Bartley Kives

  • CentreVenture boss got a lot done

    In the U.K., the term "quango" is tossed around as a pejorative way to describe quasi-non-governmental organizations -- agencies that fulfil some of the functions of government without actually being a part of it. Downtown development agency CentreVenture can be described variously and accurately as Winnipeg's most powerful, effective and controversial quango.
  • Tolkiening it to the next level

    Given that Bilbo Baggins appears near the beginning of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, it isn't much of a spoiler to suggest the happy-go-lucky halfling survives the final film in The Hobbit trilogy. Part of the enjoyment in watching J.R.R. Tolkien's vision unfold on screens is you pretty much know what will happen.
  • Hot stuff

    In a tangible sign of glasnost pervading the City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service allowed reporters inside one of the new stations built under a widely excoriated construction program. Earlier this week, the city took two media outlets on a tour of Station No. 11, the largest and most expensive of four new fire-paramedic stations built during the past five years for $18.6 million.
  • Many queries, few answers in police-HQ probe

    As new clouds hover over city hall, it's fair to question the Winnipeg Police Service investigation of allegations surrounding the city's new police headquarters. The $210-million HQ is the single most expensive and complex file under the microscope of the RCMP as they pore over a trio of external audits into major City of Winnipeg construction projects and real estate transactions.
  • Clunis's vital reality check

    As hundreds of First Nations chiefs gather in this city, an extraordinary Winnipeg Police Board demand to improve the protection of indigenous women is overshadowing an even more remarkable Winnipeg Police Service response. Last week, the police board approved a motion to "better protect" indigenous women and girls from violence and exploitation and strengthen "activities targeted at solving cases" of the missing and murdered.
  • It's the little things that count

    If the people in your life need a really expensive piece of outdoor gear, do them a favour and make them buy the damn thing themselves. Seriously. No one should ever choose something so personal and picky as a tent or down-filled jacket for somebody else. Your friends and loved ones are going to buy this stuff themselves.
  • 'Foreign' invasions time-proven strategy

    No matter where Premier Greg Selinger looks, his support is evaporating. Key cabinet members have resigned. Senior party members are planning motions against him. The populace at large is skeptical of his efforts to cling to power.
  • PETA message seen as half-baked

    In an era in which any kid with an iPhone has unlimited access to hard-core porn, it seems quaint to freak out over a couple of underdressed women engaged in street theatre. Over the noon hour Wednesday, two women in their 20s stood outside Portage Place in cocktail dresses and handed out slices of vegan pizza in an attempt to raise awareness about animal cruelty.
  • Mr. Happy's smile turns upside down

    Given the euphoria of a huge election-night victory and the flurry of activity that comes with assuming office, Mayor Brian Bowman can be forgiven for appearing giddy. In the past few weeks, Winnipeg's new mayor has posed for more selfies than Kim Kardashian, promoted a budding bromance with NDP MLA Kevin Chief and spoken in glowing terms about his optimism for the city.
  • Zoo has faults, but it's not all bad

    During the long period of decline when the City of Winnipeg failed to adequately fund Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg's zoo was a major downer. A long row of iron bird cages appeared to be a cruel apparition from the Victorian age. A pair of tree kangaroos were perched behind Plexiglass in a fake eucalyptus propped in front of a painted-on background of phony foliage.
  • You want him to put on pants? Oh, bother

    For much of European history, the people of Poland have lived in fear of a powerful bear on its eastern flank. Now, one Polish town is frightened by a bear that wears nothing below its flanks.
  • MTS Centre not the only megaproject contributing to the rebirth of downtown

    BY any metric you dream up, the MTS Centre is the most successful sports-and-entertainment venue ever erected in Winnipeg, a city where megaprojects tend to be messed up just as often as they’re managed properly. The downtown arena is among the busiest major concert venues on the continent. It’s sold out for every Winnipeg Jets game and was instrumental in ensuring the NHL returned to Manitoba.
  • Silent Clunis misses opportunity

    By almost every measure, Chief Devon Clunis is doing a good job overseeing the Winnipeg Police Service. Year-over-year property-crime and violent-crime rates are down, keeping this city in line with a nationwide trend. The use of statistical analysis has improved so-called predictive policing. A once-troubled relationship between the police and the indigenous community is improving.
  • Gearing up for cross-country season

    It's a cruel joke when winter temperatures arrive in southern Manitoba without enough snow to facilitate skiing. Happily, it's a safe bet more white stuff will arrive. Some of you have been ready to use your skinny skis since Labour Day. You eager beavers applied your glide wax on Thanksgiving and have gone to bed every night since Halloween hoping for a Colorado Low.
  • Team Ghomeshi or Team CBC? It's impossible to take sides

    With apologies to Murdoch Mysteries and Republic of Doyle, the most compelling drama ever created by the CBC isn't unfolding on television. The multi-faceted maelstrom swirling about Jian Ghomeshi, the co-creator and now former host of CBC Radio One's Q, poses troubling questions about the future of Canada's public broadcaster, the responsibilities of investigative journalism, public privacy in the social-media age and the reporting of sexual harassment and assault.
  • See Riding Mountain at its finest in October

