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The Thompson Local News

City Scaling Back Road Work Due To Cut In Promised Funding

The City of Thompson will have to work for with significantly less money than was budgeted for municipal road improvements following a cut from the Pallister government.


City Council received a letter from Jeff Wharton, the Minister of Municipal Relations, saying that Thompson would be getting $200,000 from the annual Municipal Road Improvement Project fund.


Councillor Blake Ellis said that the City was told by officials in Minister Wharton’s office that Thompson would be getting $400,000 from the annual Municipal Road Improvement Project fund, the amount that they had received the previous year. He said that having received confirmation of the amount, Council used that number in their budget.


Ellis added that the funding announcement came late in the season, as workers are already on site preparing for and doing the work.


Mayor Dennis Fenske said that with the reduction in funds, the City would probably have to scrap eight of the additional 11 road improvement projects they had added.


Council approved a resolution later in the meeting, which asks the Association of Manitoba Municipalities to lobby the province on this issue.


Province Appoints New UCN Governing Council

The new governing council for UCN has been announced.


Manitoba Education and Training says that Tracey Como of Cranberry Portage, and Albert Tait of Norway House, are the only returning members. That means that there are now five new faces.


Gabrielle Lytle of Thompson, as well as Ryan Shewchuk of The Pas, have been appointed as student members, while Becky Cianflone of Flin Flon and Alfred McDonald of The Pas join as board members.


Cameron Mateika, from Minitonas, will serve as the chair of the board.


The governing council is responsible for determining the college’s mission, vision and values. They are also in charge of appointing a president, and determining the administrative and academic organization of the school.


Bowman Says Like Fenske, He Can't Get Meeting With Premier

It turns out that it’s hard to get a meeting with the premier even if you’re inside the Perimeter.


Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said that much like his counterpart here in Thompson, he was denied a meeting to discuss important issues with Premier Pallister.


Bowman said that he wanted to talk about $7.9M in promised funding that hasn’t been delivered.


The news of Bowman’s inability to meet face to face with Premier Pallister emerged not long after Thompson Mayor Dennis Fenske was been denied access to the premier while he was in Thompson last week.


According to Pallister’s office, the premier meets with municipal officials throughout the year, though he expects ministers to "take the lead on matters pertaining to their portfolios".


Nine members of the Manitoba Hydro board resigned earlier this year saying that the premier would not meet with them, a claim that Pallister says holds no water.


Report Finds 130 Considered To Be Homeless In Thompson From March Point In Time Count

The results from the most recent point in time (PiT) count, which was conducted earlier this year, have been released. 


This was the second federally-coordinated PiT count, with the first being introduced by the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy in 2016. This years’ count was conducted in over 60 communities across the country between March and April.


In Thompson, the PiT count was organized by the CMHA, with support from the University of Manitoba Northern Social Work Program and organizations like the Northern Regional Health Authority, the Thompson Crisis Centre and the Ma Mow We Tak Friendship Centre.


Volunteers found that 130 individuals (112 adults, 18 children) in the city were considered to be homeless when they were out on the evening of March 13th and during the day on March 14th. Of the 112 adults surveyed, almost 70% were staying in transitional facilities (such as the homeless shelter) while the rest were counted on the street.


The key findings of the report indicate that 60.4% of the adults who were surveyed identified as male, while 94.5% of the participants identified themselves as Indigenous. The largest age group (27% of the adults) said they were between 40 and 49, with 36.1% saying that they first became homeless before the age of 20.


The report says that 65% met the criteria for chronic homelessness, 51.8% said that they have lived in Thompson for years and that 54 participants (36.5%) stated that they need services for substance use. 


The forward to the PiT count report says that “the causes of homelessness amongst Indigenous people must be viewed within the context of the historical injustices brought on through the process of colonization” and that “the north has a long colonial history that has affected Indigenous peoples and communities. 76.6% of those who were surveyed said that either they or a family member had been to residential school.


The CMHA has said that they will be hosting a community cafe to discuss the report. 


The full document can be viewed online by clicking here.


City Council Approves Executive Staff Wage Increase

Thompson City Council approved what was the most contentious item on last week’s agenda: a 1.25% wage increase for executive staff working for the City of Thompson.
The resolution was originally on the agenda for councils meeting in July, but was pushed to the August meeting to make sure everyone was voting from a position of knowledge. The debate on the resolution lasted over 15 minutes, with Councillors Duncan Wong and Ron Matechuck leading the charge to have it defeated. 
As is the case with all resolutions before council, Mayor Dennis Fenske turned to City administration to provide any pertinent background information on the resolution that might not already been known to members of council. For this resolution, city manager Gary Ceppetelli spoke and said that this is an annual resolution that for the past four years has mirrored the increase unionized city employees receive. He added that the money ($12,395.38 in total) was budgeted for in the City’s 2018 Financial Plan, which was approved by council earlier this year.
Councillor Blake Ellis opened the debate, saying that he is in support as the increase maintains consistency between all City employees and will help retain and recruit workers. Like Ceppetelli, Ellis reminded the rest of council that the increase isn’t spending new money as it was already accounted for in the budget.
Councillor Matchecuk was the first to speak against the resolution, saying that executives shouldn’t be getting raises. He also took the time to once again point fingers, saying that the City wouldn’t be facing the economic issues that it is had the Grant in Lieu negotiating committee not failed at their job. 
Councillor Wong took a different approach by saying that the city manager is in conflict of interest by putting forward the increase, as he is a member of the executive staff that would be seeing the pay bump. Wong then asked if Ceppetelli could prove that he had done his due diligence to show that a raise was in order.
Mayor Dennis Fenske shut down Wong’s attack on the credibility of the city manager, saying that putting in forward and signing off on resolutions is part of Ceppetelli’s job, and that it in no way constitutes a conflict of interest.
Councillor Penny Byer, who is currently the only person who has declared their intent to run for mayor in the upcoming municipal election, said that the increase can be boiled down to a matter of morale. She said that they as the City will be asking them (administration and executive staff) to put in more time and more effort during tough times, and that it’s a “small token to show them we care”. Byer added that at the end of the day, the increase “probably wouldn’t be enough to buy them breakfast somewhere”. 
Mayor Fenske exercised his right as head of council to speak last before the vote, saying that council is “picking on 21 employees” to score points heading into the election. He added that council discussed requiring all City staff to take an extra 10 days off per year, which would have saved $500,000 but ultimately chose to go in a different direction. 
Fenske concluded by saying that on one hand council as a whole said that they did not want to to save $500k annually, but that they now want to make a big issue out of $12,395.38 (in 2018) and that they can’t have it both ways.
The vote, which was recorded at the request of Councillor Wong, passed by a count of 6-3. Councillor Judy Kolada sided with Wong and Matechuk, making up the three opposition votes.
Thompson City Council will resume their regular bi-weekly meeting schedule in September, with the first meeting of the month scheduled for September 4th. 


Opposition Leader Says Pallister Government "Totally Ignored" Thompson In Budget

According to the Manitoba NDP, the 2018 Budget Implemenation Act doesn’t make any reference to Thompson or the north.


Wab Kinew spoke to Arctic Radio News late last week, and said that it was disappointing to see that Pallister government “totally ignored the north” and that they didn’t do anything with the Mining Community Reserve Fund. The Fort Rouge MLA said that Premier Pallister not meeting with Mayor Fenske and Thompson City Council “seems like an oversight”, adding that “when you visit a community you should meet with the leadership...that’s pretty straight forward”.


