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James Teitsma for Radisson
James Teitsma for RadissonFriday, March 23rd, 2018 at 6:18am
Thank you to Tom Brodbeck for digging into the story out of Manitoba Hydro. This is not a dispute about facts. It's a dispute about the way we should honor treaties and our relationships with Metis and First Nations people.

Should David Chartrand be allowed to sell the rights of future generations of Metis to be consulted on any other large scale hydro or transmission line projects?

Should Manitoba be willing to pay for silence?

Paying for silence is not democracy.

Large payouts may have been the way the NDP negotiated, but it will not be the way we do business.
James Teitsma for Radisson
James Teitsma for RadissonThursday, March 22nd, 2018 at 8:41am
A few people have asked me about what's going on at Manitoba Hydro. In case you missed it, nearly the entire board of directors resigned. This is a bit of a longer post, so sorry about that.

First of all, I want to thank the board for their service. This board was the very first one appointed by our new government nearly two years ago. They had a massive mess to clean up. Political intervention and mismanagement of Hydro was a hallmark of the 17 years of NDP government. I believe that over those two years the board have acted in the best interests of Manitoba Hydro. That is what they were asked to do. That's their job.

But sometimes the interests of all Manitobans don't align with the interests of Manitoba Hydro and that's where it's our government's responsibility to stand up for Manitobans. That's what we did.

Here's an overview of the events leading up to the replacement of the board:

In addition to high profile projects like BiPole 3 and the Keeyask dam, Manitoba Hydro is building a "Minnesota Transmission Line". This project will strengthen the overall reliability of Manitoba’s electricity supply, allow Manitoba Hydro to fulfill current export sales agreements, and increase access to markets in the United States, supporting the export sales that keep rates lower for Manitobans. It's clear that this project is in the best interests of all Manitobans.

Like any Manitoba infrastructure project, this project requires rights-of-ways to be established with farmers and landowners as well as consideration of Metis and First Nation treaty land rights. Consultations and consideration of community and environmental interests takes time and is by no means a straightforward process.

Through this process David Chartrand told the Manitoba Hydro board that he could grease the wheels of the consultation process and also prevent Metis peoples today and in the future from opposing the development of the line in exchange for monetary compensation. He asked for $70 million dollars in exchange for "not pursuing litigation against Hydro".

This was for just 35 kilometres of right-of-way. "Right of way" is a strip of land about 80 to 100 metres wide. If this was farmland, that right-of-way would likely be worth less than $3 million. If it was bush (which much of it is) it would be worth far less than that.

In David Chartrand’s words paying him $70 million would "save Manitobans money". Why? Because otherwise he would sue us for more. That why the Premier called it "persuasion money".

Paying for silence is not democracy.

The Hydro board proposed that the province pay the $70 million anyways.

Our government believes it would not be in the interests of all Manitobans. Why?

Because this isn't the last piece of infrastructure that needs to be built in Manitoba. Many roads, many highways, and even the Lake St. Martin diversion requires the opportunity to build across Metis and First Nations treaty land.

Imagine if every time we want to build infrastructure in Manitoba we had to pay "hush money". Imagine also that future generations of Metis peoples would have their right to protest to projects not yet imagined sold today by David Chartrand. It’s unprecedented and quite likely unconstitutional.

We informed the Board chairman that we valued his service but planned to move him out of the Hydro board and to another board. Instead, he decided to resign and convinced most of the board to join him. We will be replacing the board of Manitoba Hydro very soon. We were already planning a refresh of crown corporation boards across government, and this will now be part of it.

Our government's commitment is to treat all Manitobans fairly and equally. For the record, that's the very opposite of racism.

The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is an important partner in many initiatives and is a representative of Metis people. Our government respects the relationship that we have with the MMF and we want to continue the good relationship we have all built.

We believe that all Manitobans, regardless of race, should support the development of infrastructure that will benefit all Manitobans. Compensation for landowners and treaty land rights should be fair and equitable. We should NOT be paying "hush money" just for the right not to be sued. And the rights of future generations of Metis to challenge and even oppose such developments through due processes and legal means cannot and should not be sold.

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James Teitsma for Radisson
James Teitsma for RadissonWednesday, March 21st, 2018 at 8:01am
Today is World Down Syndrome Day. A recent study of people with Down's Syndrome (DS) revealed:
◾ 99% of those surveyed are happy with their lives.
◾ 97% answered yes to the question, “Do you like who you are?”
◾ 96% agreed with the statement, “Do you like how you look?”
◾ 99% agreed with the statement, “Do you love your family?”

These are the HAPPIEST PEOPLE ON EARTH, bar none! And they want to share their happiness with us all. Here's a quote from the same study:

"When asked to give advice to expectant parents, survey participants affirmed that they were happy with their lives. They reassured expectant parents that their baby with DS will love them and that their family will be better as a result of that child. These themes of self-worth, value, and acceptance were echoed again when participants were asked to provide advice to physicians. To this extent, the people with DS that we surveyed have declared that they are very satisfied—and even positive—about their lives, despite acknowledging the challenges that might accompany the genetic condition."

Believe in their abilities.
Believe in their potential.
Believe in their humanity.

Welcome them into the world. #WorldDownSyndromeDay

Like and Share to spread the word.

You can find the complete study here:

(Pictured: this year's Gerber baby Lucas Warren who has a third chromosome in the 21st position)
James Teitsma for Radisson
James Teitsma for RadissonTuesday, March 20th, 2018 at 3:52pm
Our government just introduced a bill that will regulate where cannabis can be smoked or vaped.

All outdoor public places are EXCLUDED. That means you won't be allowed to smoke or vape cannabis in parks, playgrounds, beaches, swimming pools, sports fields, entertainment venues schools, universities, streets, sidewalks, highways, parking lots and outdoor restaurant patios.

The reason for these restrictions is to protect the health and well-being of all Manitobans, especially children and youth . This will limit exposure to second-hand smoke and vapour and is similar to existing laws for alcohol and tobacco.

I, for one, am relieved that public smoking of cannabis will not be surging in the new legal legislative environment coming this fall.

What do you think?
James Teitsma for Radisson
James Teitsma for RadissonTuesday, March 20th, 2018 at 10:33am
Our government recently introduced Bill 17 which cracks down on distracted driving, especially from cell phone use.

The three biggests causes of traffic fatalities are
1) impaired driving,
2) speed, and
3) distracted driving.

MPI says the number of distracted driving ACCIDENTS is rising sharply in Manitoba, from 2,415 in 2011 to 11,086 in 2016.

That's a 360% increase in just 5 years.

Bill 17 introduces 3 and 7 day license suspensions for cell phone use while driving. Some have suggested it would be even more effective to confiscate the device for a few days.

What do you think?
James Teitsma for Radisson
James Teitsma for RadissonFriday, March 16th, 2018 at 3:43pm
Generous citizens are donating free $25 Loblaw's gift cards to local shelters and food banks like the Transcona Food Bank, Siloam Mission and Winnipeg Harvest.

If you are receiving a free Loblaw's gift card, I encourage you to donate it to one of these great causes.

If you haven't applied for one yet, please visit before May 1st.

Like and Share to spread the word and make a real impact on local organizations helping those most vulnerable in our society.


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