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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.

  • 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.
  • Non-stop nomination nonsense

    One has to feel for member of Parliament Larry Maguire. The longtime politician and community builder has been handed nothing less than a handful of headaches from a Conservative party bent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in 2015.
  • Broken mains only adding to winter pains

    Now appears to be the winter of our discontent as water woes and multiple line breaks have plagued the latter half of what seems to have been a never-ending winter here in Manitoba. As was mentioned in both the Winnipeg Free Press and the pages of our local Brandon Sun, many in both communities are battling water main breaks — and in the case of Winnipeg residents, many are waiting multiple weeks to have water come back on and their service returned.
  • Trustees in no-win scenario with budget

    Leaving little up for the offering, Brandon School Division trustees were faced with a cut to staffing numbers or risk a large increase for the voting public just months before they head to the polls. It is often said that a voter’s memory is short, but this one could have stung if a larger number surfaced after more than eight hours of deliberation.
  • Mixed bag in federal budget

    As Finance Minister Jim Flaherty rose to deliver what is to be the last budget prior to the election cycle budget of major announcements, many Canadians were hoping for more from what the Conservatives have deemed the Building Canada Fund as well as the long-maligned Economic Action Plan. They’re both ideas that on paper make sense, but in reality need further action to back up higher than average costs, overdone advertising and empty promises to Canadians.
  • He said, she said hurts NDP

    This week presents itself as a bit of an NDP hodgepodge as they have consumed the news both provincially and locally. In what could be remembered as the most decisive — yet divisive — move since taking the reins of the NDP, Premier Greg Selinger ousted Riel MLA Christine Melnick from the inner realm of the government caucus to the outside after claiming she has lost the faith of her colleagues to toe the party line and remain quiet on issues within the party.
  • Making sense of Trudeau's bold move

    There are plenty of detractors out there who question Justin Trudeau’s ability to make big moves on the national political stage. They question the ability of the leader of Canada’s “third party,” wondering whether Trudeau has what it takes to lead Canada through what is undoubtedly a time of transition. Many believe he is in way over his head, as comical Conservative attack ads so poetically put a few months ago.
  • Byelection timing painful for NDP

    Next week’s byelections in Arthur-Virden and Morris couldn’t have come at a worse time for Premier Greg Selinger and his NDP government, given how desperately they need to connect with voters before the next provincial election. As candidates in both constituencies campaign to fill the spots left by two former Progressive Conservative MLAs, it appears the call the Selinger government waited so long to make is actually backfiring, as the timing of some crucial government issues, including further support on projects or providing school divisions with their newest portions of budgetary funding, are both delayed due to the moratorium on announcements during the campaigns.
  • Budget not just about numbers

    Say what you will about this council and its time in office. There have been more than a few ups and downs, a council that had one of its own members leave in the twilight of their mandate, and a council that saw what could happen when a community faces a double-digit property tax increase. The council, like the community itself, has gone through some growing pains during its four years in office and has had more than its fair share of naysayers.
  • Construction numbers reflect the greatest need

    It appears the thermometer was not the only thing cooling off in Brandon over the month of December. Housing starts and permits issued over the last month inched higher, while other property starts in both the commercial and industrial sectors mimicked the cooling of pervious months, seeing a decline in the number of permits floating around the community for new construction projects.
  • Any silver lining to BSD suspension numbers?

    Well, Happy New Year, my friends. The new year is upon us with a handful of what we can only hope is prosperity and opportunity ahead. As the holiday break draws to a close and students prepare to go back to class to close out the end of the first semester, they return to environments we as parents hope are conducive to positive learning experiences — environments that are safe and secure, environments that most any parent hopes will foster a positive and enriching experience for our children.
  • Very interesting political landscape awaits in 2014

    Well, I hope the festivities of the last few days have left you stuffed and reeling from your fill of family, friends and holiday merriment. As the last bit of turkey is cleaned from the bone and the gifts are being safely stowed away, this writer and political junkie took the opportunity to peer into the crystal ball of 2014 to look at what should be an exciting year in the political world, both locally and on other levels of the stage.
  • So many gifts we shared in 2013

    With the holiday season upon us and the big day just a few short sleeps away, many within our community are scurrying about to finish all the last-minute gift purchases and preparations to entertain houses full of friends and relatives. It is a time of year for celebration and warmth, a time of year for the joy of giving coupled with the fun of receiving, and it is a time of year that many in our community long for the connections or opportunities others take for granted.
  • Welcome to the 'new' Canada

    It’s a new country we live in, and I’m not sure some of us here in little old Canada will like it. The latest on the happenings in Harperland prove that the country everyone once viewed as the friendly neighbour who would keep an eye on the house while you were away is not so much like that anymore.
  • Civic leaders seek short-term housing fix

    There are no easy answers when it comes to solving the housing crunch. Plenty of ideas have been batted about and political blood has been drawn over previous solutions thought to have missed the mark on housing. I have even shared some views, in a fairly contested column a few weeks back that supported a community call to action through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. It makes sense, but it is long-term strategic planning and doesn’t cover the current and very pressing need.
  • Will new MP bring new money to Westman?

    With the dust beginning to settle and the frequent flyer cards ready to roll, a new MP is off to Ottawa in longtime local Tory Larry Maguire. The squeaker election win by the former MLA puts in place an MP in Ottawa with a propensity for agricultural building and rural initiatives, and a long list of accomplishments on a resumé that continues to be built.
  • As I See It - Building code changes could spur downtown development

    It took a bit of self-restraint and another topic weighing on my mind to avoid diving into the byelection debate once more this week. Although tempting, it seems that enough ink has been spilled on the “race to watch,” with more left to be drawn in the days and likely weeks ahead. The decision date has come down to Monday and the chips will fall where they may.
  • Can ground be gained during debates?

    With a full slate of campaigning in view for local candidates, and a return visit by both Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair over the last couple days, it has caused me to sit down and wonder about a local candidate’s choice to bail on debating in favour of campaigning in the riding. It is undoubtedly a game of chance but one Conservative candidate Larry Maguire seems content to play, and he is not alone. This week it was shared by local organizers of the Brandon Friendship Centre debate and the Brandon University debate that Maguire would not be attending either one. The first in lieu of what appears to have been campaign trail work with members of CPAC, the parliamentary channel, in tow for the day, and the second due to a scheduling conflict.
  • Ending poverty a challenge in all communities

    Canada’s food banks are facing a challenge they haven’t seen in a number of years and the demographics are changing, along with the challenges of many struggling to make ends meet on an ongoing basis. The numbers are staggering and the user groups that regularly rely on them are growing younger and younger every day. There isn’t a community in this country that doesn’t face the daily struggle of having residents who are staring poverty in the face. Brandon is not immune to this, as numbers shared in the Sun this week by Samaritan House executive director Marla Somersall reflect that our city’s food bank usage is still “really, really high.”
  • Housing crisis demands more than partisan politics

    In a time when home ownership is a pipe dream for many, the call has come for politicians nationwide to put aside petty partisan squabbles and adequately address the issue of housing shortages in many communities. It’s an issue that, if left untreated, will become a national epidemic.

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