    At the risk of stating the bloody obvious, this is likely to be the last sunny Saturday of the year with double-digit temperatures. Today's highs are expected to be 11 C in Winnipeg and the Whiteshell and 13 C in western Manitoba and the Riding Mountain area. Given that snow is expected within weeks, you might want to take advantage of the final blast of warm-ish autumn weather by forgetting whatever you had planned for this weekend and getting outside.
  • Bowman becomes Winnipeg's first indigenous mayor

    Days after election night in Winnipeg, mayor-elect Brian Bowman is still digesting the immense magnitude of his victory. By defeating Judy Wasylycia-Leis by a margin of more than 53,000 votes, Bowman won a landslide that exceeded the one earned by outgoing Mayor Sam Katz during his first victory in 2004.
  • Out with old and in with new

    The voters of Winnipeg demanded change and they got it on election night, plunking eight new posteriors into city council's 16 seats. Half of the municipal status quo in this city was wiped away on Wednesday evening, as three incumbents were defeated and five new faces filled empty seats, including the mayor's chair.
  • Civic election: then and now

    SOME politicians have gravitas. Others have fantastic ideas. Yet others are genuinely likable human beings. What a mayoral candidate really wants to have is momentum in a race, because the person setting the pace has all the power. Back in July, in the first power-rankings column of the 2014 Winnipeg mayoral campaign, Judy Wasylycia-Leis had the most momentum. In the second, in August, Gord Steeves rose to the top on the basis of a flurry of bold announcements.
  • Poll could be bad for Bowman

    Given the sorry state of the Winnipeg Jets and Blue Bombers this fall, people in this city may not know how hard it is to hold on to a lead. Take Judy Wasylycia-Leis, for instance. For nearly 10 months, the former NDP MP and MLA was running away with Winnipeg's mayoral race.
  • Transit platforms: Get real

    Back in the 1950s, Winnipeg contemplated building a rapid-transit network. Nearly six decades later, the city is still thinking about it. A three-line subway plan floated in 1959 was deemed too expensive. So was a single-line subway proposed in 1966.
  • Bowman adamant he's more than Mr. Nice Guy

    It's less than two weeks before election day. He's down nearly 20 points in the polls. Brian Bowman has to do something dramatic to catch Judy Wasylycia-Leis if he wants to be mayor. So on a Thursday morning, the 40-something privacy lawyer climbed two sets of stairs in a West Exchange warehouse building, stood before a row of TV cameras and announced a policy bound to turn the tide in the campaign: the honorary renaming of a stretch of Adelaide Street.
  • The one plot twist in the race

    In some ways, Winnipeg's mayoral race is unfolding just as predictably as an episode of Law & Order. Former NDP MP and MLA Judy Wasylycia-Leis, who had a massive lead 10 months ago, still has a massive lead. Tory-affiliated lawyers Brian Bowman and Gord Steeves, expected to divide the centre-right, are duking it out for second and third place.
  • Katz never dodged media

    In the old Warner Bros. cartoon, Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog go to work every morning, exchange some friendly chit-chat, punch a time-clock -- and then spend an entire day trying to kill each other. When a whistle signals the end of the workday, they punch out their time cards, engage in more small talk and go home as a prelude to doing the same damn thing all over again the next day.
  • We're hoping for the Guggenheim effect

    At the height of the summer tourism season in Bilbao, Spain, people who don't really care about modern art line up by the hundreds to get into a museum full of nothing but modern art. The big attraction in the Basque Country's largest city is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, a Frank Gehry-designed structure immediately hailed as one of the world's most important architectural works when it opened, on time and on budget, in 1997.

About Bartley Kives

Bartley Kives wants you to know his last name rhymes with Beavis, as in Beavis and Butthead. He aspires to match the wit, grace and intelligence of the 1990s cartoon series.

Bartley joined the Free Press in 1998 as a music critic. He spent the ensuing 7.5 years interviewing the likes of Neil Young and David Bowie and trying to stay out of trouble at the Winnipeg Folk Festival before deciding it was far more exciting to sit through zoning-variance appeals at city hall.

In 2006, Bartley followed Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz from the music business into civic politics. He spent seven years covering city hall from a windowless basement office.

He is now reporter-at-large for the Free Press and also writes an outdoor-recreation column called Offroad for the Outdoors page.

A canoeist, backpacker and food geek, Bartley is fond of conventional and wilderness travel. He is the author of A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada’s Undiscovered Province, the only comprehensive travel guidebook for Manitoba – and a Canadian bestseller, to boot. He is also co-author of Stuck In The Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg, a collaboration with photographer Bryan Scott and the winner of the 2014 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award.

Bartley appears every second Wednesday on Citytv’s Breakfast Television. His work has also appeared on CBC Radio and in publications such as The Guardian, explore magazine and National Geographic Traveler.

Born in Winnipeg, he has an arts degree from the University of Winnipeg and a master’s degree in journalism from Ottawa’s Carleton University. He is the proud owner of a blender.

On Twitter: @bkives


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