Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Manitoba's going greener

January 31, 2012


– – –
Progress Report Shows Manitoba Green House Gas Emissions Down: Mackintosh
Projects that will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 2,000 tonnes a year over the next decade are receiving more than $230,000 in grants through the Manitoba Climate Investment Pilot Program, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today.
“More Manitobans are showing leadership by looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Mackintosh.  “These grants will help organizations begin to identify greenhouse-gas emissions and work to implement more environmentally sustainable solutions for the future.”
Mackintosh also released the province’s latest progress report on climate change.  The report shows that Manitoba’s greenhouse-gas emissions were two per cent lower in 2010 than in 2000, meeting the initial reporting target set out in the province’s climate change legislation. 
“This reduction is equivalent to taking 90,000 cars off the road every year,” said Mackintosh.  “By working together through partnerships like the Manitoba Climate Investment Pilot Program, we are starting to see results in the fight against climate change.  Our emissions are lower than they were in 2000, even though the provinces’ population and economy continues to grow.”  
The Manitoba Climate Investment Pilot Program was introduced in spring 2011 to help businesses and not-for-profit organizations in Manitoba measure and reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions, Mackintosh said.
The program is providing more than $204,000 for four Climate Mitigation Action Grants to support greenhouse-gas emission reduction projects including:
  • $84,000 for a biomass heating project to replace coal use at the Cypress Colony including the creation of an on-site pellet mill that will create new green jobs,
  • $6,400 to convert waste vegetable oil to diesel for use on diesel-powered service vehicles at The Forks Renewal Corporation,
  • $55,700 for a biovator composting unit for waste created at The Forks and University of Winnipeg, and
  • $58,400 to support energy retrofits at the University of Winnipeg.  
“The Manitoba Climate Investment Program allowed us to further our Target Zero initiatives at The Forks,” said Jim August, CEO of The Forks North Portage.  “This program helped us to burn converted waste fryer oil in our site equipment and also to complete our biovator composting installation.  With the first, our Zamboni now smells like French fries and, with the second, we are able to divert 1,700 pounds of waste away from landfills daily.”
“These funds enable our organization to continue our commitment to achieve our targets and to further reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions,” said Laurel Repski, vice-president of sustainability at the University of Winnipeg.  “These initiatives form a major part of the UWinnipeg Sustainability Strategy, which was recently adopted by our board of regents.”
The projects are projected to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 2,000 tonnes a year over the next decade, the equivalent of removing 400 cars from the road each year.
Mackintosh said the program also offers Corporate Capacity Building Grants that help organizations inventory their greenhouse-gas emissions including:
  • four one-year memberships for Assiniboine Credit Union, The Forks Renewal Corporation, the Woodlot Association of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg to The Climate Registry, the official North American voluntary greenhouse-gas emission registry; and
  • third-party greenhouse-gas emission verification for the University of Winnipeg and The Forks Renewal Corporation.
“We are delighted to welcome these Manitoba organizations into our community of leaders from across North America,” said David Rosenheim, executive director of The Climate Registry.  “The Government of Manitoba has been an active member on our board for some time, and we look forward to continuing to support efforts around the province that not only reduce carbon emissions, but help organizations become more efficient, competitive and sustainable.”
The Climate Registry isa non-profit organization that operates the only voluntary carbon footprint registry in North America.  The Climate Registry is supported by states, provinces, territories and tribes and helps hundreds of public and private organizations measure, report and reduce their carbon emissions.  For more information on The Climate Registry, visit
“Manitoba has made great strides in meeting our climate change commitments and we know that Manitoba’s greenhouse-gas emissions need to be reduced further,” said Mackintosh.  “We will be consulting with stakeholders and industry to renew our climate change strategy.  By building on our strengths in green energy, energy efficiency and environmental protection, Manitoba will continue to be a leader in fighting climate change.”
For more information on the Manitoba Climate Investment Pilot Program, visit:
Manitoba’s Report on Climate Change for 2010 is available at:
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What will it take to get people down town?

It's sad walking through Portage Place these days, There are so many businesses that are closing or have left the mall.  What is going on? Is it the economy? People are not spending as much? Or is it that entrepreneurs not doing their home-work and sell the stuff people want to buy?  For every one new business that has opened three or four have closed down. I am a big believer in down town living and shopping.  I want our city to be like a happening place.
    If you want to make the mall an attractive place, get some entertainment in there. Use the space to give young and upcoming musicians, artists a chance to express themselves on a Friday afternoon, give people a reason to stop and  stay for a while, have things that attract children - face-painting, drawing contests et that will encourage parents to bring out their little ones and stay for a while.
   I heard that the Bay will soon be sold to the University and it will become part of the U of W empire, which is great. There will be a lot of young people without a lot of money to spend, so what do young people need? Coffee shops, groceries, small boutiques might do well - young people like to dress and be different. Young people believe in co-ops, businesses that give back to the community and not only profit oriented, recreational facilities. We need more diversity in foods. Aim for restaurants that are upbeat - fresh and youthful. Old people like those places too.  More like Stella's and less like Papa Georges along the Portage Avenue Downtown strip. If I think of anything else, I will post it here but we, the citizens have to help politicians and others to build up our downtown with our ideas. They don't have all the ideas, so come on Winnipeg, what do you thin, let's hear from you.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Report of Right to Housing Coalition

Annual Report, Jan. 8, 2012

Right to Housing Coalition is a non-profit, volunteer advocacy coalition of 46 supporting organizations, an active membership of over 40 individuals and an email circulation list of 160.   I appreciate the opportunity to report on the past year’s activities.

The most often asked question that I get as the coalition’s coordinator is, “What are you doing about the empty houses on the Kapyong base?”  This is understandable, as our earliest actions, by the then River Heights Housing Action Group, was to try to find a use for those houses.   

That was over seven years ago and a lot has changed in that time.  For one thing, most but not all, of the habitable houses on the base are now occupied.  Those that aren’t are said to be uninhabitable.  Also so the City of Winnipeg is planning to widen Kenaston Boulevard at some time so little is being spent to keep those houses maintained.  After receiving consistent refusals from Canada’s Department of National Defence, Right to Housing has decided that any further attempts to use the existing houses on the base would be futile.  We are however very interested in trying to ensure that the future development of the surplus military property south of Grant Ave. will include a percentage of affordable and social housing.

