Friday, October 30, 2009

Not even the undead are safe from the arrogance of the Winnipeg Free Press

The following is an exchange of emails between a Winnipeg man whose picture was used to illustrate a Free Press story about the local "Zombiewalk 2009", and the newspaper. A picture that accompanied the story was captioned "Some zombies got a little too much into character during walk downtown on Sunday night."

The story claimed "The surprise popularity of the event contributed to a "mob mentality" by some of the participants", according to the organizer, and went on to describe various acts of public disorder.

The man in the photo, clearly identifiable to those who know him, was smeared by the implication he was one of the troublemakers caught in the act. His work in the community with children and other adults, depends on his reputation as a reliable and conscientious person.

As you will read below, the reporter, city editor and publisher of the supposedly professional broadsheet thinks the normal rules of journalism - ie. get it right- don't apply to them.

They think that the concept of misrepresenting a photograph to help sell newspapers is acceptable. They claim their publication of a legally-staged photograph (actually, a photograph of a staged photograph being taken) embellished with a cutline that portrays the scene as the actions of a law-breaker, was the fault of the organizer of the event -- even though she was complaining about OTHER people, not the man in the picture.

Wrong place, wrong time, is the response. Blame someone who doesn't work here for us publishing that picture. The mean-spirited phone calls, the disrespect you now suffer because of our carelessness, because of our refusal to clear your name -- that's YOUR problem.

The newsroom that has fallen to the point of running "Our Mistake" almost daily on page 2, has hit tabloid territory a week early.

We begin with the email sent by a mother connected to the photograph, as one son is 'That Zombie Guy' and another was the driver of the vehicle in the picture. She did not get the courtesy of a response.

Perhaps if she was the mother of Bob Silver, someone on Mountain Avenue would have remembered, mothers are readers and subscribers too.



I would like to correct the inference that the zombie in your picture was doing damage to this car . The car was parked in a parking lot to watch the zombie walk and when the car owner/driver saw his brother he asked him to pose on his car for pictures . No damage or banging to this car occurred. I have spoken to both my sons ( driver and zombie ) to get the correct story.

their mother
(xxxxx) please withhold name

-----Original Message-----
From: xxxxx
Sent: October-27-09 12:30 PM
To: Giroday, Gabrielle
Subject: Inaccurate FreePress story, A5, re: zombie walk


I attended the zombie walk, this past Sunday night, and did not witness
any "mob mentality", or excessive blocking of traffic. In fact, the
"disruption" was less than any concert at the MTS center, or Bomber
game at the Stadium. The picture shown on page A5 of today's newspaper is completely opposite of the story written. Why is there no interviews from the disgruntled people, or from any of the "zombies" attending the event, to back up your misleading point of view?

I am the zombie in that picture. I am on the hood of my brother's Jimmy,
while it was PARKED in front of the Mac's store on Osborne St. I asked
permission to get on his truck, and was acting like a zombie to
entertain my brother and his girlfriend. They are smiling and obviously
enjoying themselves.

I have received more than a few emails, text messages, and comments because of this story, all negative. Most people asking why I was disrupting traffic. My friends, family and aquaintances all love the picture, but then read the story and their opinion changes.

The only vehicles I saw being approached by zombies were being
encouraged, both by laughter, smiles, and/or pictures being taken of
them/ the event.

Why does the Free Press feel the need to generate negative stories out
of positive events? When was the last time Winnipeg had that many
people downtown on an autumn Sunday night? Think of all the extra
revenue that local businesses generated due to the increased foot
traffic. We need more events like this to liven up downtown, not less.

{That Zombie Guy}

--Original Message-----
From: "Giroday, Gabrielle"
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2009 12:47:12
To: xxxx
Subject: RE: Inaccurate FreePress story, A5, re: zombie walk

Hi xxxx--
Thanks for the note. It has some interesting insight that I am sure
others would like to read.
One note on reporting in general, I think I would want to point out that
as a reporter I don't take a point of view -- I quote others on the
information they provide to me. (in this case, the event's organizer and
the police).
I have two suggestions:
1) Would you like me to forward the letter to the letters page for
They'd need a phone number for confirmation purposes. If you didn't want to send me your number to forward on with the info below, you could always send the letter straight to

2) I'd love to post your letter as a part of a blog post. People really
are super interested in the Zombie Walk and I think they'd really
appreciate your point of view. I've been fascinated by the amount of
stuff on the Internet about the walk. Would you be cool with that?
Take care and I hope you had a good night.

