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'Derby' designation made moose mess

ON second thought, maybe calling it a "moose derby" wasn't such a good idea.

That's the sentiment of Bloodvein First Nation Chief Roland Hamilton who tried to bring a little fun and interest in the community's annual moose hunt.

The "derby," which offered a prize of $5,000 for the biggest moose killed, is out. It's now just a moose harvest.

"It was just that one word," Hamilton said Wednesday. "It got blown out of proportion. It's the same thing as people going out and hunting deer and competing for the biggest antlers. The only difference is they have to buy a licence."

Hamilton also said the derby and its prize money were planned to entice more people in the community to participate and to offset their costs.

"For people to go out hunting, it's getting very costly," he said, listing the price of gasoline for boats and ammunition. Some hunters even pay about $2,000 to fly by float plane to hunt on their remote traplines.

Hamilton said the prize money that was to be offered -- second prize would earn $2,000, third prize $1,000 and the smallest moose killed would earn $500 -- came out of the band's own funds, which include revenue from the South Beach Casino.

"It was not from federal funding. It was not from tax dollars."


Mail-out from Katz outlines record

MAYOR Sam Katz's office has sent Winnipeggers a mail-out dubbed the "State of the City Report."

The eight-page document, which extols the city's record on a number of policy fronts, began appearing in mailboxes Tuesday.

Katz told reporters Wednesday morning the brochures cost $28,000 to produce. He said he was not aware of the postage cost.

The mayor's office has a discretionary budget -- as well as access to a policy and communications budget.

Katz has not yet stated whether he will seek a fourth term in office next year. Winnipeggers go to the polls in October 2014.

Potential candidates in that race include Couns. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) and Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo), lawyer and former St. Vital councillor Gord Steeves, privacy lawyer Brian Bowman and former NDP MP and MLA Judy Wasylycia-Leis, who ran against Katz in 2010.

All five have said they are considering a run. The registration period does not begin until May 2014.


Smoke-shop defiance outlined

BRANDON -- A special investigator for Manitoba Finance says the first in a series of raids on a controversial aboriginal-run smoke shop seemed to do nothing to faze one of the leaders allegedly involved in its operation.

Scott Connors testified Wednesday at a voir dire in the trial of five men from the Canupawakpa Dakota First Nation who are charged under the Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act.

They are accused of possessing and selling unmarked tobacco, among other charges.

Connors said that after the first raid, then-chief Franklin Brown told him the Dakota Chundee Smoke Shop would remain open because the band had the right to provide for its people by selling cigarettes.

He said Brown also seemed upset at having to talk to Manitoba Finance staffers and felt he should be talking to someone higher in the department.

Associate Chief Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta, who is hearing the case without a jury, will rule later on whether the testimony of the voir dire will be admissible as evidence.

Supporters of the accused have described the now-defunct smoke shop as an expression of Dakota sovereignty and a means to speed up treaty negotiations with the federal government.

-- staff / wire services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 19, 2013 A10

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