Saturday, September 20, 2014
Text Size

Manitoba hotel owner says Ottawa owes millions for his housing flood evacuees

By: The Canadian Press

GIMLI, Man. - A Manitoba hotel owner says he has been forced to lay off more than 50 employees, close his hotel and put it up for sale because Ottawa owes him $3 million in unpaid bills.

Mike Bruneau, who owns Misty Lake Lodge in Gimli, says he's owed the money for feeding and housing dozens of aboriginal people who were displaced by the 2011 flood. Bruneau was paid a portion of the cash but says he is owed more.

The last evacuees left the hotel in November and their bills are still outstanding. Bruneau says he also needs to be reimbursed for damage to the hotel and interest on the debt.

"They were in my hotel for 2 1/2 years," he said Monday. "(The rooms) aren't rentable. I wanted them to pay my bills, so I could fix the hotel up. They didn't pay my bills, so I couldn't go back to doing weddings and conferences, the kind of stuff I used to do.

"I had to shut the lodge down and lay everybody off. Now it's for sale."

Bruneau said he got an $8-million offer to sell four years ago. He isn't expecting to get that much now.

"I've got a beat-up building and no business," he said. "People know it's a desperation sale right now."

The Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters had been given millions to care for evacuees, but Bruneau said the group stopped paying him when he accused it publicly of squandering money.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada is auditing the association's handling of the prolonged evacuation and the Red Cross is now responsible for the long-term care of about 2,000 evacuees.

The evacuees were displaced from reserves around the province in 2011 and many haven't been able to return. They have been scattered around Winnipeg and other parts of the province while officials try to find new and long-term housing.

Bruneau said Aboriginal Affairs wants to negotiate a settlement, but he wants his bills paid in full. That could take years, he said.

"I'm going to hire a couple of lawyers and I'll win," he said. "I'll pay the lawyers probably most of the money. I'll be in court for another five years. I don't know what to do right now — settle with them or go to court."

The Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters responded to a request for comment with a one-line statement.

"MANFF will not be discussing Misty Lake Lodge within the press," it said.

A spokeswoman for Manitoba Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton said he wasn't available for an interview. In a two-sentence emailed statement, Ashton noted: "Canada entered into an agreement with the owners of Misty Lake Lodge to settle the dispute.

"The province is not involved in this agreement which was funded directly by Canada."

A spokeswoman for Aboriginal Affairs said the department was working on a response.

— By Chinta Puxley in Winnipeg

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

obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

JOBS

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

Responsibilities

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

EVENTS

September 2014
S M T W T F S
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
imageimageimageimage
cartoonscartoonscartoonscartoons

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