From: xxxx
Sent: October-27-09 2:11 PM
To: Giroday, Gabrielle
Subject: Re: Inaccurate FreePress story, A5, re: zombie walk


Do you think this is a joke? Serious damage to my reputation was done in the pages of the newspaper NOT on your blog, and that is where this must be addressed. Only one side of the story was presented, and most unbiased journalists would try to find out both sides to a story. You used my picture to depict the story you presented. My face is clear, my brother's face is clear, and his girlfriend's face is clear. This is not a "letter to the editor" matter, I suggest that Mr. Cox or Ms. Goodhand should be contacting me immediately.


From: "Giroday, Gabrielle"
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2009 14:19:37
To: xxxxx
Cc: Samyn,Paul
Subject: RE: Inaccurate FreePress story, A5, re: zombie walk

Hi xxxx --
It sounds like you're not interested in having your letter on the letters page or on the blog.
I've cc'ed my city editor Paul Samyn on this. If you'd like, you should talk to him at 697-7292.
I'm not clear what you're requesting, but he may be able to help you.

From: xxxx

Sent: October-28-09 2:12 PM
To: Samyn,Paul
Subject: Misrepresentation of myself and the zombie walk


I'm assuming you have read the correspondance between Gabrielle and
myself, and am wondering why I have not received a response as yet.

Her story is the equivalent of somebody "seeing" an old woman being mugged in a park, a witness calling the cops, and reporting the incident, and leaving the story there. Now if she had talked to the old lady and discovered that it was a scene being acted out for a movie, there would have been no negative story.

In the case of the zombie walk, the cops were called due to people been
seen swarming vehicles, but if she had done her research, she would have
discovered that those cars were either part of the zombie walk, there to
record or enhance the night, or the zombies were encouraged by the

In my case, the picture of me is being used to support the negative
slant to the story is ruining my reputation. I teach children karate, as
well as adults. What do you think they see me as now? I know this is not the only email Gabrielle has received regarding this subject. My brother, his girlfriend, and my mother are all offended
by this story and how we were used.

Why are there no interview of the participants, spectators, my brother,
or myself to explain the situation? Were there any reports of damage or
injuries due to the event? I'm going to assume not, because the writer
would have included that in her one sided story. I'm also sure that
there were positive comments from the organizer, yet those were not
included in the story either. Here's an idea, if the cops were called,
yet there was nobody there to complain/talk to the cops, then maybe
there was no incident and they were called as a result of lack of

If Gabrielle had actually researched a complete story she would know that I was not jumping on stranger's cars which were on the road and acting with a "mob mentality".

My picture is now linked to this poor excuse of a story, and not in a positive way. It has been printed and distributed for the whole city to see, not to forget the online story as well. What is the Free Press
going to do about this?


PS. How can Gabrielle not see the reason I would be upset? It's obvious
to me, my family, friends, and all the people who have been talking
about it on the facebook event. I've had to explain myself too many
times to count.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Samyn,Paul"
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2009 14:32:17
To: xxxx
Cc: Giroday, Gabrielle
Subject: RE: Misrepresentation of myself and the zombie walk


With the greatest of respect, if you have a problem with how the zombie walk was covered, I suggest you speak to Sarah Reed who was the event's organizer.

It was Reed who talked about the need for more police presence and who
was critical of ``unfortunate shenanigans.'' She also talked about
participants not respecting the rules of the road.

Regardless of whether the cars were or weren't part of the zombie walk,
a strict interpretation of the Highway Traffic Act will remind you that pedestrians climbing on cars is not normally seen by the public or police as a positive event.

Moreover, the fact remains that you were in a public place and your
picture was taken as part of that event.
I think most of our readers who saw the pictures in the paper or on our website will take the zombie
walk, including your role in it, in the way in which it was intended --
a fun and slightly out-there bit of late October nocturnal fun. I am
sure your reputation will survive whatever questions might come your way as unlike zombies, this controversy will soon die.


