The Red River Métis will defend their rights5 minute read Yesterday at 2:02 AM CDT
In a May 8, 2023 press release, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) expressed support for the First Nations of the Wabun Tribal Council in their judicial review of the federal government’s decision to enter a Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement with Métis Nation of Ontario.
The territory in question, in northeastern Ontario, lies far beyond the territory in which the Red River Métis originated, and the alleged “Métis” group in question has never been a part of the Red River Métis.
The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) — the National Government of the Red River Métis — has publicly opposed the appropriation of our cultural identity, history, and symbols, by groups with whom we have no historical or contemporary connection.
Unfortunately, in expressing support for the Wabun First Nations, AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick makes incorrect and unnecessary statements about Métis in Manitoba. After voicing concern that the “Historic Métis Homeland” includes Manitoba, AMC incorrectly states: “The Métis claim to territory or homeland is relatively new, benefiting from the concept of the Doctrine of Discovery, and lacks the historical significance that First Nations share with the land.”
29°C, A few clouds
Yet another article on AI5 minute read Preview Thursday, Jun. 1, 2023
“SOMETIMES I think it’s as if aliens have landed and people haven’t realized because they speak very good English,” said Geoffrey Hinton, the “godfather of AI” (artificial intelligence), who resigned from Google and now fears his godchildren will become “things more intelligent than us, taking control.”
AI pioneer Eliezer Yudkowsky, co-founder of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, warns that “If somebody builds a too-powerful AI, under present conditions, I expect that every single member of the human species and all biological life on Earth dies shortly thereafter.”
And 1,100 people in the business, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, cognitive scientist Gary Marcus, and engineers at Amazon, DeepMind, Google, Meta and Microsoft, signed an open letter in March calling for a six-month time-out in the development of the most powerful AI systems (anything “more powerful than GPT-4”).
There’s a media feeding frenzy about AI at the moment, and every working journalist is required to have an opinion on it. I turned to the task with some reluctance, as you can tell from the title I put on the piece.
The return of the constitutional crisis5 minute read Preview Thursday, Jun. 1, 2023
THERE were times anchoring late-night news in Prince George, B.C., that I swear I began every broadcast with: “Constitutional talks continue today in Ottawa.”
From the mid-1980s until the early 1990s, this country was mired in discussions about federalism, jurisdiction over natural resources, Indigenous governance, Senate reform and bringing Quebec into the constitutional fold.
With the UCP win in Alberta earlier this week, Canada may once again be headed for constitutional crisis. It couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Alberta passed its controversial Sovereignty Act at the end of December 2022. Saskatchewan passed its Saskatchewan First Act in March this year. Both these acts purport to uphold provincial rights over any perceived federal overreach, particularly as it relates to natural resources. While Saskatchewan’s is a much milder version, the idea is that both provinces have the right to defend their own interests.
Drop the rhetoric: P3s work4 minute read Preview Wednesday, May. 31, 2023
RE: P3 process is bad for Manitoba
As the leading public-private partnership (P3) organization in Canada, representing Canada’s public and private sector industry, we would like to take the opportunity to correct some misinformation printed regarding the P3 model.
The challenges in delivering large and complex projects has been well documented over the years, with many projects using traditional procurement models being delivered late and over-budget.
In Manitoba, the new Winnipeg Police Headquarters (two years delayed, $75 million over budget) and the Plessis Road Twinning project (almost two years late, with $8.4 million in cost overruns) are examples of how critical projects that are traditionally procured often run into these issues.
Looking at life from both sides now4 minute read Preview Tuesday, May. 30, 2023
As a university teacher, I often feel caught between two worlds, two realities. The first is my own, that of an old white guy with more than 60 years in the rear-view mirror.
The second is the reality of my university students, most of whom are under 25. They are preparing to live in a dystopian future that my younger self could only read about in science fiction.
One thing I know for sure: they don’t read what I write. That realization recently spawned an impromptu mini-lecture on the importance of a free press, and what the world would be like without reliable news from sources that can be trusted. While some nodded, perhaps politely, most seemed unconcerned.
Perhaps it is a function of age, but it is seductively easy to tell “I remember when” stories if your audience is too young to contradict your recollections.
Tax cuts need to be focus of provincial election4 minute read Preview Tuesday, May. 30, 2023
Manitobans need more tax relief.
A family of four in Winnipeg making $75,000 a year is paying more provincial taxes in Manitoba than they would be in Saskatchewan, Alberta or British Columbia.
Since the last election in 2019, inflation in Manitoba has gone up 12 per cent. Groceries now cost 18 per cent more and the price of gas is up by more than half.
The upcoming election is a perfect time for all parties to commit to making life more affordable by putting more money back in Manitobans pockets.
Russia: what’s the least bad option?4 minute read Preview Monday, May. 29, 2023
Let us suppose that the current Russian regime collapses, with or without a Ukrainian military victory to give it a final shove. Who would be the least objectionable candidate to take over in Moscow?
What we should look for, in this exercise, is not necessarily the kindest individual, but the one with the firmest grasp of reality. What makes the current regime so dangerous is precisely the fact that most of its members are to a greater or lesser degree unhinged, as quickly becomes evident when you review their public statements.
Start with Vladimir Putin himself. Not only did he launch his invasion of Ukraine last year in complete ignorance of the victim’s ability and willingness to resist — he expected three days to crush the Ukrainian resistance and then a victory parade in Kyiv — but from the start he saw them in purely stereotypical terms.
