Friday, January 19, 2007

Macleans - Regina North Central

The recent war of words between Mayor Pat Fiacco and a Macleans journalist who dubbed Regina North Central as Canada’s worst neighborhood has a lot of people in Regina wondering what all the fuss is about. To begin with Fiacco is accepted as a pretty good Mayor. He is outgoing and performing well considering the resources he has to work with. This is not to say that improvements in the City of Regina are not necessary.

Improvements are necessary and the $2 million poured into Regina North Central on Wednesday will contribute to those necessary improvements. There are no easy answers to resolving the problems in Regina North Central. I am sure Macleans understands this as well. Regardless, their take on North Central is unfortunately, taking all matters into consideration, likely a fair assessment. I believe the Mayor may have overreacted to the criticism, which only made matters worse and contributed to a second critical report by Macleans. I understand the Mayor felt his efforts in North Central should have been recognized and I can sympathize with his position in this regard.

There is nothing humorous about the problems surrounding Regina North Central, but you have to be at least slightly amused with the hopeless quip from Andrew Scheer, MP. The reference to Andrew Scheer in the Leader Post on January 18, 2007 reads as follows:

“North Central is a very safe place to live and visit --- unless you work for Macleans and then you might have some trouble,” quipped Andrew Scheer, MP for Regina Qu’Appelle.

Now you have to ask, how helpful was that comment? All it did was reinforce the position that Regina North Central can be unsafe and isn’t that, in part, what Macleans was implying? Scheer’s quip was insensitive and careless and contributed absolutely nothing to address a very serious issue the City of Regina is trying to resolve for those living in Regina North Central. Scheer’s quip amounted to a thoughtless threat to Macleans that if their employees lived or visited Regina North Central they might have some trouble. I suspect Prime Minister Harper has already disciplined Scheer on his quip. The PM is likely considering how he can boot Scheer out of the caucus, as others have been, for daring to embarrass the Prime Minister or his government. On the other hand, Harper could create a new department of government, Quips, and name Scheer the Minister of Quips.

Andrew Scheer is an Ottawa boy who arrived in Saskatchewan just in time to run in Regina Qu’Appelle. Scheer considers politics a career and career politicians are precisely what the voters don't like. It takes more than a pretty face to survive in politics. Andrew Scheer knows almost nothing about Saskatchewan politics and even less about Regina North Central. What we do know is that when Scheer is defeated he won’t be getting a job offer from Macleans.