Paul Samyn
City Editor

From: XXXX
Sent: October-29-09 2:11 PM
To: Cox, Bob
Subject: Fw: Misrepresentation of myself and the zombie walk


A picture of me has been used out of context to support a point of view in one of the Free Press' stories. I was on the hood of a parked car on private property, not on the city's roads. I was not banging on a stranger's vehicle, nor was I displaying a "mob mentality". However, my picture is being used to support this story. I have received responses to this story, and those that have read the article have asked why I was banging on vehicles and not respecting the rules of the road or other peoples property.

I have tried to explain my frustration to the story writer as well as
her editor. I was not impressed by either response. Is this the
proffesionalism and concern your staff displays common to your readers or the people it mis-uses when they voice a concern?
Is there a way to break the link that I now have to this story?

Thank you for your time,


From: "Cox, Bob"
Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2009 15:47:40
Subject: RE: Misrepresentation of myself and the zombie walk

Dear sir:

The Free Press will not be taking any further action regarding this story. Our photographer was standing on a public sidewalk when he took this photo, depicting you on a car hood in a parking lot in full view of
hundreds of other walkers. The organizer of the walk expressed concerns about the activities of some participants who did not observe proper behaviour during the event. If you have concerns about the organizer's remarks, then I would suggest that you contact her. As with all readers, you are welcome to write a letter to the editor to express your opinion.

Bob Cox
Winnipeg Free Press

We had TZG on the air yesterday. Here is a sampling of the reaction of Kick-FM listeners to his story and to the way the Free Press dismissed his complaint:

"I can only presume that the Free Press assumes we are all dead and ignorant of their Ridiculous journalism. I've had enough...just finished canceling my subscription while listening to the show. Now I am really dead to them."

"I never really understood how broken the freep is, until now."

"He did write a letter - to the editor's boss! If Cox thinks it's the editors call, why did he answer for Margo Goodhand and decide the paper would do nothing to correct their mistake?"

(Comments made to our producer Danielle): "Freep starting to sound like tabloid... As well, photograph been blown out of proportion, tabloid-style. Quality and integrity being lost by Free Press. How many pics have they incorrectly represented, the listener asks."

Today we have a special start time of 3.30 PM to accomodate our special interview guests, Adam West and Julie Newmar, who are in town for Central Canada Comic Con; plus This Week in History with Professor Levinski, Dan Lett's analysis of Premier Selinger's Hydro minefield, and more of your calls.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Please help support the Kerry Brown Fundraiser on November 10th

As many of you know, my very good friend Kerry Brown, a big mean wrestler who had a heart of gold, died last month far too young at the age of 51.

He taught me a lot about life in and out of the ring, and his stories of working with the likes of Andre the Giant, the British Bulldogs, and Antonio Inoki were side-splitting to say the least.

I will be hosting a fundraising event in his honour and to help raise money to assist his family, in 2 weeks time, on November 10th, at the Marlborough Hotel in Winnipeg.

Dozens of people, wrestlers, broadcasters, fans, are working on producing and publicizing this show, to demonstrate their loyalty to the Brown family in their time of need and their respect for the memory of one of Canada's greatest modern day performers.

Special thanks to Bobby Jay of Kildonan Sports who purchased a $500 sponsorship package, and to Kerry's former employer the Westbrook Hotel for not only buying a block of tickets, but also stuffing flyers into their vendor beer sales. If you are interested in helping the cause in this way, group and corporate rates are available.

Now I know that professional wrestling is not everyone's cup of tea; BUT, if you were a fan growing up of what we now call "old-school wrestling", this event will be up your alley.

Without further ado, here is the latest information. If you need tickets, contact me


Promoter Tony Condello has announced that tickets are now available for The Kerry Brown Tribute Card, a fundraising event to assist the family of the late worldwide wrestling star.

The card on Remembrance Day Eve, November 10th at 7.30 PM, brings together performers and fans from across the West, to honour the memory of "Pitbull" Kerry Brown and to showcase the old-school style of professional wrestling he epitomized as Stampede Wrestling North American heavyweight champion.

The all-ages show, being held at the Skyview Ballroom at the Marlborough Hotel at 331 Smith Street, will feature 6 very distinct undercard bouts headlined by a 2 out of 3 fall tag team attraction.