The Mining Community Reserve Fund is one of the biggest points of contention between the municipal and provincial governments. The City of Thompson submitted a request to access the fund, but was denied by the department of Growth, Enterprise and Trade who said that the money in the fund is not accessible when it is below $10M. Before the Legislature rose for the summer, Flin Flon MLA Tom Lindsey repeatedly brought up Thompson and the MCRF, asking Blaine Pedersen (Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade) why the funds are not being made available. 


In response to the budget, the Manitoba NDP reached out to communities about the kind of spending they’d like to see. When it comes to Thompson, Kinew told Arctic Radio News that the opposition asked for something to be done about the MCRF so that the City can access the funds, or that the Province simply provide money from somewhere other than the MCRF to help offset both the reduced GIL and the lost jobs due to changes at Vale. 


Kinew said that as a leader, he wants to be able to represent people and bring forward their concerns. 


The full interview with Wab Kinew will air as a three-part Thompson Today series, with part one airing Monday August 20th at 12:40pm and then again at 5:10pm on 102.9 CHTM. Part two will air on Tuesday August 21st, while part three will be played Wednesday August 22nd.


Pallister: Thompson Isn't Getting MCRF Money Due To Fund Depletion

Premier Brian Pallister is sticking to the answer that was given to the City by Minister Pedersen’s office when it comes to the Mining Community Reserve Fund.


The Premier spoke to Arctic Radio News last week, and said that Thompson isn’t going to be able to access the fund as there just simply isn’t enough money there.


Pallister said that the lack of funds is a result of the previous NDP government, who he says let the fund fall below the $10M threshold.


The response from the Premier is different though from that of Thompson MLA Kelly Bindle, who most recently quoted a line from the Mining Tax Act, saying that the fund can only be used for communities who are hurt from ore depletion.


Many people, including Flin Flon MLA Tom Lindsay and Mayor Dennis Fenske, say that the official response of not enough money is just an interpretation, as the tax act says that money cannot be given out for exploration if the fund is below $10M. There is no reference to supporting communities if the fund isn't above $10M.


Window Closing For Rail Repairs Before Winter

The opportunity to repair the washed-out line to Churchill before winter appears to have passed for a second straight year.


Despite an order from the Canadian Transportation Agency and a push from different groups including the Manitoba NDP, OmniTrax says they will only order the work to start if someone else is willing to foot the bill.


The Denver-based company has started the process to find a contractor to make the repairs, but maintain that they cannot afford the cost.


The Manitoba Government, along with Superior propane, has ordered a supply of fuel for the winter to arrive by sea, though the PC administration continues to say that finding a solution is the responsibility of Ottawa.


City Forming Committee To Look At Public Transit Within City

The City of Thompson is wasting no time when it comes to figuring out what public transit will look like come November.


Having recently received a letter from Greyhound saying that they are terminating the municipal transit contract with the City as of October 31st, mayor and council have announced a committee to identify and investigate potential solutions.


The committee will be made up of Councillors Wong, Matechuk, Byer, Kolada and Ellis as well as members of both City administration and the community.


At Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Fenske said that the options range from a direct replacement of the current service to the complete elimination of transit services within the City.


The chair of the committee will be announced next week.


Report: Ottawa To Announce New Statutory Holiday

It appears that Ottawa is moving from words to actions when it comes to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Trudeau Government is expected to announce the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which will become the sixth national statutory holiday.


The day is intended to mark the ruinous residential school legacy, and a statutory holiday is one of the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

There are two dates that have been named as possibilities, National Indigenous People’s Day on June 21st or Orange Shirt Day on September 30th.

It is reported that September 30th is the preferred date, as June 21st is three days before Saint Jean Baptiste day in Quebec, and just over a week before Canada Day. 


Ottawa says that they are working closely with the First Nations, Inuit and Metis people to ensure that the day is both meaningful and truthful.


10th Annual Burgers To Beat MS Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the annual Burgers to Beat MS day at A&W.

The fast food company will be donating $2.00 from every Teen Burger sold to multiple sclerosis research and support programs. Alternatively, people can make a contribution online by clicking here

A&W says that in addition to money from burgers purchased and online donations, they will donate two dollars every time a video of Canada soccer legend Christine Sinclair talking about the disease is shared, up to a total of $40,000.

This year marks the 10th year the Canadian company has partnered with the MS Society, and since 2009 the fundraiser has collected over $11M dollars for MS research and support programs. That number makes the day the largest annual corporate fundraiser for the MS Society of Canada.


Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world, with 1 in every 385 Canadian living with the disease.


Premier Brian Pallister Featured In Two-Part Thompson Today

Premier Brian Pallister was in Thompson last week to take part in one of three simultaneous press conferences announcing a new communications system for first responders.

The visit was met with mixed reactions, as some members of City Council were upset that he turned down a meeting with them, while others were happy that Pallister was once again north of the 55th parallel.

The Premier took time to sit down with Arctic Radio News to talk about his recent cabinet shuffle, the newly-announced rapid access to addiction medications (RAAM) clinics and the Province’s plan and vision for the north.

Part one of the two-part interview will air tomorrow afternoon at 12:40pm and again at 5:10pm during Thompson Today.


Province Announces Upgrades For Pisew Falls

You might notice construction the next time you visit Pisew Falls.

Manitoba Parks has announced that they are making the Provincial Park more accessible by replacing the existing staircases and boardwalk with a granular path.

The new path will not only feature a handrail, but also allow for those in wheelchairs to access the viewing platforms. 

Manitoba Parks says that the existing infrastructure will remain open during construction, and that the new upgrades will help make Pisew Falls accessible year-round.


Recycling Centre Open House Tomorrow

If you’ve ever wondered what happens once your recycling is picked up, tomorrow is your chance to find out.


The Thompson Recycling Centre is holding an open house from 11:00am until 2:00pm tomorrow, where you can take a tour of the facility.


The tours will feature the newly purchased and installed baler, as well as a birds-eye view of how recycling is processed.


There will be hot dogs, drinks and watermelon for those who come out, and they will be selling tickets for Juniper School’s Tabs for Wheelchairs Christmas Raffle.


The recycling centre is located at 16 Severn Crescent.


Gillam RCMP Ask For Help With Sexual Assault Investigation

Gillam RCMP are turning to the public for help in an investigation.


Moutnies in the community started an investigation into a sexual assault on August 5th, where it is believed that a 32-year-old female was assaulted in a wooded area near the trailer court in the early hours of the morning.


There is currently not a description of the suspect, and the RCMP are asking for anyone who knows anything to come forward.


A police spokesperson said that even the smallest detail could help the investigation, and that no one should assume that investigators have the information.


Anyone with information should call the Gillam RCMP detachment at 204-652-2436 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


MKO Organizing Search for Diane Bignell Tomorrow Morning

There will be a coordinated search effort for Diane Bignell tomorrow morning.


Bignell was reported as missing to the Thompson RCMP on May 20th, having last been seen in the Juniper area on May 17th.


Tomorrow’s search is being coordinated by MKO, and will be led by Ivan Hart and Wilson Moore. Both Hart and Moore are trained and experienced in search and rescue techniques.


Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Liaison with MKO, spoke to Arctic Radio News and said that the search will start at 7:30am outside the professional building, located at 55 Selkirk Drive. She added that anyone who wants to come and help will be welcomed.


Anderson-Pyrz said that if you can’t donate your time, they are looking for supplies such as gas, bottled water and life jackets. The full list of donations that are needed can be found below.


