Monday, March 31, 2008

Very interesting blog!

The Black Rod is carried by the Usher of the Black Rod

Tansi/Good Day Readers:
Came upon a very interesting Winnipeg Blog. Both the reasearch, analysis and writing appear to be of a very good quality. Below is one if its articles about the political in-fighting surrounding the recent decision to go ahead with the Upper Fort Garry restoration project.
We're still blown away by the taxpayer funded Manitoba Metis Federation's decision to donate $1 million. To put this in perspective, both the federal and provincial governments each had previously contributed $1.5 million.
Our question for MMF President David Chartrand is from where in the budget will this money be taken? During Saturday's Federation funded Metis Hour Times Two he claimed programs would not be affected. However, as usual he provided no substantiation. Remember, the devil is always in the detail.
Clare L. Pieuk
The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

About Me
Name: The Black Rod
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg who break stories ahead of MSM. We analyze news coverage by the Mainstream Media and highlight flawed logic, bias, missed angles and serve as the only overall monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) Use the "search this blog" feature to look up our most popular stories: the bias of CBC employees, the shooting of Matthew Dumas, our groundbreaking coverage of the Crocus Fund scandal, and how a victim of FLQ terrorism took on the Prime Minister over the appointment of Michaelle Jean as Governor General. And did someone mention O'Learygate?
Sunday, March 30, 2008

Katz Meets His Waterloo

His lip quivering, his voice quavering, Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz threatened to punch out the village idiot who showed up at an anti-budget rally with a sign depicting Katz as Hitler.
It was the only show of backbone he could muster in the week he met his Waterloo.
By week's end, his political enemies had seized him by the scruff of the neck and rubbed his nose in the dirt, forcing him to put on a happy face and declare how much he loved the smell of earth in the springtime.
For years, Katz had managed to outwit, outplay and outlast his opponents. Then, in the blink of an eye, he lost his political integrity so badly he was left trying to have another man take the fall in his place.
The man who once declared people needed to know the City of Winnipeg could be trusted to live up to its word - "a deal's a deal" - watched his deal broken with a handshake, a smile and some shuck and jive.
It was cringeworthy. The deal couldn't be simpler:
  • The city had some surplus land southwest of the site of Upper Fort Garry
  • It issued an RFP - a request for proposals - to see what potential buyers had in mind for the land
  • They received three proposals - Heritage Winnipeg wanted a park and "interpretive centre," one developer dreamed of a 40-storey tower and Crystal Developers pitched a 15-storey apartment building
  • City planners - you know, the people we pay to do this sort of thing - recommended the apartment building as the best compromise between raising some money for the city and preserving the heritage of Upper Fort Garry. The deal would see Crystal buy the land for $1.8 million. Annual property taxes of around $153,000 could go towards upkeep at a park and interpretive centre that could still be built on the lot next door
  • The city's Standing Committee on Downtown Development approved the deal in May, 2007

The committee - Councillor Russ Wyatt, Chairman; Councillor Jenny Gerbasi, Councillor Gord Steeves, Councillor Justin Swandel and Mayor Sam Katz - met in camera. Katz may not have attended. It's an obvious bet that Gerbasi voted against the deal, the only apartment development in downtown Winnipeg in 20 years.

The committee's decision is final. That should have been it.

But Heritage Winnipeg refused to allow the process to work. After all, it was just elected city councillors making the decision. Didn't they know who really runs the city?

Heritage Winnipeg morphed into Friends of Upper Fort Garry, a collection of millionaires, and, as it turned out, members of the Manitoba Club.

The Club had just spent millions renovating their premises and they weren't about to watch an apartment building go up in their back yard.

After all, you know who lives in apartments, don't you?

Riff-raff who can't afford their own houses.


So the so-called Friends launched a campaign to veto the city's deal. Luckily, they had among their members someone who owned a newspaper.

Step up Bob Silver.

The Winnipeg Free Press became the official house organ for the Manitoba Club and did everything possible to undermine the city, regardless of how much they had to twist the facts and skew the truth, to the point where witnessing the richest people in the city take money from school children was presented as a triumph.

How the millionaires, who spend more money on lunch in one day than the kids raised in good faith, must have chuckled.

The first break for the Friends came when Russ Wyatt backstabbed Katz and announced he had changed his mind and now rejected the Crystal deal. Then they came up with an archeologist who "discovered" that the edge of Upper Fort Garry was actually further west than anyone had known for a generation or two. Or maybe it was three, what's it matter?

The surplus land was now 3000 square feet less, which would mean Crystal would have to downsize their project to 120 apartments from 180.

To the disgust of the Friends, Crystal said "Okay."

The city would lose money on the deal, though. The land was worth only $1.2 million instead of $1.8.

But Wyatt and Gerbasi (of course) were determined to sink the project on behalf of the millionaires even if it meant permanent damage to the city's reputation as an administration that could be trusted.

They brought the deal with Crystal up a second time before the Standing Committee on Downtown Development with a motion to kill it in favour of the millionaires' park project.

Enter Sam Katz.

Instead of defending the integrity of the city, the mayor injected a poison pill which he sugarcoated as a "compromise." Shuck, meet Jive.

Katz, and supporters on committee, Steeves and Swandel, passed a motion to give the Friends until March 31 to come up with, among other conditions, $10 million of a $12.5 million plan to build a park encompassing Upper Fort Garry and the surplus city land.


