By The Canadian Press - Saturday, May 11, 2013 - 0 Comments
Ice from Dauphin Lake destroys 12 buildings
CHRE BEACH, Man. – One minute, cottage owners on the southern shore of Manitoba’s Dauphin Lake were cooking on their barbecues, admiring the views across the still-frozen ice.
The next minute, that ice was rumbling up the shore like a giant nine-metre-high bulldozer, tearing apart their decks, then slicing through some homes and tipping others on their sides.
“The whole thing happened in about ten minutes,” said Clayton Watts, the deputy reeve of the Rural Municipality of Ochre River.
“We had people barbecueing on their decks. They turned around to go inside to get something, they came back out and their decks were ripping apart,” he added.
“It was like a freight train coming through, they say.”
By Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 4:46 PM - 0 Comments
WINNIPEG – A former executive director with the Manitoba Liberal Party pleaded guilty Thursday…
WINNIPEG – A former executive director with the Manitoba Liberal Party pleaded guilty Thursday to falsifying signatures on nomination papers during the 2011 provincial election campaign.
Dennis Trochim, his voice at times cracking with emotion, told provincial court he was under intense stress when he faked signatures of support for Liberal candidates in the constituencies of Dauphin and Swan River.
“I was physically exhausted … working 18-hour days,” Trochim said.
“I just started signing things without even realizing why I did it.”
By Kevin Milligan - Monday, April 29, 2013 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Kevin Milligan is associate professor of economics at the University of British Columbia.
Manitoba stands alone in Canada, and not just for its mosquitos and late springs. It also stands alone in resisting a wave of higher provincial income tax rates on top earners—a wave that’s slowly sweeping Canada from coast to coast. Nova Scotia was first on this trend, creating a new higher tax bracket for those making above $150,000 in 2010. Ontario and Quebec announced similar brackets to take effect in 2013, and B.C. looks set to join the others in 2014.
In the chart below, I show the tax rate for high earners across provinces in 2013, along with two potential paths for B.C. in 2014 depending on the results of the upcoming provincial election. The top rates range from 50 per cent in Nova Scotia and Quebec to 39 per cent in Alberta. If the NDP proposal for B.C. is implemented, the top tax rate there will move from 43.7 per cent in 2013 to 48 percent in 2014.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 4:43 PM - 0 Comments
WINNIPEG – This month’s heavy snowfall on the Prairies has the Manitoba government warning…
WINNIPEG – This month’s heavy snowfall on the Prairies has the Manitoba government warning that major flooding is possible this spring and that people will probably be forced from their homes.
But Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton says the province is not expecting the situation to be as bad as it was in 2011, when the military was called in to help and the final bill totalled $1.2 billion.
The flood of 2011 was one of the worst on record. Thousands of people were forced from swamped houses and cottages along the Assiniboine River, Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin. Many First Nations residents have not returned to their homes.
Ashton says that right now it looks like there will be a flood similar to 2009 when about 500 homes were deluged with water or damaged by shifting frozen slabs. Damage totalled about $60 million.
By Chris Sorensen - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 7:00 PM - 0 Comments
Manitoba credit unions are beating out Bay Street banks as the best places to park cash
It may seem like a contradiction, but these days, a high-interest savings account at one of Canada’s big five banks, where base rates are just over one per cent, often doesn’t even keep pace with inflation. And as the industry continues to consolidate—with the Royal Bank of Canada’s recent $1.4-billion purchase of Ally Financial (and the subsequent winding down of Ally’s 1.8 per cent high-interest savings accounts) being the latest example—the alternatives for savers are rapidly becoming fewer and further between.
Unless, that is, you’ve been stuffing your money into Manitoba. Several of the province’s credit unions boast online divisions that still offer attractive two per cent interest rates on their high-interest and tax-free savings accounts. They also sport catchy names like AcceleRate (Winnipeg’s Crosstown Civic Credit Union), Achieva (Winnipeg’s Cambrian Credit Union) and MAXA (Brandon’s Westoba Credit Union). Another, called Hubert, was launched two years ago by Sunova Credit Union of Selkirk. It features a smiley-face logo and promises “happy savings.”
John Hamilton, a spokesman for Credit Union Central of Manitoba, the provincial industry’s trade association, says the RBC purchase of Ally is already being felt by members—many of which take deposits from non-Manitoba residents. “The virtual credit unions have said they’re getting more calls and emails from out of province,” he says.
