Note to all Winnipeg Mayoral Candidates who might be considering a run in the next civic election. Winnipeg residents are sick and tired of lies, manipulation, lack of accountability, waste and political spin.
Urban Dictionary.com defines a Spin Doctors as;
“An operative who uses his platform to influence the perception of a person, organization, or event. Like a damage-control PR person.”
The online web dictionary also provides a list of words related to the term. Words like;
- Bullshit artist
- Fecal weaving
- Turd Polish
It seems City Councillor Scott Fielding somehow missed the memo.
Fielding is an intelligent, ambitious, hard-working man who won the St James-Brooklands seat in 2006 earning forty-eight (48%) percent of the vote. He also performs the important civic function of sitting as Chair of the Winnipeg Police Board. Since taking on these duties Fielding has used social media platforms like Twitter to share crime statistics with his followers. Unfortunately, he seems to have difficulty resisting the urge to enhance the numbers with a little political spin.
Case in point.
The other day Mr Fielding posted a tweet celebrating “some optimistic crime stats” on his twitter feed.
The problem with political spin and social media is there’s always a danger that someone in the twitter verse might be monitoring your posts who can call bullshit on you. I was quick to challenge Mr Fielding’s optimism.
That’s right, I wasn’t sure how the Chair of the Police Board could be celebrating optimistic Homicide statistics when we’ve had four (4) murders in the deadly month of April. It also seemed a tad foolish to trumpet a 46.4% decline in Homicides over the last five years when we set an all time record for killings in 2011 after recording forty-one (41) slayings. In any event, how can we celebrate a decrease in crime stats unless we can point to a policy or strategy that we can credit for the reduction? It was a question I thought worthy of a follow-up tweet.
The answer surprised me….
After working on over two-hundred (200) Homicide cases over an eight (8) year period with the WPS it seems that someone developed a strategy that resulted in the percentage decrease. As a student of the game I viewed this as a miraculous piece of news. As far as I know, Homicide is one of those crimes that can be extremely difficult to predict and even more difficult to impact with proactive measures. I had to seek clarification…
The reply that came was reminiscent of the kind of empty response you might hear during a debate in the political arena…
What exactly does that mean, “What I am saying is the numbers are the numbers.”
Respectfully, that’s not what you were trying to say.
Saying “the numbers are the numbers” and claiming a strategy is responsible for the percentage decrease in homicides are two completely different things. I have no doubt Scott Fielding knows that. He just got caught playing a game he should know people in Winnipeg are weary of . If Mr Fielding didn’t know it, honesty, integrity and accountability are sure to be major issues during the civic election campaign season this fall.
Candidates who want to play the “spin doctor” game are sure to be soundly rejected by Winnipeg voters.
Did Fielding take his cue from Mayor Sam Katz who once said, “I have no problem going downtown, I have no problem going to the North End, regardless of the day of the week, regardless of what time it is.” As I said before, that kind of denial is irresponsible. Law abiding Citizens need to be able to trust the information Politicians feed them. Public Safety is not a game to be played by people motivated by political gain or self-interest.
I don’t think Mr Fielding is a bad guy and I don’t really know enough about him to make any character assessments. What I do know is he should have a higher standard of accountability if he expects to be elected Mayor in a City that’s still reeling from Fire Hall fiascos, Police HQ debacles, snow removal nightmares and unprecedented infrastructure decay.
Winnipeg residents have lived in the darkness associated with national leading murder, robbery, arson and violent crime statistics for far to long to be insulted by politicians who want to play the minimization game.
So let’s keep it real.