So what have we been doing if not fighting with DND?  Our focus is entirely on the critical and chronic shortage of affordable and social rental housing in our city, our province and our country.  There has been much research done to document the reasons for this and it would make this a very long report if I tried to include it all here.  Let me say that the reasons are all the result of bad and/or short-sighted policies enacted by our three levels of government.  These include the way tax structures discourage the creation of new affordable rentals, the decision of the Federal Government to stop funding the creation of affordable rentals, the lack of regulation of the conversion of rental properties to condos and the unwillingness of local governments to tackle the Not In My Backyard, (NIMBY), phenomenon that effectively blocks the development of higher density housing in residential areas.  The results, for example, are that;
·        The vacancy rate in Winnipeg is less than 1%, about the lowest in the country.
·        The rental universe in Winnipeg lost 835 units, of which at least 450 were permanently removed, between October 2009 and October 2010, leaving 52,319 units.
·        Since 1992 Winnipeg’s rental universe has declined by 9%, from 57,279 to 52,319.  Over this same time Winnipeg’s population has increased by 11%, from 677,000 to 753,600.
·        Rents are increasing steadily with the general cost of living, easily outstripping the increases on minimum wages while basic housing allowances on Income Assistance rates have not been increased in over a decade.
·        Homelessness in Winnipeg is rising steadily.  We have 500 shelter beds in Winnipeg.  They are full every night and people are always being turned away.  Homeless people are not always visible as they are often living in overcrowded apartments with friends and relatives, (couch surfing).
·        Soup kitchens and Winnipeg Harvest have become a necessity not just for the homeless, but also for renters who must supplement their housing budget with food money and depend on Harvest to keep from starving.
Right to Housing has set up a working group for each level of government.  These working groups study new and existing policies and develop position papers that propose solutions to problematic policies.  Hours of research and consultation go into this process.  It would not be possible without the assistance of our volunteers and the staff time of some of our organizational supporters.  We lobby politicians and bureaucrats from each level of government with our recommendations.  We also try to raise public awareness about the housing crisis in Canada through letters, petitions, demonstrations and media events during elections, for without public pressure it is almost impossible to create policy change.

A Summary of our Activities in 2011
Letters to the editor, op/eds published in the Free Press                  4
Letters to the Minister of Housing in Manitoba                                2
Letters to Premier Salinger                                                                2
Letters to Members of Parliament                                                     2
Meetings with Members of Parliament                                             1
Meetings with the Minister of Housing                                             2         
Papers and Articles                                                                            2
Presentations                                                                                      5
Press Releases                                                                                                3
Demonstrations and staged events                                                     3
Affordable Rental Housing Roundtable meetings                             4

These tangible deliverables represent many hours of regular coalition meetings and consultations.  For more details about the content you may want to go to our website, or visit our Facebook page.  We are always glad to speak to community interest groups.  Individuals are welcome to any of our monthly meetings.  They are held at Crossways in Common on the third Tuesday afternoon of each month.

Clark Brownlee

Safety for Manitobans

January 30, 2012


– – –
Community Safety, Crime Prevention, Major Themes of Recent Ministers' Meetings: Swan
Justice Minister Andrew Swan today said he was encouraged by the consensus reached at recent meetings of justice ministers on the need to focus on crime prevention as the best way to assure long-term community safety.
“Manitobans will be glad to know the focus of justice ministers across the country was public safety and crime prevention,” said Swan.  “I was pleased to see the discussion at our meetings focused on efforts like problem-solving courts among other tools to increase public safety.  In Manitoba, we continue to take steps to enhance courts of this kind such as our successful drug-treatment court and mental-health court which will soon see its first case.” 
The ministers met Jan. 24 to 26, in Charlottetown, PEI.  Swan said the agenda focused on the priorities of Manitobans and ensuring safer communities.  Among other items, ministers discussed:
  • stable, reliable and more equitable funding formula for legal aid;
  • expanded federal support for drug-treatment and mental-health courts;
  • continuation and expansion of the First Nations Policing Program; and
  • mandatory minimum sentences for premeditated knife crimes and new stand-alone offences for carjackings and home invasions with sentences that reflect the seriousness of these crimes.
Ministers also directed their deputy ministers to provide a renewed focus on prevention and rehabilitation, and on access to justice and justice system reform.  Ministers prioritized these areas to strengthen provincial efforts at combating the root causes of crime and to ensure all individuals involved in the justice system are treated fairly, said Swan.
“Manitobans have the right to feel safe in their neighbourhoods and their homes,” he said.  Manitobans had their voices heard loud and clear in Charlottetown.”
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More Funding for Public School

January 30, 2012


– – –
Investing in Schools Builds Strong Foundations: Allan
The Manitoba government will increase funding for public schools by $25.5 million or 2.2 per cent in 2012-13 and expand successful new programs that are giving students more of the attention and support they need, Education Minister Nancy Allan announced today.
“These are challenging economic times for our province and for all Manitobans, but the best way to build for the future is to ensure our kids are getting a strong foundation in school and are ready for the challenges ahead of them,” said Allan.
The announcement made today will ensure that every school divisions’ funding will be protected as they will receive at least the same level of funding as last year and that several school divisions with added new pressures, including growing enrolment, will receive increases beyond the 2.2 per cent.
The minister noted this is the 13th year in a row the Manitoba government has funded schools at or above the rate of economic growth.  That represents an increase of 53.4 per cent or $411.6 million in additional funding since 1999.
“We all know that helping students succeed is also about improving the quality of education that they’re getting.  That’s why we’re targeting additional resources into programs that work,” said Allan.  “We’ve made reducing class sizes to give our students more attention in their early years a priority and we’re creating new supports for early literacy and numeracy programs because they’re producing results.”
The minister said that in addition to the $25.5 million, the province will also dedicate a further
$4 million this year to help school divisions begin reducing class sizes to 20 students in kindergarten to Grade 3.  Allan also noted that Manitoba’s Early Literacy Intervention programs will receive
$1 million in new resources and the Early Numeracy Initiative targeted towards students in kindergarten to Grade 4 will be expanded to included students up to Grade 8 with an approximate increase of $780,000.
“All parents want their children to succeed.  Now, more than ever, success depends on education.  A good education allows young people to write their own ticket in life,” Allan said.  “These targeted and strategic investments will ensure our students will get the skills they need for a successful future and a strong education system will ensure Manitoba continues to grow and thrive.”
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Local to Global 2012

  • The exciting news is that we are making final plans for Kathy Gannon to speak at our Local to Global 2012. We don't have the date yet, but it will be something special -  Kathy is the author of "I is for Infidel: From Holy War to Holy Terror", and is an Associated Press correspondent. She is currently in Islamabad.

Local to Global 2012 -
Women, War and Peace: Through the Eyes of a Journalist
Funds raised to support UN Women, and women in the troubled spots of the world
Join us on April  ? to hear Associated Press International Correspondent, Kathy Gannon speak to us about her experiences covering many parts of the world, most recently Afghanistan and Pakistan.

She will speak as a woman and as a journalist and what is it like to cover the hot spots. And also to talk about the many women that are affected by war and civil unrest.

Kathy Gannon, the Associated Press’s award-winning reporter in Afghanistan and now based in Pakistan, was honoured with a rare National Newspapers Award in 2011.

Gannon, a Canadian who hails from Timmins, Ontario, has worked for AP since 1988 in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a period that spans the mysterious death of Pakistan dictator Zia-ul Haq, the withdrawal of Russian soldiers from Afghanistan, and the bitter Afghan civil war between Islamic factions. She was in Kabul when the Taliban regime took power and was the only western journalist allowed to return to Kabul by the Taliban in the weeks before their collapse in November 2001. She is currently the Iran Bureau Chief-designate.

She has received two AP Managing Editors awards for her coverage of two of the hottest spots on the planet – Pakistan and Afghanistan. Ms. Gannon was the 2002 recipient of the International Women's Media Foundation's Courage in Journalism award.