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 7:55 PM - 0 Comments
A federal court judge has ruled that the former chief and three councillors of…
A federal court judge has ruled that the former chief and three councillors of a Manitoba aboriginal reserve used “illegitimate means,” including a “bogus” resolution, to cling to power when members of their own community threw them out of office.
Justice James Russell ruled that Terrance Nelson ceased being chief of the Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation on Sept. 20, 2011 — the day the community’s Custom Council removed him over his refusal to co-operate with an audit into the band’s financial affairs.
The Custom Council is the band’s governing authority and is made up of one representative from each family in the community.
Nelson was a candidate last year for the top job at the Assembly of First Nations.
Russell ruled that Nelson, along with several other band councillors who were also removed, attempted to dissolve the Custom Council.
When that didn’t work, Russell said they “attempted to concoct and/or rely upon a fake Custom Council resolution” to reinstate themselves.
The dispute caused financial havoc for the community, with financial institutions freezing the band’s accounts and band employees unsure who to take orders from.
Russell ruled that Kenneth Henry Jr., who was elected in a byelection to replace Russell, is the legitimate chief.
“The evidence before the Court establishes reprehensible, scandalous and outrageous conduct on the part of the Nelson Respondents,” Russell wrote in the ruling, which was released Thursday.
Nelson withdrew as a candidate during the multiple rounds of voting for the chief of the Assembly of First Nations last July after receiving few votes. He threw his support behind Pam Palmeter, who eventually lost to Shawn Atleo.
Earlier this year, he took part in an Idle No More blockade of a Canadian National rail line in Manitoba.
The Custom Council levelled allegations of financial mismanagement against Nelson starting in 2007, Russell wrote. As a result of the allegations, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada appointed a third-party manager to administer the band’s funds.
A forensic audit was ordered in 2007, and Russell wrote that Nelson refused to provide the auditor with records, co-operate with the process, or attend Custom Council meetings. This eventually resulted in a decision by Custom Council to remove him from his position as chief, Russell said.
Henry was elected in a byelection in October 2011 to replace Nelson. In protest, councillors Michael Littlejohn, Evelyn Patrick and Keith Henry refused to attend to their duties as councillors, so the Custom Council ousted them, too.
Despite their removal, Russell wrote that Nelson, as well as the three ousted councillors, continued to hold themselves out as chief and council.
“On 31 October 2011, documents were authored that made it appear as though the family units of (the community) had met and appointed new family representatives to the Custom Council to replace the actual Custom Council,” Russell wrote.
“On 1 November 2011, 16 individuals signed a document which they called a ‘Custom Council Resolution’ purporting to rescind the decisions of the real Custom Council and reappointing the Nelson Respondents as Chief and Band Councillors.”
However, Russell wrote that a representative of the Custom Council told the court that she wasn’t aware of the resolution and wasn’t notified about it. Affidavits were also submitted to the court claiming that many of the people who signed the resolution were direct family members of Nelson and the other former councillors. The affidavits also claimed that people who purported to be the representatives of certain families were not the actual representatives, Russell’s ruling said.
Russell said the confusion made it difficult for the community to function until the Federal Court issued an injunction on Feb. 2, 2012 ordering Nelson and the former councillors to cease holding themselves out as chief and councillors.
Russell has ordered Nelson and his fellow former councillors to pay court costs.
The federal auditor’s report into the band’s finances found no criminal activity but it questioned some of the financial spending, including $500,000 of undocumented loans, $2,500 Christmas bonus for chief and council and $2.1 million to develop land for a gaming centre and gas bar.
In March 2011, Nelson said a conspiracy involving federal government officials was behind the auditor’s report, and that it was meant to undermine his chances of re-election as chief in elections later that month.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, February 15, 2013 at 12:03 PM - 0 Comments
WINNIPEG – One of his victims rejoiced online Friday when the Manitoba Court of…
WINNIPEG – One of his victims rejoiced online Friday when the Manitoba Court of Appeal more than doubled the sentence of child molester and former junior hockey coach Graham James.
“This is a great day for all survivors,” retired NHL star Theo Fleury, who played for the Calgary Flames, said in a post on Twitter after the court increased James’s sentence to five years from two.
