Manitoba Legislator Responsible for Hate Crimes Legislation Desperately Waiting for Hate Crime to Occur
Howard Heating, Manitoba NDP Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Winnipeg
riding of Bachmann, is anxiously waiting for "any sort of hate crime" to occur
in Manitoba. Heating, the architect of Bill 66, Manitoba's sweeping hate crime
legislation, admitted his impatience with the lack of hate crimes occurring
in the province of 1.1 million in a recent interview.
"Are you sure they were both women?"
Manitoba MLA Howard Heating follows up on a potential hate crime.
"Christ, if this blows up in my face, how am I ever going to get into cabinet?
This could set me back years," confided a worried Heating, seen by the Winnipeg
punditry as a rising star in Manitoba politics.
"I was excited a couple of weeks ago, when I got wind of something that had potential in Brandon-the police thought there was a cross burning taking place, but it was just some old man burning leaves in his backyard."
Bill 66, known throughout Manitoba as 'the Heating Bill,' received Royal Assent from the Manitoba Legislature in November 2000. The law was personally drafted by Heating, a visible champion of every known issue in Manitoba, with the intent of delivering additional punishment for those convicted of racially motivated or sexual orientation motivated crimes in the province.
However, as laudable as the bill's intentions may be, since the Heating Bill was introduced and passed through the Manitoba legislature last fall, not one single incident of anything resembling a hate crime has been reported in Manitoba, said Opposition Justice Critic Danielle Boomer (PC-Flin Flon South.)
"It just goes to show you how unnecessary and wasteful the Heating Bill has been to the taxpayers of Manitoba," snapped Boomer, who promised that a Conservative government would immediately repeal Bill 66 if elected, "out of respect for the taxpayers of Manitoba."
"It really makes one wonder what the priorities of this government are," said the critic, while adding the word "taxpayer," after 30 seconds of silence.
The second-term MLA Heating is becoming so desperate, he admitted that he
has thought about taking matters into his own hands:
"I was thinking of yelling something out my apartment's window, but my Press Secretary strongly advised me not to. I don't know if that would really suffice as a hate crime anyway," said the telegenic 32-year old former motivational speaker.
"Besides, being the highly visible public figure that I am, someone would undoubtedly recognize my voice due to the high amount of screen time that I receive on a regular basis in the Legislative Assembly."
Heating refused to respond to allegations that he has been walking around
Winnipeg encouraging people to punch, kick or attack each other, although
both a Winnipeg resident and a Winnipeg red light camera offered what could
be construed as evidence:
Simon Wheetus, a 32-year old man from Winnipeg, said that as he was walking
down the street in Winnipeg's Osborne Village district last week with his
partner, 33-year old Jason MacAfee, a man in a pinstripe suit approached them
and offered each of them 50 dollars if "one of us roughed the other up a little
bit, kicked or choked each other or something."
"He seemed kind of jumpy, like he was some kind of perv who got off on this
sort of stuff, and he had a camera around his shoulder, like he was getting
ready to take a picture as soon as one of us threw a punch," said Wheetus.
A Winnipeg red light camera took these
two photographs: On the left, Winnipeg residents Simon Wheetus(L) and
Jason MacAfee(R) in conversation in Winnipeg's Osborne Village. On the
right, Howard Heating "allegedly" accosting the two, offering
them cash to "rough each other up."
The pair of men rejected the man's offer and asked him to leave them alone.
Wheetus identified Heating as the man who approached him when shown a photograph of Heating.
"What a moron. How is it a hate crime if two gay men beat each other up?"
asked Wheetus rhetorically.
"That could have been anyone," responded Heating when presented with these
accusations and shown a photograph of him accosting Wheetus and MacAfee taken
by a red light camera.
Despite all of his concerns over fallout in his political career, Heating
sees a silver lining in this waiting game:
"In the long run, it would probably be better for my cabinet aspirations
if the first one (hate crime) occurred in the fall when the Legislative Assembly
is sitting again. That way, it could maximize my exposure," said a harried
Heating, who abruptly ended the interview by saying he had to go work on his
"indignant yet stoic face" with his image consultant.
Posted on August 10th, 2001