Veterans Chi Chi Cruz and Brian Jewel are reforming their popular team for the first time since 1993, to square off against "Team Impact", Showtime Robby Royce and rising young star ATM. Cruz, Jewel and Royce were among Kerry's main opponents when he returned to compete out of his home base of Winnipeg throughout the 1990's and specifically asked to be in the feature bout to honour their fallen colleague.

The main event will be the Kerry Brown Memorial Rumble, with dozens of wrestlers entering the over-the-top battle royal to compete for the glory of being the last man standing.

Among the wrestlers traveling at their own expense to help raise funds for the family is noted author Vance Nevada, now of Red Deer Alberta, whose book Wrestling in the Canadian West is getting rave reviews across media platforms.

"This is an example of the respect the boys had for the Pitbull," said Condello, "and how concerned they are that his family gets the support they need when faced with his sudden death at age 51. These skilled athletes are going to prove why Canadian wrestlers are the best around."

Another match slated is the exciting "WFWA 6 man tag", with a 3 man team captained by former NWA Canadian champion EZ Ryder facing the trio led by Sargeant Tom Steele. More matches will be announced shortly.

Sponsors who have already contributed support include Manitoba Public Insurance, Kildonan Sports, The Westbrook Hotel (where Kerry Brown formerly worked), Brickhouse Gym, Slam!Sports, and Steven Hanks massage therapy.

Tickets are priced at $15.00, with group and corporate rates on request, and are available from Tony Condello at 229-9173, or can be arranged via email at

A website, with old match video, links to online pictures and stories about Kerry, and event information, is at

Kerry Brown was trained by Tony Condello and entered the professional wrestling ring wars in 1979, completing his apprenticeship with a bout against former AWA World Tag Team champion Greg Gagne at the Winnipeg Arena on December 6.

A natural talent and hated 'heel', he was a star in the NWA flagship promotion of St. Louis, Kansas City, Antonio Inoki's New Japan, Stampede Wrestling in Calgary for promoter Stu Hart, Puerto Rico and in Quebec and the Maritimes (as Rick Valentine), and across Central Canada for many regional promotions.

Kerry passed away suddenly in September at age 51, and the wrestling community has come together to raise funds to assist his family with their expenses at this difficult time.

Event Details
Tuesday night, November 10th, Marlborough Hotel, 7.30 PM. Six special bouts capped off with the Kerry Brown Memorial Rumble.

Tickets $15.00, corporate rates available for groups wishing to attend the show. Call Tony 229-9173 or email

Special prize packages will be available for bids. To donate prizes or contribute to defray overhead expenses, contact Bob St. Laurent at 228-0707.

For more information contact Marty Gold

Monday, October 26, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Panicky Hydro boss tells troops: who you gonna believe, me or Miss Whistle?

The Great Canadian Talk Show has learned that Manitoba Hydro CEO and President Bob Brennan is sensing dissension in the ranks, and has come out with a desperate counter-offensive.

The most offensive aspect being, he is claiming to employees that he is really, really, REALLY co-operating with the Public Utilities Board, even though a year after he promised to disclose information they asked for, he still has not done so.

"Hydro is more than willing to provide whatever information is necessary for the PUB to fulfill its important rates approval mandate ... it is necessary to provide the PUB with information in such a way that does not put Manitoba Hydro at a competitive disadvantage. Manitoba Hydro has always had a cooperative working relationship with the PUB and this is expected to continue."

Having taken the definition of "cooperation" from the official NDP handbook, Brennan then claims he has respect for the Whistleblower Act, after spending last week violating it at every turn.

"I strongly support the right of any individual to express his or her legitimate concerns in a discreet and confidential way without fear of reprisal. This is the essence of the Province’s whistleblower legislation. At some point, however, Manitoba Hydro needs to have the opportunity to defend itself once the allegations are known."

Brennan has known since at least September of 2008 what the allegations are, and according to Miss Whistle, specifically instructed her not to leave a paper/email trail, and then fired her the day after she sent an advance summary of her analysis to Brennan and to the Hydro CFO (to whom she actually directly reported).

Brennan goes on to voice his support for a 'special audit' being conducted by his former employer, now- Provincial Auditor Carol Bellringer.