It was largely because of Fleury that James faced a second set of charges for molesting junior hockey players under his care. He had been convicted in 1997 for sex assaults against three others, including former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy.
Kennedy also posted an online comment after the court announced its decision.
“Everyday together we try to create a better place for our kids. I am confident the trauma our kids suffer from abuse is becoming visible,” he said on Twitter.
Appeal courts don’t often interfere with sentences.
By Sue Allan - Monday, February 11, 2013 at 10:07 AM - 0 Comments
WASKADA, Man. – A man and three boys are dead after a small private…
WASKADA, Man. – A man and three boys are dead after a small private plane crashed Sunday near Waskada in southwestern Manitoba.
Waskada Mayor Gary Williams said people in the town of around 200 are devastated. All three of the boys were students at the local school.
“They are people from our community and it is just a real tragedy, it is devastating,” Williams said Monday. “It is just about the worst news you could ever imagine.”
RCMP said the dead include the pilot, 37, and his two sons, 9 and 10, along with a nine-year-old boy who was a family friend.
No names were released. There were no survivors.
The boys all attended Waskada School, which has students from kindergarten to Grade 12.
By Ken MacQueen - Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
Poverty isn’t unique to Aboriginals, but Canada’s health disparities are most apparent among them
On Feb. 4, Maclean’s is hosting “Health Care in Canada: Poor Health No More,” a town hall discussion at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The free, two-hour event—focusing on the social conditions that impact the health and longevity of Canada’s Aboriginal people—is held in conjunction with the Canadian Medical Association, and will be broadcast by CPAC. The conversation on the effect of social disparities on health will continue in the coming months in the magazine, and at town halls in Hamilton, Calgary, and Charlottetown.
It was 3 p.m. on Sept. 19, 2008, when 45-year-old Brian Sinclair rolled his wheelchair into the emergency department of the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre, referred by a clinic doctor because of a bladder infection caused by a blocked catheter. He was a Metis with a cascade of social and health issues, the product of a mother haunted by her residential school experience. He had neurological and speech problems, a past history of substance abuse. He’d lost both legs to frostbite in 2007 after spending a bitter February night outside. His landlord had locked him out.
To some who saw him on the streets he was a stereotype of dysfunction. But what killed him in this busy, inner-city hospital on a September weekend were equally insidious attitudes that rendered Sinclair invisible. He spoke to a staff member at the triage desk, then rolled into the waiting area . . . and waited, vomiting and growing weaker. When he finally received medical attention—almost 34 hours later—it was to pronounce him dead. Fellow patients had found him dead in his wheelchair. The cause of death was “peritoneal infection.” A change of catheter and antibiotics could have saved him. An inquest will finally be held this August. But as a headline succinctly said, Brian Sinclair was “ignored to death.” Continue…
By Mika Rekai - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 7:00 PM - 0 Comments
Residents fear dognapping network
Over the last year, by some estimates, roughly 50 dogs have gone missing in southeastern Manitoba, sparking fears there is a dognapping network at work. And while the RCMP insist there is no evidence to support this claim, locals are becoming increasingly convinced the animals are being used as “bait” dogs to train other dogs to fight.
Many of the dogs disappeared when they were on private property. One resident told the Winnipeg Free Press he found tire tracks and a dog biscuit near his property, but because he had an invisible electric fence, his dog was not lured away. Others have not been so lucky. Last week the skinned remains of a dog were found beside a rural highway propped up in the snow. Owners have formed a Facebook group to share their stories.
But even if police discover the pets were stolen for dogfighting, there may not be much they can do. Under the federal Criminal Code, only those who are shown to be “wilfully neglecting” animals can be charged with animal cruelty. In Manitoba, it is illegal to make animals fight each other, but what constitutes participation in a dogfight isn’t clear, making the crime hard to prosecute.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
The NDP has some general idea that it would like to win some seats on the Prairies somehow.
The party’s lack of seats in Saskatchewan was a point of focus for Thomas Mulcair during the party’s leadership race and the home of Tommy Douglas probably isn’t just of symbolic value to the New Democrats: gains in Ontario and British Columbia are going to be necessary, but the path to 170 seats probably has to include some gains in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Here the redistribution of ridings might help. By the latest proposals and Mitch Wexler’s math, the NDP gains one seat in Manitoba if the 2011 election results are applied to the proposed new boundaries: Winnipeg North going from a narrow loss to a seven-point win. Meanwhile, the party still wins Churchill and Winnipeg Centre and remains competitive in Elmwood-Transcona.