There is international recognition that women bear the brunt of modern conflicts, including where rape is a weapon of war. Specific threats to women must be identified and stopped, and women must be at the centre of peace talks and post-conflict reconstruction.
Please join us to hear this outstanding woman and journalist and help raise funds for UN Women!

The Winnipeg Chapter has also responded to the request from Project Peacemakers to be part of the planning for a Peace Festival, in Winnipeg in June - you will be hearing more about this.

Thanks everyone for your interest and support of UN Women. "We Can Make a Difference!"


Mary ScottWinnipeg Chapter for National Committee for UN Women - Canada
UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women

Violence against women is not solely a woman’s issue. It diminishes each and every one of us. We need to come together to end it. By coming together, by standing up against violence against women, we will come closer to peace, justice and equality.   - Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director, UN Women

Guilty verdict

TORONTO - The Shafia murder trial has cast a shadow over Canada's Islamic community, further tarnishing an image that has not yet recovered from the events of 911.
Muslims across the country, however, say the revelations in a Kingston, Ont., courtroom have shone a light on problematic aspects of their culture and illuminated new ways to tackle the issues.
For months Muslims say they've recoiled in horror at testimony alleging three members of the Shafia family plotted the deaths of four others in what prosecutors describe as an attempt to restore family honour.
The crown alleged three teenage Shafia sisters were killed after bringing shame upon the family by dating, shunning traditional religious garb and skipping school. The fourth victim, the family patriarch's first wife in a polygamous marriage, allegedly endured years of abuse and feared for her life..

Sunday, January 29, 2012

canada Post acknowledges Viola Desmond's Contribution to Canada's Civil Rights

Viola Desmond,who in 1946 refused to leave the whites-only section of a Nova Scotia theatre, will soon be featured on a stamp. (CBC)

Nova Scotia civil rights activist Viola Desmond will soon be featured on a commemorative stamp from Canada Post.
Desmond, a black woman, went to jail in 1946 for sitting in a segregated section of a New Glasgow theatre reserved for whites. Her sister, Wanda Robson, is thrilled by the national recognition of her struggle, 47 years after her death.
"It's beyond my dreams that this would come about. It's overwhelming, really," Wanda Robson said.

First time film-maker wins top prize at the Sundance Festival

Director Benh Zeitlin reacts as he accepts the grand jury prize dramatic award for Beasts of the Southern Wild during the Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony in Park City, Utah, on Saturday. (Danny Moloshok/Associated Press)

A mythical film starring an eight-year-old girl and a documentary about the war on drugs took top honours at the Sundance Film Festival.
Beasts of the Southern Wild won the grand jury prize in the U.S. dramatic competition and The House I live In won the same award in the U.S. documentary category Saturday in Park City, Utah.
Directed and co-written by 29-year-old first-time filmmaker Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild follows a girl named Hushpuppy who lives with her father in the southern Mississippi Delta. The film also won the cinematography prize.
Winnipeggers  won the top editing award for the Documentary Indie Game: The Movie directed and edited  by Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky

Recall of Neilson 4ltr 2 per cent milk

People should not drink certain Neilson microfiltered partly skimmed milk because it may be contaminated with a cleaning solution, federal food officials say.
Montreal-based Saputo and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced the recall of Neilson Trutaste 2% Microfiltered Partly Skimmed Milk sold in 4 litre bags with best before date February 12.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

B B's on Corydon - Mystery Shopper's bad experience

Thank you for your dinner B B's. I have not met the owner but speaking to him on the phone, it appears he is a nice person.  I  was offered a coupon for a free dinner twice. The first time I let the date slip and forgot about it but another one showed up again and that lapsed as well.  I really wanted to see what this restaurant was about as I do tend to eat out quite frequently.  This second coupon lapsed again but after a phone call to the owner he told me I could use the coupon a day or two after itds expiry date. I was  thankful. I showed up today at around 3:30 p.m. and learned the coupon was for a free dinner and dinner started at 5:00 p.m. My mistake. However the waitress was quite cold and curt in pointing that out. And that seems to have started us off on the wrong foot. I was quite good about it, no problem, I was waiting on my friend to join me and she showed up and we decided that we'd have some  appies while waiting for dinner.
    I never felt so unwelcome by a waitress before. Unfortunately she was the only staff on duty and I could not substitute her for another.  There was no warmth, nothing - asking her a question was like pulling teeth, it made me feel like I was disturbing her. I have never had poorer service to be sure.
   My friend and I ate the appetizers which tasted like burnt eggplant but she assured us that's exactly how it was to taste "smokey eggplant". When it was time to order dinner. We ordered and had our dinner in good time but did she ever return to ask if the food was okay and if we need anything else? There was no service. My friend had to remark "she does not seem to like her job."
While the food was nothing to write home about, the decor was pleasant, modern, upscale and the jazz that piped through the restaurant made up for the poor service and cold shoulder and food.
    I think the restaurant has a lot of potential but if it is going to go anywhere the owner better send his staff to customer service school. A little smile, a little  softness can go a long way  in the business world.
    The food was 3 out of five and the ambiance 4 out of 5, the service -1 out of 5. 
I will probably return to this restaurant because although I have not met the owner, I like him just from talking to him over the phone. He seem to know something about customer appreciation.  When someone is nice to me I like to return the favour. Sorry buddy but the truth is the truth.

Great Resoruce for Teachers and Educators

Friday, January 27, 2012

Equality for Women in Correctional Facilities now Closer

January 26, 2012


– – –
Capacity Set to Increase, More Space to Support Rehabilitation Efforts: Swan
HEADINGLEY-A new correctional centre for women is set to open as early as the end of this month and will offer female offenders more opportunities to participate in programming that will help them prepare to be integrated back into the community, Justice Minister Andrew Swan announced today.
“The new facility adds much-needed capacity in our province but, aside from that, female offenders will have access to more space to be able to participate in programs that give them an opportunity to turn their lives around,” said Swan.
The province has invested $79.5 million in the new facility, the minister said.  With the increased space offered by the new jail, program delivery will be improved for inmates, enabling them to maximize their time in custody and become valuable members of the community, he added.
Programs offered will include:
  •     addictions counselling and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings,
  •     programs to help women develop coping skills and battle substance abuse, and
  •     life-skills and education programming.
The province proceeded with plans for a new facility for women in Headingley on the advice of an independent committee.   The new facility is closer to the courts, legal counsel and other supports.
The new structure has 193 beds, 25 of which will be used by Correctional Services of Canada for federal female inmates.
The Women’s Correctional Centre will provide a mixture of low- to high-security beds and the 120,000‑square-foot facility will provide room for programming, training, medical assistance, video court appearances, a child-friendly visiting area and space for outside agencies to work with offenders before their release.
Since 1999, a total of $202.2 million has been invested by the province to increase the number of adult beds by 584 in provincial correctional facilities in Headingley, Brandon, Milner Ridge and Dauphin, said Swan.
In addition to this new facility in Headingley, another 160 beds will be added at Milner Ridge Correctional Centre and 40 beds at The Pas Correctional Centre this year, he said.
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