"The highly publicized whistleblower allegations are the subject of an independent review by the Auditor General or her designate and this review will be conducted as soon as possible... We have stated previously that we fully support an investigation by the Office of the Auditor General because we are very confident that such an independent review will vindicate Manitoba Hydro and demonstrate that the corporation is managing its risks in the most prudent and responsible manner."

Brennan also tries to reassure the jittery staff that the results of the most recent operational review were glowing, even though the hand-picked consultants used the term "reasonable" three times, and "adequate" twice.

Most importantly, Brennan proports that his handpicked auditors will be able to conclude a proper review before New Years' Eve, and before Bellringer has even cracked a book on the subject.

"The findings of the KPMG review will be provided in a report to be presented on or before December 31, 2009".

We will have more from Manitoba Hydro's "Message from the President: A response to whistleblower allegations", Tuesday at 4.20 PM, on 92.9 Kick-FM.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Will Ombudsman investigate Hydro CEO for breach of Whistleblower Act

New Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger was the man behind the vaunted Public Interest Disclosure (aka whistleblower) Act, which the NDP brought in after repeated firings and harassment of people like Pat Jacobsen (Workers Compensation Board), Tom Ulrich (Teachers Retirement Fund), and Jium Small (Hydra House) who flagged wrongdoing, was uncovered in provincial audits and media reports.

Selinger was also the Minister of Finance when Manitoba Hydro fired a consultant, who was ordered not to put anything more in writing after she alerted officials that the Utility had blown $1 Billion, and was facing potential catastrophic consequences as a result of faulty market forecasts and revenue projections.

Now Selinger has a new headache - today, CBC News trapped Hydro CEO Bob Brennan into the most blatant violation of the whistleblowers' right to remain anonymous.

Brennan had claimed she refused to explain the basis for her dire predictions.
In turn, she produced to CBC an email offering to tell him directly,
" line by line all the errors in the financial projections so you can see for yourself and with your own eyes what is being done incorrectly”.

A panicked Brennan spun the story -- right into himself.

CBC reported "He said Thursday that each time the whistleblower contacted Hydro to discuss the alleged mismanagement, more money was requested as payment for discussing the claims."

* By even mentioning that she had discussed compensation with him, he breached her personal information. Worse for Selinger, last week Brennan confirmed she had been fired.

* That means that her asking for payment to discuss her report was not an act of extortion or greed, as Brennan wants you to believe. She had already been fired. Of course she would ask to be paid for her work.

* Brennan wanted the benefit of her research without paying her for it.

* Last week, Brennan identified the risk management consultant as a female. Today, he backtracked and called the whistleblower "an individual". Too late.
That was another example where her promised anonymity was thrown under the bus.

* He also had complained about her $500,000 contract -- another breach of her right to privacy.

Let's face it- the number of female risk management consultants who work in the Utility field is by definition, a small crowd. Reduce that to the number of female consultants retained by Manitoba Hydro. Certainly, anyone who has worked within their office in the last 5 years could figure out who had been fired.

Isn't this exactly what the legislation was intended to prevent? And here we have Brennan deliberately going out of his way, to tell everyone within the business, who it is (a female), why he fired her (which is in itself a separate breach of the Privacy Act), how much she was paid, and that she wanted another contract or compensation arrangement.

All of that is, at the very least, a breach of the Privacy Act -- and on the surface, appears to totally undermine the goals Selinger himself claimed he had when introducing whistleblower protection.

"All supervisors, designated officers and employees, including disclosing employees, are responsible for maintaining confidentiality."

Now the question is, what sanctions will be taken against Brennan and the Hydro Board, and will the Ombudsman step in and enforce the protections and penalties of the Public Interest Disclosure Act?

Our special series that started Monday, explained the issues behind the Hydro scandal - the whistleblower firing and smear job; what is risk management; preparing for Black Swan Events such as the emergence of LNG as a fuel source; and the matters of third-party oversight and best practices principles under a Board of Directors who are largely unqualified to assess a potential $20 Billion dollar Hydro debt.

They are available through our audio archive, at

More about Hydro on Friday's show, which will also feature Today in History with Professor Levinski, Jon Waldman of Slam! Sports- win a copy of
his new book ! ( make sure to plan to come to the November 5th book launch -- )- and of course, commentary from our usual Friday co-pilot Spirited Kenny.

