Katrina Clarke

Katrina Clarke

Reporter

Katrina Clarke was born in Winnipeg and raised in southern Ontario. She believes Manitoba instilled grit and resiliency in her from Day One by living the first months of her life in a frigid Prairie winter.

An avid reader, Katrina dreamed of becoming a detective like her literary heroes, Harriet the Spy and Nancy Drew. She once spent a summer investigating the goings-on in small-town Ontario, documenting her observations – specifically, the licence plates of passing cars – in a notebook. Sadly, she solved no mysteries or crimes.

Since then, Katrina’s grown-up journalism career has taken her from Toronto to Fredericton and back again (Hamilton), plus a few stints overseas. She joined the Free Press in 2022 and is proud to call Friendly Manitoba home once again.

Katrina strives to make Winnipeg and Manitoba a better place through investigative journalism that holds power to account, demands transparency from public officials and leads to progressive policy change.

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Recent articles of Katrina Clarke

Rural woman accused doctor of sexual assault, treated with derision by police

Katrina Clarke 16 minute read Preview

Rural woman accused doctor of sexual assault, treated with derision by police

Katrina Clarke 16 minute read Friday, Aug. 12, 2022

The woman went to police in 2017 with a disturbing story: a physician in her rural Manitoba community was sexually assaulting female patients, she told them, and she was a victim, too.

She waited for his arrest.

Months passed. Nothing happened.

It was the beginning of the woman’s years-long fight to hold the alleged perpetrator in her town to account. Throughout her ordeal, she says she went up against police who were dismissive of her, a self-regulatory body of physicians who allowed him to continue practising and segments of a close-knit community refusing to believe a respected doctor could be harming patients.

Friday, Aug. 12, 2022

Local Ukrainian church offers to bless cars, spread awareness on road safety

Katrina Clarke 3 minute read Preview

Local Ukrainian church offers to bless cars, spread awareness on road safety

Katrina Clarke 3 minute read Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022

It’s not “magic” and it won’t protect you from getting a speeding ticket, but having a blessed car can add that extra level of confidence on the road, says Father Ihor Shved.

On a cloudy Sunday afternoon, Shved sprinkled holy water on about 50 vehicles in the parking lot at Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral in William Whyte as more than 100 attendees watched on. It’s a ritual he oversees about once a year, a chance to remind people to drive with caution, treat other drivers with respect and follow the rules of the road.

For some, those rules — at least anything Winnipeg-specific, think: red light cameras — are brand new. Several of the vehicles belonged to Ukrainian families fleeing war in their home country.

Taras and Khrystyna Pivniak arrived in Winnipeg just last month. Their newly-blessed vehicle, a white Chrysler minivan, was purchased three days ago. It was badly needed; they have five kids.

Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Father Ihor Shved of Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral blesses families and their vehicles in the church parking lot.

U of M opens pro bono legal rights clinic

Katrina Clarke 3 minute read Preview

U of M opens pro bono legal rights clinic

Katrina Clarke 3 minute read Tuesday, Jul. 26, 2022

A new pro bono clinic at the University of Manitoba aims to help communities historically under-served by the justice system take on issues ranging from disability rights to Indigenous rights to environmental rights and everything in between.

Brandon Trask, the assistant professor of law behind the Rights Clinic, says the impetus came from seeing rights violations play out within Canada and globally.

“This idea… came from essentially seeing the whittling away of rights in Canada, yes, but around the world, recognizing that there are major barriers to access to justice.”

Tuesday, Jul. 26, 2022

Brandon Trask, an assistant professor with the University of Manitoba’s faculty of law (left), with second-year Juris Doctor student Raven Richards, from Opaskwayak Cree Nation. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

Manitoba’s doctors watchdog headed to image rehab

Katrina Clarke 5 minute read Preview

Manitoba’s doctors watchdog headed to image rehab

Katrina Clarke 5 minute read Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2022

MANITOBA’S physician watchdog says it plans to “rebrand,” shifting its reputation away from one as “feared” disciplinarian toward one friendlier to responsible doctors and committed to quality of care.

Experts applaud the move, saying it could improve patient safety, but they say regulators will always be feared so long as they’re responsible for discipline — something the government could take off the college’s plate but likely won’t.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba revealed details of the planned shift at a June 22 meeting. CPSM council members heard that the college will use audits and solicit feedback from members as it seeks to create its new identity — one focused on quality of care — with goals to “build and enhance” physicians’ “proficiency and effectiveness” while also promoting transparency and reducing fear.

Another hope: as quality of care goes up, patient complaints go down.

Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2022

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
College of Physicians and Surgeons has said it is committed to patient safety and strives for transparency.

