Bartley Kives

  • The Katz question: will he run for mayor?

    At this stage in Winnipeg's almost eventless mayoral race, one of the most intriguing questions remains whether Sam Katz's name will be on the ballot. Given his poor polling numbers and the long list of other people considering a run, Katz's decision likely won't determine the general outcome on Oct. 22. As of this nanosecond, it appears Winnipeg will wind up with a new mayor this year.
  • Belugas to bison to Bloodvein

    OK, so spring is finally here. You can tell because the giant snowbanks have turned into slumping, filthy mounds of black road silt. If you're wondering what to do with yourself now that the sub-zero weather is gone, here are Seven Summer Outdoor Experiences You Must Attempt at some point in your life:
  • Passover provocation

    There's an old joke about every Jewish holiday boiling down to three basic plot points: A) They tried to kill us; B) We won; and C) Let's eat. This is a fallacy, of course. No one gets to eat on Yom Kippur, if you observe the holiday. No one tried to kill anyone in the backstory behind Tu Bishvat, the Israeli version of Arbor Day.
  • Never again? But again and again

    In the aftermath of the Holocaust, the systematic extermination of six million Jews, the United Nations passed Resolution 260, formally known as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Genocide Convention was supposed to stop any systematic effort to destroy any ethnic, religious or cultural group, in whole or in part.
  • Never easy answers with Wyatt

    One of the joys of watching city hall -- and this is not a sardonic statement -- is you can never tell what Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt is doing. City council's mercurial finance chairman sought a Winnipeg Labour Council endorsement in 2006 and now rails against the power of public-sector unions. He supported the provincial NDP before he helped MP Lawrence Toet claim Elmwood-Transcona for the federal Conservatives.
  • Debate catches city in a myopic spiral

    If there's one thing Winnipeg ought to despise more than a 24-year Grey Cup winless streak, it's a six-decade rapid-transit debate. The city has been contemplating one form of mass public transit or another since 1959, when transportation engineer Norman Wilson dreamed up a three-line subway system that never would have worked in a city built on a base of mud and clay.
  • How to make even more happy campers

    If you're into car camping, Monday morning marks the start of online reservations for motor-vehicle campgrounds in Manitoba provincial parks. Manitoba Conservation & Water Stewardship has enhanced the services it provides people who partake in car camping. But it continues to move only slowly to improve backcountry camping.
  • Fielding's rapid-transit stance on wrong track

    In a mayoral race in which six out of eight potential candidates can be safely described as right of centre, it makes sense for Scott Fielding to try to stand out from the field. The two-term councillor for St. James-Brooklands is positioning himself to be the populist fiscal conservative among a crew of fellow conservatives that either have more elitist trappings or lean closer to the centre.
  • City hall's got a PR problem

    This may come as a shock, but the City of Winnipeg could use some help with public relations. This is not a joke. The city has issued a formal search for communications consultants to help out in situations too big, too complex or simply too crazy for the city's communications staff, who number in the single digits and struggle to keep up with their workload.
  • Some more awards, unofficially

    When a big name drops out of the Juno Awards, something of a similar quality always takes its place. In 2005, when the legendary Neil Young dropped out of his hometown Junos due to brain aneurysm, the amazing k.d. lang graciously agreed to perform in his slot.
  • Gala is good fun yet also serious

    Good morning, Winnipeg. The forecast high is 0 C, the Jets have almost no chance of making the playoffs and the 2014 Junos are 85 per cent over. As of 9:20 p.m. on Saturday, 35 out of the 41 awards honouring the best and beardiest in Canadian music were handed out at the Juno Awards gala -- the part of the glassware-apportioning proceedings you don't get to watch on television.
  • Welcome to the 'Peg!