No one has ever explained. Why did Katz undermine the Crystal proposal in December, 2007?

And why did Katz play nine councillors for fools March 19 when he got them to vote against a motion to give the Friends more time to meet the conditions set in three months earlier?

And he certainly did because by month's end, the Friends of Upper Fort Garry had failed to meet a single one of the conditions set in December. But the deal with Crystal developers was still off, in favour of the Friends.

  • They had failed to buy the Grain Exchange Curling Club as stipulated. They had a memoradum of understanding to talk about buying the club, instead
  • Despite picking the pocket of every schoolchild they could find, they failed to come up with $10 million. They had to resort to counting twenty years of upkeep for a non-existent national park on the Upper Fort Garry site as part of their obligation
  • The Winnipeg Free Press, of course, didn't challenge a penny of this ficticious fundraising. And neither did Sam Katz. Instead he did everything short of carrying the president of Crystal Developers on his back in gratitude for walking away from the apartment project- purely out of the kindness of his heart, of course
  • Rubin Spletzer said he was giving the Friends two more years to raise money for their project. Two weeks ago he showed up at city hall threatening to sue if they didn't live up to their deal with him

Sniff, Sniff. Something smells. And that smell emanates from the Mayor's Office.

  • The city has a process to sell surplus land
  • They followed the process.* The mayor amended the process in mid-stream
  • Then when the Friends failed to meet the pre-conditions of the amended process, the mayor says don't blame me, blame Rubin Spletzer for putting his project on ice
  • The city loses $1.2 million and $153,000 a year in annual taxes

And Katz grins and shakes Spletzer's hand.

Thanks, buddy. Who wants people living downtown, anyway?

Hitler? Hardly. Charlie Chaplin, maybe.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Uncle David needs you - sign up now or else!

President David N. ("Noble") Chartrand
Tansi/Good Day Folks:

While listening to Winnipeg's 99.1 FM Cool Jazz, this afternoon, the MMF ran 3 twenty second promotions saying if you're Metis discover yourself and your heritage. Contact the Federation to find out about a genealogy search so you can become a Member.

Sounds like a recruitment drive. A lot more members will be required if the Federation is get additional taxpayer dollars to make good on his public pledge of $1 million to The Friends of Upper Fort Garry. At least it was read by a professional announcer sparing us his incessant mumbling.


Clare L. Pieuk

"What did you know and when did you know it Mr. President?"

Tansi/Good Day Readers:

There are several aspects of the MMF's public pledge of $1 million to preserve the Upper Fort Garry site from commercial development which are very troubling:

(1) Were conditions required to guarantee the necessary funds could be raised already in place on the afternoon of Friday, March 28, 2008 when the MMF announced it was donating $1 miillion?

In a Thursday, March 27, 2008 article CTV News reporter Caroline Bargout interviewed Premier Gary Doer who suggested the Manitoba was ready to declare the site a provincial park opening the door for the rest of the funding to flow from provincial coffers.

At this point, Friends of Upper Fort Garry were about $3.7 million short of the amount need to purchase the property otherwise the developer had a legal right under terms of an agreement negotiated previously with the City of Winnipeg to acquire ownership

(2) On Friday afternoon Mayor Sam Katz indicated Crystal Developments had agreed to extend the time the Group had to raise the rest of the money by two years

(3) Some may remember the 1972 Watergate Senate Committee Hearings which ultimately led to the resignation of President Nixon. A group of Republican Party operatives had been caught red handed breaking into the Democratic National Committee Offices (Watergate Hotel Complex - Washington, D.C.) to install wiretaps.

North Carolina Senetor Sam Irwin chaired the Committee

He asked ever witness appearing before the committee, "What did you know and when did you know it?" which became an English lexicon. As a graduate student at the time, can still hear and see him

(4) Yesterday (Saturday, March 30, 2008) David Chartrand appeared on The Metis Hour Times Two funded (approximately $60,000 annually) by the MMF and hosted by local musician and failed Federal Liberal Candidate Ray ("Nice Hair") St. Gemain

"..... I would surmise that the donation is a multi-year deal and the CEO stated during his address no MMF programs woill be affected financially through this new initiative ....."
(5) The Manitoba Metis Feeration Inc. ("MMF") is a non-profit, non-share company incorporated pursuant to the laws of the Province of Manitoba on December 28, 1967 (MMF lawyer Murray Trachtenberg - April 18, 2001)

President Chartrand, our Readers would like to know:

(1) What did you know and when did you know it?

(i) Were you or were you not aware the Premier had agreed to declare the Upper Fort Garry site a provincial park when you publicly pledged $1 million of Canadian taxpayer dollars to The Friends of Fort Garry?

(ii) Were you or were you not aware Crystal Developments was prepared to extend the fundraising deadline by two years (shortly thereafter walking away from the deal) when you publicly pledged $1 million of Canadian taxpayer dollars to The Friends of Fort Garry?

(2) As a non-profit, non-share company incorporated pursuant to the laws of Manitoba, specifically from where will this money come?

Clare L. Pieuk
City Strikes Deal With Developer On Upper Fort Garry Site
Métis Group Makes $1M Donation
Last Updated: Friday, March 28, 2008 5:42 PM CT

CBC News

A deal has been struck to preserve the site of Upper Fort Garry, giving a heritage group more time to raise money and preserve the historic space.

