Thursday, September 18, 2014
Text Size

Evacuees accuse MANFF of bullying

Claim of withholding milk for kids, pressuring them to leave Misty Lake Lodge

By: Larry Kusch

Winnipeg Free Press

Flood evacuees residing at Misty Lake Lodge say the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters (MANFF) is withholding benefits from them while pressuring them to leave the Gimli hotel.

On Thursday, about two dozen residents trekked to the Manitoba Legislative Building to call attention to their plight.

They said MANFF has been bullying them by failing to supply diapers, milk and juice for kids and refusing to pay a customary allowance for incidental expenses.

At the same time, MANFF co-ordinators have been texting residents, pressuring them to transfer to another hotel.

"We came here to try to get some answers about MANFF," said Randy Anderson, who was evacuated from Little Saskatchewan First Nation and now lives at Misty Lake with his partner, Leanne, and their five children.

He's upset MANFF is withholding benefits to his family -- although he is grateful lodge owner Michael Bruneau has stepped in to provide the supplies.

The more than two-dozen flood evacuees staying at the lodge -- it once housed as many as 180 -- say they've been well-treated there and don't want to move.

Anderson worries his older children's education will suffer if the family is forced to relocate to a hotel in Winnipeg. The kids have been attending school in Gimli. "They're trying to take the schooling away from them as well," he said of MANFF.

MANFF is the organization contracted by Ottawa to co-ordinate services to flood evacuees in Manitoba. Until this week, the association owed millions of dollars to Bruneau for housing evacuees at the Gimli lodge and a second Bruneau-owned hotel in Ashern.

Bruneau has been at odds with MANFF over chronic non-payment of evacuee bills. He's also complained about the behaviour of MANFF co-ordinators, accusing them of drunkenness and of being rude and abusive to evacuees.

Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard, who met with Misty Lake residents Thursday, said the province needs to step up, along with the federal government, to ensure MANFF pays its bills and treats evacuees with respect.

The provincial government acts as an intermediary between Ottawa and MANFF, paying the association as it submits receipts for evacuee expenses and then in turn billing the federal government. On Monday, Bruneau received two cheques totalling $2.6 million, which means he won't have to close the Misty Lake Lodge Sept. 1 as he had threatened to do. But MANFF still remains behind in its accounts, he said.

Officials from MANFF have refused to comment on its dispute with Misty Lake Lodge.

Last month, the federal and provincial governments announced the Canadian Red Cross would replace MANFF in delivering evacuee assistance. However, the Red Cross's resources are stretched and the governments later said the Red Cross would conduct an assessment of evacuee needs for Ottawa.

Manitoba Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson was not available for an interview, but an aide passed on a message from him that read in part: "Flood evacuees have the right to feel safe during this very difficult time away from their homes and communities. (Federal Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development) Minister (Bernard) Valcourt has assured me the federal government is working to secure a more capable agency to deliver federal emergency response services to First Nations."

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Education & Training

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...


obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit


First Nations Cultural Interpreter PM – 02 Riding Mountain National Park Seasonal Indeterminate

(May to October) From $54,543 to $58,764

Closing Sept. 19, 2014

Read More

Regional Media Officer– Temp (Until Nov 2015) –F/T Position

Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition / NDP Research Office

Location:131 Queen Street, Suite 10-02, Ottawa, ON


Communicate regularly with regional media outlets (community newspapers, radio stations, student media, ethnic media, etc.) to propose ideas for interviews and opinion content Read more...

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Aboriginal Workforce Report

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a report that highlights initiatives to improve the workforce participation of Aboriginal peoples. 

Opportunity Found: Improving the Participation of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada’s Workforce (December 2013)  

click image to download report

Tue Sep 23 @ 3:00PM - 04:15PM
FNHMA National Conference 2014
Sun Oct 05 @ 9:00AM - 05:00PM
INIHKD & Manitoba NEAHR Conference 2014


September 2014
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4

Current Video

RIP Percy Tuesday


Thanks to Althea Guiboche for allowing The First Perspective to share her video taken at the Manitowapow book launch at McNally Robinson. 

Percey sings Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and people join in to harmonize. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): The Washington Redskins