I, like many Winnipeggers was born and raised here. I mean, I love it here, but fair enough if I was from somewhere else I would probably need a pretty compelling reason to move here, and that's mostly because of winter, not any other reason.
With the election happening tomorrow, and I dare say I'm looking forward to regular commercials on the radio again, there has been a lot of talk about crime in particular. Well, that and health care, but I know nothing about health care really, so I'll focus on crime. This morning as I hit the snooze button one last time I caught a snippet of John Vernaus, the PC candidate for Point Douglas telling me I live in war zone. A war zone? Really? Again, I'm very lucky to have grown up in Winnipeg, a city smack dab in the middle of one of the best countries in the world to live in, so I have been very blessed to have never actually seen war, or so I thought, so maybe I have the details wrong on what exactly war entails.
This just seems so insulting to so many people - all around the world and immigrants who have come to Winnipeg to escape real wars at home. Wars where hundreds of people might be killed in a certain day. Innocent bystanders killed by bomb blasts on a regular basis. People murdered because of their religion or skin colour, murdered by strangers - not wannabe gangbangers playing what they seem to think is a video game. I guess I don't know for sure, but I would be surprised if a soldier who has returned to Winnipeg from serving in Afghanistan feels as though they haven't left a war.
Yes, Winnipeg is on track to rack up the most murders ever this year, but I don't think that the average person needs to quake in their boots about it; and I don't think putting 50 new police officers or whatever your party is promising on the beat would have changed the murder count one bit. Money for youth programming so that maybe these youths who are committing these crimes don't end up criminals in the first place? Yup, I'll buy that. But how would those 50 officers have saved the lady from the suburbs who was killed and stuffed in the trunk of her car? Or the grandmother who was killed by her granddaughter, or stopped the woman who set fire to the house on Austin St. and killed multiple people? Or even the 15 year old stabbed to death - unless they were there at exactly the right moment, it still would have happened. I'm pretty sure that all other conditions (the mindset of the murderers in particular would likely not have changed if a different party was in power) remaining the same that Winnipeg would have the exact same number of murders no matter what political party had been in power for the last 4 years.
Back to me living in a war zone, well, based on recent events I live in the epicenter of this war we are having and I imagine folks who are living in a real war zone would trade me places one million times over - this weekend I saw families having BBQ's and children playing in the streets and not one person being persecuted or killed for their beliefs. Even compared to the London riots in August, for which likening that to a war zone may have been closer to the truth, we really have little to complain about.
So, John Vernaus, please do not tell people that I live in a war zone, it is insulting to the survivors of war and the residents of the community that you hope to be elected in. Your commercial has only served to perpetuate the negative beliefs about a community that is indeed wounded but that will bounce back because it is filled with hardworking, resilient, caring people.
Okay people, if you didn't already vote at one of the ridiculously accessible advance polls, don't forget to get your vote on tomorrow, starting at *shudder* 7am!