    If you're a music-industry professional, somewhat recognizable Canadian musician or a travelling consort of either one, you may find yourself in Winnipeg this weekend. Congratulations. Thanks to the Juno Awards, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of a city unlike any other in Canada.
  • Rise in stadium cost just leaves me cold

    At the risk of telling Winnipeggers something they've heard too many times before, the cost of the city's new football stadium is on the rise. The province has announced $8.5-million worth of new funding for Investors Group Field, whose price tag now sits somewhere between $208.9 million and $212.4 million. The final tally will depend on the resolution of a dispute over who will pay for additional work conducted at the stadium to deal with problems with the original design.
  • Dead pets sad, but let's get real

    On the front page of a newspaper, an image of a dead man or woman will spark a strong reaction. Some readers will condemn the publication of a graphic image as exploitative or insensitive. Others will defend such a move as necessary in order to drive home the horrors of war.
  • Top 4 cities for NHL expansion

    As the push for the NHL playoffs enters the proverbial home stretch, the main complaint about the league's realignment is starting to hit home. In the Western Conference, only six teams will miss the playoffs, while eight Eastern-Conference clubs will be out of luck. The only remedy to this imbalance is expansion or contraction -- and the NHL isn't going to allow any clubs to fold.
  • Underground

    Underground With apologies to Randy Bachman and Neil Young
  • We are duty-bound to bring Rat Portage back into the fold

    According to Russian opinion polls, Vladimir Putin is a popular guy right now. According to Canadian polls, Greg Selinger is not. In the interest of restoring the popularity of Manitoba's premier, I hereby offer the following speech, free of charge (but not free of satire): Friends, comrades and fellow citizens of Greater Manitoba, it is time to right a terrible historic wrong.
  • Too much on our plates?

    As a kid growing up before the invention of hand-held electronic pacifiers, road trips translated into tremendous boredom and many games of I Spy. In mid-'70s Manitoba, that meant a lot of seeing "something that is brown." There are only so many cows and wheat fields kids can spot without losing I-Spy interest.
  • Top bureaucrat getting tough on developers

    Barry Thorgrimson has spent the past two years being the bureaucratic equivalent of a rump roast in a meat grinder. Now, the director of Winnipeg's embattled planning, property and development department seems to be meting out some punishment of his own.
  • Climate change could bring more of these winters

    In cheesy disaster movies, the end of the world comes with continent-fracturing earthquakes, skyscraper-toppling tsunamis or new diseases that destroy all life. The apocalypse is supposed to be dramatic. It's supposed to capture eyeballs and chew up scenery.
  • You can lead a hiker to water

    After a three-day Mantario Trail hike last fall, a bunch of beloved equipment I've used for years wound up in the giant gear swap in the sky. A Canon camera I'd taken as far as Africa was carelessly left on top of a vehicle in the south trailhead parking lot. A pair of Columbia hiking boots I'd worn since 2005 finally became impregnated by rot and had to be discarded like hazardous waste.
  • A sad state of affairs

    According to Winnipeg's mayor, "people in this city are among the kindest, most caring people in Canada." They also better be the most forgiving, if Sam Katz has any hope of holding onto his job this fall.
  • Trio of Juno hosts undeniably talented folks, but lacking in star power

    With Vladimir Putin parading a proxy army around Crimea and the oceans acidifying to the point where shellfish can't form shells, it might seem petty to complain about who happens to host an awards show. Nonetheless, it's tough not to be at least a wee bit disappointed with the lack of major star power at the podium of the 2014 Juno Awards, which will be held at MTS Centre for the second time in a decade.
  • Key of Bart -- Ice? Ice? Crazy

    Ice? Ice? Crazy. With apologies to Vanilla Ice.
  • St. Charles owner fights heritage label in court action

    The owner of the St. Charles Hotel has taken the City of Winnipeg to court to remove the historic designation from the 101-year-old Exchange District structure, which he hopes to demolish. Immigration lawyer Ken Zaifman wants the city to remove a heritage caveat from the title of the hotel, which he purchased in 2005 for $800,000 and later pledged to redevelop into a boutique hotel.

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.

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

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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