At first the Ukrainians were Nazis (including even the Jewish ones, like Zelenskyy), and so bound to fail because they were evil. When they thwarted his invasion, they were American puppets without motives of their own, and Putin’s attack only failed because he was really fighting all of NATO.
Time for change in the legislature4 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 27, 2023
In advance of the provincial election scheduled for October, I have used this space to propose a number of legal and institutional reforms intended to improve the governing process and to strengthen democracy.
Today, I am offering some ideas on how to modify the culture within the Manitoba legislature. In recent decades that culture has become excessively partisan, mostly negative in tone and content. Too often it involves a lack of decorum and civility. There is rude heckling, personal attacks and even threats.
Sexist language and a chilly climate for female MLAs persist despite past actions to address the problem. Both the PCs and the NDP have been forced to investigate and discipline members of their caucuses for sexual misconduct.
The culture of the Manitoba legislature consists of the traditions, values, beliefs and norms of behaviour that shape, often in hidden ways, the everyday practices of the institution. The tasks which the legislature performs within the political system and the changing external environment in which it operates are the starting points for understanding that culture.
Prairie politicians fiddle: their provinces burn4 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 27, 2023
Driving across the Prairies during the Alberta election campaign was a disturbingly surreal experience. Early, unprecedented, and out-of-control wildfires raged across northern Alberta and Saskatchewan sending a pall of choking smoke across the continent.
All the while, Prairie politicians did their best to ignore the reality burning around them.
The planet is heating up. As a direct consequence, the fire season grows longer and more severe each year. We know the primary cause: the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the mainstay of the Alberta economy — and to a lesser extent, Saskatchewan’s as well.
Education is more than the sum of its parts5 minute read Preview Friday, May. 26, 2023
Education is a complicated thing. It is never more complicated than when someone begins to discuss what makes a competent teacher. As a former teacher, I often marvelled at how successful some colleagues were at getting early years students to read, or how middle years teachers could get hormone-addled teenagers enthused about anything that looked like learning.
Unlike Professor Rod Clinton (Re: Bill 35 doesn’t go far enough, May 20), many educators would be reluctant to suggest that a content-competency based test of teachers would bear much fruit. Teaching is about more than subject knowledge. Teaching is a dance between students with varying abilities, circumstances and levels of engagement and teachers with an equally broad range of strengths and limitations.
Teachers are busy teaching the basics of writing, reading and arithmetic while building social and personal capacity. Teachers are busy preparing individuals to participate as members of a group, a school, a community, a country. Over the course of their years in public school, teachers help children understand the small things that allow societies to function, like why order in groups is important, why waiting your turn and treating others with respect are important life skills.
But they also help their students deal with the larger issues, the ones that are not formulaic, the ones for which there may be more than one answer. Developing these skills is not about curriculum content so much as about how to relate to ideas that are different from our own thinking.
Bulls aren’t athletes — they’re scared animals4 minute read Preview Friday, May. 26, 2023
BULL riding is back in Winnipeg. After Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Canada cancelled its event at Canada Life Centre last year (downtown Winnipeg is not zoned for agricultural events) it has now found a new home to display its frantic bucking bulls, at Red River Exhibition Park. A change in location though, does not mean a change in concern for the bulls being harmed and exploited.
Bull riding puts animals at great risk of stress, injury and even death, all for corporate profit and unnecessary entertainment. This travelling show should not be welcomed in Winnipeg, or anywhere.
A number of animal advocacy groups are voicing concern about PBR’s Bull’s Night Out event happening today. The Winnipeg Humane Society is urging anyone considering attending to “think about the animal’s perspective before attending events like this.”
In a statement on its website, the group explains these bulls “are selectively bred to be especially sensitive to negative stimulus. A rider on their back mimics the experience of a predator jumping onto them. In the arena, bulls feel under attack and buck to fight for their life.”
Erosion of child labour laws a wake-up call4 minute read Preview Thursday, May. 25, 2023
ON May 3, the Washington Post filed a report on child labour law violations in just one state, Kentucky.
The findings: three Kentucky McDonald’s franchises had illegally employed over 300 children who worked longer hours than the law allowed; two 10-year-olds were working as late as 2 a.m. without pay, one operating a deep fryer, forbidden by law for children under 16; and 27 other McDonald’s locations allowed 242 14- and 15-years-olds to work beyond legal limits.
Bauer Foods was fined for employing 10 year olds; and, Bell Restaurant Group 1 allowed 39 underage youths work at four locations, two during school hours. 688 minors were found employed illegally in hazardous jobs.
Kentucky, unfortunately, is not an outlier. America’s children are under attack.
The job of journalists4 minute read Preview Tuesday, May. 23, 2023
“By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.” As was usually the case, Oscar Wilde was being tongue-in-cheek when he wrote this. Yet when we examine modern journalism, I think that biting criticism is as warranted today as it was then.
If the stated goal of journalism is to speak truth to power and educate the public, I would contend that some common practices in our media fail to meet that goal.
And this isn’t just about the obvious culprits either. One could list example after example of Fox or Rebel News wearing their agendas on their sleeves as they mislead the public. But theirs is not a quest for objectivity, nor is such balance what most of their audience is seeking, despite what some may claim. So what of those other outlets who make a more genuine stab at objectivity?
Take for example, the actions of the Toronto Star several years ago in parting ways with their columnist, Desmond Cole.