Winnipeg doctor’s licence revoked for misconduct

Katrina Clarke 6 minute read Preview

Winnipeg doctor’s licence revoked for misconduct

Katrina Clarke 6 minute read Monday, Jul. 4, 2022

Manitoba’s physician watchdog has revoked the licence of a Winnipeg doctor after he was found guilty of several counts of misconduct, including failing to maintain professional boundaries with a female patient.

In a decision dated June 2 and posted on the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba’s website, a CPSM panel determined Dr. Shamoon Hasham Din breached an undertaking that required him to have a female chaperone present when treating female patients, created false and misleading medical records, provided medical care to pediatric patients whom he was not allowed to care for, failed to maintain professional boundaries with a female patient and displayed an “unwillingness to inability” to be governed by the regulatory body.

The misconduct occurred over a six-month period in 2020-21. Din pleaded guilty to the first three counts and not guilty to the latter two. The law firm that represented Din, MLT Aikins, would not comment on the matter.

The college registrar, in a statement accompanying the decision, said Din has “demonstrated an incapacity or unfitness to practice medicine.”

Monday, Jul. 4, 2022

Manitoba’s physician watchdog has revoked the licence of a Winnipeg doctor after he was found guilty of several counts of misconduct, including failing to maintain professional boundaries with a female patient.

In a decision dated June 2 and posted on the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba’s website, a CPSM panel determined Dr. Shamoon Hasham Din breached an undertaking that required him to have a female chaperone present when treating female patients, created false and misleading medical records, provided medical care to pediatric patients whom he was not allowed to care for, failed to maintain professional boundaries with a female patient and displayed an “unwillingness to inability” to be governed by the regulatory body.

The misconduct occurred over a six-month period in 2020-21. Din pleaded guilty to the first three counts and not guilty to the latter two. The law firm that represented Din, MLT Aikins, would not comment on the matter.

The college registrar, in a statement accompanying the decision, said Din has “demonstrated an incapacity or unfitness to practice medicine.”

Expo hopes to shed the skin of reptile resistance

Katrina Clarke 5 minute read Preview

Expo hopes to shed the skin of reptile resistance

Katrina Clarke 5 minute read Monday, Jun. 27, 2022

More than 1,000 reptile aficionados flocked to a weekend expo in Winnipeg for the chance to admire all things slithery, scaly and — at least to those gathered — sweet.

Breeders and organizers of the Manitoba Reptile Breeders' Expo say the event is an opportunity to share their hobbies with fellow reptile fans, educate the public about responsible pet ownership and, in some cases, change people’s negative preconceived notions of reptiles.

“In general (snakes) get a bad rap because of how they’ve been portrayed,” said Jhun de Guzman, owner of Ballistic Pythons in Winnipeg, pointing to movies he watched growing up such as Anaconda and Snakes on a Plane. “Actually, they’re friendly animals.”

De Guzman, flanked by his 11-year-old son with a young snake curled around his hand, said a few visitors approached his booth this weekend shaking with fear. But by the time he was finished with them, they were newly converted ball python fans, even inquiring about purchase (his snakes can range from about $50 to a few thousand, depending on age and other breeding factors).

Monday, Jun. 27, 2022

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Hannah Jensrud and Maximus, a five-year-old gecko, were part of the at The Manitoba Reptile Breeder’s Expo at the Sunova Centre Sunday.

Training, disclosure, conflict of interest are concerns about physicians

Katrina Clarke 8 minute read Preview

Training, disclosure, conflict of interest are concerns about physicians

Katrina Clarke 8 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 22, 2022

The woman remembers thinking the sign in her family doctor’s exam room was strange.

The single piece of paper, attached to a calendar pinned to the wall, stated: “Dr. Bissonnette requires a chaperone to be present at all times when he conducts any breast or pelvic examination of a female patient.”

Although she wondered if she should be concerned, she told herself he wouldn’t be allowed to treat patients if something serious had come to light. So she continued seeing him as she had been since childhood.

Nearly two years after noticing the sign at the Ste. Anne medical centre, her doctor, Arcel Bissonnette, was charged with six counts of sexual assault involving patients. That number grew to 22 counts as she and more women came forward.

Wednesday, Jun. 22, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS A survivor of sexual violence, who is demanding that the college of physicians and surgeons be more transparent with how it handles allegations against physicians, poses for a portrait in Kildonan Park in Winnipeg on Friday, June 10, 2022. Her former family doctor is Dr. Arcel Bissonnette, a physician from St. Anne who was charged with 22 counts of sexual violence involving patients. For Katrina Clarke story. Winnipeg Free Press 2022.

Political will is only fix for broken, secretive system

Katrina Clarke 8 minute read Preview

Political will is only fix for broken, secretive system

Katrina Clarke 8 minute read Monday, Jun. 20, 2022

Manitoba patients are being kept in the dark about physicians accused of misconduct by outdated provincial legislation and a secretive self-regulating body, a Free Press investigation has found.