  • #14 hooks (x50)
  • Spool of 100ft floating rope
  • Spool of sideline
  • Life jackets (x8)
  • Knives (x6)
  • Submersible camera
  • Sonar equipment for victim recovery
  • 25L jerry cans (x10)
  • Cases of outboard motor oil (x2)
  • Gas
  • Bottled water
  • Food
  • Bug spray
  • Sun screen
  • First Aid kits
  • Cooler
  • Financial donations


If you’d like more information, you can give Anderson-Pyrz a call at 204-307-5919.




City Gets Cold Shoulder From Province

The relationship between the Province and the City took yet another step in the wrong direction when Premier Brian Pallister turned down a meeting with City officials while in Thompson last week.


Deputy Mayor Colleen Smook spoke to Arctic Radio News and said that they had more than just one or two things that needed to be discussed. She said that the biggest item they wanted to talk about was provincial funding for road work, with some of the other items including Thompson 2020, a restorative justice facility and the canceled northern consultation clinic.


Smook added that they found out just a few days before the visit that Pallister wouldn’t have time to meet, something that she says felt like a slap in the face.


The Premier was in Thompson the morning of August 8th, along with Ministers Jeff Wharton and Blaine Pedersen, to announce a new $380M communications system for first responders.






Liberals Say Province Is Making Excuses For Bell MTS

The newest MLA in the Legislature is saying that Manitobans shouldn’t be the ones financing Bell MTS’ $1B investment here in the province.


The statement from Dougald Lamont, the leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party, was released to the press moments after simultaneous press conferences in Thompson, Brandon and Winnipeg last week where the Pallister Government announced a new $380M contract with Bell for a new communication system for first responders.


Lamont said that the Pallister government has abandoned their commitment to improve rural cell phone service, saying that Bell MTS’ $1B investment announcement is $300M less than what MTS invested before the merger between 2011 and 2015.


He added that the province is seeing the same or worse cell service, and that that shouldn’t be a surprise as the Association of Manitoba Municipalities has been calling for improved cell service for years.


Lamont said that it appears that the government is moving towards a system of emergency services where Manitobans will only be warned or rescued if a private company can make tons of money while doing it.


City Council To Meet Tomorrow

Tomorrow is your only chance to satisfy your craving for municipal politics this month here in Thompson.
Thompson City Council is scheduled to meet tomorrow night, following a meeting of the Thompson Planning District.
The agenda that will be before council includes a report on the July cheque registers, as well as the second and third readings of an amendment to the financial assistance by-law. 
Council is also scheduled to vote on eleven different resolutions, which include the attendance of representatives at the Association of Manitoba Municipalities Fall Cities Caucus meeting scheduled to take place September 19th in Flin Flon.
The meeting will start at 7:00pm in Council Chambers at City Hall and all are welcome to attend.
The full agenda can be found by clicking here.


Greyhound Serves City Notice Of Contract Termination

It's now official; Greyhound will not be operating municipal transit buses here in Thompson as of October 31st.
The bus line, who is owned by the UK-based First Group, has officially given City officials notice that when the company pulls out of western Canada, they will be terminating their contract with the City of Thompson.
Thompson Bus said during their official announcement that they would consider taking over the municipal transit routes, though their recently-released limited service schedule only indicates inter-city routes.
Ontario-based Kasper Transportation quickly responded to Greyhound's announced departure by saying that they would operate a Thompson to Winnipeg route, though they have not said anything since.
The only Greyhound bus route that will continue to run past Halloween is a US-based service that runs from Seattle to Vancouver. 


OmniTrax To Start Rail Line Repairs This Month

According to a report, OmniTrax has said that they will start repairs on the washed-out rail line to Churchill this month.


The Denver-based corporation was ordered to repair the line by the Canadian Transportation Agency in June, and the company has said they have "made progress in soliciting four reputable and experienced contractors" to do the repair work.


The order from the CTA says that the US company, who bought the rail line 1997, must provide monthly progress reports on the repairs, and that if OmniTrax can't come up with the money for the repairs they have to put the line up for sale at a price set by Ottawa.


The recent report comes as talks regarding the sale of the rail line, and the Port of Churchill, seem to have stalled. 


Settee Named New MKO Grand Chief

Garrison Settee is the new grand chief of MKO.


The former Pimicikamak chief was elected to the top MKO job yesterday over Ted Bland, with Settee receiving 53 of the 89 possible votes.


Settee says that he ran on a platform of transformational change, and that he didn’t run for the title, but for the north.


He added that his ultimate goal is to make northern Manitoba a better place for First Nations families, and that that will mean Canada has to pay more attention to treaties, issues and concerns.


The vote took place during the MKO general assembly, which wraps up today on the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.


Settee and Bland were the only two to put their names forward after now former Grand Chief Sheila North decided to step down to run for AFN national cheif, a race that she ultimately lost.


Fenske: Executive Wage Increase In-Line With Unionized Wage Increase

City Council will vote on a resolution Monday to approve a 1.5% wage increase for executive staff with the City of Thompson.


The resolution was originally on the agenda for the last meeting, but was delayed one month.


Fenske added that the resolution was moved to this meeting as not everyone would have been talking and voting from a position of knowledge when it was originally on the agenda in July.


Mayor Fenske explained that the increase is annually based on an agreement between the city and local unions, giving the executive staff the same increase as unionized workers.


He added that he finds it interesting people are vocally opposing the resolution which would cost a total of $25k, yet were also vocally opposed when Council proposed city employees taking an additional 10 days off which would have saved the city around $500k.


Thompson Bus Announces Schedule Ahead Of September 1 Launch

Thompson Bus has announced what their schedule will look like when they start limited service as of September 1st.


They plan on operating passenger and freight service from Thompson to Cross Lake, Gillam and Winnipeg.


The Thompson to Winnipeg route will operate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with buses leaving Thompson at 10:00pm and arriving in Winnipeg around 7:00am the next morning.


Stops along the way will include Wabowden, Ponton, Grand Rapids and Ashern.


The Winnipeg to Thompson route will also operate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with buses leaving Winnipeg at 10:45pm and arriving in Thompson around 8:00am the next morning.


A one-way ticket to Winnipeg will cost $132.74, a trip to Gillam will cost $57.52 while a ticket to Cross Lake will set you back $44.25.


Thompson Bus says that there will be 30 seats available on each bus, a number that will be evaluated for use in the full service phase currently scheduled to start in November.


The local start-up says that their goals for this month, before they launch three weeks tomorrow, include obtaining the required documents to operate and the hiring of local staff. 








Premier Announces New Communications System For First Responders

There is a new communication system coming for first responders here in Manitoba.
Premier Brian Pallister was in Thompson yesterday to announce that the government has awarded the replacement of the FleetNet system to Bell Mobility at a cost of $380M.
The Premier said that ensuring the safety of Manitobans is the duty of the Province, and that this new digital two-way mobile radio system will provide expanded coverage over a more secure network.
Pallister said that the project was awarded based on tender, saying that Manitobans are smart shoppers who expect the government to do the same.
The new system will include radios with built-in GPS and advanced radio encryption, ensuring the safety of those using it.


YWCA Hosting Girlspace Junior Throughout August

There is a program running for girls aged nine through 12 two days a week until the end of august.


The YWCA Women’s Centre is offering girl space junior, every Monday and Wednesday afternoon from 1:30 to 4:30 until August 29th.