BIZPAL Extended to 14 Municipalities in Manitoba

January 20, 2012
Minister of Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade, Peter Bjornson, the Hon. Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism) and Graham Starmer, President of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce announce 14 new BizPaL locations across the province.
Minister of Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade, Peter Bjornson, the Hon. Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism) and Graham Starmer, President of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce announce 14 new BizPaL locations across the province.
– – –
Online Business Permit and Licence Service Saves Time, Cuts Paperwork and Helps Entrepreneurs
Winnipeg, Manitoba, January 20, 2012—Starting and running a business in 14 Manitoba communities just became easier thanks to BizPaL, an online business permit and licence service that saves time spent on paperwork and helps entrepreneurs start up faster.
Today, the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), together with the Honourable Peter Bjornson, Minister of Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade, and Mr. Graham Starmer, President of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, welcomed the launch of BizPaL in the following communitities:  the rural municipalities of Woodlands,  Portage la Prairie, Alexander, Shell River, Ellice, Minto, Odanah, Saskatchewan and Winchester; the towns of Powerview-Pine Falls, Minnedosa and Deloraine; the village of St-Lazare; and the city of Flin Flon.
“Our government is committed to providing small and medium-sized businesses with the tools they need to succeed,” said Minister of State Bernier.  “BizPaL is a great example of our government’s commitment to cut red tape so Canadian businesses can continue to do what they do best:  innovate, create jobs and generate wealth in our communities.”
BizPaL is an innovative service that provides entrepreneurs with simplified access to information on the permits and licences they need to establish and run their businesses.  This unique partnership among federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments is designed to cut through the paperwork burden and red tape that small business owners encounter.  The BizPaL service in these 14 communities was developed by their local governments, the Province of Manitoba and the Government of Canada.
“Small businesses drive the rural economy, and BizPaL is an example of how our government is committed to putting supports in place that help entrepreneurs grow businesses and create jobs throughout Manitoba,” said Minister Bjornson.  “With the addition of these 14 municipalities, Manitoba has reached another milestone with 70 municipalities participating in BizPaL, representing more than 75 per cent of our population.”
“BizPaL is a fast and user-friendly tool to help business owners simplify research on regulatory compliance,” said Mr. Starmer.  “On behalf of the 64 chambers of commerce in Manitoba and their 9,000 members, we welcome the expansion of BizPaL to these rural communities.”
Area business owners and entrepreneurs can access the new BizPaL services by visitingthe  Government of Manitoba’s Business Portal at
Visit the BizPaL website at for additional information.
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Economic Boost for Rural Communities

January 23, 2012


Manitoba communities affected by the unprecedented flood of 2011 will receive much-needed financial support totalling nearly $2.5 million, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced today.  The minister will address delegates at the Keystone Agricultural Producers annual general meeting later this week in Winnipeg.
“We’ve always assured Manitobans that we would be there to help them recover from the destruction caused by the 2011 flood by supporting restoration projects and business,” said Kostyshyn.  “Through this Excess Moisture Economic Stimulus Program we are helping restore economic activity to levels at least equal to conditions prior to the flood.”
The minister said 42 grants have been issued in 34 communities.  They range from $1,000 to a maximum of $100,000.  The target projects offset the economic impact of excess moisture levels on communities, small and medium enterprises, and industry sectors, he added.
Projects include:
  • restoring tourist facilities damaged by high water,
  • establishing tourism promotion and marketing campaigns to announce popular holiday destinations throughout the province are once again open for business and the rescheduling of popular events,
  • hiring economic-development officers to establish and co-ordinate strategic plans for residential and tourism redevelopment, and
  • promoting ‘buy local’ campaigns to support local entrepreneurs.
“This grant program is an investment in the future of Manitoba and we are pleased to provide new supports to communities to help them rebuild and move forward,” said Kostyshyn.  “Community centres and tourist facilities are gathering spots for families and we want to ensure Manitobans have the opportunity to continue to enjoy the services they offer.”
A list of all the 42 approved projects can be seen at
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Safety is top priority for Manitoba Government

January 20, 2012


– – –
Community Safety Top of Mind for Upcoming Meeting of Justice Ministers: Swan
Justice Minister Andrew Swan today announced he will push the federal government at the upcoming meeting of federal, provincial and territorial justice ministers to adopt new and more serious charges for those who commit knife crimes, home invasions and carjackings.
“These are dangerous offences and peoples’ lives can be at stake,” said Swan.  “Our government believes that criminals who commit offences such as these need to answer for the consequences of their actions.”
The ministers will meet Jan. 24 to 26, in Charlottetown, PEI.  Swan said the agenda that Manitoba is bringing forward focuses on the priorities of Manitobans and ensuring safer communities.  Issues include:
  • mandatory minimum sentences for premeditated knife crimes and new stand-alone offences for carjackings and home invasions with sentences that reflect the seriousness of these crimes;
  • Criminal Code penalties for unlawful use of body armour, and fortified buildings and vehicles;
  • continued funding for the police recruitment fund, which helps fund more police officers for the Winnipeg Police Service, the RCMP and various municipal police forces; and
  • stable and reliable federal funding for legal aid, expanded federal support for drug-treatment courts, and preservation and expansion of the youth-gang prevention fund.
The minister noted at past ministers’ meetings, Manitoba has seen success and action on a number of fronts including automatically making organized crime-related murders first-degree murders, creating a new offence to address drive-by shootings, an increase in penalties for gun trafficking, doubling the maximum penalty for stalking to 10 years from five and protecting children from predators by making it illegal to lure children for sexual purposes over the Internet.
“Manitobans have the right to feel safe in their neighbourhoods and their homes.  These changes would help us move in the right direction to build safer communities,” said Swan.
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New Deputy Ministers Appointed

January 20, 2012


Premier Greg Selinger today announced the appointment of deputy ministers to support the recently announced changes in cabinet and departments.
“I want to thank these dedicated civil servants for their commitment to public service and wish them well as they proceed to take up new responsibilities,” said Selinger.  “These individuals will provide leadership to the new and existing departments.”
The following appointments have been made:
  • John Clarkson, deputy minister of finance;
  • Grant Doak, deputy minister of innovation, energy and mines;
  • Hugh Eliasson, deputy minister of immigration and multiculturalism (continues as deputy minister of entrepreneurship, training and trade);
  • Jeff Parr, deputy minister of family services and labour;
  • Jan Sanderson, deputy minister of children and youth opportunities (continues as chief executive officer, Healthy Child Manitoba office); and
  • Cindy Stevens, deputy minister of healthy living, seniors and consumer affairs (continues as deputy minister of culture, heritage and tourism).
The appointments take effect immediately.
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Seniors Housing in Brandon