The legislative weakness and lack of transparency have led to policies that shield doctors from scrutiny and leave patients vulnerable to harm — a potentially dangerous approach critics say will only change when public pressure forces the government to act.

“Significant changes (are needed) to ensure that — at all times — protection of the public is the key goal,” said Brandon Trask, an assistant professor with the University of Manitoba’s faculty of law. “People have to have trust in their physician.”

Monday, Jun. 20, 2022

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
College of Physicians and Surgeons handles complaints about physician misconduct.

Critics argue approach to investigating Manitoba doctors harmful to patients

Katrina Clarke 10 minute read Preview

Critics argue approach to investigating Manitoba doctors harmful to patients

Katrina Clarke 10 minute read Friday, Jun. 17, 2022

The woman walked out of the doctor’s office that day feeling violated.

It was 2011, she was 19 and she had an appointment for her first full physical exam with the physician she’d been seeing since she was a baby. But she knew he wasn’t supposed to touch her that way.

“I asked him to stop,” she said. “He was just very reassuring, very calm, (saying) ‘This is what a physical is.’ … It was very sick.”

Afterward, she told her family and friends what happened. Many believed her but some minimized her concerns and discouraged her from going to the police, she said. They said it would be a difficult process for her, considering it would be her word against a prominent physician’s.

Friday, Jun. 17, 2022

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
College of Physicians and Surgeons head office

‘It’s the right thing to do’: Doctors Manitoba joins Pride march

Katrina Clarke 3 minute read Preview

‘It’s the right thing to do’: Doctors Manitoba joins Pride march

Katrina Clarke 3 minute read Friday, Jun. 3, 2022

For the first time, Doctors Manitoba will officially march in a Pride parade this weekend — a move the physicians advocacy organization’s new president says is long overdue.

“We recognize we should have joined this many years ago,” Dr. Candace Bradshaw said Friday.

As physicians, Doctors Manitoba members need to make clear and public commitments about validating LGBTTQ+ patients, Bradshaw said, something integral to building trust.

Friday, Jun. 3, 2022

JOHN WOODS / FREE PRESS FILES

Rising Winnipeg River threatens homes, cottages

Katrina Clarke 4 minute read Preview

Rising Winnipeg River threatens homes, cottages

Katrina Clarke 4 minute read Saturday, May. 21, 2022

WHITESHELL PROVINCIAL PARK — Amy Vereb’s family has been in the Otter Falls area for 22 years but she’s never seen flooding the likes of which surrounded her family’s resort Saturday.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Vereb said with tears in her eyes.

Throngs of area residents, cottagers and other volunteers gathered together outside the Vereb’s Otter Falls Resort Saturday to haul sandbags into dozens of awaiting pickup trucks. Drivers then took the bags back to homes and cottages in the area where they’re trying to stave off rising floodwaters.

In a weekend news release, the province said the Winnipeg River water levels are expected to crest in early June, but levels aren’t likely to drop below seasonal for several more weeks.

Saturday, May. 21, 2022

Cabin owner Michael Chontske (left) and his friend Tracy Lysak are doing what they can to protect Chonstke’s cabin and property as the water on Eleanor Lake continues to rise Saturday afternoon. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press)

Persistent activist keeps eye on safety issues, spends hours calling 311

Katrina Clarke 6 minute read Preview

Persistent activist keeps eye on safety issues, spends hours calling 311

Katrina Clarke 6 minute read Thursday, May. 12, 2022

Darrell Warren’s tour of the William Whyte neighbourhood focuses on its sore points:

That’s where a fire ripped through three houses and up a tree; over there, a backyard trash pile got so high it spilled over the fence; people keep breaking into that boarded-up house.

Warren is keenly aware of the details because he has made it his personal mission to address them. The lifelong North Ender and president of the William Whyte Neighbourhood Association is fighting to make his community a safer, more livable place.

A big part of that involves addressing persistent health and safety hazards, such as trash piles that give rise to fire risks, vacant buildings and never-ending illegal dumping.

Thursday, May. 12, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
On a sunny May afternoon when the Free Press visits William Whyte, Darrell Warren points out a problem backyard that often has trash piled close to the home — a fire hazard. Warren says he’s called 311 multiple times about that address.

Manitoba campground openings delayed

Katrina Clarke 4 minute read Preview

Manitoba campground openings delayed

Katrina Clarke 4 minute read Tuesday, May. 10, 2022

Mother Nature has some bad news for Manitoba’s outdoor enthusiasts.

In a release late Tuesday, the provincial government announced many provincial parks campgrounds won’t open on time, due to everything from flooded roads to wet ground to water supply issues.

