Posts Tagged ‘Manitoba NDP’

I wonder how many Manitobans have received an email from their Manitoba NDP MLA entitled “A Fairer Deal for Renters.” I wonder how many are as pissed off as I am about what it represents.


Hi PaulRA Emailer

You may have seen information in your mailbox recently about Manitoba’s Fairer Deal for Renters.

Most of us have rented at some point in our lives, which is why I’m proud to be part of a government that introduces new protections for tenants rather than cuts.

Changes include investing in repairs and upgrades to social housing and introducing a new housing tax credit to stimulate construction in the private and non-profit sectors. On top of that, more apartment dwellers will now be protected from large rent increases.

But even with these changes I know there is more we can do. I want to hear what you think our next steps should be.

I’m inviting you to visit FairerDeal4Renters.ca to give us your input and to learn more about our plan for Manitoba renters.

You can fill in a brief survey and let me know how you think we can continue to protect tenants and keep life affordable for Manitoba families, while protecting the services we value most. I look forward to hearing from you.

**PS – Feel free to forward this email on to any family and friends you think may be interested in providing us with feedback on this issue.

Thank you,

Rob Altemeyer – MLA for Wolseley


At first glance, it appears rather innocuous — an MLA informing his constituent of new government initiatives and inviting input into future policies that will help tenants and other Manitoba families. If you didn’t follow up on the opportunity by clicking on FairerDeal4Renters.ca, you might think that it was a genuine invitation. You might think “How thoughtful of him to ask. I feel so included. This government really cares!” You might.

I clicked on the aforementioned link and found myself — not on a page dedicated to tenants’ interests, as one might have suspected from the name of the link — but on a page on the Manitoba NDP Caucus web site. As promised, it provided a bit more information on how life had gotten better for Manitoba tenants. Then came the survey — and this is what pissed me off.


How can we continue to keep life affordable for Manitoba families?

RA Emailer2Continue investing in safe, affordable housing units for seniors.
Protect consumers with fair and transparent cable and Internet contracts.
Keep Manitoba Hydro public and Hydro rates low.
Protect Manitobans from American-style, two-tier health care.
Keep post-secondary tuition affordable.
Continue building public infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and Quick Care Clinics.


Nowhere is there an opportunity to comment on the plethora of genuine issues and policy concerns that would impact on tenants in particular or citizens in general. Instead we are presented with a tick-box menu of vaguely worded motherhood statements that reflect existing government policy, with a text box at the end for comments.

This is not consultation. It is pre-election propagandizing. The Manitoba government did something similar in the lead up to this year’s provincial budget.

I wish I could say I was disappointed, but this bogus, tawdry, cynical approach to “consultation” is well established. Everyone does it. Governments, corporations, political parties. They smile, appear concerned and insult our intelligence on their way to the bank. The NDP is hardly unique. No wonder voter turn-outs are in decline.

Winnipeg Free Press columnist Mary Agnes Welch nailed it when she described this particular email message as “NDP bait and switch.”

Until political parties learn to engage honestly with citizens, our democracy will continue to wither.

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Is the Manitoba NDP preparing a public witch hunt, or at least a private spanking, of members who attended George Galloway’s Nov. 26 speech in Winnipeg? That certainly is the impression left by an article by Rhonda Spivak in the Winnipeg Jewish Review entitled BRANDON NDP WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION ENDORSES GALLOWAYS SPEECH IN WINNIPEG NOV 26.

In the article, Spivak trots out all the shop-worn distortions of Galloway’s anti-war and anti-Zionist activities and quotes Manitoba’s Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick as saying:

“It is important to know that this issue was not brought before Greg Selinger, the Leader of Manitoba the New Democratic Party nor the Manitoba NDP Provincial Council. This action is neither sanctioned nor endorsed by either the Premier or the Manitoba NDP. The NDP Brandon Women’s Association does not represent the Manitoba NDP on this issue . . .

“I want to ensure people that the Manitoba NDP is taking this incident very seriously and are already looking into the matter.”

For those unfamiliar with Manitoba NDP code, “taking this incident very seriously” is code for “someone’s gonna pay.” It’s the same language used by Education Minister Nancy Allan after B’nai Brith complained about a provincial high school examination question. The offending question — “Explain whether or not you think people in the entertainment industry have a responsibility for making the world a better place?” — was asked with reference to an essay entitled “Over the Rocks and Stones” by pop star Chantal Kreviazuk. Among many other things totally unrelated to questions of human suffering, Kreviazuk’s essay describes the struggle for life of a badly injured Palestinian boy and his family’s pain. An objective reader would be hard pressed to find evidence that hatred of Israel was being promoted.

Allan’s eagerness to roll over for B’nai Brith was widely ridiculed; even the Winnipeg Free Press editorial board, normally a perennial cheerleader for all things zionist, concluded that Allan had been too easily stampeded, that she should “respond rationally” in situations like this and “let the department do its work free of political meddling and public nitpicking.”

Back to the present. I’ve heard that functionaries in the Brandon Cabinet Office were not amused by the uppity women who endorsed Galloway’s event. Whether this goes farther remains to be seen. Surely if the NDP heavyweights start trying to muscle Seymour and others over their attendance at the Galloway meeting, it will be time for them to remove the word “Democratic” from their party’s name. Ditto for “New” which is really shop-worn after all these years.

Readers who share my outrage are encouraged to express themselves in a polite, but assertive reminder to Minister Melnick that Canada remains a free country where all, even NDP members, are entitled to the freedoms associated with a democracy. You can write to her at minwsd@leg.gov.mb.ca.