them develop life skills for a better tomorrow.

Not only does Mr. Knight support causes, he gives his time and expertise to assist many fundraising events throughout the year. His involvement with Variety – the Children’s Charity of Manitoba, Special Olympics, Children’s Wish Fund, Children’s Hospital and Camp Manitou highlight his commitment to improving the quality of youths’ lives in Manitoba.

Cocktails start at 6:00 p.m. and dinner will follow at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $150 per person or $1200 per table of eight.

For more information contact, Leila Dance, External Relations Specialist at 949-6527.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Councillors and media ignore Friends of Upper Fort Garry in violation of city disclosure conditions

The City of Winnipeg Standing Policy Committee on Downtown Development met in-camera on May 4 to decide whether to go forward with the process to transfer the "historic Gate Lands" to the special interest group that opposed the growth of downtown residential population.

The zombies in Winnipeg's mainstream media blandly regurgitated that the councillors- Pagtakhan, Fielding, Gerbasi, and Steeves - voted to approve the deal going forward to Executive Policy Committee.

BUT a leaked copy of the administration report acquired by TGCTS revealed that the Friends do not want the public to know,

- who has contributed money, and the amount of their donation
- the actual cash amount the Friends have on hand
- how much is outstanding in pledges, or
- the conditions donors placed on their support.

This is significant since the conditions placed upon the Friends by the Committee explicitly stated a schedule of funding must be submitted that would include those details (as well as a business plan and a purchase agreement for the Grain Exchange Curling Club).

"The Public Service engaged the services of Ernst and Young LLP to obtain information concerning various aspects of the pledges, including the amounts, conditons, timing and recognition of the pledges provided."

This was consistant with the expectations of not only the Mayor and councillors but of the public, who are contributing $3 million via federal and provincial government grants, as well as giving up $1.2 M in land for the pet project of millionaires.

But the Friends decided they could not live with the consequences of coming clean -- and the city bureaucrats willingly agreed.

"For confidentiality reasons, E & Y did not provide details of the donors.... The Public Service requested E & Y to provide additional information with respect to the pledges. ON AVERAGE THERE ARE A NUMBER OF CONDITIONS BUT PLEDGES ARE SUPPORTED BY DOCUMENTATION AND THE CONDITIONS APPEAR TO BE MANAGEABLE."

As we asked Councillor Browaty on the air Tuesday, who are these unnamed unelected bureaucrats who deign to accept the loophole of "secrecy" instead of the required transparency, and recommended approval of their cooked report?

Who will be held responsible for the risk that their guess is wrong, that the conditions are not managable, that the pledges will not be fulfilled, and that the project will actually run short of the required private funding?

Most of all, who is being protected by the "confidentiality" relied upon by E & Y-- who themselves are being paid for with our tax dollars? We raised the question, is E & Y connected to this proposal in any way?

They did not even provide a compilation of the highly public donations that the Friends trumpeted in the MSM thru staged radiothons and publicity stunts, used to create the illusion of "grassroots" support.

They didn't need the permission of the Friends for that, they needed a newspaper clipping service.

By what logic are the lauded donations of the rich and famous, as well as of the duped seniors and schoolchildren, now exempt from being itemized on a comprehensive schedule for all to see, before the deal is finalized and title to the land handed over?

Is this secrecy serving to protect the Manitoba Club? The private club, whose property value and membership revenue stand to skyrocket, held a majority of membership on the Friends, with 21 out of the 37 known members enjoying the perk of a dining room that they hope will soon overlook a national park. The Manitoba Club has, by the admission of Dr. Gerry Grey of the Friends, contributed NOT ONE DIME to the project.

The approval of the report by the Downtown Development Committee is an abdication of their responsibility to taxpayers.

So too, is the stunning silence of Winnipeg's media, especially those outlets like the Free Press that also had the leaked report. For reasons unknown, some reporters chose to cover-up the fact that the Friends, which includes among its members FP owner Bob Silver, are skirting the disclosure rules Winnipeggers were assured they had to meet before they got access to millions of our tax dollars.

Thanks to yesterdays guests, Kelly Dehn of CTV (a diehard Boston Bruins fan), Scott Taylor of Citi-FM (not a fan of NHL commish Gary Bettman), and New Brand Wrestling founder Walter Shefchyk, who reminisced about the closing of the Winnipeg cable-TV staple 25 years ago.