The time is intended as a girl-friendly environment for young girls to come together for activities like arts, crafts and movies.


Girl Space Junior is completely free, though there are limited spaces and a legal guardian must register the child in person.


For more information, you can call Freddy at 204-778-1209.


Construction A Sign Of Sustainability Outside Of Mining

There will be a new liquor store here in Thompson next year.


Mayor Dennis Fenske spoke to Arctic Radio News and gave updates on a few construction projects within the City, saying that the new liquor store is under construction in the City Centre Mall parking lot and that the work on Station Road will be finished by the end of September.


There is over $160M being invested in Thompson this year from the private and public sectors, which Mayor Fenske said is a sign that Thompson is sustainable outside of the mining industry.


Fenske added that the construction of the new wastewater treatment plant is both on schedule and budget, and that the progress on the structure can now be seen from the bridge.


7 Firearms Turned In During Amnesty Program In Northern Manitoba

Around 700 firearms and over 22,000 rounds of ammunition were collected by law enforcement during the Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police Gun Amnesty Program, though only seven came from the north.


The program, which ran through the month of June, allowed Manitobans to turn in any firearms or ammunition to police no questions asked, with most of what was collected destined to be destroyed.


There were no weapons turned in here in Thompson during the program, though three were collected in The Pas, two in Flin Flon and one each in Cranberry Portage and Churchill.


 Heather Stefanson, who was the Minister of Justice at the time, said that the Province takes the safety of families and communities very seriously, adding that the program was a great success.


Shoppers Drug Mart Hosting Lions Manor 55 Fundraiser

Shoppers Drug Mart is helping with a fundraiser for Lion’s Manor 55 this month.


Penny Byer, a member of the Lion’s Manor board, spoke to Arctic Radio News to explain what’s going on. She said that they have a fundraising initiate all month long at Shoppers Drug Mart, where you can buy a house card for two dollars at the checkout counter to support the project.


Byer said that construction on the seniors’ housing co-op is coming along nicely, with the windows, plumbing and electric work mostly done.


To learn more about the fundraiser and the project itself, make sure you listen to Thompson Today Tuesday afternoon at 12:14pm and 5:10pm only on 102.9 CHTM.


USW Local 6166 Boss Not Happy With Vale

Despite the temporarily rescinding 34 layoff notices, United Steelworkers Local 6166 President Warren Luky is not happy with Vale.


A spokesperson for Vale says that 34 workers, who were originally told they’d be out of work in September, have had their notices rescinded and will now be a part of the next round of layoffs at the end of 2018.


Luky says that there is frustration with how Vale is handling their communication with employees, adding that some union members were told they would be out of work and have made plans to or already had moved. He said that some have now received a letter saying that they have to come back to work or lose out on their severance package.


127 Vale employees were laid off July 31st when the smelter and refinery officially closed.


Lucas Named Finalist For Manitoba Tourism Award

A Thompsonite is one of only two northerners named as finalists for the 2018 Manitoba Tourism Awards.


Jasyn Lucas, who was nominated by Community Futures North Central Development (CFNCD) last month, has been named as a finalist in the Indigenous Tourism category. The local artist opened The Gift of Art (which serves an art gallery, studio and tattoo parlour) three years ago with his partner Nikki Brightnose.


A spokesperson for CFNCD said that they wanted to nominate Lucas as he is a great ambassador for Northern Manitoba, and sets an example for youth and the business community that it is possible to make a living doing what you’re passionate about. They added that the opening of the business enhanced both the art community and retail landscape here in Thompson.


The Indigenous Tourism Award is for those in Manitoba who are committed to sharing an authentic and realistic cultural activity and contribute to the promotion and advancement of Indigenous culture locally. The other two finalists in the category are the Manito Ahbee Festival (Winnipeg) and Traditional Trails (Winnipeg).


The only other northerner up for one of the awards is Mike Reimer of Churchill, who is a finalist for an individual award of distinction. 


Mac's Rebrands as Circle K

Mac’s here in Thompson is now Circle K.


The outdoor signs are now up at the store, completing the name transformation for the convenience store.


The change was planned back in 2015, when Mac’s owner Couche-Tard announced that they would be re-branding their stores as Circle K, a name that is used all around the world. The Quebec-based company said that they would have the stores re-branded as of 2017, though that was pushed to this year in most places across the country.


The change will come to the around 800 retail locations across the country, though nothing other than the name and logo are being impacted.


Recent Thompson Library Funding Announcement Part Of Annual Province-Wide Grant

A recent funding announcement from our MLA when it comes to funding for the Thompson Public Library isn’t as big as it was made out to be.


As a part of his July 27th report, Kelly Bindle said that Minister Cathy Cox approved over 120 thousand dollars in operational funding for the Thompson Public Library, something that the library’s administrator says is an annual grant.


Cheryl Davies said that while the library is grateful for the money, it is an annual grant that is provided to all libraries across Manitoba. She added that the grant amount has not increased in the past decade, and the City "supports the library twice that amount".


Bindle also spoke on the Mining Community Reserve Fund, and why Thompson does not qualify for funds from the account. Thompson Mayor Dennis Fenske told Arctic Radio News that this information had not been directly communicated to him or the City.


RCMP On Lookout For Impaired Boaters

You can expect the RCMP to be out in full force this August long weekend not only patrolling the roads, but also the waterways.


Constable Sandy Deibert, from the Thompson RCMP detachment, spoke to Arctic Radio News and said that a good chunk of boating fatalities in Canada are due to impairment.


She said the number is around 40%, and that both the Canadian Safe Boating Council and the RCMP are worried that the number could climb with the pending legalization of recreational cannabis. Constable Deibert added that they are also seeing a rise in the use and abuse of prescriptions drugs.


Deibert went on to say that impaired operation of a boat carries the same penalties as impaired operation of a motor vehicle. That means that if you get charged on the water, it could impact you on the roads as well.


To learn about Operation Dry Water, a joint effort from the Canadian Safe Boating Council and the RCMP, make sure to listen to Thompson Today at 12:40 and 5:10 tomorrow.


Contamination One Of Biggest Issues Facing Recycling Centre

The Thompson Recycling Centre says that one of their most pressing issues is the rate of contamination.


The contamination rate, which is the percentage of non-recyclables that arrive at the centre, currently sits at around 16% where it has been for the past few years.


Contamination rates across the country range from 3% in Saint John’s to 26% in Toronto, with Winnipeg coming in with a rate of 13%.


The Centre says that even though more people are making the effort to recycle here in Thompson, many people still end up including food and other garbage with their recycling, making more work for those who process the items.


Not only does the contamination lead to increased processing costs, but in the summer months the Recycling Centre says it often leads to other issues such as maggots, wasps, hornets and mice.


Fenske: Nothing Surprising In 2017 City Audit

The City of Thompson recently held a special meeting of the Finance and Administration Committee to review the audited financials for 2017.


Mayor Dennis Fenske spoke to Arctic Radio News following the meeting, and said there were two main suggestions made by the auditors.


The first suggestion made is that the City should do a better job of cataloguing inventory, as they are are a large organization that “carries a lot of items”.


Fenske said that the second suggestion was that they need to “tighten up” when it comes to outside agencies that the City funds. He added that the audit is consistently delayed as some agencies are late reporting their numbers, which is something the Mayor says the next City Council will have to look at improving upon.


Despite the suggestions, Fenske said that there were no surprises in what was presented, and that he gives a lot of credit to the City’s CFO Jenny Krentz for the work her and her staff do.