Our guests this week have included
Liberal MLA Kevin Lamoureux, chiropracter "Dr. Dave" Newsham, and MMA fighter Jason Geiger and his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach Curtis Brigham. Thanks to them for helping keep our audience informed and entertained.

Next week we have already scheduled interviews with Mal (not Hal) Anderson of the
Exchange District Biz on Monday, about the unilateral Parking Authority plan to eliminate the 2 hours free Saturday parking program; retired hockey star Theo Fleury on Tuesday in a joint broadcast with the Illegal Curve radio show; and Sean Crawford of MYS (also on Tuesday). Plus as usual, Frank the Italian Barber and Brad Harrison analyze NFL Football on Monday.

Don't forget to listen to our 5 episode Sunday night replay block, kicking off at 7PM with the Oct. 16th 2-hour appearance of Winnipeg Free Press political reporter Dan Lett.

************ ********

If you are an old-school wrestling fan, please consider helping us support the family of Kerry Brown, who passed away last month.

We are producing a tribute event at the beautiful Skyview Ballroom at the Marlborough Hotel at 331 Smith Street, on Tuesday night November 10th.

Some of Canada's finest professional wrestlers, such as Chi Chi Cruz, Brian Jewel, EZ Ryder, Outlaw Adam Knight, Showtime Robbie Royce, and Gene Swan will gather to show their respect for the former Stampede Wrestling and Quebec champion, and a great silent auction, cash bar, and special surprises are also in store.

The event website, with comments from Chris Jericho and Lance Storm, video of Kerry in action, and links to personal stories from SLAM! Wrestling about Kerry, is found at

Tickets are only $15.00, group rates are available. Feel free to email for more information.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Exclusive: Free Press publisher Bob Cox memo: why we axed the Sunday paper

"All staff:

I am announcing today that the Winnipeg Free Press will be combining its Saturday and Sunday editions to publish a substantially enhanced Weekend Edition for home delivery as of Saturday, October 31st.

At the same time, we are launching a new compact publication called On7 that will be offered in stores and boxes on Sundays starting on November 1st.

These are the most significant changes to our publication schedule that we have made in a quarter of a century. We have been considering these moves for some time and we wanted to make sure that we had all the details taken care of before making a formal announcemenmt.

I will be holding Town Hall meetings tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) to discuss thse moves and answer any questions from staff.

The past year has been a difficult one at the newspaper. We have seen what is almost certainly the biggest year-over-year drop in revenues that the Free Press has experienced in modern times.

We have made cuts, but we also realized that we could not keep cutting and maintain the quality of the Winnipeg Free Press, which our readers demand.

Rather than simply withdrawing from the market one day a week and ceding ground to the Sun, we decided on a path that aggressively builds a new model for the Free Press by publishing a compact version for single copy sales.

We're showing our confidence in the future of the Free Press --and newspapers in general -- by saying yes, we can change. We can offer an exciting new paper while at the same time protecting the quality of our 137-year-old broadsheet.

We sometimes forget just how much and how often newspapers have changed.

Many of you worked at the Free Press when it was an afternoon newspaper. That's what it was when I first joined it as a young reporter in 1984. It then became a morning paper to serve readers whose evening habits changed to include supper hour news programs.

The Free Press also published only 6 days a week-putting out a Free Press Weekend edition for delivery on Saturday until February of 1985 when we started publishing on Sundays.

We're going back to a Weekend Edition that includes features that readers have enjoyed in our Sunday edition- a Homes section, extra puzzles, a books section, Faith pages, horoscopes for two days and a longer section of features and analyses that we're calling FYI- Feed Your Intellect.

On7 will have news, certainly, but will focused on the lighter side of the world with comprehensive coverage 0f sports and previews of Sunday games, and some fun entertainment.

Other newspapers are facing the same - or worse- problems as the Free Press. Some have stopped publishing entirely on Sundays or Mondays.

We have chosen a different path - a made-in-Winnipeg approach to strengthening and protecting the newspaper.

We think this is an innovative way to deal with the challenges we face- and a fitting one for a newspaper known for its long history, top quality and willingness to try new things.

