The Grammy's, the Oscars, the Golden Globes. It's awards season. Which reminded us we hadn't yet given out our last (dis)honour for 2018---Bozo of the Year.
It's a category we introduced in 2013 when there was a bumper crop of contenders--Greg Selinger, Eric Robinson, Stan Struthers, Christine Melnick, and the eventual winner, University of Manitoba Professor Gary Stern who nosed out the policians by being so stupendously wrong with his scholarly declaration five years earlier that because of global warming the Arctic would be ice-free by 2013. It's been ten years now and we're still waiting, Gary.
The award has lain fallow for a few years, but it was time to revive it for 2018 because one candidate sprinted ahead of the pack and almost demanded the recognition. So, without further ado, we present the winner of the Black Rod Bozo of the Year 2018 award to----David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation.
Chartrand spent the year imitating the cartoon character, the Tasmanian Devil. He quivered with rage, spewed insults at the Premier, flashed fire out of his eyes and threatened, threatened, threatened, threatened, threatened to sue the government.
He turned into a whirling dervish after Premier Brian Pallister deep-sixed a handshake deal between the MMF and Manitoba Hydro that would have funneled $67 million over 20 years into the Metis Federation and in return the MMF promised not to oppose, in court or otherwise, Hydro's boondoggle northern dams and power lines to the U.S.
In between his threats, his threats, his theats, and his threats to sue the government, he actually got into a courtroom. A judge listened to the MMF's demand for an injunction to stop the government from walking away from the Hydro handshake, then promptly gave it a thumbs down.
Chartrand stomped out of the courtroom and announced---you guessed it---he was going to sue the government. Oh, and he was going to hire lawyers to fight Hydro's plan to sell subsidized power to Americans via a new powerline. So there!
But that's not what won him the award. No, it was an interview he gave to the Canadian Press. Here's a snippet:
"While there is no mention of lost land in the proposed deal, Metis federation president David Chartrand said the money was partly to compensate for land cleared for hydro poles."
"There was clear-cutting that was done in traditional areas that were used for cultural events or berry-picking," Chartrand said earlier this week."
"We have some very famous areas where we pick our blueberries ... and so it (would have) helped to develop new blueberry areas."
You read that right. The whole matter is over blueberries. We can't make this sort of thing up.
Chartrand has said he intends to hold up Manitoba Hydro's billion-dollar power sales for the sake of blueberry picking.
What a bozo.
Oh, and about taking it to court.... When filing for an injunction, Chartrand provided the court with a long affidavit laying out the MMF's position. In the sworn affidavit, Chartrand admits that THERE WAS NEVER A "BINDING LEGAL AGREEMENT"
"Finally, Article 9 includes a commitment that “a binding legal agreement” to implement the Major Agreed Points would be completed within 30 days after agreement between the MMF and Manitoba Hydro."
"144.Mr. Shepherd (Kelvin Shepherd, Manitoba Hydro president and CEO) and I had a series of meetings and calls throughout the Fall of 2017 with respect to further implementing the Major Agreed Points through “the drafting of a binding legal agreement” as contemplated by Article 9.
145.Through these discussions, we jointly agreed to extend the 30-day timeline set out in Article 9. Mr. Shepherd informed me that this was necessary because Manitoba Hydro had been unable to meet with Manitoba on the Major Agreed Points.
In all these conversations, Mr. Shepherd assured me that Manitoba Hydro ...was not seeking Manitoba’s consent or agreement to the Major Agreed Points. "
Once the government learned of the plan, it used its oversight power to kibosh the idea, blueberries and all.
Professional Journalists at Work
Editorial, Winnipeg Free Press, January 23, 2019
"Indigenous economics boost our bottom line
Manitobans entered the new year with news that Indigenous individuals, businesses and governments injected $9.3 billion into Manitoba's economy in 2016.
"The report has some gaps. The Metis, for example, were not included, but are major economic players in the province." ____________________
Indigenous Contributions to the Manitoba Economy
P. 17 Spending By Indigenous People
Creates Economic Impacts
Spending by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit are the inputs for this
economic model. Based on that spending, the model estimates the
impact that millions of dollars of Indigenous spending has on the overall
P. 18 On a household level, there are well-established Canada
Revenue Agency rules regarding the taxation of Indigenous people. Inuit
and Métis people always pay the same taxes as other Canadians, as do
First Nations who do not have legally identified Indian status.
Taxation is complex but there are two important points: Indigenous people are
paying taxes and some First Nations people have exemptions in some
circumstances, as regulated by the Canada Revenue Agency.
P.19 Indigenous Government -
Spending and Impacts
Indigenous government spending refers to remuneration, expenses,
and other spending presented in financial statements by First Nations
governments, Tribal Councils, and Métis and Inuit organizations
...all First Nations government spending is considered to be on
reserve where the government operations are headquartered. Conversely,
all Métis and Inuit government spending is considered to be off reserve.
P. 27 The number of First Nation businesses are 163 (58 in the North, 105 in South). Métis and
Inuit business counts are based on a ratio related to population, with 29
in the North and 514 in the South.