We spoke of the Canadian performers who headlined across the regional circuit such as Chris Pepper, Playboy Doug McColl, Caveman Broda, and Dynamite Dave Petro, as well as the imported touring stars such as AWA meanie Lars Anderson, the master of the full nelson Dean Higuchi, Moondog Ed Moretti, and Ron "Mighty Zulu" Pope.

Walters' kind comments about my own contributions as the play by play voice and about my unremarkable in-ring career were most appreciated.

Today at 4.45 PM, listeners will have a chance to win 2 tickets to the BS Comedy Players show tomorrow night at the Burton Cummings Theatre, "The Dud, the Bad and the Ugly… And Other Stories".

Established in 2008, the BS Comedy players are a non-profit organization dedicated to staging a political satire comedy revue in the spirit of the now-defunct Winnipeg Press Club's "Beer & Skits." This production is dedicated to the memory of the recently-departed political columnist and B & S veteran, Arlene Billinkoff.

Show tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, charge-by-phone at 780-3333 and online at For more information on the show, call the BS Comedy Players Hotline at 339-6317, or visit

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Conflict of interest clear to all - except Free Press publisher Bob Cox

This morning, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority succeeded where even their political masters, Manitoba's NDP government, had failed.

By offering the promise of a substantial dowry-- perpetual advertising revenue -- to the Winnipeg Free Press, the beleagured WRHA 'braintrust' have miraculously bought off their harshest critic.

This deal perhaps explains why two weeks ago, the Free Press concealed the truth about the performance of the province in the national MRI wait times report, and misrepresented bench mark achievements- or lack thereof - in knee replacements.

After all, you can't very well embarass someone one week and expect them to be your business partner the next.

The broadsheet, whose publisher Bob Cox pretends that their "unique" deal to print, deliver, and sell advertising for a glossy WRHA rag is not a blatant conflict of interest, decided pimping out the WRHA brand name and publishing a glossy bi-monthly "healthy living" magazine was more important than maintaining the credibility of their newsroom, and investigative reporters like Jen Skerritt.

Her coverage of the death of Brian Sinclair in an HSC waiting room, and her exclusive reports about the WRHA super-secret brown envelope slush fund, shook the untouchables at the WRHA.

Postl's characterization of her brown envelope expose as 'laughable' backfired badly - as did the claim of his chief defender, Health Minister Theresa Oswald, that Postl was being 'courageous' in his handling of the controversy.

Last month, Skerritt again used Freedom Of Information filings to verify the spread of infectious Superbugs in area hospitals. She humiliated the WRHA into changing their public disclosure policy after they insisted "this was no news".

Again the WRHA went the smear route:
WRHA spokeswoman Heidi Graham said the initial Free Press article convinced health officials of the need to publicize the occurrence of outbreaks in real time so the public doesn't have to rely on "inaccurate and sometimes inflammatory information from other sources."

The work of Jen Skerritt was no doubt the main impetus for the WRHA to silence the Free Press at any cost - a cost now borne by the taxpayer, who never expected to fund "a new source of health and wellness news and information" written by the WRHA, let alone imagine that the Free Press would profit by eagerly distributing Dr. Brian Postl - approved propaganda to their own subscribers' doorsteps.
May 4, 2009
A "Wave" of Health and Wellness is Sweeping Winnipeg
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Launches New Consumer Health and Wellness Magazine

Manitobans have a new source of health and wellness news and information.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority announced today that it is joining forces with the Winnipeg Free Press to produce Wave, a consumer health and wellness magazine.

Dr. Brian Postl, President and CEO, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, said the new publication will provide readers with the kind of news and information they need to lead healthier, happier, and, hopefully, longer lives. It will also support the Region's ongoing effort to be accountable to the public by providing readers with a glimpse into the inner workings of the health-care system.

"Wave's mission is to engage and inform readers about a broad spectrum of health and wellness-related issues, as well as showcase some of the important and innovative work taking place in our health region," Postl said. "Our goal is to provide readers with compelling stories that illuminate and inspire, not lecture people about wise lifestyle choices. We hope we'll generate a different kind of wave in our community - a wave of enthusiasm for healthy living."

The first issue of Wave, which hits the streets this week, will feature a behind-the-scenes account of a one-year-old girl who underwent treatment for a fatal genetic disorder, a story that explains how stress can undermine a person's health and well-being, and a piece on the issues involved in diagnosing and treating prostate cancer. The magazine will also feature a series of advice columns from Region experts on topics ranging from healthy eating and active living to general health and patient safety.

