You give them back Mr. Paul Martin - now!
Tansi/Good Dad Readers:
A special thank you to the reader who sent us this story. We were already aware having listened to President David Chartrand, his considerable chest no doubt proudly displayed, being interviewed this morning by Terry MacLeod on CBC Radio Winnipeg.
Will President Chartrand now pursue with equal fervor the $8,025 painting, which no one seems to have seen, and buckskin jacket the taxpayer funded MMF gave former Prime Minister Paul Martin?
Better yet, donate the items to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, that is if they can find them, since they belongs to all Manitobans and Canadians.
Clare L. Pieuk
Metis Present Painting To PM
By David Kuxhaus
Winnipeg Free Press
September 13, 2004
THE Manitoba Metis Federation commissioned a portrait of Paul Matin worth several thousand dollars which it presented to the Prime Minister earlier this year.
MMF President David Chartrand said the gift was to honour Martin for acknowledging the Metis as a nation.
"This is part of our culture," said Chartrand. 'When somebody does something for us we give them a gift."
The oil painting was done by Agnes Jorgensen, a local artist who lives in St. Andrews.
The portrait of Martin also depicts Metis leader Louis Riel looking down from the heavens on the Prime Minister.
"It's very beautiful," said Chartrand of the painting.
Earlier this year, Martin, speaking at a summit on aboriginal issues, suggested his government was prepared to officially recognize Riel, who was hanged for treason in 1885.
Chartrand declined to say how much the MMF paid for the painting.
A copy of a faxed invoice sent to the MMF by Jorgensen requests payment of $8,025 upon delivery of the portrait.
Chartrand said that amount included other services aside from the painting but refused to elaborate.
He emphasized that no government money was used to pay for the painting.
"I want to make that point very clear this is not program money," said Chartrand.
The MMF has an overall budget of $20 million, the majority of which comes from the government, however, Chartrand said they also operate a number of profit making ventures which include managing buildings and operating a restaurant in their Henry Avenue headquarters.
Several native chiefs from Manitoba have come under criticism for making political donations to the Grits and chartering a plane to attend a reception hosted by the Prime Minister in Ottawa last month.
They say it's part of doing business and getting Martin's ear.
Chartrand, however, said the MMF's gift to the Prime Minister was not done to curry favour.
"This is not about trying to get something back." said Chartrand.
Chartrand said he hasn't had a chance to get Martin's reaction to the gift but said he heard from one of the Prime Minister's sons that he liked it.
Manitoba Art Among Gifts Relinquished By Martin
By Robert Fife
Winnipeg Free Press
January 3, 2005
OTTAWA - An oil painting from the Manitoba Metis Fedeation is one of two gifts the Prime Minister has turned over to the government.
Of the more than 20 gifts Martin has collected since becoming Prime Minister a year ago, he's given two of them back to the state. He becomes the first Prime Minister to pass along gifts to the government while still in office.
Martin turned over a DVD player from Florida Governor Jeb Bush to the Department of Foreign Affairs and he deposited an oil painting given by the Manitoba Metis with the National Gallery of Canada.
Neither Brian Mulroney nor Jean Chretian turned over any of the gifts they received while in government, although Mulroney did return all of them when he retired.
Nonetheless, Martin has kept top-of-the-line golf clubs, oil paintings by famous artists and ornate vases.
Under Canada's conflict of interest rules, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet Ministers are permitted to accept free gifts given on official government business provided they declare any worth over $200 to the office of federal Ethics Commissioner Bernard Shapiro.
In the United States, the President and Cabinet must turn over all gifts to the state.
Among some of the gifts that Martin has taken home are a first edition of the Long Ship Passing, given by President George W. Bush, a signed brown and tan etched glass vase from Romania's Prime Minister and a Waterford crystal of John Rocha design, presented by European Union President Bertie Ahern.
Martin was also given less expensive presents, including a fully carved moose antler from the George Gordon Frist Nation band, a woolen blanket from Saskatchewan's Keewatin tribe and a black lether jacket from Toronto Mayor David Brown.
Sheila Martin was given a hand-carve Spotted Sandpiper, Moo Roo handbag and Audubon elephant folio from Laura Bush, as well as, a silver start fish necklace and earings.
In opposition, the Liberals had a field day railing against Mulroney when he kept gifts and demanded that they be turned over to the state as U.S. Presidents are required to do.
But when he moved into 24 Sussex Drive in 1993, Chretien received and kept hundreds of valuable gifts, including sculptures, ornate jewelry, oil paintings, and expensive 24-carat gold and diamond lapel pin from South Africa and even cases of French wine and boxes of Cuban cigars.
CanWest News Service
Editors Note: During November 24-25, 2005 Paul Martin and the Premiers met Aboriginal leaders for a First Ministers Conference. A 5-year $5 billion deal was agreed to in principle among First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples. Seventy-two hours later Mr. Martin's minority government fell triggering a federal electuion won by Stephen Harper's Conservatives.
When the Tories tabled their first budget May 22, 2006 they said they were committed to meeting the Kelowna, British Columbia targets. But Aboriginal leaders criticized the $450 million set aside for Aboriginals in the budget saying it didn't come close to the funding promised at the First Ministers Conference.
Aboriginal issues were not among the five priorities in the Conservatives' election campaign. Before the general vote January 23, 2006 Stephen Harper barely mentioned Kelowna and it did not figure prominently in his first budget as Prime Minister (CBC News Online - November 21, 2006)
Therefore, it is our considered opinion Mr. Paul Martin you should return to The Winnipeg Gallery the self-portrait and buckskin jacket given to you by the MMF - now!
Do the right thing Mr. Martin give them back - they belong to all Manitobans!
$31,050 Bid Brings Riel Poems 'Home'
FOUR poems penned behind bars by Métis leader Louis Riel and passed down through the family of his death- row guard are headed home to Winnipeg. Manitoba Métis Federation president David Chartrand said Wednesday he beat out seven competitors with a bid of $31,050 -- $27,000 plus a buyer's premium -- at an auction in Toronto Tuesday. "They will be coming home, I can tell you that," Chartrand said. "We'll have a ceremony of transfer and the St. Boniface Museum, they'll probably keep these poems for us."Eventually, the MMF hopes to make the poems a centrepiece in a Métis museum in Winnipeg.
Money to cover the bid was put together in the last few days, Chartrand said."
It is something we'll cherish and it will get more value, because one day soon, our country will value our (Métis) history."
In addition to the poems, Chartrand also successfully bid on one of two rare portraits, a photograph showing Riel in his 30s.
Before leaving Winnipeg, Chartrand marshalled backing from half a dozen sources, including the province of Manitoba, the National Bank of Canada, a local foundation and a Métis businessman."I was rushing around like crazy. I was not going to let these things slip away from us," the Métis leader said.
The atmosphere at the auction was tense, he said. There were about 60 people in the room at Toronto's Arts and Letters Club.
Chartrand said he outbid the bidders in the room first. Others on phones held out to the end.
Shipping the valuable artifacts means buying insurance and perhaps hiring security for the journey to Winnipeg.
"We're doing that over the next few days. They're anxious to get them," Toronto auctioneer Dirk Heinze said Wednesday.
There was national interest in the artifacts because of the history attached to them.
"It's a fabulous story," said Heinze, an expert with CBC's Canadian Antiques Roadshow and a seller of rare books and Canadiana.
"I didn't know how high it would go, but I'm most happy where they went, for the right people to get them. It's a perfect place," Heinze said.