Play­ing games?

Winnipeg Free Press - - YOUR SAY | OUR VIEW -

Re: Stay­ing at home, play­ing Mo­nop­oly doesn’t get votes (Oct. 4)

Thank you, Dan Lett, for draw­ing at­ten­tion to the fact that I spent some qual­ity time with my daugh­ter Emily the evening of Sept. 29, some­thing she has been miss­ing in the past four months. Some of her fel­low stu­dents at school brought your ar­ti­cle to her at­ten­tion and now she is won­der­ing if it was a bad de­ci­sion on my part to run for mayor — not be­cause she didn’t ex­pect Mom’s time might be taken up with the cam­paign, but be­cause she now feels bad for hurt­ing my chances since, ac­cord­ing to you, that’s what hap­pened.

This type of com­men­tary sadly re­flects a “dou­ble-stan­dard misog­yny” that is of­ten ap­plied to women can­di­dates in to­day’s me­dia. Be­fore you say, “No, it isn’t,” speak with some of your fe­male col­leagues; I think you might be sur­prised at their an­swers.

I thought it only fair that I should bring some much-needed clar­i­fi­ca­tion for your read­ers and per­haps some ed­u­ca­tion for you on some of the so­cial nu­ances as­so­ci­ated with women can­di­dates and per­haps why so few choose to run for pub­lic of­fice.

But first, a fact check: ac­cord­ing to you, “While Bow­man was pound­ing the pave­ment, Motkaluk was at home play­ing the Winnipeg edi­tion of Mo­nop­oly with her fam­ily.”

The facts: Brian Bow­man’s tweet of at­tend­ing Nuit Blanche was at 8:06 p.m. My tweet about play­ing Mo­nop­oly was at 10:42 p.m. The Winnipeg Mo­nop­oly game in ques­tion ac­tu­ally started at 10:15, be­cause I got home at 10:05 af­ter at­tend­ing a vol­un­teer and sup­port­ers meet­ing at my St. James cam­paign of­fice, which started at 7 p.m.

Truth be told, my daugh­ter Emily, 9, was up­set with me for not com­ing home ear­lier af­ter pre­vi­ously promis­ing her I would play Winnipeg Mo­nop­oly with her. So, de­spite the late hour, I felt I owed her some time — time that I ab­so­lutely do not re­gret.

Per­haps you should be ask­ing why I was giv­ing up a Satur­day night of fun, frolic and min­gling with vot­ers with cam­era guy in tow and smil­ing ear-to-ear at the WAG, too? Per­haps you are right, shame on me for sit­ting with my vol­un­teers dis­cussing cam­paign plans and tak­ing ques­tions from in­ter­ested Win­nipeg­gers that evening. I should have taken them all out to Nuit Blanche, I sup­pose.

In your world, ap­par­ently, the mea­sure of a mayor is all about “be­ing seen” at “the more high pro­file events.”

Yet in your Oct. 2 opin­ion piece, “Crowded cal­en­dar gives Bow­man the in­cum­bent’s edge,” you also wrote about the mayor lever­ag­ing his crowded cal­en­dar and busy sched­ule of may­oral events as a cam­paign tac­tic.

So, just to be clear... it’s not OK (but still le­gal) to lever­age at­ten­dance of events and in­vi­ta­tions for po­lit­i­cal ad­van­tage in one ar­ti­cle, but in an­other ar­ti­cle it’s con­sid­ered ad­mirable po­lit­i­cal savvy to be pos­ing for self­ies and photo ops at these same high-pro­file events? Which is it, Dan?

My daugh­ter and I would re­ally like to un­der­stand this bet­ter. And so would lots of other mothers.

JENNY AND EMILY MOTKALUK Winnipeg con­sid­er­ing the rapid in­crease in re­ported ad­dic­tions and re­lated crimes. Af­ter all, the (il­le­gal) pot deal­ers are not go­ing to roll over and die.

Many Man­i­to­bans are ob­vi­ously more wor­ried about the dan­gers of crys­tal meth (to them­selves, through vi­o­lence and theft) and to oth­ers (ad­dicted peo­ple) than they ever were about il­le­gal pot sales. It takes a lot of wis­dom and ex­pe­ri­ence, even for gov­ern­ments, to avoid the “un­ex­pected con­se­quences” of their ac­tions. Our fed­eral gov­ern­ment, in its ever more lib­eral-minded ap­proach, may be harm­ing its cit­i­zens in ways it did not an­tic­i­pate.


Mayor Brian Bow­man ad­mits the meth cri­sis is a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge for Winnipeg. Some of his so­lu­tions in­clude set­ting up su­per­vised in­jec­tion cen­tres and set­ting up a task force, which means a waste of tax­pay­ers’ money. Maybe a sin­gle an­swer would be ed­u­cat­ing po­ten­tial users. Where are the de­mo­graph­ics? He is very light on de­tails. Also, how are they go­ing to ac­com­plish goals that have not even been dis­cussed?

Many peo­ple first use drugs in their early teens and use most heav­ily in their late teens and twen­ties. There­fore, ed­u­ca­tion on this sub­ject should start in the school sys­tem.

Treat­ment cen­tres won’t help very much, and are very costly.

WAL­TER SCHURKO Winnipeg has al­ways had some bias to it — but the pub­lish­ers and ed­i­tors of the news out­lets at­tempted to sep­a­rate news from opin­ion. News was for­merly pub­lished in a more clin­i­cal mat­ter-of-fact-way, whereas opin­ion was given on ed­i­to­rial pages, or by an overly opin­ion­ated per­son at the end of a news broad­cast (think Andy Rooney).

Dur­ing the Jean Chré­tien years, the CBC merged the news and ed­i­to­rial groups to­gether — so now they are in­creas­ingly blurred. In the Winnipeg Free Press, those who ex­press opin­ions are now seen to be re­porters. Sadly, the same is true with al­most all other ma­jor out­lets in the world.

With the re­duc­tion in money for news desks, broad­cast­ers and news out­lets are fill­ing their space with opin­ions. Gone is ob­jec­tive re­port­ing, and in its place, a talk­ing head ex­press­ing an opin­ion. Opin­ions are cheaper and re­quire less anal­y­sis.

The sec­ond prob­lem is time. The news cy­cle used to re­volve around when a pa­per was pub­lished or when the na­tional news was broad­cast in the evening. It gave re­porters time to check out sources and re­port them prop­erly. Now we all have news flashes on our cell­phones and see ma­jor news sto­ries min­utes af­ter they have hap­pened. So rather than re­search­ing a news story, there is pres­sure to get it out quickly — and what eas­ier way to do so then to have a sta­ble of peo­ple to ex­press opin­ions (CNN and Fox News for­mats, which are both com­i­cal in repet­i­tive­ness and pre­dictabil­ity).

So far, the me­dia out­lets that seem to have bucked this trend are the BBC and Thom­son Reuters (at least one is Cana­dian). I find my­self drawn to both out­lets as my main sources for news, as they both main­tain a clear dis­tinc­tion be­tween news and opin­ions — some­thing all me­dia should have in their code of con­duct.


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