In Saskatchewan, the impact of redistribution could be more dramatic. In 2011, New Democrats finished within five points in three ridings. Under the new boundaries, the NDP wins two seats narrowly and is within five points in two ridings and within 10 points in one riding.
In theory, that’s five wins and another four ridings in which the party has some reason for hope—nine ridings out of a total of 28.
(Note: In the 2011 election, the NDP won 29% of the popular vote in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In the Eric Grenier’s poll of polls, they drew 33% of the vote in December and spent most of 2012 in the mid-30s. It is probably also worth considering what impact an angry Brad Wall could have over the next few years and during an election campaign.)
By David Agren - Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 9:06 AM - 0 Comments
A community that left Manitoba a century ago is eyeing Russia
Peter Friesen talks as if he’s seen the promised land. A Mennonite farmer and father of 13 in Mexico’s northern Chihuahua state, his blue eyes brighten as he paints a picture of a place with pleasant people, raging rivers and vast tracts of virgin land ideal for agriculture. “We saw really good land with lots of water,” Friesen recalled, while seated in the booth of a Mennonite pizzeria that sells pies smothered with the prized local product, a tangy cheese known as queso menonita.
Friesen isn’t talking about paradise. He’s talking about Russia, where his Mennonite ancestors once worked the land before departing for the Canadian Prairies and then the high plains of northern Mexico. Friesen and 10 Mennonites recently travelled to Russia to explore a possible relocation from Chihuahua to the prairie of Tatarstan—900 km east of Moscow and similar to Manitoba with its cold winters, hot summers and flat prairie. The possible relocation is not a nostalgic return to his roots, but rather a resolution for the most pressing problems Mexican Mennonites face: shortages of land and water. “We could cultivate 10 times more than we have here,” says Enrique Voth Penner, who also went to Russia. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 17, 2012 at 3:09 PM - 0 Comments
Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec already have some form of carbon pricing. Quebec is set to move forward with a cap-and-trade system and Ontario is still, at least on paper, committed to doing likewise (though it obviously remains to be seen who will be in charge of that province this time next year).
As for the other provinces, I’ve asked a few of them: what is the government’s position on carbon pricing, either through a carbon tax or cap-and-trade?
A spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter responds as follows.
Premier Dexter has not supported a carbon tax approach because energy is often an essential expenditure for Canadian households. Nova Scotia has spent several years looking at cap and trade models, but in 2009 decided to reduce emissions through regulation rather than wait indefinitely for a cap and trade model that was solid enough to merit consideration of Nova Scotia joining. Companies in Nova Scotia that tried to use cap and trade systems found it was not very worthwhile.
When I asked about the possibility of a national cap-and-trade system, I was told, essentially, that the Premier would have to think about it before offering an opinion. (“The Premier would give a considered answer, which would take some time, since that has not been a focus of his environmental or energy policies as NDP leader and then as premier also. There’s not much more we would be prepared to say on that right now.”)
A spokesman for the Manitoba government, meanwhile, offers the following.
Manitoba has taken a number of steps to reduce GHG emissions within Manitoba and abroad. We remain a full partner and continue to observe the progress being made within the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). Last year we publicly consulted on a cap and trade system. The reaction we received was mixed. There are concerns about the potential impacts that a cap and trade system, as proposed under the current WCI framework, would have on Manitoba’s economy.
In January of this year our government introduced a $10 per tonne emission tax on coal and committed to use the revenue generated by the tax to help coal users transition to renewable biomass energy. Already we have seen a significant transition from coal to biomass in rural Manitoba.
In our Speech from the Throne last month, our government committed to bringing in a new mandatory emissions reporting regulation for large emitters. This new standard will bring the threshold for reporting below the current federal standard and will provide Manitoba with important information on the sources and magnitude of emissions in the province.
Manitoba generally supports carbon pricing as an effective means of reducing GHG emissions and transitioning toward a lower carbon economy. Given the relative size of Manitoba’s economy and our lack of point-source emitters, it is difficult for our province to move forward with carbon pricing policies on our own, but we continue to monitor and evaluate actions taken in other jurisdictions.
