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As I See It

About Shaun Cameron:

Shaun Cameron is a lifelong Brandon resident. He has dabbled in politics and is now chair of Renaissance Brandon, the city's downtown development corporation. His column appears regularly.

  • Small field at the post for city council race

    After the dust at city hall settled on Tuesday, the field was set for another civic election, with this go-around being a small piece of the 2010 incarnation. That election saw a handful of candidates for mayor, as well as all but four wards in play. It also saw a list of more than a dozen potential trustee candidates, yours truly included, vying for nine spots at the table.
  • NDP plan a gutsy gamble

    Either Thomas Mulcair is a soothsayer or he is desperate. The NDP leader and leader of the official Opposition has drawn a line in the sand, stating he and his party would reveal “concrete” platform proposals more than a year ahead of a proposed election.
  • Signs election season is upon us

    For an election that has remained pretty silent the last couple of weeks, it appears the battle for Brandon boulevards and billboards has begun. After an extended weekend that saw the launch of a new school year in its wake, much of the electioneering seems to have jumped a gear or two with candidates honing in on the seven weeks leading up to the municipal election.
  • The political minefield of endorsements

    Candidate endorsements for a political campaign can be dynamite or they can be an absolute minefield to navigate, depending on their source. Usually endorsements, especially high-profile ones, place more credibility in the candidate they tout and often are accompanied with tidy sums of money to help further the campaign. For the most part those endorsements — especially the ones welcomed by the candidate — can bring to the forefront a cause supported in their campaign, enhance a platform announcement or provide more visibility and recognition for a politician.
  • Tough times to be a Tory

    It would appear maintaining the post as the Progressive Conservative youth leader is a tough gig. Mere months after former board member and youth rep Braydon Mazurkiewich was tossed from the table for his inflammatory comments on social media toward First Nations people, Tory youth leader Candace Maxymowich has firmly placed a boot in her mouth for stances on sex education in schools and abortion — coincidentally while running for trustee in the Louis Riel School Division.
  • Learning lessons from skeeters

    As puddles of stagnant river water begin to pop up throughout the flood zone, the ramping up of a larvicide program and fogging applications will hopefully quash a second groundswell of the pesky bugs before they officially write off the balance of nice summer evenings in Brandon. Undoubtedly the fogging of nuisance mosquitoes takes its toll on some in the community and the hardline approach from both those for and against malathion, as well as the buffer zone requests, potentially pit neighbour against neighbour.
  • Water management plan good for Westman

    For anyone who reads this column, it is not often I laud the work of the Harper government or its members. For the most part, I find the combative approach of this government over the past decade to be more than a little off-putting. Canadians have had their doubts at times with the politicians representing them, and our local political scene has not been immune to that ingrained doubt in the actions of politicians as well.
  • Brandon answers the call

    As another storm ripped through Brandon last weekend, many weather-weary city staff and residents once again took up the charge to protect the city. The hammering our region has taken over the past three weeks is unprecedented, but the reaction by residents and civic officials is a true show of the character present in this community.
  • The games are about to begin

    The names continue to trickle in as potential candidates register for the big run. Having been there myself, both at a civic level and then provincially, it is an exciting time and as a candidate you want to instantly go madly off in a plethora of different directions.
  • City could have cashed in on casino

    As politicians, gamers and investors alike clamoured for photo opportunities at the new Sand Hills Casino near Carberry, many back in Brandon were left wondering about an opportunity lost — an opportunity that at times seemed like a sure bet and at times like a distant possibility. The Sand Hills project finally coming to fruition brings to a close the story a decade in the making, and in all likelihood seals the outside chance Brandon had in landing a gaming centre as a potential downtown anchor.
  • Is northern strategy more show than substance?

    Even the most casual political observer knows Brian Pallister wants to be premier. This is, in all reality, the goal of any opposition provincial party leader. In recent days Pallister and his merry band of Tories have ramped up the rhetoric in the hope of whittling away at the base the NDP has considered its own in some cases for decades.
  • Pocket park builds on activity corridor

    This week’s announcement of a “pocket park” near the YMCA in downtown Brandon puts the finishing touches on a plan years in the making for the province and Renaissance Brandon. As some of you may have heard, this past week was my last at the helm of Renaissance Brandon, the downtown development organization charged with revitalization opportunities in the core area of the city.
  • Impact of national park cuts becoming visible

    As summer rolls around and members of our fair city flee for the weekends, they will most likely venture to one of the many provincial parks and sole national park in the area; parks like Riding Mountain National Park which, like many of its struggling partners, will be hard-pressed to meet the budget constrictions and cutbacks from the Harper government over the past couple of years. The national parks service in this country is woven deeply into the fabric that is our collective Canadian psyche and parks like Riding Mountain hold many fond memories for countless locals throughout Westman. Few entities in Canada are truly considered sacred, but decisions by the Harper government to limit funding to a handful of entities like the parks system feels disingenuous to say the least and frankly un-Canadian.
  • Murray House project showcases generosity