The Free Press has long held the title of being the most-read big city newspaper in Canada - two out of every three Winnipeg adults read the paper at least once a week.

The Free Press was recognized this year by ther Canadian Journalism Foundation with its Excellence in Journalism Award, the first time a Western Canadian newspaper has ever won this honour.

We intend to qualify for this award again in the future, keeping our readers and exceeding their expectations to have a great newspaper.


Our thanks to NDP leadership hopeful Steve Ashton for participating in an extended 70 minute interview yesterday. Listener reaction was immediate, strong and not very favorable, but Ashton truly believes in his positions and philosophies, and endured what he agreed was the toughest grilling of the campaign with a feisty and good-humoured performance.

Win, lose or draw this weekend in his bid to replace Gary Doer as Premier of Manitoba, Ashton has committed to returning to the Kick-FM studios again in the future, saying that being accessible all media, and not just the big dogs of the mainstream, are an important part of politicians being accountable to the public.

Today at 4 PM, a special Today in History with CTV's Kelly Dehn; a preview of the NDP Leadership Convention with Free Press political columnist Dan Lett; and at 5.20, an email about booze problems at Bomber games, and news of a contest to win the new Slam!Wrestling book "Shocking Stories from the Squared Circle" with Jon Waldman.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ashton to Selinger: 'I'm going on TGCTS on Thursday, care to debate?'; plus FP union internal war

One of the two contenders to become the next Premier of Manitoba has accepted our invitation to address the campus radio audience.

"Dear Marty,

Steve Ashton would be honoured to appear in a debate on your radio station..."
said spokeman Sel Burrows.

Today he emailed the campaign manager for opponent Greg Selinger:

"The two candidates have been invited to appear on Red River College radio for a friendly debate on Thursday at 4 pm. We are planning to appear on campus radio on Thursday at 4PM and we are open to debating Greg at that time for an hour, if he chooses to appear. Hope to see Greg on Thursday."

We have not yet heard from Mr. Selinger, who was personally invited to appear on the program when he announced his candidacy to run for leader of the NDP. If he accepts, The Great Canadian Talk Show will format a one hour debate between the two hopefuls with participation from Red River College students.

If Mr. Selinger does not accept, then we will conduct an interview with Mr. Ashton and ask him about matters relating to his position on governance, the economy, justice and poverty, and to explain how his administration would differentiate itself from that of outgoing Premier Gary Doer. That's tomorrow at 4 PM on 92.9 Kick-FM.


Today on the show:

* Exclusive news about "the fractured relationship between the (Winnipeg Free Press) union leaders and the members (of CEP Local 191)", and exclusive details of the internicine battels that have driven the union into trusteeship on the verge of the newspaper eliminating the Sunday version of the broadsheet";

* The Winnipeg Police Service is under fire for having 6 cops investigate a supporter of the campaign displaying warning signs near a photo radar van yesterday, when the department can't seem to find anyone to investigate vicious west-end gangbangers who tried to kill an off-duty security guard this weekend when he tried to protect a ward of CFS

* Lots more about CanWest stiffing newly-departed reporters Andrea Slobodian and Meera Bahadoosingh out of vacation and banked time pay because squirelling away $9.8Million for executives compensation as part of bankruptcy restructuring is just as legal as not paying the hired help. Or, as GM Tim Jones put it:

" The Company has a significant amount of debt, which it has been unable to address in light of the unprecedented economic environment and difficult financial markets.
As a result of the filing, the Company will not pay out any outstanding vacation payment owing to you.

We understand the significance of these changes for you, but the company has determined that these decisions are necessary at this time. You will be entitled to make a claim for any amounts owing to you in due course..."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Family struggle against Public Trustee's Office important cautionary tale

Tonight at 11 PM, and on Thanksgiving Monday at 4 PM, we will be replaying the exclusive interview we did last week with Marilyn and Howard Andleton of Virginia.

Marilyn's father Louie Knizat (K-nee'-zit) began showing signs of dementia last year, and when it was diagnosed, the Chief Provincial Psychiatrist called in the Public Trustee's Office.

The dementia explained his abusive behavior towards his wife of 64 years, Mary. Her lawyer told the PTO that she was dropping her divorce petition in light of the fact Louie had not been acting in his right mind. But the Trustee, collecting $7000 every 3 months for "committeeship", ignored it's own rules and kept their lawyer involved in the case.