Manitoba’s preference, in the absence of federal leadership, is to move forward with an approach to carbon pricing that is consistent with jurisdictions across Canada. In our role as Co-Chair of the Council of the Federation’s Canadian Energy Strategy Working Group, Manitoba looks forward to leading a discussion on potential carbon pricing models.
Both the Manitoba and Nova Scotia governments are NDP governments. The New Democrats in Manitoba have a majority and conceivably won’t face another election until 2015. The New Democrats in Nova Scotia have a majority, but will likely face a difficult election in the new year.
The Liberal government in British Columbia, which instituted that province’s carbon tax, could be defeated next year by the NDP, but the province’s NDP leader seems interested in keeping the tax.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, October 5, 2012 at 9:08 AM - 0 Comments
WINNIPEG – Thousands of people are waking up to no electricity this morning in…
WINNIPEG – Thousands of people are waking up to no electricity this morning in southeast Manitoba after a snow storm hit the area.
Scott Powell of Manitoba Hydro says more than 4,600 customers are without power in and around Falcon Lake, Vita (vy-tah), Piney and Point Dubois.
Powell says strong winds, heavy snow and ice have downed power lines, and treacherous road conditions are making it tricky for workers to get in and fix the problems.
Brad Milne of Manitoba Infrastructure says there are travel advisories for area roads, including for the Trans-Canada Highway east of Highway 12.
He says driving conditions are poor and there’s poor visibility due to blowing snow, especially near the Ontario boundary.
There are reports of vehicles in the ditch along roads and along the westbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway near Prawda.
Environment Canada says the wet flurries will taper off by noon, although the wind is expected to remain strong.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are signed on to the Western Climate Initiative, which intends to establish a co-ordinated cap-and-trade system. Quebec is supposed to launch its own cap-and-trade system next year.
By Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 6:25 AM - 0 Comments
WINNIPEG – A man who complained about being shocked and traumatized by nude Internet photos of a Manitoba judge was no stranger to cyber sex and was willing to perform sex online for money, the judge’s lawyer alleges.
WINNIPEG – A man who complained about being shocked and traumatized by nude Internet photos of a Manitoba judge was no stranger to cyber sex and was willing to perform sex online for money, the judge’s lawyer alleges.
Alex Chapman, whose sexual harassment complaint sparked an inquiry that could cost Justice Lori Douglas her job, has his own online sex history, claims an affidavit filed by Sarah Whitmore. The document was filed in Federal Court as part of an application to quash a Canadian Judicial Council inquiry into Douglas’s actions.
Whitmore says in her affidavit that evidence, which has not been heard at the inquiry, “showed Chapman had signed up to be an online sex performer: He would perform sex acts in front of a video camera on the Internet in front of strangers who paid to watch.”
There is also evidence that Chapman had pornographic images on his computer and had engaged in group sex with “three or four women at a time,” Whitmore said.
Chapman’s sexual past calls into question his credibility, Whitmore said, because he claimed to have been traumatized by seeing sexually explicit photos of Douglas and by being asked by her husband to have sex with her.
“All of this evidence was relevant to the lack of credibility of Chapman’s story of harassment.”
The allegations in the affidavit have not been proven in court.
Chapman referred questions Monday to his lawyer, Rocco Galati. Galati said he had not yet seen Whitmore’s affidavit.
The contents of the affidavit are the latest in a string of tawdry sex accusations that have erupted since Chapman complained to the Canadian Judicial Council in 2010 about his dealings with the judge’s husband seven years earlier.
In 2003, Douglas was a family law lawyer along with her husband, Jack King. King had uploaded sexually explicit photos of Douglas to a website dedicated to interracial sex and said his wife was looking for a black partner. He also emailed photos to Chapman, who is black, and who King had represented in a divorce. He asked Chapman to have sex with Douglas.
Chapman complained to King’s law firm and King settled the matter within weeks by paying Chapman $25,000 to return all the photos and to never discuss the matter. Chapman broke that deal in 2010 and complained to the judicial council, saying Douglas was part of the sexual harassment.
The inquiry, which has been suspended amid court challenges and allegations of unfairness, is also examining whether Douglas failed to disclose the matter when she was appointed a judge in 2005 and whether the very existence of the photos disqualifies her from continuing as a judge.