    For a community that can sometimes come off a bit cynical or jaded, this week’s opening of Murray House was a proud moment for the organizing committee, the community at large and the folks in Brandon who worked and gave selflessly to make it happen. Although a bit delayed in its launch, the grand reveal was full of smiles and handshakes as the doors swung open to the new facility and the long list of those in need learned they could settle in next week as they fight a brave fight against cancer.
  • What's in a name? Keystone fails to attract bids

    It wasn’t really the outcome GM Neil Thomson and the crew at the Keystone Centre were hoping for when they revealed the fact they did not receive any submissions for naming rights on a couple of Keystone Centre properties last week. Unlike the main arena, formally dubbed Westman Communications Group Place, the Optimist and Kinsmen arenas failed to attract the attention they were seeking in trying to bring the Keystone closer to a money-making venture, while bringing another couple of businesses “under the tent” so to speak.
  • CEO's second window troubling for Manitobans

    As Tory politicians champ at the bit for an election, the decision by the Selinger cabinet to contravene public policy and keep former Manitoba Public Insurance CEO Marilyn McLaren “on the books” has left a sour taste in the mouth of PC party members and taxpayers alike in this province. And rightfully so.
  • Infrastructure among many key election issues

    It is coming up to that time of year when election season draws closer. We officially have a couple of mayoral candidates in the fray, along with a handful of potential hopefuls vying for council seats, with plenty more rumoured to toss their hat in soon. We are still a couple of months away from the candidate list being set in stone, but in the coming weeks the discussion will inevitably shift to a discussion of election issues. Many projects could come to the forefront as we address some pressing issues in the city.
  • Tumultuous times don't help Liberal brand

    While riding high on a surge of support, it appears the Manitoba Liberal Party is bent on kneecapping itself ahead of seeing the fruits of their building success. To be perfectly clear — and in the interest of disclosure — I have been a member of the Manitoba Liberal Party in the past, and even ran as a candidate for them in the 2011 provincial election. But as of the end of 2013, I allowed my membership to lapse.
  • Plant changes cause for concern

    The long-term viability of many sectors in this community may be on a bit shakier ground after recent cutbacks at the Maple Leaf pork processing plant. Many areas of the Brandon economy rely on the corporate well-being of the plant. Education, real estate and commerce are a few of the handful of opportunities that could dwindle if Maple Leaf ever deemed Brandon — or Manitoba, for that matter — too pricey or problematic as an option to do business.
  • Growth plan will alter this community

    If the City of Brandon planning department and council have their say, the next 20 years in this community will be one of change, growth and a shifting landscape as both the urban design plan and Northern Gateway development mould how we are perceived as a city. The shifting makeup will also bump the population by more than 10,000 residents if all goes according to plan.
  • Stadium debacle a costly roadblock

    Water woes now plague the fledgling existence of the expensive, tax-funded jewel of the Prairies. This, only a handful of days after the provincial government announced a $3-million upgrade to Winnipeg’s Investors Group Field, and a $4-million local investment to enhance a one-year-old building.
  • Renaissance Brandon must evolve

    Although present in my column’s tagline, I have not often used this column to set records straight as it pertains to the operations of Renaissance Brandon. I believe the column at its basest nature is more about finding what is good in this community, and should there be a need to question a decision, striving to seek solutions to a problem or two in the process.
  • Food for thought on school meal programs

    You need not look too far to see the effects of poverty in this country. All around us people are challenged by poverty, and many in our community struggle to make ends meet. Even more alarming is the number of underemployed or lower-income families, those who are constantly pressed in making the decisions of how best to feed a hungry family. It is a sad reality of the world we live in, and a reality we have the ability to enact change upon.
  • Should the city remain in the golf course game?

    As the last bits of winter linger on, many in Westman are itching to pick up the clubs and head out for a round or two of golf as soon as the ice and snow melts away. Of the plethora of golfing opportunities in and around Westman, the Wheat City Golf Course will undoubtedly be on the list for some to play a round once the season is in full swing. The longtime city-owned and operated course has seen many highs and lows in its public existence, and since the flood of 2011 has struggled somewhat to regain its stride as a marquee course in the area, especially when compared to some of the upstart courses that have popped up in recent years throughout Westman.
  • Dissecting Pallister's promise

    Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister has officially gone on the record to promise that the PC party would not cut a single front-line service job if elected in 2016. Rather, the focus would be on what he and his party call a “chill” in hiring, cuts to government advertising budgets and some reclassifications through attrition and retirements — a form of austerity measure to save positions.

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