The publication, which will be published six times a year, is the result of an arrangement believed to be unique in Canada. While there are other health magazines, Wave is the first health magazine of its kind resulting from a joint effort between a health region and a major newspaper. The Region will provide editorial content, while the Free Press will manage the printing, distribution and advertising sales.

"We're very excited about this project because it represents a great opportunity to build our community by providing readers with information that truly matters to them," says Bob Cox, Publisher of the Free Press.

Cox says the cost of producing Wave will be offset by advertising. "We believe a quality product of this type will be well-received by advertisers," says Cox.

Wave will be delivered to Free Press home subscribers on a rotational basis. It will also be available at newsstands, doctors' offices, McNally Robinson bookstores, hospitals, and via subscription.

Postl says the decision to partner with the Free Press only makes sense. "We are the largest provider of health services in the province, and one of the largest in the country. The Free Press, meanwhile, is one of Canada's top newspapers and has an extensive sales and distribution network in our community. By working together, and with the support of our advertisers, we can provide readers with the very best in health and wellness information in a way that is economically efficient."

For more information contact:
Brian Cole
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Tele: (204) 926-8144

That the WRHA can justify going into the publishing business at a time when the print publication model is imploding, is explained only by the bottomless pit of our tax dollars that will underwrite their editorial "costs".

That the Free Press can fool itself into believing that their flagrant conflict of interest -- going into business with "the largest provider of health care in the province" -- will go unnoticed when readers monitor and evaluate future news and editorial coverage about the WRHA, is proof that the crisis of public trust in the newspaper that we reported on in November, was justified.

A doctor in the employ of the WRHA emailed us today:

"... You don't suppose that this partnership will affect the newpaper's objectivity when reporting on this bloated bureaucracy and the clowns that run it, do you? The Free Press' credibility just keeps getting less and less."

In the past few weeks, not only did the Freep ignore that wait times had doubled for MRI patients in this province, it redefined their standard of journalism to embrace:

- the misspelling of the name of Holocaust survivor (and longtime advertiser) Arnold Frieman, and never correcting it in print,

- inventing a new continent, Aurtarlia, and never correcting the error,

- ignoring the death of longtime Winnipeg reporter and commentator Marshall Armstrong,

- last weekends' stomach-turning exploitation of a deceased teenage girl by Gordo 'another awardo' Sinclair, replete with details of the girl witnessing her mother's suicide, lurid details of her own suicide in St. Vital, and running a file photo and naming the child -- all without an iota of evidence her father and surviving brothers had consented to their families grief being made public.

This unorthodox marriage puts their coverage of the upcoming Brian Sinclair inquest, the brown envelope audit, and spending decisions of Postl, under the microscope.

Nobody is going to believe they are reading the whole story, as long as the Free Press owners depend on the credibility of the WRHA to generate advertising support for their new joint venture.

My guess is that when it comes to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, get used to hearing the phrase "never reported in the Free Press".

Bob Cox is surely expecting you to.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Family lawyer Jack A. King interview transcript

On Thursday April 16th, Winnipeg lawyer Jack A. King spoke with us for about 20 minutes on the subject of parental alienation. Courtesy of his staff - who are also loyal listeners - we were provided a transcript of that segment and the brief conversation that followed with in-studio guest Outlaw Adam Knight.

Jack King’s interview on The Great Canadian Talk Show (92.9 KICK FM) April 16, 2009 with host Marty Gold

Marty – I am joined right now on the line by Jack King who I am told is a listener of this program, and is a family lawyer of 20 years experience in the city of Winnipeg . Hello, Mr. King

Jack – Good afternoon to you.

Marty – It’s a pleasure having you on the program. I don’t often touch on matters relating to family law, etc., but I have been advised that there’s some issues that are of a concern specifically as it relates to the matter of parental alienation and so I wanted to bring you on this program and, subsequent to bringing you greetings and welcoming you, to ask you what trends you’ve noticed in terms of how things have changed in family law and in divorce and custody issues over the course of the last 20 years. Increasingly governments have tried to modify laws, have tried to strengthen protection for the most part mothers and children in terms of maintenance payments enforcement and such. And in spite of that there’s still heightened emotions around issues, certainly around issues of custody, how have things gotten better in the last 20 years and how have things gotten worse in the last 20 years in your estimation?

JackWell, I think one things that’s got better over the years is there’s an increasing recognition that fathers actually can be good and involved parents. 20 years ago parents would generally be treated as only mothers. Fathers took a backseat and became visitors in their children’s lives. Now there is a recognition that both parents can be pretty useful. So that’s a major change. Another major change, I think, is the move towards a 50-50 shared care and control.