The audit will be reviewed for information by City Council at their next meeting on August 13th.


Registration Deadline Thursday For Thompson Golf Club 50th Events

The Thompson Golf Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend.


The weekend will kick off with a Friday evening scramble, followed by junior and reunion golf on Saturday, a social Saturday night. The celebration will wrap up Sunday with family golf.


To allow more people to take part in the golf events, the deadline to register was extended until August 2nd, this thursday, at noon.


If you’d like more information on the weekend, or would like to register, you can email or message the Thompson Golf Club on Facebook.


Registration Is Open For TSEP Fall Program

Registration is open for those wishing to take part in the fall program offered by the Thompson Supported Employment Program (TSEP).


TSEP has been around for more than two decades, and offers employment and pre-employment services to those in the community who face barriers when it comes to employment. The barriers can include anything from a learning disability to hearing loss.


Their program is 12 weeks long, and those taking part learn valuable skills such as public speaking, teamwork, budgeting, resume writing and interview skills.The program is limited to eight participants.


If you’d like more information on the program, including how to register, you can either call 204-677-8322 or send a message to the Thompson Supported Employment Program Facebook page.


Tyler Doran and Natalie Legace, from TSEP, joined Arctic Radio News to talk about the program recently. That interview will air as a two-part Thomson Today, with part one airing tomorrow and part two coming on Thursday.


Thompson Today runs every weekday on 102.9 CHTM at 12:40pm and then again at 5:10pm.


Police Watchdog Investigating Nelson House RCMP

The Independent Investigation Unit is investigating following the arrest of a 20-year-old in Nelson House.


RCMP in the community responded to a complaint of an intoxicated male in a residence Saturday, and officers were required to use force to control the suspect.


The suspect was later transported to the Nelson House nursing station, where he was treated for a fracture in his right hand.


Nelson House RCMP informed the IIU the next day, and even though a fracture is not considered a serious injury the unit’s civilian director determined that it is in the interest of the public to investigate.


The investigation is ongoing.


Search Resumes For Dianne Bignell

The search continues today for a missing woman. 


60-year-old Dianne Mae Bignell has been missing since May 17th, with a report made to the Thompson RCMP detachment three days later. 


Family, friends and volunteers have been searching Thompson and the surrounding area since, without any major breakthroughs. 


If you would like to help with the search or make a donation, you're asked to head to the "Search For Diane Bignell #1" group on Facebook.


Fire Destroys Ponton Service Station

A northern Manitoba landmark is gone following a fire. 


The Ponton Service Station, located at the intersection of highways 6 and 39, went up in flames Saturday after the fire spread from two trucks in the back parking lot. 


The fire was contained to the building, and water bombers were used to battle the flames. 


A spokesperson for Cross Lake First Nation, who owns the station, said that even though it’s heartbreaking, they will rebuild. 


The spokesperson said that it shouldn’t be a problem getting to the next service station in the summer months, but that they “better build something before the winter”. 



Steps To Success Offers 11 Classes In August

With the start of a new month comes a new set of classes offered by the Steps to Success program.


There are 11 scheduled classes being offered this month, with topics ranging from spelling tips to keyboarding.


The first class for August will be on Thursday, where the instructors will teach social media from nine until noon.


Below is the full list of the classes being offered this month:

  • Social Media (August 2, 9:00am-12:00pm)
  • Microsoft Word (Thursdays, August 9-30, 1:00pm-3:00pm)
  • Using APA (August 28, 1:00pm-3:00pm)
  • Spelling Tips (August 7, 9:00am-3:00pm)
  • Learners’ Permit Prep (Fridays, August 10-31, 9:00am-12:00pm)
  • Punctuation (August 14, 9:00am-3:00pm)
  • Resumes, Cover Letters and Interview Skills (August 15, 9:00am-3:00pm)
  • PowerPoint (August 13, 9:00am-3:00pm)
  • Essay Writing (August 21, 9:00am-3:00pm)
  • Excel (August 20&27, 10:00am-3:00pm)
  • Keyboarding (Fridays, 9:00am-3:00pm)


In addition to the eleven different classes, Steps to Success is offering learning lunches, which will cover either job search skills or conversational English depending on the day of the week.


If you’d like more information, or would like to register for a class, you can call 204-677-5016.


All of the classes are free to attend, though you are asked to register.


Province Announces Almost $250k For Thompson

There is money coming from the Province for Thompson, just not from the Mining Community Reserve Fund.


In a recent report, Thompson MLA Kelly Bindle said that Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton has approved just over $125,000 dollars for four different projects; $9,811 to the City of Thompson for change room upgrades at the Norplex Pool, $15,626 to Thompson Early Learning and Child Care Centre for a new outdoor natural playground, $50,000 to the Legion for washroom upgrades and $50,000 to the humane society for shelter upgrades.


Bindle also mentioned that Cathy Cox, the Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage, has approved $122,763 in operation funding for the Thompson Public Library.


The PC MLA then turned to the Mining Community Reserve Fund, saying that the City of Thompson does not qualify for funding, as the Mining Tax Act states that the funds are only available in situations where ore deposits have been depleted.


This differs from what both Blaine Pedersen (Minister, Growth, Enterprise and Trade) and Dave Dyson (Deputy Minister, Growth, Enterprise and Trade) have said, which is that there isn’t enough money in the reserve.


Read: Pedersen Clarifies Mining Community Reserve Fund Decision


Bindle concluded by saying that northern Manitoba has “tremendous untapped potential”, and that the government is committed to breaking down barriers for economic growth and new job creation in the north.


Vaccine Levels Above 80% For Children In Northern Manitoba

Childhood vaccine rates here in northern Manitoba are high according the Northern Health Region.


Stats from the NRHA say that the rates are in the 80-95% range, and vary depending on age and the type of vaccine.


The health region says that those numbers are very good, and are "reflective of our strong public health and community efforts".


The Medical Officers of Health for the region, Doctor Randy Gesell and Doctor Michael Isaac, said that high rates of vaccine coverage provides both individual and herd immunity, which protects those in the community who are more vulnerable to infection.


The World Health Organization recently released statistics for 2017, saying that just over 50 percent of the world has been vaccinated for measles and rubella, and that 20 million children worldwide did not receive full immunization last year.


Fenske: Thompson judged for one square block with Crime Severity Index

The 2017 Crime Severity Index has been released, and Thompson is once near the top.


Thompson ranks first in violent crime, second in non-violent crime and second overall for communities with a population over 10,000.


Mayor Dennis Fenske spoke to Arctic Radio News, and said that Thompson’s numbers keep going up every year, with two main issues driving the increase. Fenske said that 15% of the increase is mischief, while 9% is assaults.


He said that when you look deeper into those statistics, addiction and mental health issues are often at the root of the problem. Fenske added that the City will continue to push for additional support for local groups like the CMHA and homeless shelter so they can better help those in need.


The Mayor repeated something he’s said every year; do you feel any less safe today than you did yesterday? Fenske said that for the most part people feel safe here. He said that when it comes to the index, Thompson is judged by one square block which is centred around the Canadian Tire Parking lot.


North Battleford, SK once again remained first overall, with all cities in the top ten located in western Canada.


Bellegarde Re-Elected As AFN National Chief

Perry Bellegarde has been re-elected as the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.


Bellegarde, a member of Little Black Bear First Nation in southern Saskatchewan, won in the second ballot garnering 328 of the 522 votes cast.


