Bartley Kives

  • 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.
  • Judy Wasylycia-Leis better stage-managed than in 2010 campaign

    Four years ago, Judy Wasylycia-Leis was a candidate in search of a platform. In her first kick at the mayoral can, the former NDP MP and MLA ran a scattered mess of a campaign that still managed to attract 90,913 votes, mainly because voters who didn't like Sam Katz had no other viable alternative.
  • Unfinished galleries make for a disappointing opening for human rights museum

    Wander through the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and it's impossible not to be impressed with the building. The backlit alabaster walkways are nothing short of stunning. The views of Winnipeg from the upper floors are unprecedented. The touchscreen technology in some of the exhibits evokes the holographic display Tom Cruise appeared to have so much fun manipulating in Minority Report.
  • Sanders thinks he'll get the nod

    David Sanders doesn't have a campaign office. He doesn't have a volunteer co-ordinator. He's sitting at three per cent support in the polls. He has no plans to canvass voters door to door. Yet, with 33 days to go before Winnipeggers choose a new mayor, Sanders doesn't believe it will be tough to leapfrog over a field of candidates who were campaigning many months before he announced his own run in August.
  • Voters driven to distraction on bus rapid transit

    If you accept the premise Winnipeg's mayoral race is a referendum on rapid transit, it's easy to be envious of the Scots right now. Across the Atlantic, Scottish voters are preparing to vote aye or nae to a clear and simple question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
  • Have 127 hours of outdoors adventure

    Unless you venture often into the Whiteshell or own a pair of well-used hiking boots, you can be forgiven for associating the Mantario Trail with the words "RCMP" and "rescue." Over the Labour Day long weekend, emergency crews extracted not one but two people from separate locations along the 66-kilometre walking and trail-running route that winds along the eastern edge of Whiteshell Provincial Park near the Ontario border.
  • A new, blue Steeves emerges

    As recently as July, the Gord Steeves campaign resembled the rotting carcass of a roadside raccoon. It wasn't moving, and all the parts were mangled so gruesomely, even the world's most talented taxidermist could never reassemble them. Against most expectations, the lawyer and former city councillor is not just back from the campaign brink, but running Winnipeg's most flamboyant and aggressive mayoral campaign.
  • (Some) campaigns picking up steam

    One month ago, the biggest problem with Winnipeg's mayoral race was nobody was saying much of anything. Then the floodgates opened and the announcements went from a trickle to a torrent. In the first mayoral-race power rankings of the 2014 campaign, Gord Steeves was in danger of drifting into also-ran territory. The landscape has since shifted, as the former councillor's polarizing promises have changed the face of the campaign.
  • Perfect time for a canoe trip

    As the days get a wee bit cooler and the mosquitoes disappear, the time is perfect for a flatwater paddling trip. The best array of multi-day options can be found in the interconnected maze of lakes east of Lake of the Woods, a recreational paddling region that covers hundreds of square kilometres south of Highway 17 and east of Highway 71, including the entire Experimental Lakes Area.
  • Steeves' transition a calculated gamble

    When Gord Steeves first went on the record about his desire to run for mayor, it sounded like he was preparing to run on a social-justice platform. Now, the lawyer and former city councillor is campaigning from the opposite side of the political spectrum. He's carved out a niche as the most right-wing candidate in a field that includes two other well-known Conservative-affiliated candidates.
  • Entry quotas nothing to fear

    Thanks to the rains that turned Canada Day into a soggy disappointment, the August long weekend is shaping up to be the busiest of the summer in cottage country, provincial parks and the backcountry beyond. This is bound to be a glorious few days for the vast majority of Manitobans who love the outdoors. But if you prize solitude over easy access to paddling country, this isn't the best weekend to visit popular flatwater destinations in the Whiteshell, Nopiming Provincial Park and Ontario's Experimental Lakes Area, where put-ins and portages may be congested and campsites tend to be occupied early in the day.
  • Seafood riches: Cádiz markets, restaurants blessed with diversity of marine delicacies

    CÁDIZ, Spain -- Along the southern edge of Spain, one of the oldest cities in Europe sits at the end of a narrow peninsula, jutting out into the sea. Cádiz, founded around 1100 B.C. by seafaring Phoenicians from the Mediterranean's eastern shore, has served as a gateway to Africa, the Atlantic and the New World for centuries. It was an important port for the Romans, who succeeded the Phoenicians, the Moors who followed the Romans and the modern Spaniards who housed immense quantities of South American silver within an old city whose walls still stand.
  • How the seven mayoral candidates stack up so far

    Three months before Winnipeggers go to the polls, voters can be forgiven for not knowing much about the seven mayoral candidates. Despite repeated pledges that the wide-open 2014 mayoral race would feature more substance and less timidity than previous contests, what Winnipeg has witnessed so far has been a disappointing snooze. The policy pledges are arriving at an average rate of one per month, per candidate. Actual issues have been sidelined in favour of appearances at festivals. The candidates seem to be holding their fire until September -- even though most promised precisely not to do that when this lame excuse of a race began in earnest almost three months ago.
  • Call inquiry into city hall's rotten, fetid mess

    In the depths of a Winnipeg summer, citizens may be more concerned about whether their barbecues have enough propane than burning questions about the thick, black smoke emanating from a smouldering city hall. This is unfortunate. In the dying months of the most ignominious council term since 1874, when Winnipeg chose a violent racist to be mayor, there's an opportunity to shine a light on the severe mismanagement and questionable decision-making that botched major projects, infected real estate deals and tarnished the reputation of the city.
  • Constant stream of ugly revelations simply maddening

    Given the rate embarrassing audits are piling up at city hall, Mayor Sam Katz ought to buy one of those erasable signs that would allow him to pencil in the number of days since the last revelation of severe mismanagement. On Tuesday, the consulting firm KPMG presented an audit into Winnipeg's police headquarters, a project originally sold to the public as a $135-million job that would make more financial and operational sense than simply re-cladding the crumbling exterior of the Public Safety Building.
  • High water levels create hidden dangers

    For the second time in four years, southern Manitoba is afflicted by a province-spanning flood. This spells disaster for some and creates stress for others, at a time when the vast majority of us are used to enjoying the brief summer.
  • Residents got grief; developer got sweet deal

    Five years ago, rookie River Heights-Fort Garry Coun. John Orlikow was greener than a July tomato when he was handed a nightmare of a proposal for his ward. On July 13 of that year, Winnipeg suddenly faced a proposal to swap one of the largest parcels of undeveloped city-owned land for a smaller chunk of land belonging to developer Andrew Marquess.
  • Parcel Four emerges yet again

    When Winnipeg's elected officials finish arguing over whether to call a real estate investigation an audit, a review or yet another embarrassing thingamajig, they'll be forced to accept yet another ugly revelation about Parcel Four. This humble gravel parking lot near The Forks is the municipal version of a chronic STI. It's the gift that keeps on giving -- a recurring problem that continually plagues both elected officials and administrators, especially when they believe they've found a cure.
  • Timeless beauty

    A century ago, Winnipeg was one of the most optimistic places on the continent. Thanks to the railway boom, Manitoba's capital had grown from a village of 1,869 people when it was incorporated in 1873 to a city of nearly 150,000 in 1914.

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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