The City of Winnipeg and the developer that has legal claim on part of the land announced the agreement on Friday afternoon. Mayor Sam Katz said Crystal Developments has agreed to stand aside for two years, allowing the group Friends of Upper Fort Garry extra time to raise funds to build an interpretive centre on the site.
The Friends of Upper Fort Garry's plans include a symbolic representation of the fort's buildings, and an interpretive centre that could host events about the fort's history. (Friends of Upper Fort Garry).

In December, a city committee gave the group until the end of March to come up with $10 million to pay for the centre on the site at Assiniboine Avenue and Fort Street, often referred to as the birthplace of Winnipeg or Manitoba.

The Manitoba Métis Federation made a $1-million contribution to the project Friday afternoon, but the group is still about $1.8 million short of its goal.

Crystal Developers initially received city approval to build an apartment block on land adjacent to the north gate.
However, a city committee reversed that decision in December, establishing the March deadline for the Friends of Upper Fort Garry to raise the money.

Last week, city councillors voted against a motion that would have extended the deadline.

Doer Proposes Park

Earlier in the day, Premier Gary Doer floated the idea of a provincial park on the downtown Winnipeg historical site.

"We believe that the operating cost of a provincial park has economic value for the plan," Doer said.

The province would pay to operate the park, he said — a cost that would add up to millions of dollars over the years. That should be considered a down payment on the $10 million, he said.

Manitoba MP Vic Toews likes the idea of turning the Upper Fort Garry site into a provincial park, describing it as a creative proposal that deals with the maintenance of the site, which sometimes becomes a financial obstacle to such proposals.

"Often, capital is much easier to obtain than money for cutting grass," he said. "Everybody wants something named after them — a building — but nobody wants to give money to cut the grass, and yet that is sometimes the most important aspect in terms of making these projects work."

Toews, who is also president of the federal Treasury Board, said the Harper government would support the final deal, whatever it looks like. The federal government has pledged $1.5 million toward the historic site.

Park Idea Won't Help Deadline

Katz received the park proposal this week — but not the cold, hard cash the group requires.

"It's not going to help build the facility," he said. "You don't have to be an accountant or lawyer to figure that out."
Upper Fort Garry, established in 1822, served as the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company in Western Canada and was the first seat of government for the District of Assiniboia and the Red River Settlement. The fort was seized by Louis Riel during the Red River Rebellion in 1870. Most of it was demolished in the late 1800s.

The rebuilt rear entrance to the fort, known as the north gate, remains on a small block of land across from the Via Rail station on Broadway.

The Friends of Upper Fort Garry's plans include a symbolic repersentatn of the Fort's buildings and interpretative cetre that could host events about the Fort's history (Friends of Fort Garry).

Saturday, March 29, 2008

David and Ron Chartrand's new home?


MetisMama has left a new comment on your post, "The David Chartrand Building!"

Okay - I could not resist - is this one of those infamous houses that Ron Chartrand announced at a recent MMF Winnipeg Regional Office meeting? The David and Ron Chartrand affordable housing program.

The David Chartrand Building

Dear MetisMama:

Thank you for writing. If so wonder how they'd like living in it?

Clare L. Pieuk

Do you have the right Sheriff Perkins anonymous?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post, "I am not a serial grandstander!"

David Chartrand resembles Sheriff Perkins. For that matter, Murray Trachtenberg looks like Gene Shalit.
Dear Anonymous:

Sheriff Perkins One-Man-Band sings, picks the guitar and kicks the drum in the unexplored territories of rockabilly-country-hardcore with sex-oriened lyrics.

Thank you for writing. This was the only Sheriff Perkins we could find when we Googled the name. David Chartrand is much, much better looking and far too handsome to be confused with SP. Plus as far as we know he can't play the banjo. Are you sure you've got the right Sheriff?

President Chartrand, please accept our profound, heartfelt apology on behalf of the anonymous reader. We don't know how they could have gotten it so wrong unless, ".....nudge, nudge - wink, wink know what we mean, know what we mean?"

As for MMF lawyer Murray Trachtenberg, would the real Murray Trachtenberg please stand up:

This time our reader did much better. Laugh as you will, a respected Winnipeg attorney who has faced Counselor Trachtenberg in court and given him a good legal thrashing also commented on his resemblance to Gene Shalit (right). However, we think he looks more like Groucho Marks minus the cigar and sense of humour.

For many years, Gene Shalit was the book and film critic for NBC's The Today Show.

Groucho Marx along with brothers Chico and Harpo formed a famous comedy team during the 1950-1960s. Groucho died in 1977. Our favourite line, "Who you going to believe me or your lying eyes?"

Clare L. Pieuk

We have another winner!

Tansi/Good Day Folks:

No, no, no! Not "Bear" - musician Mr. Derryl Sanderson ( the one on the left! We are pleased to announce he is the recipient of our Gold Standard 5 Banjo Award for most inconsistent statements posted on the internet. Congratulations, Sir.

We rest our case - for now!

Clare L. Pieuk

"MMF Donation Puts Upper Fort Garry Over The Top And Other Metis Tidbits" (March 29, 2008)

.....So what's to say? I guess we could just say kudos to the MMF President and his Board. So I will. Congratulations on helping to preserve this historic site that means so much to all Metis and indeed, all Manitobans .....