He was first elected in 2014, when he received the support of over 60% of voters in the first ballot.


MKO Grand Chief Sheila North finished second with 125 votes, while Miles Richardson finished third with 59.


Russ Diabo, who finished with only 10 votes in the second ballot, claimed that Carolyn Bennett, the federal minister of crown-Indigenous affairs, interfered with the election by meeting with the Alberta delegation before the first ballot.


New Northern Affairs Minister Represents Southern Riding

It turns out that Dominic Leblanc, the new Minister Northern and Indigenous Affairs, has joined a long line of people to hold the profile while representing a southern riding.


Leblanc, who was born in Ottawa and represents a riding in New Brunswick, took over the role recently during a cabinet shuffle by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


He took over the profile from Carolyn Bennett, who was born in and represents an upper-class riding in Toronto.


There are at least three Liberal MP’s currently representing northern regions including the Northwest Territories and Yukon.


MPI Urges Drivers Not To Drive While Drowsy

Manitoba Public Insurance is urging drivers to stay awake while behind the wheel.


According to the crown corporation, a recent poll suggests that half of the 800 people surveyed admit to driving while feeling drowsy at least once including while driving on long road trips.


MPI Vice President Ward Keith says that traffic on highways typically increases during the summer months and that some may be tempted to push themselves to drive longer to get where they’re going more quickly.  He added that they strongly encourage all drivers to act responsibly, and to pull over and rest when you become too tired to drive.


Fatigue warning signs to watch for include uncontrollable yawning, trouble keeping your eyes open, drifting within your lane and not being able to remember the last few kilometres that have passed.


There is an average of 83 collisions annually due to driver fatigue in Manitoba, and statistics indicate that over the past decade around seven of those crashes every year result in a fatality or serious injury.


Gateway Bible Baptist VBS Starts Tomorrow

Gateway Church is holding their annual Vacation Bible School this week.


The program, which is open to children ages four through twelve, will take place from tomorrow until Sunday from 6:00pm to 8:00pm daily at the church, located on Cree Road beside the Manitoba Métis Federation building.


Registration is free, and can either be done in advance or at the door.


Activities will include crafts, outdoor games and adventure-filled stories.


The VBS will start tomorrow and end on Sunday with grilled hotdogs for the children and their parents/guardians.


For more information, you can visit or call 204-677-3000.


Company Plans To Open Cannabis Retail Location In Thompson

Plans are in the works for a cannabis retail store to be open in town by the end of the year.


Delta 9 Cannabis Inc., one of the four marijuana companies conditionally approved for sales here in Manitoba, say that Thompson is one of four locations that they are planning.


Delta 9 CEO John Arbuthnot said that Thompson may seem like an unattractive location to open up shop, but it’s strategically important as Thompson serves as the hub of the north.


Arbuthnot added that they will have an online portal available October 17th, the date of legalization, and that his company will offer mail order delivery to every corner of the province.


The company, which has a contract to supply over two million grams of cannabis provincial in the first year of legalization, says that they will be announcing the proposed location of the Thompson location at some point soon.


Delta 9 plans on opening two stores in Winnipeg and one in Brandon in addition to the Thompson location once marijuana becomes legal in October.


Liberals Call For Feds and Province To Step Up And Support Transit Outside Of The Perimeter

The Manitoba Liberal Party is calling on both the Pallister and Trudeau governments to step up to the plate when it comes to funding for rural and northern transportation.


They say that currently there is support from all levels of government for transit in Winnipeg, but that investments must be made in rural and northern transportation so that “Manitobans outside the perimeter can afford to travel”.


Kewatinook MLA Judy Klassen says that even though northern bus companies have started to say they’ll operate in the region, support from all levels of government is needed. She added that if a large company like Greyhound can’t afford to service northern routes, money is needed to make sure the smaller operations can survive.


Liberal leader and recently elected MLA for St. Boniface Dougald Lamont suggests that a portion of the almost $250M in expected revenue from the proposed Manitoba Carbon Tax could be used to provide support for inter-city bus service. He added that those in the Legislature need to govern for everyone, and not just those who live in urban centres.


Lamont went on to say that investment in inter-city bus transportation would eliminate what he calls a double standard that "currently treats northern and rural residents as second-class citizens".


Ron Schuler, the provincial Minister of Infrastructure, has said that the province won’t be providing subsidies and that they won’t “get in the way of business”. When asked about the situation, Prime Minister Trudeau said that he has asked Federal Transportation Minister Marc Garneau to work with the provinces to try and find a solution.


Two companies, including a local Thompson start-up, have said that they will be serving the north when Greyhound shuts down service in October, though there is not currently any information on what operations will look like for either company.


Thompson RCMP Seize Over 4000 Unmarked Cigarettes

Charges are pending following the seizure of over 4000 unmarked cigarettes.


Thompson RCMP pulled over a van without licence plates early Saturday morning near the Miles Hart Bridge and conducted a traffic stop. 


During the stop, officers discovered and seized around 4100 unmarked cigarettes. The investigation is ongoing and charges are pending under the Tobacco Tax Act. 


Local Artist Nominated For Provincial Award

Jasyn Lucas has been nominated for a Manitoba Tourism award.


The local artist, who opened The Gift of Art (which serves an art gallery, studio and tattoo parlour) three years ago with his partner Nikki Brightnose, is nominated for the Indigenous Tourism Award.


The nomination came from Community Futures North Central Development (CFNCD), who helped him get his business off the ground.


A spokesperson for CFNCD said that they wanted to nominate Lucas as he is a great ambassador for Northern Manitoba, and sets an example for youth and the business community that it is possible to make a living doing what you’re passionate about.


They added that the opening of the business enhanced both the art community and retail landscape here in Thompson.


The Indigenous Tourism Award is for those in Manitoba who are committed to sharing an authentic and realistic cultural activity and contribute to the promotion and advancement of Indigenous culture locally.


Photo of a mural painted by Lucas on the side of a local business, courtesy of


39th AFN General Assembly Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow marks the start of the Assembly of First Nation’s 39th Annual General Assembly in Vancouver.


The three day event will start with a candidate’s forum, where the five candidates for National Chief will have one last chance to try and garner votes. There are 635 voting members of AFN, and at least 60% of votes cast are needed to elect the National Chief.  


Two of the five candidates are women and both come from First Nations here in Manitoba; former AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Katherine Whitecould and Sheila North, who became the first female MKO Grand Chief in 2015.


The ballot also includes incumbent National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Russ Diabo and Miles Richardson.


The voting will happen Wednesday starting at 9:00am Pacific, with the results expected to be announced at some point throughout the afternoon.


The assembly will conclude Thursday, following a discussion on resolutions and the closing ceremonies.


Mike Bourgon To Assume Mantle Of Thompson Fire Chief Next Month

There will be a new fire chief here in Thompson this time next month.


City Council has officially passed a resolution which will make now soon-to-be former Deputy Chief Mike Bourgon the new director of Fire and Public Safety as of August 13th.


Speaking to Arctic Radio News, Deputy Mayor Colleen Smook explained why he was the right choice.


Smook said that Bourgon is the right choice as he has been mentoring under Chief Maskerine for many years, and that the City is happy when they can promote from within rather than having to look to bring someone in from the outside.


She added that there was some discussion before the resolution was passed, and was focused on what Bourgon’s official title would be. Smook said that the Municipal Act, which comes from the Province, says that the City needs to have a Fire Chief while the City of Thompson uses the Director of Fire and Public Safety title.