Marty – Uh-huh, as opposed to the sole custody being under the ages of one parent.

Jack – Yes. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I don’t know. It’s at the moment an untested experiment. 15 years from now we’re going to have a whole lot of kids who’ve gone through that process of 50-50 but living in completely separate homes and sometimes other sides of the city. How are they gone to turn up? I have no idea.

Marty – Can you explain parental alienation to my audience and why this has become a hot topic among family lawyers?

Jack – I don’t know if it’s a hot topic; it’s a sexy topic in that it gets the news and so on. But what it is essentially is one parent turning the children or child away from the other parent, saying things to the children which lead the child to believe that he or she is in danger with the other parent, shouldn’t be seeing the other parent, doesn’t want to see the other parent, and so on. It’s a horribly complex subject, very difficult to make better.

Marty – And how does the court evaluate, you know, the court’s faced with a situation where you’ve got a kid who’s, and I’m just going to throw a number in the air, let’s say you’ve got an 8 year old. How does the court compel an 8 year old to go visit a parent that the child is lead to believe they aren’t safe with or don’t want to see?

Jack – Well, you can compel an 8 year old because an 8 year old can be physically made to go. It’s more difficult when you get to the 11, and 12, and 13 year olds. But it’s the damage that occurs to the child who might sincerely believe that father or mother is some evil alien and then being forced to go and see that parent. There are safe houses, as it were, there’s the Winnipeg Access Agency –

Marty – Yes.

Jack – where children are sometimes taken to see the parent. But ultimately if a particular parent is intent upon destroying the relationship with the other parent, they can do it.

Marty – Do the courts ever issue cautions with regards to parents that try to poison the waters like that?

Jack – Oh yes, they do, most certainly. And there have been occasions where courts have said this is a contempt of the Court Order and unless you smarten up and start doing things properly, you’re going to go to prison. That does actually have an effect.

Marty – Does it ever happen that anybody is incarcerated as a result of that kind of behaviour?

Jack – Yes, there have been some cases, not in Manitoba that I am aware of, but certainly elsewhere where people have been incarcerated. Here in Manitoba people have been given suspended sentences. Those sentences have not been invoked because the person has smartened up.

Marty – What about when you’re representing one parent and your "learned friend" is representing another and one of you takes note that you’ve got a client who’s creating that kind of poisoned environment. How is that dealt with between the lawyers where on the one hand you’re supposed to look out for the best interest of the – I’m just wondering if you could clarify, you’re supposed to look out for the best interest of client – what obligation or responsibility do both lawyers have towards looking out for the best interests of the children?

Jack – Well, it’s an enormous one, in my view. This may be an unpopular view with my colleagues at the Bar, but I maintain that most parent alienation cases are fuelled and basically created by the lawyer not doing his or her job properly.

Marty – How so?

Jack – Because they’re not telling their client what real life is about. If a person wants to alienate the children from the parent, the first thing that parent, the alienating parent, should be told is you’re creating a monster that’s going to have a huge effect upon your life. But the lecture has to be given to the person that this is very bad for your child and ultimately very bad for you because you’re going to end up with a kid who is going to be delinquent, or who is going to have psychological difficulties.

Marty – I don’t often hear it expressed in terms of the effects on the kids that it creates, you know, like delinquent behaviour and antisocial acting out and stuff. And that really resonated with me, for reasons I don’t want to elaborate about on the air, but I think I may have seen evidence of what you’ve just described, but I don’t hear it discussed very often by lawyers or newspaper columnists or, you know, in the general public.

JackWell, it should be. You know, you talk about acting for the client, well, when I say to my client, “Listen, you better be aware of these long term consequences that you might be bringing down in your little head”,
I’m actually acting in my client’s best interests because my client does not wish, if that person is sensible at all, in 15 years’ time to have a delinquent child on his or her hands.

Marty – Has the legislative changes I’m remembering now I guess it was, actually when I first went on the air with Great Canadian Talk Show on July 1, 2004, and I think that was the date that lead to the legislative that was proclaimed in the province of Manitoba, that among other things changed the definition of common-law and some of the other matters pertaining to people that live together without benefit of official church or civilian sanction. Has there been any effect, pro or con, with regard to the issues of parental alienation – has that legislation ended up affecting making things better or worse in the course of those kinds of relationships splitting up where there are kids involved?
Jack – Not really, I don’t think, other than there being no distinction held now between a child born in wedlock and out of wedlock, you know to use those old terms.