"Monday Musings" (August 20, 2007)

I phoned the Head of the Youth Department at the MMF last week and was directed to a guy named Joe Prest or Pressed.....he must be awfully pressed for time anywho. I called to ask him about possible football funding for my son.....Joe initially stated that usually doesn't happen. The Youth Departman sponsors teams.....OK. So I ask him to elaborate on what exactly he meant by "not usually" does that mean preferred individuals get funding? Joe then stated he had to go and for me to call him back. I did. Joe still hasn't returned my call. Apparently the MMF can't even help out kids playing sports. Joe tried to send me to KidsSport. Good move Joe.

MMF Finally Responds! (February 28, 2007)

Before you read this, I have to tell you that my initial response to this e-mail was one of disappointment. The e-mail was sent by the Executive Director of the MMF and former NDP Deputy Minster, Oliver Boulette. Here are a few excerpts from the political type response.....which by the way, is contrary to how I have dealt with the MMF in the past. Making up the rules for opposing members on the fly?

February 28, 2007
Mr. Derryl Sanderson
Sent via email:

Dear Mr. Sanderson:

Please accept this email correspondence as confirmation of receipt of the two telephone calls you had directed to the President’s Office on February 26, 2007.

In response to the queries you have noted in your February 26, 2007, telephone calls, I will, once again, provide you with the process in which you must follow in order to have your queries responded to. I would recommend that you contact the MMF Local for your area/community and pose the question to the Chair and/or Co-chair representing your Local. The Local Chair in your area/community can approach the MMF Region that represents the Local and inquire on your behalf.

Of final note, this will be the last response that the MMF will be providing to you with respect to any further questions or concerns that you may have.

Oliver BouletteExecutive DirectorOliver and I both know along with Dave Chartrand, Don Roulette, and many others who are employed at the Federation, before my opposition to the current Executive began, my phone calls were always made to and addressed by head office....remember the cheque you gave me for $ 650 Don?

I phoned you and asked for gas money for my initial gig in Grand Rapids, you gave me $ 650.....I felt guilty about getting that amount so I bought the band supper and gave them each $ 100. Didn't have to contact a Region or Local.....The funding provided for my three son's sports registration fees were always just a phone call and a quick letter away......after I found out that some families were not getting even $65, I returned another $600 cheque that was granted to me on the basis of a phone call to head office, once again Oliver, Don or Dave didn't say call Winnipeg first........all the gigs that I had performed for the federation pre-opposition days, were always through head office. Dave himself even took time to phone me.

So, please stop with the crap Oliver. I'm not going to argue with you politically on're wrong and you know it.....speaking as straight forward as I can.....I could phone and get a response any time, before I went against, what I feel is a corrupt organization. This response is ludicrous. I also know a few other musicians who never had to go to their Region and/or Llocal before getting aid from the MMF. The MMF's first response to me in a long time, could have been better.....and you know what Oliver? I won't contact you again but I hope through my investigations and info gained on this site, that others will be.

And the final word goes to anonymous!

Tansi/Good Day Readers:

We thought the final word should go to this individual who left the following comment on regarding the announcement the MMF had pledged $1 million to The Friends of Upper Fort Garry.

Clare L. Pieuk
anonymous said...

Better yet why not open a shelter for all the homeless Metis people sleeping outside your building who are not allowed in?

Thursday, March 27, 2008 9:13:00 PM

The David Chartrand Building!

Tansi/Good Day Readers:

We really liked MetisMama's ( suggestion of naming a building after David Chartrand so here's our candidate for his "outstanding" effort improving the housing of all Manitoba Metis citizens.

The David Chartrand Building

Clare L. Pieuk

Upper Fort Garry - "The David Chartrand Building?"

Tansi/Good Day Readers:

If you haven't already, please check out MetisMama's excellent Friends of Upper Fort Garry coverage on We'd like to thank her for publishing today's Winnipeg Free Press article by Bartley Kives along with our comments.

Clare L. Pieuk
Friends Of Upper Fort Garry Seemed To Be A Positive Place To Save
A Historical Site

Park Offer Opens Gate For Fort Friends
Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2008 18:34:27

The Friends of Upper Fort Garry could announce as early as Friday that it is victorious in its battle to secure the fort site for an interpretive centre.

An offer from Premier Gary Doer to declare the Upper Fort Garry site a provincial park may have clinched the deal for the Friends group, when all hope seemed to have been lost.

Manitoba Premier Gary Doer speaks with CTV's Caroline Barghout on March 27, 2007.

The group needed to raise $3.7 million dollars by March 31st to fulfill its part of a deal with the City of Winnipeg, which had already agreed to turn the land over to a developer to build a high-rise apartment.

If the provincial government declares the site a provincial park, it will open the door for the rest of the funding to flow from provincial coffers.

"It takes the burden away from people that are emptying their piggy banks to donate money to the historic site," Doer said.

Park Deal Not Done Yet

The provincial park offer is not yet a done deal. When contacted by CTV News, a spokesperson from the Friends group said its optimistic this will come to a positive conclusion, and hinted to an announcement as early as Friday.

Meanwhile, the Manitoba Mets Federaiton has its own ideas for the site.

MMF President David Chartrand says its not enough to put up a few benches and call it a park.

"We should learn from what other countries have done," said MMF President David Chartrand. "Obviously we're not arguing here to keep green space -- that's not what this issue is at this point. We're trying to keep a historical site."

