Bartley Kives

  • Mayor's not afraid to step on toes, even friendly ones

    The first lesson politicians are supposed to learn is to dance with the one who brought you. Brian Bowman doesn't want to boogie with anybody. Winnipeg's new mayor spent much of Monday throwing rocks at a popular corporation headed up by a popular man who just so happened to be his biggest backer in 2014.
  • WAA inflexibility curbs city's livability goals

    As Winnipeg's new mayor settles into office, he's learning his gig involves more than just trying to implement campaign promises. Being mayor is not just a matter of leading, but successfully managing competing interests and expectations. Some of those conflicts are obvious: People living in single-family homes tend to oppose townhouses and apartment towers. Anti-taxation lobbyists insist on spending cuts, while residents demand costly improvements to snow clearing and street repairs.
  • Learning SimCity's lessons

    Since 1989, armchair planners have been able to manipulate imaginary cities by playing various versions of the video game SimCity. Build a power plant next to a residential neighbourhood, and those homes won't rise in value. Fail to create parks and you won't attract wealthy residents. Don't build churches and a divine power may just smite your city with an earthquake.
  • Yeah, well, tell us something we don't know

    At the risk of sounding glib, you'd have to walk around Winnipeg with your eyes covered in hockey tape and your ears filled with molasses not to notice this city's racism problem. Winnipeg is Canada's most indigenous city, both in terms of the sheer number of First Nations, Métis and Inuit residents (about 80,000) and the proportion of the population that is indigenous (about one in nine).
  • Know your limits when pushing yourself

    The next time you’re trying to decide which wilderness trip to pursue, it’s never a bad idea to get outside your comfort zone. Pushing the limits of your experience and fitness not only makes you mentally and physically tougher, it broadens the range of trips you can take in the future and boosts your confidence.
  • He's being pushed after refusing to go

    If senior City of Winnipeg officials were Survivor contestants, Deepak Joshi was the person to place your money on. Winnipeg’s acting chief administrative officer, suspended from his duties Friday, always appeared to be one step ahead of whatever trouble was emanating from across the city hall courtyard, where the politicians dwell. His career soared during the past seven years — he was one of the most prominent figures of the Sam Katz administration.
  • Target's miss catastrophic

    To appreciate the full scale of Target's failure in the Great White North, the Minneapolis retailer didn't last as long in Canada as the most disastrous incursion onto Canadian soil in U.S. history, the War of 1812. In 2011, Target announced a $1.8-billion deal to take over hundreds of Zellers stores as part of an ambitious plan to expand its footprint into Canada.
  • 'We thought he wanted to be our friend'

    MINNEDOSA -- Whether or not you've ever been to Sun Sun Chinese Restaurant, you'd find the interior familiar. A red paper lantern sits in the centre of the dining-room ceiling. Glass-encased porcelain sculptures hang on the walls. Aluminum bins full of breaded shrimp, egg rolls and nuclear-red sweet-and-sour sauce are perched on the $9.49 lunch-buffet table.
  • Cops not to blame for high costs of policing

    With few exceptions, policing is invaluable, difficult and extremely demanding work. Every day and night, cops pick up the slack where the social-safety net has frayed. Police step into domestic situations, deal with the addicted and the mentally ill and play other roles more suited for people with social-work degrees rather than guns, batons and two-way radios.
  • The people behind Key of Bart

    If you have 6 1/2 minutes to waste online today, you could do worse than to spend them with me. Well, not actually me, but a compilation of musical-parody videos produced by a team of Free Press staffers and freelancers under the umbrella of Key Of Bart.
  • Wild gets the wilderness right

    If you're a fan of Wild, Cheryl Strayed's account of a 94-day, 1,770-kilometre journey along the Pacific Crest Trail in the U.S., reviews suggest you may not be entirely satisfied by the new film version starring Reese Witherspoon. But as someone who didn't read the best-selling 2012 memoir, I found it wholly satisfying to see a Hollywood flick get many aspects of wilderness travel precisely right.
  • Now it's time for action

    On Canada Day, 15-year-old Tina Fontaine left Sagkeeng First Nation to visit her estranged biological mother in Winnipeg. She was reported missing one month later but slipped through the hands of police, paramedics and a social worker in two separate incidents on Aug. 8. Her body, wrapped in plastic, was recovered on the banks of the Red River on Aug. 17, less than seven weeks after she arrived in Winnipeg.
  • All they wanted for Christmas

    Twas the day after Christmas And all 'cross this town
  • 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.

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’s work has also appeared on CBC Radio and Citytv as well as in publications such as The Guardian, explore magazine and National Geographic Traveler. He sits on the board of PEN Canada, which promotes freedom of expression.

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
Email: bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

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