Marty – Oh yeah.

Jack – So children of common-law relationship, married relationship basically are treated the same or the parents are treated the same. It’s more a newmint than a real effect.

Marty – Mmhmm. How combative, you know, it’s certainly been dramatized – I think a lot of people, maybe not of this generation but of my own generation, sort of defined their viewpoint on what went on in Divorce Court or, you know, custody battles on the basis of One Potato, Two Potato or after that Kramer vs. Kramer – how often are cases put before a judge that have that degree of antagonism and vitriol?

Jack – Well, I recollect the film was a bit ridiculous, it went to extremes. But there is some pretty hard, hard cases out there where people just cannot be reasonable. They cannot look at their ex-spouse with any recollection that they once loved that person. And they are out, if they can, to destroy that person and sometimes they use the children, that’s where you get parental alienation coming from in part.

Marty – How many cases, is there a percentage of cases you can estimate that are being maybe diverted or where the court process has been streamlined because of the use of mediation or other kinds outside of court services?

Jack – Yeah, we’ve always used mediation as lawyers and the court process, case conference, creates a mediation process as well. I’m not sure that there’s a huge difference. It’s just four different ways now of doing the same thing that we have two different ways of doing before.

(Marty laugh)

Jack – Cases capable of resolution are going to be resolved through mediation; cases that can’t be, doesn’t matter which way you use it, are not going to resolve.
Marty – I take it that family law, especially when you start getting the rancorous kind of disputes between parties – is there a high burnout rate among lawyers that participate in your specialty?

JackYeah, there is a fairly…there is a burnout rate, I don’t know if it’s a high one, but there are people who decide, you know, after 7 or 8 years and sometimes earlier than that that they just don’t want to deal with it and they don’t want to deal with –

Marty – It seems to me like it’s a kind of specialty that, you know, it might be hard not to take some of it home with you. Not you personally, but lawyers in general that, you know, you see families with these kinds of problems and anxieties and with the heightened level of antagonism and try to keep your client in line and keep them on points and everything. And so it just seems to me that it’s a lot more strenuous and can cause trouble, not trouble per se, but you know what I mean. It can be very difficult to be married to somebody who practices family law as opposed to somebody whose, you know, in and just closes real estate deals.

Jack – Yeah, but I think one has to remember that there are some real positives about doing family law. You get to meet some really interesting people, and you’re also, in a very real sense, helping people through a terribly tough time in their minds. You can’t help them all, but by and large that’s what we try to do.

MartyDo you have any suggestions for our listeners who, and I don’t really think that I have a real soap opera audience, but if there are people out there either are currently going through custody issues or who maybe are concerned that their marriage or relationship might be headed for rocky shores – is there any advice or suggestions that you may have for them
about how to try to make the path as smooth as possible and how maybe they can avert, you know, the kind of eruptions and heightened emotions?

Jack – Well, they should start off by remembering that there was a time when each thought of the other very highly. They should also recollect or consider that spending money unnecessarily on lawyers isn’t a good idea because what it does is take money away from the family. And thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, they should say, if they have children, “The last thing we want to do is bring our children into this mess.” You know, divorce is really tough for kids and if there’s anything that parents can do to reduce the stress of a divorce upon the children, they should be doing it.

Marty – I don’t mean to put you on the spot, Jack King, but is there anything you think could be done in terms by way of legislative amendment that might make things less confrontational, less combative, etc – is there something that you think could be done by the provincial legislature to create an environment that’s more conducive to putting the children first?

Jack – I don’t think so. I think it’s almost more a matter of educating lawyers. And there are a whole lot of lawyers who feel the same way that I do but there are some who don’t. And if we can reduce the personal animosity, personal tensions at the outset, then the parties really end up benefiting later on. Once government starts to interfere, they often do so without any real background or knowledge -

Marty – Mmhmm.

Jack – and they impose block solutions on things that really need a personal solution, and an individual solution. So I’m not a great advocate of government interference unless we’re going to take all the children away and put them in a collective home or something.

Marty – Yeah, well I don’t think anybody would advocating that.

Jack – (laughing) I don’t think that’s an option.

Marty – Jack King, you’ve practiced law in this city for over 20 years.

Jack – Well, no, it’s longer than that; close to 30 now.

Marty – Close to 30. And you’ve specialized in family law for 20 years?

Jack – Pretty well 25, 26 years.