They charged $700 to have their employees "appraise" the assets, could not explain why their new Transcona house was left a shambles, personal items piled up in the basement, why the jewelry was not photographed but the truck and couches were, why their own printed rules say families can share in the use of vehicles but the elderly wife wanted to use the truck she was told, no we NEVER do that...

Despite the fact the family advocated for Louie when they found substandard care at Riverview where the Trustee had warehoused Louie, the WTO lawyer maintained that Mary was in a conflict of interest and was somehow to be viewed with suspicion, because she was turning to Marilyn and the other siblings for advice.

Meanwhile, the Trustee's Office was unaware that Louie had to be rushed for emergency gallbladder surgery after symptions had been ignored for weeks; that Louie was suffering circulation problems because he was kept upright strapped into a wheelchair for 5 months; that he was expected to share clothing and shoes, even though the estate has more than enough to pay for it.

They were even unaware that they had been depositing cheques from a joint annuity, which means they had also seized assets rightfully belonging to Mary.

In fact, the Trustee admitted that some of the frozen assets were jointly held with Mary, that they were collecting 3% quarterly fees on HER money, and then asked for a "settlement offer", and personal tax information to boot.

Mary could give in, and take a chance that at the rate of $28,000 plus sundry fees, in 5 years she will be forced out of her own home, to satisfy the PTO's greed.

Unless of course, Mary wanted to go to court to overturn the Trustee's stewardship of Louie. That would cost between $10-15,000. And they would use Louie's own money to defend their turf.

Mary, who managed the family household finances, who screamed bloody murder about the substandard health care in Riverview that the Trustee said was beyond their scope because their case workers are overloaded, who never overdrafted a family bank account by neglect as had the Trustee's Office, was told she would have to convince the Court of Queen's Bench that she could manage Louie's affairs better than the PTO.

It makes you wonder, if there case workers are overworked and the family is clearly capable, why is the PTO unwilling to meet with the family and cede jurisdiction?

Is it any wonder the Trustee controls $140 Million in liquid assets, when they can bully families without having to account to anybody? When they can use the families own money to hire lawyers and fight them in court? When they do not have to be accountable to the Minister of Justice or to the Legislature?

And if you think that they can have a complaint dealt with fairly by the Ombudsman, forget it. The Andletons were shocked to learn that in a previous incarnation, the Ombudsman WAS the Public Trustee.

Legislative Change is needed. The 3% fee on assets is highway robbery, given that the private sector charges about 1%. The lack of direct supervision over the care homes so many of their wards are housed in, is an abrogation of the Trustee's true responsibility- to look after those who cannot care for themselves.

The Andletons located a lawyer who will help their mother fight the Public Trustee. But they are lucky, because as professionals with their own business, they are not intimidated by bureaucrats, and are not afraid to fight. You can hear their story, this evening at 11 PM and on Monday, at 4 PM.

Here is some advice a listener provided.

As a Financial Planner, I always emphasize the absolute necessity of everyone having a will, power of attorney, and health care directive. This story is the best example I have heard yet why it is so important.

Everyone should have either a Springing Power of Attorney or an Enduring Power of Attorney. Contrary to what the Public Trustee suggested having a Power of Attorney demonstrates proper planning, not a lack of competence.

If only the couple had powers of attorneys none of this would have happened.

Tell your listeners to make sure NOW that they and their parents have proper Powers of Attorney. The cost is a pittance compared with what it will cost if the public trustee gets involved.

I operate out of an office that I sublet from Hub Capital, one of my MGAs, at 194 Provencher. My business # is 832-4463.

I focus on retirement and estate planning issues.
I have pretty in depth knowledge of tax planning, estate planning, and financial planning. If people want to contact me you may give them my business phone # or email

Webster Webb

Today on the live show at 4 PM, we'll explain just who is being affected by the IBEW strike, and how children and families are being victimized, while the NDP stands idly by in observance with its pro-union ideology.

Plus strong police reaction to the gerrymandering by unelected Liberal Senators of federal crime legislation that would have abolished 2 for 1 credit for time in custody, and how this may be the death knell for Liberal leader Michael Ignatief.