January 20, 2012


BRANDON, MANITOBA– The Governments of Canada and Manitoba today announced $2.03 million in joint funding for a new affordable co-op housing development. The 34 units will enhance housing quality and accessibility for seniors in Brandon. Celebrations took place at a groundbreaking ceremony.
The announcement was made by Merv Tweed, Member of Parliament for Brandon-Souris, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and Drew Caldwell, MLA for Brandon East, on behalf of Kerri Irvin-Ross, Manitoba Minister of Housing and Community Development.
“Our Government is dedicated to assisting those in need, which is why we are proud to have invested in this housing project in Brandon,” said MP Tweed. “The new units are safe and affordable, and help to enhance the lives of seniors who call them home.”
“This is a wonderful investment to announce during the UN International Year of the Co‑operative,” said Caldwell. “Members of housing co-operatives can enjoy the freedom of their individual housing unit while benefiting from the social support of being part of a co-op community.Our government continues to invest in a range of housing and support options that allow older Manitobans to age with independence and dignity.”
The building, to be located at 620 McDiarmid Drive in Brandon, will be four storeys high and consist of 14 one-bedroom and 20 two-bedroom units. The Housing Co-Op, developed with the Western Manitoba Seniors Non-Profit Housing Co-operative Ltd., will also be receiving rent supplement assistance from the province to allow six of the units to be rented on a rent geared to income basis. Total project cost is estimated at more than $5.8 million. Construction is expected to begin within a month. Recently, Manitoba Housing and Community Development issued a $10 million province-wide request for proposals for construction of 150 new independent and supported-living seniors housing units. The Western Manitoba Seniors Non-Profit Housing Co‑operative Ltd. initiative is the first of the Manitoba projects to be announced.
The project received $2.03 million in funding through the amended Canada-Manitoba Affordable Housing Agreement. Under the Agreement, the federal and provincial governments are contributing equally to an overall investment of $176 million for affordable housing throughout Manitoba.
The Government of Canada, through CMHC, will invest more than $2 billion in housing this year. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of almost 615,000 households living in existing social housing. In Manitoba, this represents some 41,250 households. These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people.
Through Manitoba’s Long-Term Housing Strategy, HOMEWorks! which was introduced in 2009, the Province of Manitoba, with the financial assistance of the Government of Canada continues to make significant investments in the development of social and affordable housing. The Province promised the delivery of 1,500 affordable housing units across the province and has already committed to the development of over 900 units. HOMEWorks! supports ALL Aboard, Manitoba’s Poverty Reduction strategy by increasing the supply of quality, affordable housing for low-income Manitobans.  More information about HOMEWorks! is available at
To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642 or visit

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

World Heritage Site Display

Premier Greg Selinger invites Manitobans to view a special display about the province’s World Heritage Site nomination for a large area of boreal forest in eastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. The exhibit will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Legislative Building until Sunday, Jan. 22.
Premier Greg Selinger invites Manitobans to view a special display about the province’s World Heritage Site nomination for a large area of boreal forest in eastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. The exhibit will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Legislative Building until Sunday, Jan. 22. READ MORE
January 18, 2012


– – –
New Manitoba Business Gateway Opens in Dauphin; AccessManitoba Expanded
DAUPHIN—Entrepreneurs and business owners will now have access to even more support, programs and information to help get their businesses going and growing following the establishment of a new Manitoba Business Gateway location and an expansion of AccessManitoba, Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade Minister Peter Bjornson announced here today at the newest gateway site.
“Manitoba Business Gateways make information and services easier to find, understand and use,” said Bjornson.  “I know these new centres will make a real difference for business owners whether they access information and services online, by phone or in person.”
The new gateway, located at the Employment Manitoba Centre in Dauphin, opened this week and is the sixth of its kind in the province.  Another gateway will be opening soon in Ste. Anne, the minister noted.
The Manitoba Business Gateway provides single-window access and referrals to a wide array of business and employment information and services including the Commercialization Support for Business Program; business starts; permits and licences; financial programs; business planning; recruiting, training and managing employees; business expansion and growth; exporting and more.
“The Dauphin and District Chamber of Commerce is excited about this initiative,” said Scott Whitmore, president of the chamber.  “It will streamline valuable business information and resources making it easily accessible to the Dauphin business community and the surrounding area.”
The minister also announced today that AccessManitoba now includes 12 additional program areas including small-business development, Manitoba Business Gateways, industry workforce development and services offered by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives.
AccessManitoba is a secure service that provides enhanced access to business, employment and training‑related government services and information.  AccessManitoba also allows online payment for select services. 
“Small business in Manitoba represents approximately 97 per cent of all businesses in the province,” Bjornson noted.  “These initiatives, along with our other single-window services, are part of our government’s continued commitment to make it easier for these businesses to thrive and help add more jobs to our growing economy.”
The Single Window for Business initiative was launched in 2007 to help support business development by improving quality and accessibility of government services, and reducing costs and time associated with complying with government reporting and information requirements.
The minister noted the province has made a number of investments to help support Manitoba businesses including:
  • introducing TAXcess, which allows more than 40,000 businesses across Manitoba, Canada and the United States to apply for account registration, file returns and pay provincial taxes online;
  • reducing the required frequency of filing sales tax for small businesses to reduce paperwork burden and costs;
  • adopting the business number, a common identifier to replace the multiple numbers typically used to identify the same business at the municipal, provincial and federal levels;
  • introducing the online BizPaS directory to provide information on government programs and services and make it available in a single location; and
  • expanding BizPaL, an innovative online service that provides entrepreneurs simplified access to information on the permits, licences, permissions, approvals, registrations, certifications and other requirements needed to establish and operate a business in Manitoba.
Additional information on services for businesses is available at the Manitoba Business Portal at

Environmentalist will love this

January 18, 2012


– – –
Preserving Unique Area of Outstanding Natural, Cultural Value Would Benefit Humankind for Generations: Selinger
A proposal to secure world heritage site designation for a large area of boreal forest in eastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario is complete and ready for submission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Premier Greg Selinger announced today at a special event at the Legislative Building.
“Today marks an important milestone on our journey to protect the heart of the last intact forest of its kind left in the world,” said Selinger.  “Thanks to the vision and leadership of our First Nation partners, we are now in a position to present Canada’s first UNESCO world heritage site proposal based on both natural and cultural criteria.”
The Pimachiowin Aki world heritage project is a collaboration of five First Nations and two provincial governments committed to securing world heritage status for the largest protected-area network in the North American boreal shield.
“The inscription of Pimachiowin Aki as a UNESCO World Heritage Site would advance the objective of all our partners to safeguard and celebrate this outstanding cultural landscape,” said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.  “It would also recognize the foresight and leadership of First Nations, and would stand as a proud example of co-operation among Aboriginal peoples, the Province of Ontario and the Province of Manitoba.”
Pimachiowin Aki, Ojibwe for the land that gives life, is the name given to this area covering 33,400 square kilometres of intact boreal forest and pristine waterways on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, Selinger explained.
“Elders from our Five First Nations, who are partners on this project, have a vision that we need to work together to take care of this land for people who live on the land and for visitors to the land,” said Sophia Rabliauskas, spokesperson for Pimachiowin Aki.  “We also know that we are protecting it for children across the world who benefit from things that are often unseen like clean air and clean water.  When you look at the research in this box that is going to UNESCO you will see that our ancestors have been taking care of this land for generations and the UNESCO designation will help us continue to do that for the next generation.” 
The Pimachiowin Aki nomination dossier is over 4,000 pages of material that makes the case the area has outstanding universal value.  It is scheduled to arrive at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Paris by Jan. 27.
A special display has been set up at the Legislative Building for the public to learn more about the nomination.  It will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. until Sunday, Jan. 22.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Alternative Energy Initiative gets government Support

