Friday, November 24, 2006

To hell with poverty

It may be appropriate on the morning CBC radio highlights the 10th Christmas LITE breakfast, that their national broadcast has details of the 2006 Campaign 2000 child poverty report.

Remember it wasn't that long ago that headlines were screaming about Manitoba being the child poverty capital of Canada and what a shame it was. No one was listening to the Doer government about the long-term measures that were going on to reverse the trend, one inherited from the mean-spirited Filmon policies of the 1990s.

Today, where are the headlines screaming about Manitoba's dismal status on the child poverty roster? A wire story appears buried deep in the Free Press, with no mention of Manitoba's ranking this year.

Well, a quick Google search gets you the answer -- today Manitoba's child poverty rate is DOWN to 19.2% -- now in 6th place among provinces. Sure, that's much too high, but it's a huge improvement. (The current stats are 2004 figures.)

In fact, the child poverty rate in Manitoba has been going down. Back in 2003, when we were last place (2001 figures) and child poverty was 22.5%.

The sad thing is child poverty nationally is in fact getting worse. The province with the highest rate is BC, at 23.5% -- worse than in Manitoba at its worst.

Meanwhile, the Gordon Campbell BC Liberal government (in truth, an anti-NDP coalition of right-wing Liberals, Socreds and Tories) have been following the exact economic and social path Huey McFadyen wants to follow.

In fact, Huey's buddies Jamie Watt and Greg Lyle are major advisors to Campbell, and who've also been seen in Winnipeg a few times in recent months, reportedly giving their old Harris-era comrade some strategic pointers.

Child poverty at record highs. That's the Tory way. If, god forbid, Huey ever led the Tories to victory, could Manitoba children afford that? Could we?

Food for thought, kiddies.


The Tory eat-our-own strategy marches on -- this past week we've seen two hand-picked Huey-ites win nominations in "safe" PC seats. The most interesting of course was the defeat of incumbent Denis Rocan in Carman, with the leaders' office fingerprints all over the effort.

Similarly, there's likely an upcoming coup heading David Faurschou's way in Portage in favour of another of Huey's close allies. It's no secret Hugh and Co. are behind the effort to dump Faurschou also.

Why so much Tory effort in ridings they are likely not in too much danger of losing? Centralization of Hugh's power on the party seems the most likely answer. Far be it from us to suggest focusing on strong candidates for swing ridings would likely be a better use of his time.

Meanwhile, congrats are in order to Jennifer Howard in Fort Rouge, who edged out James Allum on Wednesday night on the first ballot. A simple, straight-forward nomination race with no blood on the floor at the end of the night. Hmm, compare and contrast.

Again, though, the main issue for the NDP is that the Fort Rouge contest had a selection of quality candidates who either ran, or had been close to running for the nomination: Jennifer, Jamie ... as well as Donne Flanagan and Pete Reimer.

Four quality young candidates who would likely have been assets in a refreshed caucus. Instead, Gary Doer only gets one fresh face while seeking a third term.

It would have been much better to do some work to encourage retirements from the class of 1990 and earlier and renewed the team more thoroughly.