Travel within Nopiming Provincial Park is also “not advised” at this time. All canoe routes in Nopiming and Manigotagan River provincial parks are closed, along with some trails in Whiteshell Provincial Park.

At the following parks, campground openings scheduled for May 13 have been delayed:

Tuesday, May. 10, 2022

Mother Nature has some bad news for Manitoba’s outdoor enthusiasts.

In a release late Tuesday, the provincial government announced many provincial parks campgrounds won’t open on time, due to everything from flooded roads to wet ground to water supply issues.

Travel within Nopiming Provincial Park is also “not advised” at this time. All canoe routes in Nopiming and Manigotagan River provincial parks are closed, along with some trails in Whiteshell Provincial Park.

At the following parks, campground openings scheduled for May 13 have been delayed:

Picture gets blurry when city staff caught by traffic cameras

Katrina Clarke 6 minute read Preview

Picture gets blurry when city staff caught by traffic cameras

Katrina Clarke 6 minute read Friday, May. 6, 2022

More than 330 City of Winnipeg vehicles were caught on camera running red lights or speeding over the last three years, city data shows.

But it’s not clear how many city employees paid the tickets, nor how many — if any — were disciplined for the infractions.

Intersection cameras and mobile photo-radar caught 136 city vehicles violating traffic laws in 2019, 90 in 2020 and 110 in 2021, according to the data provided by the city to the Free Press. It does not break down the details of the offences, including whether they involved speeding, the rate of speed or running a red light, nor if any drivers were repeat offenders. The data also doesn’t include emergency vehicles.

Friday, May. 6, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Child death, instrument left in patient detailed in critical incident report

Katrina Clarke 3 minute read Preview

Child death, instrument left in patient detailed in critical incident report

Katrina Clarke 3 minute read Sunday, Apr. 24, 2022

Three patients with stroke symptoms didn’t get timely enough care when seeking treatment, a new report detailing critical incidents reported to Manitoba Health suggests.

The report also details an incident in which a child died after “entrapment” involving a hospital bed and another in which a surgical instrument was left inside a person undergoing surgery.

The report on Critical Incidents Reported to Manitoba Health includes a total of 48 incidents documented over a three-month period in 2020, from July 1 to Sept. 30. Critical incidents “reflect serious and unintended harm experienced by individuals using Manitoba’s health care services,” according to the province’s website.

One-quarter of the incidents listed in the new report resulted in death.

Sunday, Apr. 24, 2022

Three patients with stroke symptoms didn’t get timely enough care when seeking treatment, a new report detailing critical incidents reported to Manitoba Health suggests.

The report also details an incident in which a child died after “entrapment” involving a hospital bed and another in which a surgical instrument was left inside a person undergoing surgery.

The report on Critical Incidents Reported to Manitoba Health includes a total of 48 incidents documented over a three-month period in 2020, from July 1 to Sept. 30. Critical incidents “reflect serious and unintended harm experienced by individuals using Manitoba’s health care services,” according to the province’s website.

One-quarter of the incidents listed in the new report resulted in death.

Storm warnings continue across province

Katrina Clarke 3 minute read Preview

Storm warnings continue across province

Katrina Clarke 3 minute read Saturday, Apr. 23, 2022

Mother Nature just won’t give Manitoba a break.

Environment Canada says Winnipeg could break an April rainfall record Saturday, with snow expected Sunday. The southern half of the province meanwhile has snowfall, rainfall and storm warnings in effect this weekend.

According to Terri Lang, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, Winnipeg’s April record for the most rainfall in one day was set on April 30, 1986, with 36 millimetres of rain landing in the city.

“Certainly, that record is in jeopardy,” Lang said.

Saturday, Apr. 23, 2022

Motorists navigate deep water and a large hidden pothole on Route 90 just north of Dublin Avenue. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press)

Old Kildonan, North Kildonan lead way in outdoor odour complaints

Katrina Clarke 5 minute read Preview

Old Kildonan, North Kildonan lead way in outdoor odour complaints

Katrina Clarke 5 minute read Thursday, Apr. 21, 2022

Winnipeggers were enjoying a late burst of summer-like weather in October when a pungent smell pushed residents in the northern fringe back indoors.

There, the air reeked of something resembling cow manure.

That smelly month in 2021, combined with none-too-pleased residents airing their grievances, is what thrust Old Kildonan and North Kildonan into the running for smelliest council wards in Winnipeg. Or at least, it made them the wards with the most complaints about smells.

While certain wards seem to get hit harder by bad odours for varying reasons, the city is now warning less-than-pleasant scents may soon permeate regions city-wide. Blame last week’s dump of snow.

Thursday, Apr. 21, 2022

Sewer odour and smells from treatment plants, retention ponds and the Brady Road 4R depot were collected in the 311 data. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files)