Douglas, who rose to become associate chief justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, has denied all the allegations. She and King have said he acted alone without her knowledge and was suffering from depression at the time.
The five-member panel overseeing the inquiry began hearings in the summer, but quickly ran into unfairness complaints from some of the lawyers involved. Chapman was the first witness to testify and Sheila Block, Douglas’s principal lawyer, was prevented by the panel from cross-examining him about his sexual past.
That decision is one reason why Douglas’s lawyers have accused the panel of bias. They have asked the Federal Court of Canada to halt the inquiry. There is no word on when the application will be heard.
Another wrench was thrown into the inquiry last month, when Guy Pratte, the independent lawyer leading the inquiry, suddenly resigned. Pratte was upset that the panel had another lawyer to cross-examine witnesses on its behalf. The panel cannot sit in judgment of the case while also participating and grilling witnesses, he said.
Galati said he will be fighting Douglas’s lawyers attempts to halt the inquiry, in part because Chapman was not named as a respondent.
“I’m moving to quash the application on that basis and on the basis that the application, and the manner in which they’re proceeding, is an abuse of process.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, August 27, 2012 at 11:42 AM - 0 Comments
With Senator Zimmer currently in the headlines, Aaron Wherry considers one obvious question (there are others, of course)
With Rod Zimmer currently in the headlines, Aaron Wherry considers his journey to the Senate:
In 1999, Rod Zimmer, a prominent Winnipeg businessman and fundraiser, was reportedly among the final two candidates for the posting of Lieutenant Governor in Manitoba. Jean Chrétien chose the other finalist, Peter Liba.
Six years later, Zimmer received a decent consolation prize—an appointment to the Senate. Zimmer was among five senators selected in August of that year by Paul Martin.
From 1968 to 1971, Zimmer was an assistant to Cyril MacDonald, the Liberal minister of welfare in Saskatchewan, and for most of the rest of the 1970s he was an assistant to James Richardson, the federal minister of defence. He was the Manitoba chair for the federal Liberal campaign in 1980 and while then building a career in business—including prominent positions with CanWest and the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation—Zimmer continued to work within and around the Liberal party. He was a member of the fundraising committee for Paul Martin’s leadership campaign in 2003 and revenue chair for the federal Liberals in Manitoba from 2004 to 2006.
“People will comment on the fundraising that he’s done for the Liberal party, but what is overlooked is the incredible amount of work he’s done for all sorts of other causes in Manitoba,” Manitoba Liberal leader Jon Gerrard told the Winnipeg Free Press when Zimmer’s Senate appointment was announced. “That kind of commitment is a positive thing. He has a lot of public spirit.”
After Martin’s resignation, Zimmer helped raise funds for Ken Dryden’s leadership campaign.
From 1989 to 1991, he was president of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and from 1981 to 1993 he was a member of the board of directors for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. And according to Zimmer’s official biography, he is a “champion swimmer, diver, and water-skier” and ”he has actively participated in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, volleyball, curling, tennis, golf, soccer, squash, handball, badminton and downhill skiing.”
By Andrew Stobo Sniderman - Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 10:31 AM - 0 Comments
Often, they receive about a quarter less funding for primary school education than other Canadian children
The two schools sit a mere five kilometres apart as the crow flies, in a rural stretch of Manitoba about four hours west of Winnipeg. Their soccer teams compete every spring. Their students groan over many of the same textbooks. But as the road from Rossburn Collegiate to the Waywayseecappo reserve school runs down a hill into a lush valley, it also crosses an invisible jurisdictional line that led to an egregious gap between native and non-native students.
Until about 18 months ago, a student in Waywayseecappo received about $7,300 in annual funding from the federal government, while a student at Rossburn Collegiate received about $10,500 from the provincial government. Then one day the disparity disappeared, poof, overnight.
After three years of talks, Aboriginal leaders in Waywayseecappo persuaded the provincial and federal governments to let them join the local school board, effectively transforming their Aboriginal students into provincial students. Under the agreement, the feds matched the provincial standard dollar for dollar. With 300 students enrolled from kindergarten to Grade 8, that meant an extra $1.2 million for Waywayseecappo’s annual budget. The school immediately hired six more teachers, and the average class size halved from more than 30 to around 17. Previously, an entire wing had sat empty for want of teachers. Now all the classrooms are in use. “We certainly managed before, but it just wasn’t fair,” says Troy Luhowy, the school’s principal, who notes that reading scores have already improved noticeably.
