Home > Holodomor
| d&d (Furman, Odynsky, Katriuk) | Zuzak Letters |
Blogspot | 08Jan2012 | blackrod
From Shill to Saint.
Winnipeg got a lesson in true
philanthropy this past week. A retired pharmacist who quietly -- nay,
secretly, to even his family --- saved up a million dollars, donated it
this week, half to the Misericordia Health Centre Foundation and half
to the Riverview Heath Centre Foundation.
What a week on the CMHR
Laurie Johnston did it with humility and with little fanfare. He didn't
ask for a towering statue to be erected in his name, a backlit plaque,
or even a framed certificate from the Premier. He did it, he said, to
repay a debt to a deceased family friend who generously gave him $200
to tide him over in the weeks before he took his final pharmacy exams
so long ago.
Passing it forward was payment enough for him.
People couldn't help but contrast his donation with the spectacle of a
family of millionaires demanding a blank cheque from the federal
government to finish building a giant monument to their deceased father
under the guise of a gift to the community --- a gift nobody asked for,
nobody wants to pay for, and which has turned into a gigantic money pit
that's draining contributions from every true charity in the province.
A new shill for the aforesaid Canadian Museum for Human Rights popped
up early in the week in the pages of the Winnipeg Free Press, the
propaganda arm of the museum. Or, rather, an old shill with newfound
Brent Bellamy is the senior design architect for Number Ten
Architectural Group. He's no stranger to readers of The Black Rod.
Three years ago, when construction on the doomed CMHR started, he
gloated in the faces of opponents of the project.
A Winnipeg architect who posts on internet message boards under the
name Trueviking is an avid defender of the CMHR. He let slip the true
attitude of the museum backers in this post Tuesday to a critic:
suck it up big boy...the party has started and there is nothing you can
do about it except cry in your beer....insert red river jig here.
(...when only The Black
Rod was predicting humongous cost overruns, he responded to our
persistent coverage of the CMHR.)
01:01 PM Human rights museum budget already short
Yesterday, 04:33 AM
we should have two threads...one for people who want to follow the
construction and discuss the evolution of this incredible project ...
and one for guys who want to quote black rod, that beacon of un-biased
journalism, and worry that the federal government might have to pay for
meaningless cost overruns or the operation of a federal museum, god
Now that he's begging the federal government to pay for meaningless
cost overruns, he's adopted a different attitude.
"Inspiration comes with a cost," summed up the headline over the
article by Bellamy.
Bellamy wrote that the latest cost overruns on the project ($41 million
and counting) were not surprising and were, in fact, "not uncommon for
a complex building of this type."
Well, duh. The only ones professing surprise are the politicians who
approved the museum and its proponents. The public, which has had plenty
of experience with these charades, was predicting from the day it was
announced that the cost would at least double or triple.
"The budget shortfall of the CMHR is unfortunate..." concluded Bellamy.
No, it's criminal.
The museum was built by fraud.
Its backers knew the cost they were tossing around was false, and would
be used only to get the project started whereupon they would extort
tens of millions more from complacent government officials.
Bellamy acknowledged that eliminating construction overruns is
possible --- by making the architects and engineers agree to be
responsible for paying them out of their own pockets --- but the
he said, is boring buildings.
No, he said, the public needs to pay the big bucks for a fancy schmancy
building "to transform Winnipeg's uninspired image abroad and cultivate
a new confidence within." Cue the violins.
"A citys (sic) economy is fueled by optimism and the CMHR is a large
part of Winnipeg's new confidence."
That's funny. The City felt pretty much the same for the past three
years as the museum monstrosity was being built. It only came alive on
the day the return of the Winnipeg Jets was announced.
But, then, the Winnipeg Free Press is engaged in rewriting history, and
Bellamy is obviously part of that campaign.
"The CMHR reinforces Winnipeg's reputation as a creative city of art
and culture," the architect rhapsodized delusionally.
Unless there's another city called Winnipeg on this planet, that has to
be the dumbest statement made by anyone supporting the museum yet.
Winnipeg's reputation throughout Canada is of murders and mayhem.
To even write "a city of art and culture" shows the vast gulf between
reality and the fantasy world the Winnipeg elites live in.
"The CMHR... and its daring form contributes to a growing public
appreciation for the unique architectural design that is transforming
Winnipeg's modern urban image."
Hey, Brent, the
only thing growing is public anger at having their pockets picked to
fund this money pit, and at the politicians who want to raise taxes on
homeowners while turning a blind eye to their millionaire scofflaw
friends who fail to pay theirs.