Chartrand said other countries are now scraping to preserve what little historical artifacts are left and the choices we make now in Manitoba will preserve our history for generations to come.

Chartrand says it's not enough to put up a few benches on the land and call it a park.

The Manitoba Métis Federation wants to see an interpretive centre built on the land as well as a tourist attraction to educate visitors about Manitoba's history.

The gates located near Broadway and Main Street.

The Friends of Upper Fort Garry have indicated that it in their plans for the site.

With a story from CTV's Caroline Barghout.

Caroline Barghout joined the CTV Winnipeg News Team in 2007 as weekend anchor and reporter.

Originally from Toronto, Caroline's first job in the industry was co-hosting an internet radio show after graduating college. Since then she's had the chance to do news and traffic over the airwaves of a number of well-known stations. Caroline later began volunteering in cable television and a short while later accepted a job at CTV News in Sudbury. Caroline has a Radio and Television Broadcasting Diploma from Seneca College in Toronto, Ontario.

Caroline loves the adventure of the job. She embraces whatever comes her way and enjoys meeting people and telling their stories.


This article from CTV describes the latest in the issue of Upper Fort Garry but Mr. David Chartrand wants to make sure that it is more then a couple of park benches. Here is your challenge, President Chartrand – you want a legacy for your leadership – the Manitoba Métis Federation should demonstrate self sufficiency and instead of a line budget item called legal fees for suing Metis people generate the revenue and operate and run this Métis historical site for the future generations.

Make it a revenue bearing project that will create tourism, employment opportunities and no government hand outs for the development of your interpretative centre. You should like this idea – it will give you a legacy, it will give the Métis people something to feel proud about and it will help ensure that the history that is recanted for tourists is of the true Métis – not the government controlled propaganda that we often find in text books. Come on Mr. President – they might even call it the David Chartrand Building – but remember NO GOVERNMENT MONEY – just like our founding fathers did it!

"I am not a serial grandstander!"

Nice eyes eh?

David Chartrand grandstanding again?

Tansi/Good Day Readers:

Remember the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which killed many thousands? Shortly thereafter David Chartrand announced the MMF was contributing $25,000 to a United Nations disaster fund which had been established. Great you say?

We received an anonymous e-mail from someone in the Federation's Finance Department saying President Chartrand had been advised headquarers could have trouble meeting its next payroll. The writer went on to describe a situation in which at the time Mr. Chartrand was given the news his reaction was since the organization was already significantly in debt what was another $25,000? It was at this point the source offered he was grandstanding.

Here's what we'd like you to consider:

(1) For the past couple years, rumours have circulated on the internet the Federation may be as much as $1-2 million in debt

(2) Blogs have reported the Metis National Council could be $3 million in the red with suggestions money may be flowing from the Manitoba Metis Federation to the MNC to keep it afloat

(3) When was an MMF Provincial Board of Directors meeting held passing a Motion to pledge $1 million to The Friends of Upper Fort Garry? What was the vote outcome or is this another case of David Chartrand acting on his own?

(4) When federal-provincial funders give the MMF taxpayer dollars, is any of it specifically earmarked for causes such as this? If so, how much and in which budget line can it be found? In the alternative, is this an expenditure which must be siphoned from elswere?

(5) Note in the Winnipeg Free Press article the federal and provincial governments have already donated. Why must we now double contribute via the Manitoba Metis Federation?

Please understand. We support this worthy cause, however, we can only conlcude a $1 million donation at this time from the taxpayer funded Manitoba Metis Federation ledership is grandstanding yet again!

Clare L. Pieuk

Distribution List
Upper Fort Garry Site Saved
Developer Drops Apartment Plan

By Bartley Kives
Updated: March 29 at 12:10 AM CDT

A 10-month struggle that pitted heritage advocates against downtown-housing proponents has ended as the Friends of Upper Fort Garry have won the right to build a historical park at the site of Winnipeg's birthplace.
Late on Friday afternoon, Crystal Developers walked away from a $1.2-million deal for a chunk of surplus city land at the corner of Fort Street and Assiniboine Avenue -- an empty parking lot that had become the most contentious piece of real estate in Winnipeg.

Crystal wanted to erect a 20-storey apartment building at the site, which the Friends coveted for an interpretive centre that would serve as a centrepiece for a $12.5-million heritage project.

The Friends had until Monday to raise $10 million of that cash to secure the site. But the deadline was rendered moot when Crystal offered the group two more years to meet their goal.

"At the current rate, we will raise something like $300 million," Friends spokesman Jerry Gray joked at city hall, noting his volunteer group secured $8.2 million from the public and private donations in only 106 days.

Gray thanked Crystal Developers for their "kindness and generosity" by allowing the Friends "far more than enough" time to complete their fundraising.

Only last week, Crystal owner Ruben Spletzer appeared at city hall to insist a deal was a deal. But he said he had a change of heart after Mayor Sam Katz called to tell him the Friends were about to miss their deadline.
"A week can change someone's mind," said Spletzer, insisting he had not been offered any incentives to walk away from his deal with the city.

"When I saw the efforts of the Friends of Upper Fort Garry and the response from the community, we felt we could make our contribution. As a good citizen in a wonderful city, you do your thing."

Spletzer said Crystal Developers will now focus on a development planned for Sterling Lyon Parkway in southwest Winnipeg before possibly pursuing another downtown housing project.

"My dream is gone, so you set aside your dream and look for another one," he said.