The Deputy Mayor said that director of Fire and Public Safety is a better fit as the CSO’s and By-Law officers also fall under the jurisdiction of the fire department.


Mike Bourgon has been with the Thompson Fire Department for over ten years, and he will be taking over from John Maskerine, who has served as a firefighter in Thompson since 1969.



Police Watchdog Clears Two Northern RCMP Officers

Two northern RCMP officers have been cleared following investigations by the Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) of Manitoba.


Both officers, one from the Thompson detachment and one from Norway House, were the subject of an investigation for separate incidents where the suspects had been injured.


Officers received a call to remove an intoxicated and unwanted man from a residence here in Thompson in mid-March, and had to use force when the suspect ran and resisted arrest. The suspect was treated for a broken rib at Thompson General, prompting the IIU investigation.


The incident in Norway House took place last October where the suspect tripped and fell while attempting to run through bushes and rocks, breaking multiple ribs and puncturing a lung.


In both cases the IIU’s civilian director, Zane Tessler, concluded that there are insufficient grounds for charges to be laid against the officers.


New Local Bus Company Launched

Despite the loss of Greyhound service, Thompsonites will have more options for transportation come the fall.


The company is being run by Jimmy Pelk, Vipan Sikri and Siddharth Varma, who started TBL to fill the need that they saw arise by the recent Greyhound announcement.


The announcement was made yesterday at City Hall by Pelk and Varma that the new company, Thompson Bus Limited (TBL), will start limited service September 1st with full operation the day after Greyhound locks their doors.


At the announcement, Pelk said that one of the most important things for their new company is that it’s transportation for Thompsonites by Thompsonites. He added that their main goal is to meet the needs of the consumer.


Pelk, the general manager of Twin Motors Thompson, said that they don’t currently know what vehicles will be in the TBL fleet or how much a trip will cost. He said that those decision will be made later once they know what is needed.


Councillor Duncan Wong was one of four City Council members in attendance and asked if Thompson Bus would consider running municipal transit routes. Varma responded with a resounding, and quick, yes. Deputy Mayor Colleen Smook spoke to Arctic Radio News yesterday, and said that there are internal discussions being held, but no announcements have been made as to what will happen to Thompson City Transit once Greyhound leaves.


The initial release from Thompson Bus says that they plan on providing service to medical facilities in Winnipeg, Richardson International Airport, surrounding hotels and the Polo Park Shopping Centre.


TBL said that their primary focus will be transportation to and from Thompson, though they would be open to expanding to areas like Flin Flon or The Pas should the demand be there.


The announcement comes 10 days after Greyhound announced that they will end all service in the prairies as of October 31st, and nine days after Ontario-based Kasper Transportation announced that they would be starting a Winnipeg-Thompson bus route.


Manitoba Chiefs Elect Regional Chief of Assembly of First Nations

Kevin Hart has retained his position as Manitoba Chief for the Assembly of First Nations.


The election took place yesterday at the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs’ annual general assembly.


Hart won on the second ballot with 33 of 55 possible votes.


He was up against two other candidates - Nelson Genaille,  chief of Sapotaweyak Cree Nation, and David Harper, the former grand chief of MKO.


Next week, there will be an election in Vancouver for the national leader of the Assembly of First Nations.   


Five candidates are in the running including incumbent Perry Bellegarde, Miles Richardson, Russell Diabo, Sheila North and Katherine Whitecould.


Ottawa Announces Increase To Canada Child Benefit

If you receive the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) from the federal government, you might notice a little bit more on your next cheque.


Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has announced that the CCB will be increased to keep up with the cost of living; that means that there is now a maximum annual benefit of  $6,496 for every child under six, and $5,481 for those between six and 17.


Duclos said that the increase will mean more money for Canadian families starting tomorrow, and that the government is committed to quote ensuring that this tax-free benefit continues to help the middle class and people who are working hard to join it.


Employment and Social Development Canada says that CCB provides over $23B annually to 3.7M families and that the program has helped lift over half a million people out of poverty.


The CCB has helped nine out of ten Canadian families give their children a better start in life, and the program has been recognized by organizations such as the International Fund and the Bank of Canada as a key contributor when it comes to strengthening the middle class.


Alistair Ross New Head Of Vale For Thompson

Tomorrow marks the end of an era for Vale’s Manitoba Operations.


Mark Scott will no longer be an employee of Vale, having served as the vice president of Manitoba Operations since February 2016.


The mining giant recently announced changes in their North Atlantic operations, which included the elimination of Scott’s role; vice president of Manitoba Operations.


Scott first joined the mining industry in 2001, working then for Inco in a human resources role based in Ontario.


Alistair Ross is the new head of mining operations for the Brazilian mining giant’s North Atlantic division, which includes Thompson and Sudbury.


Ross was previously the director of Ontario mining operations, and will be reporting directly to the director of North Atlantic and Asia refineries Ricus Grimbeek.


There are questions being raised as to the structure of Vale’s Manitoba Operations, though a spokesperson said that things are still being finalized and decisions will be made public in the coming weeks.


Grimbeek said that Vale cannot work the same way they have in the past during what he calls “a period of fundamental change”.



Manitoba Chiefs to Vote for Regional Chief of Assembly of First Nations

There are three men running for the position of Manitoba chief at the Assembly of First Nations, who will be elected today by the chiefs of the province's 63 First Nations.


Incumbent Kevin Hart is seeking a second term, running against Nelson Genaille, chief of Sapotaweyak Cree Nation, and David Harper, the former grand chief of MKO.


The election takes place ahead of voting next week for a new national leader of the Assembly of First Nations.


The Assembly of First Nations represents 634 First Nations across Canada. There are 10 regional chiefs, each with a seat on the AFN's executive committee.


The election for the Manitoba regional chief will take place during the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs' annual general meeting at the South Beach Casino and Resort on Brokenhead First Nation.


National Drowning Prevention Week

National Drowning Prevention Week kicked off in Manitoba with the announcement of a troubling statistic Tuesday.


Children under four in Manitoba are drowning at a rate more than three times the national average, according to Kevin Tordiffe, a spokesperson for the Lifesaving Society's provincial branch.


The information is based on coroner's reports from across the country.


Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires said the province is starting a life-jacket loaner program at Spruce Woods Provincial Park.


The program, which lends life-jackets free of charge, is already available at Bakers Narrows, Gyles Lake and Birds Hill Provincial Park.


Rotary Club's MDHIO

David Platford can claim bragging rights after coming out on top of the Rotary Club of Thompson’s latest Million Dollar Hole in One event.


He and a number of Thompson golfers took part in the semi-final event at the Thompson Golf Club Saturday evening.  


Platford came closest to the pin during the semis with a distance of 1 foot and 2 inches.  


He was followed by Kenton Fayant at 3 feet 5 and a half inches from the hole and  Scott Marcinyshyn (Mar-sin-ish-in) at 6 feet 5 and a quarter inches from the hole.


In the finals, it was Platford first, Fayant at second and Marcinyshyn at third.


Thompsonite To Compete In 2018 Miss Teen Canada Globe Competition

A Thompsonite is headed to Toronto next month to vie for the title of Miss Teen Canada Globe.


Avery Lagimodiere, a student at Burntwood School, will be entering her first pageant following experience in both dance and figure staking.


According to her mother, Avery has always expressed interest in pageants though hasn’t been able to make it to audition locations.