January 17, 2012


– – –
Grants Provide Financial Incentive to Use, Produce Biomass Energy Products Benefiting Agricultural Producers, Environment: Kostyshyn
BRANDON—A new Manitoba Biomass Energy Support Program (MBESP) will provide up to $400,000 in grants to encourage coal users to switch to biomass energy products and support the expansion and growth of the biomass energy production industry, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced here today at the opening of Ag Days 2012.
“Biomass is a made-in-Manitoba fuel that can be produced from agricultural residues like straw, oat hulls and flax shives,” said Kostyshyn.  “Manitoba is committed to reducing our greenhouse-gas emissions and with the assistance of programs like this, Manitoba farms will reduce their carbon footprint and continue to be part of the solution to environmental challenges.”
The minister noted this multi-year program is projected to increase to $1.5 million in support later this year based on revenues expected from the emissions tax on coal that came into effect on Jan. 1.  Transitioning from fossil fuels like coal to renewable biofuels is an important part of Manitoba’s climate-change and energy strategies, he added.
There are two components to the MBESP:
  • the consumer support component will provide grants of up to $12,000 to coal users to help offset the price differential between coal and biomass products during the period from Jan. 1 to
    March 31, 2012; and
  • the capital component will provide grants of up to $50,000 to help biomass users and processors developing high-quality, renewable biomass products for use in combustion heating systems.  The funds will be used for infrastructure upgrades that are required to effectively manufacture or consume biomass fuel including expansion of existing or development of new capacity.
Applicants may include farms, communities, rural business and industrial users.  Grant applications must be received by March 9.  Application forms can be downloaded from the MAFRI website at or obtained at local MAFRI GO offices.   All applications are processed on a first-come-first-served basis.
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Farmers get a good break

17, 2012


– – –
New Support Totals $170 Million: Kostyshyn
BRANDON--Farmers and their families will benefit from an increase in AgriInsurance that will help them deal with extreme weather and marketing challenges, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced at Ag Days here today.
“Farmers have been experiencing some major challenges, whether it’s the unprecedented spring flood of 2011 or near drought conditions.  Our government has been investing in innovative programs and providing support to help them manage these challenges,” said Kostyshyn.   “Crop insurance is the best and first line of defence against production losses.  The adjustments we’re making keep the insurance program in balance with the realities of production in today’s environment and support farmers and their families.”

The minister noted for 2012, AgriInsurance crop values (prices) are up on average of 8.7 per cent compared to 2011.  This results in $170 million of additional insured coverage.  Over the last two years, AgriInsurance has paid out well over $500 million in indemnities, resulting in an average increase of five per cent in premium rates this year.  The Province of Manitoba’s share of AgriInsurance premiums is expected to be $58.86 million in 2012-13, up $8.5 million from 2011-12, said the minister.
Kostyshyn said other changes include:
  • An additional excess moisture insurance (EMI) top-up option will be provided for 2012 of $15 per acre.  This provides coverage of up to $80 per acre for land that is too wet to seed by June 20.  In addition to the basic EMI coverage of $50 per acre, producers can now select either of the higher dollar value options of $65 or $80 per acre.  This additional benefit is being funded through a deferral of the increase to wildlife damage compensation that will remain at 90 per cent this year.  Premiums for the highest level of EMI coverage ($65 to $80 per acre) is cost shared 67 per cent by participating producers, 20 per cent by the federal government and 13 per cent by the provincial government.
  • Forage establishment insurance will increase to $70 per acre from $60.
  • The forage restoration benefit, which provides compensation for damage to forage crops due to excess moisture, will increase to $70 per acre from $60.
 “As a farmer I know how valuable programs like these are as they provide stability for farmers and rural communities where agriculture is a major economic driver,” said Kostyshyn. 
The minister further noted that for 2012, producers will only be able to buy their EMI deductible down to five per cent, rather than zero as in previous years.   The change is necessary following new rules from the federal government requiring all insurance programs to have a deductible.
Under AgriInsurance, premiums for most programs are shared 40 per cent by participating farmers, 36 per cent by the Government of Canada and 24 per cent by the Province of Manitoba. Administrative expenses are paid 60 per cent by Canada and 40 per cent by Manitoba.
More information on AgriInsurance is available at local Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation  offices.

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Upcoming Event - MENSHEDs - January 27 2012

    Mensheds Manitoba Inc.

   1St Anniversary Celebration

   Friday, January 27,

   Woodhaven Community
200 Glendale Blvd

Come and join with Mensheds, have a bowl of homemade soup, see what we have been doing this past year and hear our future plans.

Mensheds Manitoba Inc., a peer run organization, run by men for men. For additional information, call Doug at 832-0629.

Viola Desmond's final vindication - Commemorative-stamp

Nova Scotia civil rights activist Viola Desmond will soon be featured on a commemorative stamp from Canada Post.
Desmond, a black woman, went to jail in 1946 for sitting in a segregated section of a New Glasgow theatre reserved for whites.
Her sister, Wanda Robson, is thrilled by the national recognition of her struggle, 47 years after her death.
"It's beyond my dreams that this would come about. It's overwhelming, really," Wanda Robson said.
She has a copy of a first draft of the postage stamp featuring her sister and the theatre where she refused to move from the whites-only section.
Robson made sure the final version was accurate, down to the title of the movie on the marquee.
"It's a picture of her with her hair [in the style] of the '40s, swept up, superimposed over the theatre. The story itself — the whole story — is important, of course," Robson said.
The stamp that will be publicly unveiled Feb. 1 to kick off Black History month in Nova Scotia.
Robson hopes the stamp issued in her sister's honour will prompt those outside the province to ask who she was and what she did.
Her struggle recently became the inspiration for a film called Long Road to Justice.

Apology and pardon

"She was beautiful, she was well dressed and she was very well spoken, and they carried her out to a patrol car, hauled her off to jail and she spent the night in the town lock-up," the film tells viewers.
Her family received an apology and a pardon from the province in April 2010, and the town of New Glasgow paid tribute to Desmond in August 2010.
Desmond, then a 32-year-old beautician, was driving from Halifax to Sydney on Nov. 8, 1946, when her car broke down in New Glasgow. She decided to see a movie at the Roseland Theatre while she waited for repairs.
Desmond sat downstairs, unaware of the theatre's rule that blacks could sit only in the balcony seats. She was asked to leave but refused. Eventually, the manager and a police officer pulled her out.
Desmond spent the night in jail. The next morning, she was convicted of tax evasion. Prosecutors made no mention of race. They told the judge that Desmond didn't pay the full price to sit up front and therefore didn't pay the proper tax — a difference of one cent.
She was fined $20 and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Desmond, who owned her own hairdressing business, fought unsuccessfully to appeal both her conviction and fine.
Thanks to her public court battle, the Nova Scotia government dismantled its segregation laws.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Agricultural Industry's Future looks Promising