By Tamsin McMahon - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 11:26 AM - 0 Comments
The city is hosting a retail boom led by big box stores
When major American retailers set their sights on Canada, Winnipeg isn’t typically the first place they look. But lately, the city has been in the midst of a retail-building and jobs frenzy driven mostly by international big box stores like Ikea, Wal-Mart and Target.
Last week, executives from Target flew to Winnipeg to scout out the location for four new stores in Manitoba as part of its Canadian launch next year. The company plans to hire 800 workers across Manitoba, and in Winnipeg, Target is in talks to become the flagship tenant in a retail complex planned on the site of the Canad Inns Stadium, home to the Blue Bombers. Meanwhile, Ikea announced it will hire 300 workers for a new store in a 1.5-million-sq.-foot retail development in Winnipeg. There’s talk that home hardware store Lowe’s is planning to open next to Ikea, and the development has also attracted Cabela’s, a major U.S. outdoor store that until recently had just three stores in Canada (one of them in Winnipeg).
Ikea’s announcement touched off a storm of retail development, says Chuck Davidson, vice-president with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. The company’s tendency to locate stores in major urban centres signalled to U.S. retailers that Winnipeg has grown enough to support more big box stores.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 9, 2012 at 10:34 AM - 0 Comments
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is destined for a new job on Manitoba’s highest court, sources say. There are currently nine judges on the Manitoba Court of Appeal — one works part time — but one is due to retire shortly when he hits the compulsory retirement age of 75.
There is also one opening on the Court of Queen’s Bench that needs filling. Sources say Toews is in line for the Court of Appeal opening, but it’s an appointment that does not have to be made immediately.
Update 1:28pm. A statement from Mr. Toews’ office.
Every year stories come up saying that Minister Toews is retiring from politics and going to the bench, and every year he returns to Parliament to continue working to keep Canadians safe. Minister Toews will continue to pursue our government’s legislative priorities in the fall session, with a focus on speedy passage of the Enhancing RCMP Accountability Act.
By Gustavo Vieira - Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 9:53 AM - 0 Comments
Police officers in the rural municipality of Rosser, outside Winnipeg, Man., had been in…
Police officers in the rural municipality of Rosser, outside Winnipeg, Man., had been in the dark on the case of a $300,000 tractor stolen from a farming equipment shop just a few days before Christmas in 2010. Then a tip through Crime Stoppers last week led them to a farm some two hours away, near Fisher Branch, Man.
At the property, buried under a 4-metre high pile of manure, RCMP officers found the 2009 Case IH Steiger 485 tractor with 500 horsepower. The mound of dung hiding the tractor was so vast police had to use an excavator for two days to extricate the machine from it.
From the Globe and Mail:
Sgt. [Line] Karpish said she had seen people bury a lot of stolen items during her 30-year police career, like guns, drugs and jewellery. But never a tractor. And never in 4 1/2 metres of animal excrement. “You know what the beauty is of police work? It’s never the same,” she said with a laugh. “And the day any cop tells you he’s seen it all, well that one is full of you know what.”
A 24-year-old man was arrested and faces several charges, including theft over $5,000. A 22-year-old woman faces a charge of possession of stolen property.
By Angelina Chapin - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 11:27 AM - 0 Comments
The pitch is to turn it into a five-star, international drug rehab centre
Hecla Oasis is a luxury resort with anything but a glamorous past. Part of a provincial park along Lake Winnipeg, Hecla was built by the government in 1975 to rescue a ghost town, but the five-star getaway never really found an audience. Despite its 18-hole golf course, mineral spa and decor that includes a stream flowing through the main lobby, a two-hour drive north of Winnipeg proved too far for those with plenty of closer vacation destinations. The 90-room resort, which has always failed to make a profit, has been shut down since 2010 and is up for sale.
The man who might save the Hecla Oasis has a troubled past himself. Though Ian Rabb won’t confirm the price of the bid he made (the listing price is $3.5 million, down from $6.5 million a year ago), he wants to open an addiction treatment centre alongside quaint cottages, a marina and a general store. He hopes the 70-acre resort will be the perfect setting to help 100 addicts at a time kick their habits, as he did 11 years ago. In 2001, the now 47-year-old was living on the streets and injecting himself with drugs: “I used crystal meth probably eight years, every day,” says Rabb, who sounds every bit the slick real estate developer who ran for city council in Winnipeg last year.
