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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.

  • Many missing out this holiday season

    You had to know it was coming. Westman has officially kicked the holiday season into high gear and you can already feel the amped-up anticipation of the impending candy-cane hangovers all around us. The look of storefronts changes as shops peddle their holiday wares, downtown streets take on an extra glow with some colourful lights and the festive season gets an official launch today with the Santa Claus parade.
  • NDP dissidents protect their own interests first

    First off, before we dig in, I would like to congratulate new Mayor Rick Chrest and council for taking the oath of office this week. Your job is unenviable at times, but a whole city eagerly awaits the direction you intend to take Brandon over the next four years. Now down to the meat on the bone this time around and the travelling sideshow that has become life on Broadway in Winnipeg. You have to have been holed up under a rock over the last week to have missed the provincial soap opera playing out within the government and more specifically around the leadership of embattled Premier Greg Selinger.
  • What's the NDP's next move?

    It’s well past high noon — and to say the very least this has not been a good couple of weeks for “Today’s NDP.” Slumping numbers, calls for the premier’s job, a pair of trouncings for known NDP members in civic mayoral elections and a handful of high-ranking NDP MLAs speaking out against their captain in the media is just a smattering of what the past fortnight has offered up for the beleaguered government.
  • Chrest taking reins at tumultuous time

    Well, nobody ever said it would be easy. As the dust settles from Wednesday’s municipal election, Rick Chrest will trade offices from his west-end business to the heart of the city for the next four years.
  • Will Liberals find bang for their buck with PST plan?

    Members of the Manitoba legislature are not short on ideas for spending the increased PST that came into effect under the Selinger government. From Tory promises to scrap it to NDP reaffirmations of its value to Manitobans, MLAs throughout the legislature and staffers within the parties have spent plenty of time crafting their response to the political dynamite that the one per cent increase has become. Now politicking over the PST in Manitoba is nothing new and it seems everyone has had their say, good or bad on the increase. Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister shared months ago that they would repeal the tax, which they dubbed regressive, within a short time of taking office.
  • Look beyond students' test scores

    Learning benchmarks for Manitoba students should always be front of mind for school boards across this province. That said, we are in challenging times for educators — which is why this week’s release of a study by the Pan-Canadian Assessment Program stating Manitoba students were at the bottom of the class for various disciplines set the government a-whir with spin doctoring.
  • NDP tripped up again by MPI consultant

    Just as fortunes began to look up for Premier Greg Selinger, a revelation by Progressive Conservative MLA Kelvin Goertzen has left the NDP cancelling its order for rose-coloured glasses while the Tories smell blood in the proverbial political waters. Following a standing committee meeting on Manitoba Public Insurance this week, news broke that MPI’s former CEO, Marilyn McLaren, has been “on the books” for what the board had deemed consultant fees to the tune of $24,000.
  • New civic services building marks end of long journey

    The winding journey that was the life of the new civic services complex downtown seems to have written what is hopefully the final chapter, as the city is poised to move some planning and community services to the newly renovated structure at the corner of Seventh Street and Princess Avenue. Officially redubbed the A.R. McDiarmid Civic Complex, this structure, which began as a grocery store back in the latter part of the 1960s, has seen a varied life and now a couple of incarnations as a city-run facility.
  • 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.
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