The 13-year-old, who admits that she’s nervous about the competition, says that she wants to be a role model for Aboriginal girls her age, show them not to be scared to go out, and to simply be you.


Each participant of the contest, which runs from August 16th through the 26th, will be judged based on traditional pageant criteria like interview skills, a unique talent and evening gown attire.


Brandon Crescent Construction Scheduled To Be Complete By Monday

The City of Thompson says that they hope to have construction finished in the Brandon Crescent area by Monday.


Work started to renew water and sewer connections in the area on July 6th, which should be done at the start of next week.  


The Fox Bay area is also currently under construction, as work is underway on water main renewal.


Other work to come this summer includes major repairs to Station Road and the continuation of work on the new water treatment plant.


Jerry Primrose To Run For NCN Chief

Jerry Primrose is looking to once again take charge.


The former NCN Chief, who stepped down before the 2014 election, has entered the race to be the next chief.


Primrose was chief for 16 years before he stepped down, and says that he is running after a time of personal reflection and input from family.


He said that some of the major issues he’s looking to tackle if elected are housing and recreation.


Primrose says that if elected, he would ask for input from the entire community when it comes to things like alcohol.


Hudson Bay Railway President Says Talks Are Back On

According to the Hudson Bay Railway, negotiations are once again on.


Sergio Sabatini, the president of HBR, told the media earlier this week that negotiations for the sale of the rail line resumed between OmniTrax and a consortium including Northern First Nations on Monday.


Sabatini said that they believe that an expeditious transfer of ownership is best for all concerned and that they are doing everything they can to make it happen.


HBR also confirmed that a request for proposal has been sent out for repairs, though they still plan on appealing the recent order to repair the line.


Sabatini said that by issuing the request and the repair process, it puts both HBR and OmniTrax in the best position to complete a transaction.


Vale Introduces Three New Scholarships For Indigenous Graduates

There are now three more opportunities for Indigenous graduates to get a head start on their post-secondary education.


During the recent graduation ceremony for RD Parker Collegiate, Vale Manitoba Operations announced three new scholarships, which were created as a result of the Thompson Aboriginal Accord.


Kiya Spence, who recently graduated in Nelson House was the recipient of the first ever $1000 James Spence Scholarship.


Cross Lake graduate Andrea Genaille was awarded the $1000 Vale Manitoba Operations Henry Cook Award, while the third scholarship, which will be named after Robert Snowshoe Parenteau, will be handed out this summer during the Manitoba Metis Federation’s regional meeting.


The Thompson Aboriginal Accord, and the three new scholarships, put a large emphasis on recognizing historical figures who contributed to the community in a meaningful way.


Man Walking To Winnipeg From Leaf Rapids

A man is on his way to Winnipeg from Leaf Rapids to raise awareness for a northern First Nation.


33-year-old David Bighetty’s trek will end at the Manitoba Legislature, and he hopes to raise awareness about the community of Granville Lake.


Bighetty, who has been living in Leaf Rapids since an evacuation of his home in 2003, says that many former Granville Lake residents are waiting for financial compensation, and that some are still paying rent on properties they haven’t lived in for over a decade.


He said that being displaced from his home hit him hard, and he hopes that future generations will be able to return home. He added that he wants to go home, but can’t because there is no construction for housing or water and sewage infrastructure.


Bighetty made his way through Thompson last weekend, and hopes to be in Winnipeg by early August.


LIGA Committee To Meet Tomorrow

Tomorrow marks the lone meeting for the City of Thompson’s Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs (LIGA) committee this month.


The agenda includes a letter Federal Transportation Minister Marc Garneau, as well as an invitation for Mayor Fenske to attend the Northern Association of Community Councils 48th Annual General Assembly and Information Expo.  


The committee will also review a letter from Manitoba Sustainable Development about the Northeast Management Plans and proposed Park Boundary Expansions, and an invitation to attend an asset management readiness assessment workshop hosted by the Association of Manitoba Municipalities.


The meeting is scheduled for 3:45pm in Council Chambers at City Hall.


The full agenda can be found by clicking here.


Kasper Transportation To Start Thompson-Winnipeg Route October 31

When one company leaves, another steps up to the plate.


Following Monday’s announcement from Greyhound that they would be ending all service in the Prairies, Kasper Transportation announced that they will offer service between Thompson and Winnipeg.


The Pickle Lake, Ontario-based company, whose website says they are the second largest bus operator in northern Ontario, says that in addition to the Winnipeg-Thompson route, they will also be operating between Winnipeg and Thunder Bay as well as Winnipeg to Prince Albert via Regina and Saskatoon.


The new routes, in addition to one between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg, will be in operation as of October 31st, the day Greyhound says that they’re closing up shop.


Bindle Takes To Facebook To Continue MCRF Feud

Thompson MLA Kelly Bindle continued the back and forth between the Province and the City of Thompson about the Mining Community Reserve Fund, this time on Facebook.


The PC MLA took time to comment using his own personal account, saying that the City’s request for economic development money was quote vague, and that someone has to protect the taxpayer.


Mayor Dennis Fenske spoke to Arctic Radio News, and said that the Mining Community Reserve Fund doesn’t impact the taxpayer at all, as it is entirely funded by the mining companies operating in Manitoba.


Fenske added that he takes offense to Bindle’s comment that “the City has not presented a plan to come to balance without bailouts over the long term”. Mayor Fenske said that the requested funds ($1M per year for 2019, 2020, 2021) will go directly to offset revenue lost from the Grant in Lieu.


He added that if Thompson can’t make up the money lost in the new GIL, there could be upwards of a 10% tax increase.


Bindle, who serves as the Legislative Assistant to the Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade, said that there are other ways the Province is going to help the City, but they cannot be announced due to the by-election media blackout. He added that the St Boniface by-election was caused when “another NDP MLA quit.”


In his most recent “MLA Report” for The Thompson Citizen, Bindle said that “It’s important to note the depletion of the reserve fund is due to the fact that the NDP did absolutely nothing when it was in government to prepare for the impacts on the mining industry that Northern Manitoba is currently experiencing.




Lamp Vacation Bible School Running This Week

There is still an opportunity for your child to take part in vacation Bible school.


Lamp VBS is running all this week from 9:00am until 12:00pm at St James Anglican Church.


It’s for kids aged five through 12, though preschool children must be accompanied by an adult.


Registration is free, and the children get to experience crafts, games, stories, snacks and more.


Open House Set For Tomorrow

There is an opportunity tomorrow to learn about the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities and the Thompson Supported Employment Program.


From 10:00am until 2:00pm, you can drop by their office (located on the third floor of the professional building across the street from McDonald’s) and learn about their programs.


They will be handing out champion of diversity awards at 12:15pm, which are for employers who promote diversity and inclusion in the work force.


Light refreshments will be served, and you can get more information by calling 204-778-4277.



Niki Ashton Calls Out Pat Broe, OmniTrax

Niki Ashton is not happy with the recent announcement from Denver-based OmniTrax that the deal to sell the rail link to Churchill has fallen through.


Ashton spoke to the media following a visit to Churchill, where she singled out both OmniTrax and its owner Pat Broe. She said that their words have been nothing more than a bullying tactic, and that OmniTrax owner Pat Broe is nothing more than a “two-bit Donald Trump wanna-be”.


The local M.P. said that Churchill is “breaking” due to how OmniTrax and the federal government are handling the situation. She added that there is now an increased reliance on the food bank, and that a once proud community has now been reduced to trying to make do with whatever gets donated.


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