January 16, 2012


– – –
Agritechnica 2011 Successful for Manitoba Companies: Bjornson
Manitoba companies are projecting $45 million in sales after attending Agritechnica 2011 in Germany last fall, Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade Minister Peter Bjornson said today.
“Taking part in the world’s largest exhibition where 40 per cent of the global annual agricultural equipment sales take place has led to successful results for Manitoba companies,” said Bjornson.  “Manitoba agricultural machinery and equipment manufacturers took advantage of this opportunity, making close to $2 million in sales at the show and projecting up to $45 million in sales in the next
18 to 24 months.”
Agritechnica 2011 was held in Hanover, Germany, in November 2011.  The show had more than 2,700 exhibitors representing 48 countries and attracting 415,000 visitors.  This year, a record
20 Manitoba companies took part in the event.
“It was an incredible opportunity for our company to take part in Agritechnica 2011,” said Mike Waite of Cadorath, a Winnipeg-based manufacturing company.  “The exposure to so many different markets and the chance to make connections with other companies is going to make a real difference for Cadorath, allowing us to continue to evolve and grow.”
The province supported exhibits for the harvest equipment, tractors and parts sector; the grain-handling, storage and grain-processing sector; and the seeding and tillage equipment sector.  The exhibits were co-ordinated by Manitoba Trade and Investment, Manitoba’s lead agency for international trade development.
“Supporting the agricultural sector is one of Export Development Canada’s strategic priorities given their focus on exports, and Agritechnica is a key annual event in helping to grow Canada’s international footprint,” said Justine Hendricks, vice-president, resources sector at Export Development Canada.  “The success of Canadian exporters is how we measure our success, so having played a part in helping our Manitoba partners and exporters reap the benefits of an event like this is very rewarding.”
In 2010, Manitoba exported $405 million in agriculture-related equipment and technology, which is approximately 31 per cent of Canada’s agricultural machinery exports abroad.

Common Law Spouses Equality Rights


Common Law Spouses in Quebec Entitled to Access Family Law Protections

January 16, 2012 - Toronto - On January 18, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear "Lola's" s.15 Charter equality rights challenge to the total exclusion of de facto (common law) spouses from the Quebec Civil Code family law regime. Lola argues that this exclusion unconstitutionally discriminates against de facto spouses on the basis of marital status. LEAF's intervention will focus on the gendered nature and effects of this marital status discrimination.

"Approximately 35% of all couples in Quebec live in de facto unions and over 60% of children in Quebec are born outside of marriage" explains LEAF co-counsel, Johanne O'Hanlon of O'Hanlon, Sanders, Teixeira in Montreal. "Yet women in Quebec who have not married or registered a civil union with their spouses are excluded from claiming spousal support, rights in the family home or sharing of property."

"This is true regardless of their circumstances" continues O'Hanlon "For example, a woman who has been with her spouse for 15 years, has had four children with him (or her), was the primary caregiver of the children and sacrificed her career or earning potential in the process while supporting the spouse's career, is left at the end of a relationship without any support or family law claim to property, other than child support which is inadequate to sustain a single-mother family of four. The exclusion from any right to claim spousal support or other family law remedy is unjust and unfair and is often devastating for women and their children."

LEAF co-counsel Martha McCarthy of Martha McCarthy & Company in Toronto further explains: "Spousal relationships continue to be marked by gender inequality. In most relationships, it is still women who have primary responsibility for children and domestic labour. As a result, women, or men who assume stereotypically gendered roles in the home, are economically disadvantaged on breakdown of spousal relationships. Family law statutes across the country are aimed at redressing the economic and other injustices created by gendered roles in spousal relationships."

"The rights of cohabiting spouses to equal sharing of property varies across the country" explains LEAF Legal Director, Joanna Birenbaum.

Recognizing the social reality of common-law spouses, some provinces and territories, like Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut and NWT, require common law spouses who have lived together for a defined period of time or who have children together, to share the property and debts accumulated during the relationship at relationship breakdown, unless the parties agree otherwise. British Columbia recently amended its family law legislation to extend matrimonial property rights and obligations to common law spouses. Other provinces, like Ontario, Alberta, and the Maritime provinces, do not include cohabiting spouses in the matrimonial property provisions of their family law statutes.

"LEAF argues that matrimonial property regimes must include unmarried cohabitants" continues Birenbaum. "At the moment the law in Quebec and other provinces, like Ontario and Alberta, is exclusion or "opt-in" contractually. This is unrealistic and ignores gendered power imbalances. The presumption should be equal contributions during the relationship and equal sharing of property. Couples can always opt-out at the end of their relationships or apply to the Court for unequal division where appropriate."

Moreover, explains McCarthy, "most common law couples believe that matrimonial property regimes apply to them, particularly if they have children or their relationship is long term. A Supreme Court of Canada decision which requires the extension of division of property laws to cohabiting spouses would accord with societal expectations."

McCarthy further explains that "the social science evidence before the Court in this appeal demonstrates that, for the most part, couples have no idea of the legal consequences of the decision to cohabit. The evidence also confirms that the governing family law legal regime is not a factor which determines whether couples choose to marry or not marry."

"In my 17 years of practice in Quebec", continues O'Hanlon, "in case after case, women in de facto relationships are shocked to discover that their rights and contributions are not recognized in Quebec law, and that they are entitled to nothing."

In response to the press coverage ofthe Eric v. Lola challenge, O'Hanlon has been asked many questions about de facto couples' rights and obligations of spousal support if the appeal is successful. "There's a misperception in Quebec that if Lola's challenge succeeds, support obligations will automatically flow in every case involving de facto couples. This is incorrect. De facto spouses, just like married spouses, will only be entitled to receive spousal support, or correspondingly pay support, if the claimant spouse meets the statutory test of means and needs. If there is no economic dependency, no support will be ordered."

Quebec is the only province in Canada which excludes de facto (or common law) spouses from the right to claim spousal support at the end of a relationship.

In the case of Eric and Lola, Lola repeatedly asked Eric to marry her and he refused, saying he didn't believe in the institution of marriage. The couple cohabited for seven years and had three children together. Lola cared for the children and did not work outside the home. Although the wealth of Eric in this case is exceptional, the gendered power dynamic of the relationship is not.

"Why would the Supreme Court of Canada allow the more powerful spouse to avoid any family law obligations simply by unilaterally refusing to marry? Such a result would fly in the face of over a half century of progressive legislative and judicial evolution of family law in Canada" states Birenbaum.