Winnipeg needs to move more quickly to create more downtown housing, said Katz, who also insisted Spletzer's about-face does not signal the city does not honour its deals.

"He did not have to do this. He chose to do this," the mayor said.

Councillors who lobbied on behalf of the Friends of Upper Fort Garry were magnanimous in victory. St. Boniface Coun. Dan Vandal, who jousted bitterly with Katz in recent weeks, congratulated the mayor for "doing the right thing," while Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt said "there are no winners or losers" after a divisive public debate that he concluded is over.

On Monday, the downtown-development boss will chair another closed-door meeting to decide the fate of the former fort -- this time to ensure the establishment of a heritage park.

The Doer government, meanwhile, will still pursue plans to designate Upper Fort Garry a provincial park, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Steve Ashton said.

"It will take some time, but you already have a clearly designated historical site," he said in a telephone interview from Thompson.

The Friends of Upper Fort Garry still have work to do, as the group must purchase Fort Street's Grain Exchange Curling Club, which sits above the northwest corner of Upper Fort Garry's former footprint.

The Friends will also look at redeveloping land currently occupied by a Petro-Canada station at the corner of Broadway and Main Street, but not until some time in the future, Gray said.

To date, the Friends have raised $3 million from the federal and provincial governments and a further $5.2 million from non-governmental sources, including a $1-million pledge made by the Manitoba Metis Federation on Friday.

The surplus city land destined for the heritage park has a market value of approximately $5.5 million, according to city estimates.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Good luck Team MetisMama!

Tansi/Good Day Folks:

A recent statement posted on caught our attention:

We are also having some of our contacts work on the Freedom of Information application for the release of the contractual agreement.

Here's why:

(1) For starters, there's the article (below) which appears in today's Winnipeg Free Press. It doesn't paint a very healthy picture for the administration of the Access To Information And Privacy Act Team MetisMama will have to use. A couple years ago, the National Post ran a two part double spread comparing how both federal and provincial legislation is applied and administered. Result - significant discrepancies going from jurisdiction to jurisdiction

(2) The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada has been chronically underfunded. Even Mr. Marleau's predecessor was complaining about it years ago.

Robert Marleau
Information Commissioner of Canada

If the OICC believes a Department is needlessly withholding information, it can take the request before the Federal Court of Canada on behalf of the applicant at government expense. Sounds good but get this. Former Commissioner, The Honourable John M. Reid, P.C., constantly complained about the Chretien government cutting its funds for court challenges

(3) While having information access legislation looks and sounds nice, problem is in reality it's not very user friendly. Here are but two examples, there are several others, based on our experience:

(i) A few years ago we tried to confirm David Chartrand's taxpayer funded salary. At the time we knew it was at least $104,000 annually not including expenses and perqs. Simple question - right? Wrong! The Federal Commissioner said sorry, you'll have to contact the MMF. Huh?

Next it was Manitoba's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Same answer. Even contacted Greg Sellinger the province's Finance Minister and my MLA. He also claimed he couldn't do anything - a lot of good he was!

Like Ontario, Manitoba publishes a yearly "Blue Book" kept in the government archives. All one need do is go there and the names of provincial civil servants earning over $50,000/year and their Departments are listed (was curious how much my lazy boss was making) yet we couldn't find out the amount Canadian taxpayers were giving David Chartrand

Irony of ironies. After all that, a reader following what we were trying to do unmarked brown enveloped us a Federation document with the information we were seeking. So much for access to information legislation!

(ii) About 15 years ago, Aboriginal Business Canada (embedded within Industry Canada) funded Winnipeg's Louis Riel Capital Corporation to the tune of over $7 million (operational plus initial loan capital start up) and to this day is responsible for overseeing its operations although many would say it doesn't do a very good job

During early 2000, the federal government's arm's length Audit and Consulting Services at the request of LRCC's then Board Chairman Alphonse Ducharme did a review. However, ABC's Executive Director (Ottawa) was not prepared to release a copy so we petitioned the Access to Information Act. Although we eventually obtained the final report on at least six occasions multiple paragraphs had been blackened. We appealed requesting a clean version but lost

In conclusion, the federal government is a huge, inert object which moves at a glacial pace and usually acts only after situations have become such a public embarrassment it has no alternative. So to Team MetisMama we say, "Good Luck!" The process on which you're about to embark can be fraught with frustration.

Clare L. Pieuk

P.S. If someone could quietly and anonymously slip Team MetisMama a copy of the contractual agreement it wouild be a lot faster and easier!

Transparency Troubles for Tories
by Jack Aubry
Updated: March 28 at 02:00 AM CDT

OTTAWA - The federal Access to Information process appears to be in crisis as the rising number of requests, along with the pressure of the Harper government's promises of increased transparency, are not being met with additional funding and resources, a new government report indicates.

The assessment, based on focus groups with ATIP employees, reveals that one department is so overwhelmed that it automatically implements one-year extensions for every request it receives "regardless of the pressure" and the Access to Information and Privacy Act's target of 30-day responses.

It says government employees who process access requests are facing "some significant challenges" reflecting the priority being placed on increased accountability and transparency by the Harper government, but resources "have yet to be put in place to match this increased priority and focus."

Mike Storeshaw, a spokesman for Treasury Board President Vic Toews who oversees the ATIP Act, said Thursday that it is premature to comment on the report, which is only Phase 1 of a larger project examining the government's access community.

