Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 25, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
Tuesday, June 25, 2002Opinion
121st Year — No. 155
Atkinson will answer to voters for casino stance
The mayor’s stand on the casino issue has raised an age-old question about democracy.
Do voters select a candidate who bases decisions on personal views or one who tries to decide what is best for the majority in a community?
Many Brandonites have raised that question recently in regards to Mayor Reg Atkinson’s open opposition to a native run casino.
They feel politicians should set aside personal opinions or biases when voting on important issues and stand up for the collective good of the community as seen by the majority.
The mayor’s casino position appears to be at odds with a consensus favouring economic development projects and tounsm destinations for Brandon.
While Atkinson’s stance provides us with a tutorial in political philosophy, it may end up giving the mayor an unwelcome lesson in responsible government.
Ultimately voters will have a say on the issue.
Atkinson, with some justification, thinks gambling is a sucker’s game. He has a point, according to the law of large numbers which rules the gaming business. Odds favour the house, so the mayor doesn’t favour casinos.
He also has his doubts about urban reserves that come with such casinos in Manitoba.
There are others who see casino gambling as a bit of fun for responsible adults. It is a legitimate business that generates millions of dollars in tourism revenue and attracts visitors from hundreds of kilometres away.
Many would suggest that we already have all sorts of gambling in this city from lottery tickets, to bingos to video lottery terminals. A casino would just add a little variety to the games of
chance that already exist, proponents suggest.
We are also reminded the urban reserve is a requirement of the provincial government — not the people who seek to run the gambling establishments.
So, is it the will of the individual or the will of the majority that ought to govern a mayor’s vote at a council meeting?
Edmund Burke, a conservative’s conservative with a monumental distrust for direct democracy in 18th Century England, would stand up for Atkinson. “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”
To say the least, Burke was not keen on leaving weighty decisions to common voters.
Thomas Jefferson, was a liberal’s liberal with a little more optimism in a land of opportunity and faith in direct democracy at about the same time. “When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as a public property.”
Jefferson had a little more faith rn voters and the will of the majority.
Speaking of voters and games of chance ... the mayor faces an election this fall.
That means that the voters will make the ultimate decision on responsible government.
Each can ask one question before casting a ballot: Does the mayor speak for me?
No matter what Atkinson says or does on the casino issue, he will have to answer for the decision.
In October the voters of Brandon will decide on which form of responsible government they prefer.
RCMP Musical Ride comes to Provincial ExhibitionSIXTY YEARS AGO
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s invasion armies have plunged more than 60 miles into Egypt, British headquarters said today, after British troops fell back in heavy all-day fighting yesterday.
Safeway celebrates its 13th anniversary with the following specials: gum drops, 15 cents/pound; popped wheat, bushel bag, 25 cents; fresh buns, raisin, lemon top or long rolls, 15
cents/dozen; Laurel pure lard, 2 pounds/25 cents; Prairie Rose or Manco creamery butter, 3
pounds/$1.04; sliced side bacon, half pound/18 cents; shoulder roast, 25 cents/pound; lettuce, IO cents/pound; ripe tomatoes, 2 pounds/25 cents; Bing cherries, 25 cents/pound.FIFTY YEARS AGO
Engines whined, machine guns chattered and the white umbrellas of parachutes floated downward as more than 6,000 visitors to the Armed Forces day program at Rivers watched the final flying demonstrations. The dedication of the new, $200,000 supply building was a highlight of the program
Four alternative routes for the Trans-Canada highway through Brandon are under review.
Willie Wells, former manager of the now-defunct Winnipeg Buffs, will take over as manager of the Brandon Greys.FORTY YEARS AGO
The famous RCMP Musical Ride will perform in Brandon at the Provincial Exhibition next week. Participating will be former Brandon Sea Cadet Const. Silvere Brochez.
Charles C. Brannan, who had his start with International Harvester Co.
Canada, as a clerk in Brandon in 1926, has been elected president.
Alex Korzeniowski, a youthful schoolteacher will take over the duties of probation officer for the western judicial regional with head office in Brandon.THIRTY YEARS AGO
Hillcrest Place, Brandon’s newest privately-run personal care home for senior citizens, held its official opening this weekend. Situated at 930 26th St., Hillcrest includes both single and double rooms, a lounge area, laundry and kitchen facilities.TWENTY YEARS AGO
Simplot Chemical Co. Ltd. was fined $10,000 on charges of polluting the Assiniboine River this spring.
Cam Henry of Oak River was chosen as Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year by the Brandon and District Jaycees last night. Mr. Henry and his wife Denise operate a 800-hectare farm where they grow grain, pedigree seed and raise livestock.