LEAF's factum is available at:

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For more information contact:

Joanna Birenbaum (LEAF Legal Director) - Cell: (647) 500-3005; Office (416) 595-7170 ext. 223 - Email:

Martha McCarthy (Co-Counsel) - Office: (416) 862-6226 - Email:

Johanne O'Hanlon (Co-counsel) - Cell: (514) 966-2735 - Email:

Armenia Teixeira - Cell: (514) 865-0524 - Email:

[Please direct all French language inquiries to Ms. O'Hanlon or Ms. Teixeira]

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad now showing in Toronto
“Now that I’m dead, I know everything.” So begins The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood’s daring response to Homer’s The Odyssey. Destined to spend eternity in Hades, Penelope recounts her life’s story and the murder of her twelve handmaidens by her vengeful husband Odysseus. Atwood’s acerbic wit brings o...

fab Magazine - fab Blog - Gender-bender becomes Telemachus

Winnipeg's Bahia Watson performs in Margaret Atwood's  Peneloplaid - Toronto
fab Magazine - fab Blog - Gender-bender becomes Telemachus

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cabinet Shuffle - Manitoba

January 13, 2012


– – –
New Department to Create More Opportunities for Youth
Premier Greg Selinger today announced the creation of a new children and youth opportunities department and made changes to cabinet, which he said will create new energy.
The newly appointed ministers are:
  • Kevin Chief, minister of children and youth opportunities; and
  • Ron Kostyshyn, minister of agriculture, food and rural initiatives.
“We have a strong, experienced cabinet and today we’re adding two exciting new MLAs to our team,” said Selinger.  “Kevin’s already made a difference in the lives of many youth and in his new role, he’ll be in charge of creating opportunities for more kids and keeping them out of crime.  As a farmer himself, Ron will bring a strong voice for the priorities of farmers, producers and rural families to the cabinet table.”
The premier said the conservation and water stewardship departments will merge and he thanked several veteran ministers for their contributions and assigned them key new responsibilities.
The veteran MLAs with new responsibilities are:
  • Jennifer Howard, minister of family services and labour;
  • Gord Mackintosh, minister of conservation and water stewardship;
  • Christine Melnick, minister of immigration and multiculturalism; and
  • Jim Rondeau, minister of healthy living, seniors and consumer affairs.
“These are ministers who have worked tirelessly to make life better for Manitoba families.  I’m grateful for all that they’ve done and I’m excited to see them take on their new responsibilities,” said Selinger.
The premier said other strong members of his experienced cabinet team will maintain their responsibilities through challenging economic times and in the lead up to important federal/provincial discussions.
Selinger also announced the creation of a new Priorities and Planning Committee of Cabinet.  He said the new committee will be tasked with co-ordinating key government priorities to help meet the needs of Manitoba families and keep jobs and the economy growing.
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Government focuses on Jobs for Manitobans

January 13, 2012


– – –
Priorities and Planning Committee of Cabinet will Co-ordinate Government's Plans to Meet the Priorities of Manitobans: Selinger
Premier Greg Selinger said today he will lead a newly created committee of cabinet ministers, which will co-ordinate major economic and policy initiatives.
“Our priorities are those of Manitoba families:  a growing economy with jobs and opportunities, and strong services such as health, education and crime prevention.  The Priorities and Planning Committee of Cabinet is one way our government will focus on meeting those goals.”
In addition to Selinger, the committee is made up of Finance Minister Stan Struthers, Health Minister Theresa Oswald, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh, Innovation, Energy and Mines Minister Dave Chomiak, Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson, as well as a rotating member of the government caucus.
The premier said the committee will focus on:
  •     education and economic development for future job creation,
  •     efficient delivery of strong services for families,
  •     new opportunities for rural and northern communities, and
  •     future infrastructure and community development.
The committee will work closely with provincial departments to carry out its mandate, said Selinger who announced Anna Rothney will serve as secretary of the new committee, leading a small team of existing government support staff.  Rothney, an economist, was most recently the associate secretary to the Community and Economic Development Committee of Cabinet.  She has held senior positions in the executive council and Treasury Board secretariat.
“These are challenging economic times, across Canada and around the world,” said the premier.  “This committee is an important new tool to help us work together with communities, businesses and other levels of government to face the challenges ahead of us and deliver on the priorities of Manitobans.”
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cooperative Initiatives in Manitoba

Gord Mackintosh, Minister of Family Services and Consumer Affairs (centre) with Dale Ward, Vice-Chair, Manitoba Co-operative Association (left) and Joel Rondeau, Chief Executive Officer of Caisse Financial Group (right) following the presentation of United Nations International Year of Co-operatives proclamation.
Gord Mackintosh, Minister of Family Services and Consumer Affairs (centre) with Dale Ward, Vice-Chair, Manitoba Co-operative Association (left) and Joel Rondeau, Chief Executive Officer of Caisse Financial Group (right) following the presentation of United Nations International Year of Co-operatives proclamation.

January 12, 2012


– – –
Co-ops Strengthen Communities, Create Jobs, Provide Valuable Services: Irvin-Ross, Mackintosh
The United Nations International Year of Co-operatives was launched in Manitoba today at the Legislative Building by Housing and Community Development Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross, minister responsible for co-operative development, and Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh who celebrated the importance of more than 400 co-operatives to the province’s economy.
“Co-ops provide a wide range of important products and services to Manitobans across our province,” said Irvin-Ross.  “From fitness centres and child-care co-ops, to grocery and hardware stores, to food processing and agricultural production, Manitoba’s 800,000 co-operative members help make our economy strong.”
“Co-operatives help build communities by creating jobs and keep wealth in the community by returning dividends to members,” Mackintosh said.  “They are especially important in rural and remote communities where they are often the only providers of key services.”
The province has strongly supported co-operatives in the past and will continue to do so in the future, the ministers noted.  Some of the provincial support has included:
  • assisting in the development of the co-operative community strategy through partnerships with the Manitoba Cooperative Association (MCA) and the Conseil de développement économique des municipalités bilingues du Manitoba (CDEM);
  • providing advice and support to groups looking to form new co-ops, or transform an existing business into a co-operative;
  • amending the Co-operatives Act so workers and consumers can combine their resources to create a co-op;
  • creating a new Co-operative Tax Credit and providing startup resources to MCA to establish a fund that provides support for new and expanding co-ops;
  • providing funds to support the Co-op Housing Community Mobilizer project, an initiative that generates interest in the development of new housing co-operatives;
  • providing support through the Co-operative Assistance Fund for infrastructure and environmental initiatives; 
  • supporting the Co-operative Promotion Board and the Co-operative Loans and Loans Guarantee Board so they can provide co-operative organizations with grants for promotion and loan guarantees to encourage development and expansion of co-operatives;
  • recognizing the achievements of post-secondary studentsenrolled in a co-operative or community development post-secondary program by awarding bursaries through the BUILDINGFoundations Bursary Program;
  • establishing a Manitoba Co-op Research Fund to provide grants for scholarly and interdisciplinary research about co-operatives;
  • developing the new activity bookAll For Each that is to be used by high-school teachers to teach students about co-operatives; and
  • providing support to CDEM to co-ordinate the Youth Co-operative Services Program to help young people form worker co-ops.
“Co-operatives are formed to meet a local need or priority that is not otherwise being met,” said Irvin‑Ross.  “They are locally owned and controlled and that means very high accountability to the community, ensuring activities are relevant and responsive to local needs.”
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives, in recognition of the contribution of co-operatives to socio-economic development, especially with regard to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration.  The objectives of the year are to expand public awareness, encourage the growth of co-operatives and strengthen the co‑operative movement.
In addition to participating in the national launch of the International Year of Co-operatives, the provincial government is also partnering with the co-operative community to plan a number of events in recognition of this special year for co-operatives.  More information about events that will take place throughout 2012 will be available at
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