The $52,000 project, which is being conducted by the Strategic Counsel, is currently completing an on-line survey of ATIP employees this month and the result will make up the main part of the final report.

But Anne Kothawala, the president of the Canadian Newspaper Association, said the report's findings accurately reflect the serious frustrations in the access community with a "broken-down, outdated system." She said the problem has been heightened by the government's failure to fulfil its promise to reform the Access to Information and Privacy Act and bring in new resources.

"There are two issues. First of all, the government not only has to talk the talk - it has to walk the talk. And, of course, it should at least make sure the current Act is upheld," said Kothawala.

"Let's put it this way: If employees at Revenue Canada were reporting these kind of problems, they would be fixed immediately."

But Storeshaw said reaching any conclusions from the report is premature: "Drawing broad generalizations from this particular sample, as some seem to be doing, is neither an appropriate nor accurate way to interpret the report."

The ATIP employees reported a growth in requests, not only in number but in complexity "requiring more time for research, analysis, documentation, consultation (both within and outside government) and decision-making."

As well, they said requests are requiring more interdepartmental consultation and co-operation "which many say is fraught with frustration and slow response times" with some departments taking up to a year to get back to them.

"Moreover, many said that the high pressures and constant deadlines are a significant deterrent to people considering ATIP positions," the report found.

Based on two focus groups involving 17 ATIP employees held in Ottawa in December 2007, the report also found that the problem is being heightened by a lack of respect from executive-level bureaucrats in the government.

"There is widespread agreement among participants that ATIP suffers from a poor image and reputation. In fact, many feel that non-ATIP public servants characterized them in a negative manner as 'just the ATIP people' or 'Oh, it is ATIP again'," said the report.

"There is a general reluctance to release information. There was a broad consensus among participants that non-ATIP public servants...need to have much greater awareness and training about the requirements and importance of ATIP."

Canwest News Service

Thursday, March 27, 2008

David Chartrand-Clement Chartier do all Canadian taxpayers a favour resign now!

derryl said...

Hi Metismama,
Super information with this last post.I have a couple of questions that maybe you can answer.Why did the feds have no concerns intially with Metco? And with all of the info that has been uncovered here regarding the two peas in a pod (David and Clem), how the heck can the Iinterlocutor send the $500,000? Does that mean that David and Clem ARE in good standing with the OFI?
metismama said ...
Good Day Derryl,
First it is good to see you back – we’ve missed you.
I am in the middle of soliciting the actual contribution agreement. We understand through Federal Government contacts that just better then $450 thousand was released and another $180 thousand is supposed to be coming. The money is for the 2007/08 fiscal year but it is in no way reflective of what they are generally allocated.
We are hoping that one or all of the existing Board of Governors request the CA (Contribution Agreements) that has released the money. We are also having some of our contacts work on the Freedom of Information application for the release of the contractual agreement. The second part is a considerably longer process. As the BOG who are legally liable for the activities of the MNC they have a legal right to access the information.
There is a forensic audit being done by more then one department and hopefully they have put strings in place to protect the interests of the resources that have been allocated but when you think about the 3 plus million dollar deficit – the organization is hardly keeping the sheriff from the door. The rent on the offices, based on the audit - is in excess of $20,000 per month and it is better then 6 months in arrears. If this money is used to keep the wolves away from the door – it is one thing – but there are indicators that would have us believing that the system Clem and David use can not be trusted.
Clem, David and several of their friends are under a great deal of scrutiny and things are not improving much. I suspect that government will not take any of them seriously unless they start to work out a recovery plan – and I mean the entire BOG. With Clem and David not even talking to the others – that is not likely.
There has been some activity by Clem in trying to goad BC into officially resigning from MNC. He would love nothing better then to get rid of the “BOOK ENDS." We are hoping that they do not respond to the juvenile behavior that we are witnessing by the re-elected leader. Their withdrawal will not absolve them of their legal liability in the areas of financial decisions that were made in the meantime. In fact, their interests would best be protected by maintaining their membership – even if it is as a member on leave. Clem’s position is that there is no basis to be a member on leave – but the precedence was already set when Alberta and BC were only participating as observers from approximately the middle of 2006 until February 2007.
In my opinion when it comes to Metco – I believe that David’s friend Mr. Ian Potter bought David’s story that everything was above board and that it was legitimate. He sold that to the Prime Minister’s Office on David’s lies last June. Then documentation was submitted to the various departments that would clearly have the Auditor General yelling if further examination was not completed. The Federal Government with their due diligence campaign and their Accountability Legislation can not afford to look the other way when evidence is produced to demonstrate serious irregularities.
There is more stuff to come – I just have more investigation to do to find collaborating information before we submit a post – but when it looks like a duck, smells like a duck, acts like a duck and walks like a duck – well we all know the story about David and his expensive Ducks.
David Chartrand comes from DUCK Bay, Manitoba home of Camp David and the expensive MMF Davidmobile. Little wonder he looks, walks and smells like a duck. You would expect differently?

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SHEriff's back in town!

Metis Mama

March 27, 2008

Who's Not Working Together?

