When former Premier Gary Doer stood with Southdale candidate Erin Selby and promised to expand the Southdale Recreation Centre during the 2007 election campaign, the Winnipeg Free Press printed this headline the day following the announcement:
According to Grandpa Kives and Mary Agnes Welch, Mr. Doer's promise "circumvented a long, torturous process governing the distribution of scarce funds for improving community centres".
Please note.... this process was both "long" and "torturous". You can imagine the dungeon in which bureaucrats slaved day in and day out figuring where to spend all that frozen property tax revenue.
Anyway, flash forwarding to today, you'd think any politician brave enough to promise something similar would have been held to the same standard by the Winnipeg Free Press.
Mr. McFadyen has made two recreation announcements recently. One dealing with the St. James Civic Centre. The other a commitment to build a brand new multiplex somewhere in south Winnipeg.
Interestingly, the "long" and "torturous" process undertaken by the General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres didn't end up short listing either of the projects promised by Mr. McFadyen. Neither the St. James Civic Centre nor the multiplex in south Winnipeg were identified by General Council directors on their short list. The Southdale and Winakwa proposals however, both supported by Mr. Doer in 2007, are identified.
One the proposals, in fact, included in the final short list is Dakota Community Centre, technically located in Riel but serving Seine River, two Conservative targets that Ms. Rochelle Squires and Mr. Gord Steeves must win.
It's interesting how Ms. Squires and Mr. Steeves have allowed Mr. McFadyen to ignore all the "long" and "torturous" work city council bureaucrats have done in supporting and ultimately short listing the Dakota Community Centre proposal.
The Blackberry Addicts strongly encourage Ms. Melnick and Ms. Oswald to remind constituents of Riel and Seine River that Mr. McFadyen has deliberately left Riel, Seine River, and Dakota Community Club, the home ice of NHL star Mr. Jonathan Toews, behind in this election.
And the Free Press, including Catherine Mitchell, should stand up for the "long" and "torturous" process they so fiercely defended in 2007. And, on this note, when did Catherine Mitchell suddenly embrace Hugh McFadyen's new Conservatism anyway?
Shame on all of these participants.
(Winnipeg Free Press, April 27, 2007)