Vinnie & Twy

No Virginia -part deux

In bitching, Bullshit Winnipeg, Canadian politics, Stupid Losers on November 21, 2010 at 3:17 pm

One of the more public disasters that occurred was an all candidates forum hosted by an NDP affiliated group called the Point Douglas Residents Committee.

First, let’s give you, the reader, a bit of background on this group. They have received some media attention over the past couple of years for their valiant attempts to wrest their neighbourhood from the grip of local criminal gangs. Including a very nice visit from the Governor General.

Point Douglas is known as one of the more neglected areas of Winnipeg. As such, lots of poverty and heartache up and down every street. I remember when I drove a school bus for Winnipeg 1, we had to bus all the kids to school regardless of the short walk due to all the available dangers.

In an effort to capitalize on the neverending drama of such a high crime neighbourhood, the NDP parachuted in agent provocateur, Sel Burrows. He started the Point Douglas Residents Committee and used it to set up a volunteer run anti-crime thingy called “Powerline”. The idea is that if you see a crime, or have a suspicious neighbour, you call one of the volunteers from the Powerline. Then that person calls the next person and so on and so forth until someone finally calls Sel Burrows. Then he makes a few calls of his own and eventually, the suspicious neighbour is evicted from their home and Point Douglas is saved.

We figured it would probably make sense for Jenny to at least meet this Sel Burrows. So she hopped in her shiny new Cadillac and went to pick Sel up at his house in Point Douglas. Sel, sporting a black eye (no doubt a result of some heroic Powerline activities) recommended a local restaurant and that’s where they went. As soon as they walked in, the owners smiled and said, “Jenny!”. During this coffee date, Sel told Jenny that he grew up in the affluent River Heights area and became heavily involved with the NDP during his University days and has been some kind of NDP operative ever since. Jenny told him that while it was very noble of him to be slumming in the Point, he should keep in mind that she had spent a good chunk of her childhood there and that she was not slumming because it was her hood. Anyway, at the end, Sel said “you’ll get no trouble from me”. And we didn’t.

By the time the civic election rolled around, the PDRC had an internal mutiny and Sel stepped down for whatever reason. As a result, the PDRC was under the control of several locals who all refer to themselves as chairs, co-chairs or directors of this organization. Messy.

In the summertime on one of the multitude of doorknocking adventures, Jenny happened to meet a woman Roanna Hepburn, who also claimed to be the chair of the PDRC. That day, Roanna was very friendly and said that she was so impressed with Jenny that she would do whatever it took to get her elected. Wow! Thanks! That’s so sweet!

After Jenny made her debut on live radio with Marty Gold, we ran into Roanna again at the Park Dedication ceremony at Norquay Community Centre. Roanna asked her about the comment Jenny had made on Marty’s show about Sam Katz winning her vote by default. Jenny and Roanna talked about this and shortly after, we received a written quote from Rowena to use along with a picture of the two of them together for our pink brochure. This doesn’t matter yet, but it will become important later on. (trust me)

The day that we sent the brochure to press, we received a panic phone call from Roanna. She apologized up and down, but said she was too scared to publicly endorse Jenny due the the NDP affiliation of her group, the PDRC. We assured her that we understood perfectly and stopped the presses. No hard feelings.

Back to our story.

Over the course of the summer of 2010, there were many rumours swirling around that the PDRC was planning a public debate of some kind. At one point a message was left at our office from someone named Chris at the PDRC. We mistakenly thought that it was a man named Chris DeSouza, who had been in to our office before and had told us that he had at one time been part of the PDRC. At any rate, I returned the call, but got a machine and left a message. I called back several times, but never did connect with anyone at that office, so around mid-September, we emailed them a request for an invitation to their event. When no one got back to us, we dropped it and made no further plans to attend.

Until…

On September 27th, there was an ad in the Winnipeg Free Press and we had gotten word that the event was to be some kind of staged attack on Jenny’s background and credibility. So quite naturally, we fired off an email to them expressing how insulted we were at not being invited to their so-called “All Candidate’s Forum”. (which I cc’d to all the press) Someone named Chris Mc Carville, director of the PDRC, then hit “reply all” and sent us back a nasty, all caps response assuring us and the media that they would inform the voters of Mynarski “exactly” why Jenny was “too scared” to be there.

We went and so did all the press.

A kind of hush fell over the room when we entered. Awkward.

Having not received an invitation to participate, Jenny sat in the audience with the team. Roanna came over and insisted that Jenny take a place at the head table next to Ross Eadie.

Since there were not enough microphones, everyone had to share. So when it was Ross’s turn, Jenny tried to assist him with showing him where the mic was. He is blind after all and Jenny is very nice. Ross pushed it away, and said he didn’t need it. Then he stood up and rather yelled instead. Much classier.

Ross carried on in this manner throughout the event, waving his arms about and spitting as he yelled passionately about voting for “JUDY WASYLYCIA_LEIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
and what have you. Even while he was quietly waiting to speak, Ross’s legs were going a mile a minute. Very fidgetey. He reminded me of “Crazy Legs” from SCTV.

Poor Jenny kept moving her chair further and further away from him so as not to get hit by Ross. All in all, this was a pretty hostile environment if you had to be Jenny. Luckily, the PDRC turned out to be a bunch of sissies and chickened out of discrediting or attacking for the most part.

Ms. Martin came over and introduced herself to me and my sister during this break. She said that she had just been assigned by her boss, Bartley Kives, to cover Mynarski Ward that very day and was not familiar with all the details and wondered if we would be free to meet with her in the next few days. Of course we agreed.

It got pretty boring, so most of the reporters went home at the intermission, leaving Melissa Martin of the Winnipeg Free Press as the lone reporter covering the second half of the forum. For awhile, it was so boring, that Jenny focused her efforts on trying to catch a tiny fly that kept buzzing around.

Eventually, it got exciting again. Ross Eadie, felt that it would be smart to stand up and interrupt another candidate very loudly. At that point, the moderator made several attempts to get Mr. Eadie to stop ‘talking’ and sit down. Mr.Eadie carried on at the top of his lungs about how difficult it was to find donors to mount his campaign and that he was receiving financial support from the NDP. At that point the moderator, mild mannered Rob Galston stormed out of the room. It was all too much.

I can tell you that I was not the only audience member who was both shocked and stunned. According to the election rules for the City of Winnipeg, receiving financial support from a political party is totally illegal. A public statement like that would surely spark an investigation with a lot of bad press and spell the demise of the Ross Eadie for Council campaign.

We raced home to tell the husbands all about our adventures and have a couple victory drinks. Cheers.

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  1. […] A firsthand account of Ross Eadie’s comments can be found at https://ibitchabout.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/no-virginia-part-deux/. The most recent official statement from RRC on the matter, delivered on 11.9.10, can be found […]

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