Burger King Canada Inc. has taken over the operation of its Brandon outlet from franchise owner Reg Bonazzo.TEN YEARS AGO
To combat the rising trend of domestic violence, Brandon City Police have begun work on establishing a special unit to deal strictly with handling such cases.
Tornadoes hit southern Manitoba for the second time in three days. The twisters were spotted in areas near Glenella, Plumas, Pilot Mound and Riding Mountain National Park.
From the files of The Brandon Sun.
Prime minister lands many opponents in single session
BY CHANTAL HEBERT
For The Sun
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who started off the year without a full-time official Opposition leader to cross swords with, has had the dubious pleasure of acquinng two since then.
While Stephen Harper has just become the nominal leader of the opposition, it is Paul Martm who is now best poised to assume that role.
The former finance minister’s plan to sketch out his vision for the country over the next few months has already stung Chretien’s laid-back government into untypical high-profile action.
The loss by Chretien of his most popular minister was by far the worst hit the government took since January and it was one in which the official opposition did not even have a supporting role.
By the same token, byelection losses endured by the Liberals in two formerly safe seats last month had more to do with Chretien’s somewhat cavalier treatment of veteran Liberal incumbents than with the performance of the victorious NDP and Tory candidates.
Still, with so much government blood spilled over the past months, the opposition can claim credit for some Liberal wounds, in particular the summary execution of former defence minister Art Eggleton, and the return of former public works minister Don Boudna to the oblivion of his old House leader’s job.
That being said, the dominating opposition figure of the past six months was not the brainy Stephen Harper or the persistent Joe Clark or the ever-earnest Alexa McDonough but rather John Reynolds, the former interim leader of the Canadian Alliance.
In the midst of a divisive leadership campaign, Reynolds managed to keep the Alliance ship going in the Commons with uncommon gusto. For that, he deserves an A, although the strength of his question period performance probably overshadowed Harper’s own debut last month.
The new Canadian Alliance leader could hardly have started off under more auspicious stars. Back rn May, the prime minister boasted he had spent a weekend brushing up on Harper’s past statements, the better to score early points against him. It is testimony to Chretien’s difficulties that he has had so few occasions to use his ammunition.
But Harper will soon have to find a way to put the talent of the former Alliance dissidents to some use.
The spectacle of some of the best talent of the official opposition marking time in the back row does not make for a
dynamic image. He will also have to polish his communication skills.
His comments on the so-called defeatist attitude of Maritimers failed the basic test of reaching out to a larger audience with challenging policies.
Considering Chretien’s own shaky debut in the same opposition capacity more than a decade ago, a probationary B-minus to Harper.
Even as the Parti Quebecois has been going downhill, the Bloc Quebecois has recently seen its support edge up significantly.
Martin’s stormy departure from cabinet has more to do with the Bloc’s improving fortunes than the party’s relentless, and frankly repetitive, hounding of the government on ethics. C is the appropriate mark for students who are only coasting along until final exams, and it is what Gilles Duceppe deserves.
The NDP has had its best spring in years, winning a byelection and rising slightly in the polls.
But McDonough never had as good a day as leader as when she announced her resignation.
For that and for the consistency of her performance, a final C-plus.
The Tories come to the summer break in worse shape than when they started. Joe Clark’s attempt at wooing Alliance dissidents has failed.
Of late, he has allowed as much uncertainty to set in over his intentions for the next election as the Prime Minister.
As this Parliament edges toward the midway mark, the Tories remain more at the mercy of events, in particular a Martin victory over Chretien, than any of the other opposition parties except for the Bloc.
With a D-plus, Clark should not go on to the next grade in September unless he does a lot of summer homework.
Given the fratricidal battle that is heating up within the Liberal party, the summer will bring no relief to the divided government.
Between now and next February’s Liberal convention, things may yet take a turn for the worse.
But the governing party may also come to a satisfactory resolution of its internal problems in good time for the next election.
After all, did not the Alliance manage to put similar troubles behind it over the past year?
Before patting themselves on the back for a job decently done, all opposition parties should keep in mind that the Liberals have never been as hard at work on their behalf as they have been since January.
Chantal Hebert is a national affairs writer.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Casino vote brings answers
have followed the casino question with considerable interest.
What does an Urban Reserve mean?
Why did the government stipulate that requirement? Why does Yorkton have five reserves?
There must be more than just taxes to the city.
If there is a plebiscite it would be nice to have some points to consider.
I think the city should pursue the mental hospital grounds as a location for the provincial women’s jail.
GERALD MacKAY Brandon
Glenn Johnson: Editor and Director of Readership Development Gordon Wright: City Editor Jim Lewthwaite: News Editor
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