Local News Briefs

Katz could be ousted like Rob Ford

After Toronto mayor Rob Ford was dismissed from the city’s top job earlier this week for violating Ontario’s conflict-of-interest legislation, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz could face a similar fate as his April 2, 2013 conflict-of-interest trial approaches. The lawsuit, brought forward by Winnipeg restaurateur Joe Chan and defended by lawyer David Matas, alleges Katz violated Manitoba’s conflict-of-interest law in 2010 by spending nearly $3,000 of public funds for a party at a restaurant - Hu’s Asian Bistro - that he owned at the time. The penalty for violating the Manitoba law is the same as the Ontario penalty - the mayor would lose his seat on city council.

Manitoba Liberal leader calls for resignation of child advocate

Manitoba Liberal leader Jon Gerrard last week called for the resignation of Darlene MacDonald, the Manitoba Children’s Advocate, due to controversial statements she made concerning the ongoing Phoenix Sinclair inquiry, according to the Winnipeg Free Press. Gerrard presented a petition in the legislative assembly authored by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak and the Southern Chiefs Organization, stating aboriginal leaders have lost confidence in the Child Advocate. In June, MacDonald told the Free Press that costs for the ongoing Sinclair inquiry were “wasteful.” Family Services minister Jennifer Howard said in the legislature that she will not be asking for MacDonald’s resignation given that she is an independent officer.

Whooping cough rates double in Manitoba

Last week, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that instances of whooping cough - an infectious disease that is typically immunized - have more than doubled in Manitoba compared to 2011 levels. According to the province’s latest disease surveillance report, Manitoba recorded 51 instances of whooping cough by the end of September compared to just 26 throughout all of last year. The province has responded with an increased call for immunization, among other measures to make immunization more accessible. However, rates of whooping cough immunization in Manitoba hover at around 70 per cent, which is viewed as “barely adequate,” according to some health experts.

Winnipeggers enter federal robocall fray

Eight Canadians from across the country are asking the Federal Court to overturn the 2011 federal election results in six ridings due to misleading robocalls that were intended to suppress the vote in favour of the Conservative Party of Canada. Three of the eight Canadians challenging the federal government in court are from Manitoba, two from Winnipeg South Centre and one from Elmwood-Transcona. The three Manitobans allege they received fraudulent automated calls whereby they were directed to the wrong polling station by a voice claiming to be from Elections Canada. The original court action included electors from seven ridings, but one was disqualified for technical reasons. An EKOS research poll found that the automated calls may have suppressed the non-Conservative vote by one per cent in the seven original ridings, which would equal about 6,800 votes in ridings where Conservative candidates won by very slim margins, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

Published in Volume 67, Number 13 of The Uniter (November 28, 2012)

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