The irony is that recovering addicts might be the most stable business solution for Hecla, and could put an end to the province’s fraught relationship with the resort. Health and wellness tourism, or medical tourism, is a $20-billion industry, according to Renee-Marie Stephano, the founder of the Medical Tourism Association, and one that Canada hasn’t really tapped into. It encompasses everything from skin treatments to addiction centres like the one Rabb plans to open—with luxury spaces where addicts can go to rehab without feeling like they’re in rehab. Though treatment centres exist in Canada, mostly in B.C., Rabb says none are as luxurious as Hecla. He plans to charge around $450 per night for a minimum 40-night stay.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 20, 2012 at 10:08 AM - 0 Comments
Four Conservative MPs go to the Manitoba legislature to take issue with the Manitoba government.
Inside the house, Glover, Smith, Bezan and Hoeppner sat together stone-faced on a sofa on the floor of the chamber behind the Tory benches watching question period, when the immigration issue took centre stage. They either smiled or nodded their heads when their provincial counterparts defended Ottawa’s decision to manage the immigration program. They had to sit in the house because they could not get passes for the public gallery.
Smith said she and her colleagues had no choice other than to come to the legislature instead of holding a press briefing at constituency offices or another location. ”Today the MPs are coming in to straighten the story out,” Smith said. ”The story has been totally misleading. It’s scaring people. We have to get that story straight.”
By the editors - Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
The unintended consequences don’t necessarily make for a healthier environment
Winter is not typically given to thoughts of lawn care. Nevertheless, Manitoba’s conservation minister recently announced he’s making plans for a pesticide ban. In particular, Gord Mackintosh said he’s keen to bring Manitoba’s pesticide laws in line with those in other provinces. “Manitobans are entitled to the same protections most other Canadians enjoy,” he declared.
Yet Manitobans might want to learn from the experience of those other provinces, rather than simply parrot them. Evidence from other jurisdictions suggests there are numerous unintended consequences to such a ban. And not all of them make for a healthier environment.
Currently every province east of the Mantioba-Ontario border restricts the use of cosmetic pesticides in some way. Mackintosh says he admires the strict bans enforced in Ontario and Nova Scotia. These rules prohibit use of a long list of pesticides on all lawns and fields. Golf courses and farms are exempt.
By Emma Teitel - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 10:30 AM - 0 Comments
It’s only by comparison that Ontario Catholic schools’ treatment of gay students and staff can be called ‘liberal’
A think tank representing Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic school boards coined the euphemism of the century recently when it proposed that gay-straight alliance (GSA) clubs operate under a hopelessly vague designation: “Respecting Differences.” You can just see it in lights: the clubs’ mission statements, and the Catholic boards’ iconoclastic revision to Emma Lazarus’s legendary sonnet: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to break free . . . oh yeah, also your gay, bisexual, transgendered . . . anyone with acne.” Alas, that won’t happen, because in addition to the name change, the proposal has also stipulated that gay kids (sorry, different kids) can’t talk about being gay. Perhaps “Ignoring Differences” would have been a more apt suggestion, because it’s obvious that Ontario’s separate school system is keen on treating homosexuality as an adolescent affliction like any other (bad breath, body odour) and the most humane way to deal with such an affliction is, of course, to sit a safe distance from the person who has it: i.e., to ignore it. Or, in the words of Ontario’s Catholic school boards, respect it. As one of the afflicted myself, I try to avoid the phrase, but “Respecting Differences”? That is so gay.
In another context, though, it’s oddly progressive. Take a look at the rest of Canada’s partially publicly funded faith-based schools (namely in Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia), and it’s clear that LGBT students in Ontario’s Catholic system fare better than their peers elsewhere when it comes to starting GSAs (or “difference” clubs). At least in Ontario the debate isn’t silenced before it gets too loud. In Manitoba, for example, which partially funds religious schools of all stripes, there is no provincial law requiring the independent schools to accommodate gay-straight alliance clubs. In addition, every religious independent public school operates, in large part, as its own school district—which makes it more difficult for students to lobby together at the provincial level.