But, then, Bellamy managed to top even himself.
"The Sydney Opera House was 15 years late and 1,400 per cent
over-budget, yet few would label it a boondoggle or white elephant. It
stands as an example of what can be achieved when risks are taken. The
CMHR holds the same transformative potential for Winnipeg."
We went to work researching the Sydney Opera House. The first thing we
found was that it is
legendary in planning circles as one of the Top Ten boondoggles in
modern architecture history.
At a time (the late Fifties) when Australia didn't have enough schools
and was suffering a housing shortage with a quarter of a million people
living in huts, sheds and ramshackle homes, the government of the day
decided to build an opera house.
Just like in Winnipeg, the promoters lowballed the project from the
beginning, then watched the cost grow to Godzilla proportions.
They said the cost would be $7 million (Australian). By the time it was
finished, it cost $101 million.
Don't do the math, we did it for you. That's about $420 million in
today's Canadian dollars, or roughly where the CMHR is heading.
The difference is that the
only paid $100,000 for its end. The rest was made up from a
special lottery and it "only" took 16 years to pay the
whole cost. (This was back before government lotteries sprang up like
weeds in May.)
That's why the public
outcry was muted in Sydney.
Unlike Winnipeg, the taxpayer wasn't forced to pay.
But the story gets better.
The budget for the Sydney Opera House caromed so out of control that
the government (a new one) seized control of the project!
That's right. THE GOVERNMENT SEIZED CONTROL, exactly what we've been
In Sydney, the architect quit in a huff and took his plans with him,
forcing the new project managers to scramble to recreate his work and
watch costs skyrocket even further. They're still trying to fix the
You can find two studies on the Sydney Opera House online from two
perspectives. They reached the same conclusion.
The first, by what appears to be a student of architecture or
engineering, concludes "... although the opera house put Sydney on the
world map, both architecturally and culturally... from project
management perspective it
was a spectacular failure as a consequence of ignoring risk management."
The other, a more professional report focussed on stakeholders by
authors, Dr. Paol Canonico and Dr. Jonas Söderlund, concurred: "The
Sydney Opera House could probably be seen as one of the most financially
disastrous construction projects in history."
But, but, but, isn't the Sydney Opera House famous?
Even Drs. Canonico and Soderlund said so.
"Today, more than being a world-class performing arts centre, the Opera
House represents Sydney and even the whole nation the same way as the
Eiffel Tower represents Paris. It’s known not only for its outstanding
architecture, but also for exceptional engineering and technological
The Opera House in Sydney, the main
city of Australia, represents the country the same way that the Eiffel
Tower in Paris, the main city of France, represents France.
And we're building a giant museum in ---- the ninth largest city in
Canada (by population) isolated on the Prairies, a thousand miles from
the largest city in Canada. You know where that's going.
You don't need experts to tell you
what you know. Have you heard of the Eiffel Tower? Have you ever heard
of the Sydney Opera House? 'Nuff said.
The elites like
Bellamy expect you to gush and swoon at the excesses of construction of
the CMHR just as they do --- cost be damned.
The museum is the size of four
football fields. You will enter via a 150-foot deep cavern.
The glass for
the "cloud" is imported from Germany.
The steel from Poland, Belgium and the U.S.
Ramps are of alabaster from Spain.
Columns of basalt, 617 metric tonnes "quarried and cut in Inner
An early booster of the museum
described it Pharaonic in scale. We looked it up and, yes, it means
like the Pharoahs of Egypt.
We were immediately reminded of
that famous poem---'Ozymandias' by Shelley.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away".
We got it wrong and we want to correct the record. The Canadian Museum
for Human Rights was NEVER intended to be a private museum. We've
reported otherwise. But Gail Asper wrote in the 10 Year Anniversary
Issue (December, 2010) of a publication put out by the Friends of the
Canadian Museum for Human Rights that her daddy intended to stick it to
the feds from the very beginning.
One misconception that stands out
is how people believed we intended
this to be a private museum. The
opposite is true. Right from the
beginning, my father stated that he
only wanted to spearhead this project,
not run it or control the agenda. That’s
what The Asper Foundation does; we
initiate good ideas that may not come
to pass if we don’t get involved. But
once they’re on their feet, we move on.
Our first letter to the
Jean Chrétien in November 2001 proposes
this as a national,
Labels: boondoggle, CMHR,
Downtown Winnipeg, Eiffel Tower, Free Press, Sydney Opera House, white elephant