Open Letter to Clem Chartier:

Word has come that you are writing nasty letters to some of your Board of Governors. Remember 5 weeks ago, Clem, you were re-elected and you committed publicly at the Assembly that you would work with all the Board of Governors to build the nation. In fact, you did an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press and said – “.....focus now is getting the Métis nation united. We have agreed to turn the page," said Chartier. " I have no negative feelings towards anyone who ran against me, or voted against me - put that behind us." He feels the outcome of all this is a positive one.


Well in 5 weeks you have yet to work with anyone but David Chartrand. It was reported that you have received money. You write in your Fact Sheet "..... made significant progress in our financial and administrative structures to increase accountability and build the foundation upon which greater political growth can be achieved.”

How are you doing that when you have not even tried to have a Board of Governors meeting? David and you are signing cheques – the money is being funneled through Manitoba Métis Federation and the other BOG members are not aware of where the money is being spent. The Board of Governors hold the liability for the funds that MNC receives – you will not even have a meeting or have not completed one source of reporting to identify what David and you are doing.

Now writing letters to the MNBC trying to create an ever ending battle is not conducive to putting this behind us. Oh yea – we are hearing from your vendors – you have indicated in your “Fact Sheet” that you reduced payments to your vendors from 120 days to 30 days. Well that is not true – is it? Some of your vendors have been waiting since May or June, 2007 to receive payment on their past due accounts.

You claim you were working on policies over the past year – when was that – between Board of Governors meetings or are you like Dale LeClair, your past CAO, who just fabricated policies as issues came up? Don’t the policies have to be approved by the BOG? Would that not require a BOG meeting?

We thought maybe you were waiting to call a meeting until you had funds – but you have received funds – over a half a million dollars from the Métis Interlocutor’s office has been sent to you since you were elected. Still no BOG meeting. Have David and you paid your legal expenses with this money? Have you paid yourselves your alleged damages with these funds? Does not sound like significant progress on financial accountability to some of us.

There are also rumors that you are trying to bring back your good buddy Mr. Dale LeClair as your Chief Administrative Officer. Being that this position works for the Board of Governors – are you going to consult with the other BOG members to seek approval on this decision?

There are many questions and very few answers. We have attitude and ego with no political foresight. Clem, you and David like to point the finger at other BOG members and blame everyone else for your problems – but remember the grandmothers who told you about the four fingers pointing back at you. You are a real lawyer where you publicly put out words but your feet are heading in the opposite direction. Step up Clem – be a leader – you wanted the mess and ran to be the head of it – now face the music – call a Board of Governors meeting and get the parties to the table to resolve these issues.

There is no room for the political egos of any of the leaders today and the longer this carries on the more embarrassing it is for all of us.


Outstanding letter! We are pleased and honoured to award MetisMama our first ever Gold Standard 5 Banjo Award for internet journalist excellence.

Our Gold Standard Banjo Award!

Tansi/Good Day Readers:

Given BUTCHE'S! penchant for violence, we decided an alternate softer, gentler gold standard was required to recognize outstanding internet commentary.
The recent Frank Godon-Cousin Will internet "debates" inspired us to develop the Golden Banjo Awards. Recall the 1972 movie Deliverance based on James Dickey's novel by the same name starring Jon Voight, Burt Renyolds, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox. James Dickey had a small role as the Sheriff.

Widely acclaimed as a landmark film, Deliverance is the story of four suburban professional men from Atlanta on a weekend canoe and camping trip. The film is noted for the memorable music scene near the beginning that sets the tone for what lies ahead: a trip into unknown and potentially dangerous territory. In the scene, set at a rural gas station, character Drew Ballinger plays the instrumental "Dueling Banjos" on his guitar with a mentally-challenged hillbilly youth named Lonnie (implied as being an inbred albino in the novel, portrayed by Billy Redden in the film). The boy eventually outplays Drew with his banjo. The song won the 1974 Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance.

The film was selected by the New York Times as one of "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made," while the viewers of Channel 4 in the United Kingdom voted it 45 in a list of The 100 Greatest Films.

Four Atlanta men — Lewis, Ed, Bobby, and Drew — (played by Reynolds, Voight, Beatty and Cox, respectively) decide to canoe down the fictional Cahulawassee River in the remote Georgia wilderness, expecting to have fun and see the glory of nature before the river valley is flooded over by the upcoming construction of a dam and lake. The trip turns into a terrifying ordeal revealing the primal nature of man, his animal instincts of predation and survival, and even his potential for violence.

Here's but one delightful Cousin Will-Frank exchange (December 10, 2007 We judged it to be worth only one Golden Banjo Award - they can argue over who gets it. Our vote is for Cousin Will for his excellent Queen's English.
----- Original Message ----

From: Will Goodon
To: Frank Godon
Sent: Sunday, December 9, 2007 10:31:21 PM
Subject: Re: Some important news for you

I admit I am writing this letter in anger. So this might be the last time. Don't even think about giving me shit or telling everyone that the MMF is paying for my case. Everyone knows. So fuck you.

Will Goodon Man About Town
Box 34, Site 145
RR1 Brandon, Manitoba R7A 5Y1
Canada 1-204-571-3076

I figured they were paying.....but not for a millionaire.....being a meeting goer pays off for MMF chosen the way Frank told me he once picked a cheque for $ 2,028 from the MNVA at headoffice for a vets meeting.....only thing is the meeting NEVER took place.....tune in tomorrow for another episode of "As The MMF Turns."

Send us a comment or question and if it's outstanding you may be awarded a top score of 5 as measured by one of these:

Clare L. Pieuk