Marty – And along with Connie Petersen you have a very well respected law firm. I’m just wondering if in closing there’s any other remarks you might want to make with regards to what you see in relationship between the law, the practitioners of law in this city, and families that come to them for help or anything else with regards – because as you know, as you know listening to this show, I’m not always easy on all lawyers. I haven’t often ventured into the subject of family law for instance, but I’ve had my criticism of some kinds, some areas of practice and some tactics that have been used, a lot of it relates to government lawyers, granted. But I wanted to give you an opportunity to express yourself with regards to the role of lawyers in terms of family law and in terms of the Winnipeg , the society of Winnipeg in general.

Jack – Well, as lawyers we are obligated to be advocates, but we can be fair and reasonable advocates. I think lawyers and their clients in this field should take the long view.
The client should be saying, “What do I want my life to look like in 15 or 20 years’ time?” and the lawyer should be saying, “What do I want my client’s life to look like in 15 or 20 years’ time?”

Marty – I can tell you this, Mr. King, that in the time of my own divorce, which was many, many, many moons ago, and by no means am I being critical of the lawyers that I was using or that my ex-spouse was using at the time, but that was not the approach that was taken in those days. And I kind of wish it was because, I don’t know if it would have necessarily changed how some things went, but nobody ever suggested, sat me down, or sat me and my ex down, and said, “Okay listen, you guys, you may not be getting along and whatever but what do you want things to be like in 15 or 20 years in your own lives?” At no time did anybody ever try to suggest to myself that the long view was something that had to contemplated and in that regard I am very impressed with the message that you’ve brought forward today and that you’ve expressed a point of view that I think is extremely sensible and that I do hope that people take to heart.

Jack – Well, thank you.

Marty – Mr. King, thanks very much. I know that you and others in your law office listen to this program and I very much appreciate the kind words that I have heard expressed through some of your personnel with regards to the content of this show, and anytime that there’s any subject that anyone around there thinks we should bring up on this show, don’t hesitate to get a hold of us.

Jack – Thank you very much. It was nice to talk to you.

Marty – Jack King joining us from the Petersen King law firm. Have a good day(terminates call) ... Didn’t know I could pull an interview like that off, did ya, Horse?

Adam Knight – You know what?

Marty – That was very different, eh?

Adam Knight – I’m very impressed in both regards there. Obviously with your interviewing acumen and Mr. King in his point of view on those topics.

Marty – That’s the kind of thing that I thought I was going to do, you know, like when I first started the show and then it ended up becoming a little more skewed towards political and current affairs and stuff.

Adam Knight – Hot topics are hot topics.

Marty – Yeah, exactly.

Adam Knight
I would like to take a moment to actually congratulate Mr. King on his, you know, level minded view on what is obviously a very sensitive and difficult topic for a lot of people.

Marty – I almost wonder, although lawyers would never say it, but, you know, when he said that there’s this trap of just spending money on lawyers and taking money away from the family it’s like, boy,
there’s some lawyers that I’ve watched in action who I believe would view Mr. King’s comment as being a form of heresy.

Adam Knight – And, more to the point, unproductive to the firm.

Marty – (laugh) Well, yeah, and unproductive to the firm or whatever. But that was – and now an e-mail from a listener:

"Does one have to prove harm is being done to a child to obtain custody, or can a case be made on a child’s total well-being, a child that is not physically in danger, can still develop major problems as the child grows up directly related to absent and poor parenting?"

Well, I wish I had gotten this when Mr. King was on the air. I get the impression that, from what he was saying, that the courts are now more receptive to interpretations of the overall well-being of a child, or of children, you know, ‘cause a lot of these divorces you’re dealing with more than one kid. I’m glad to hear it, and I almost wonder if at some point in the future, if we do a follow up on this, if maybe it wouldn’t be an idea … I’m just wondering if maybe at some point in the future I should try to get somebody from the court’s side of things, or from the court administration side of things in terms of the Department of Justice, and maybe get their point of view about how they try to streamline things and, I mean, I don’t know if the term is correct but, you know, where you try to divert cases – case conferences, as opposed to actual hearings in front of a judge and stuff. And it could be that I’m going to pursue this, you know, not delve into it, I don’t think it’s a great investigative piece, but I think it’s worthwhile having that discussion and hearing the kind of information that we got from Mr. King. And maybe next time I have Jack King on the air I’ll be able to talk to him about cricket.

Adam Knight – Heeey!

Marty – I’m led to believe he’s one of the main proponents of the game of cricket -- about which I know nothing.