Defence lawyers in the province have decided to suspend a planned week-long walkout, scheduled for today, after the Manitoba justice department agreed to meet with them.

150 defence attorneys were threatening the walkout over tensions over legal aid pay rates.

Private defence lawyers have not seen a raise in legal aid rates in 12 years, despite handling a majority of cases in Manitoba.

The Criminal Defence Lawyers Association of a Manitoba has planned the walkout after failing to reach an agreement with the province since May of 2018.

The meeting between the group and the province is scheduled for January 27th.

A Ukrainian film crew was in the Gilbert Plains area for a hockey-related shoot Sunday, January 12.

The crew is filming a documentary here because Ukraine has taken inspiration from Canada for its hockey program.

The video will include kids having a scrimmage while wearing hockey jerseys of players with Ukrainian descent.

This is happening in the Gilbert Plains area because when Zee ran into the producer of the documentary, they were looking for an outdoor venue to shoot the video and Zee said if anybody can pull this off it’s Gilbert Plains because there’s good volunteers and former Dauphin Kings.

The chosen venue is the Wilson River.

Former Dauphin King, Dean Murray has been making sure the ice surface is good to go and he has the directions.

“It’s three miles east of Gilbert Plains on Markham Road, then three-quarters of a mile south, then you turn left into a lane by some spruce trees before you cross the bridge.”

A Western Canadian Ag project aimed at improving the taste and quality of plant-based proteins around the world has received a boost from the federal government.

The feds invested $9.5 million into the Protein Industries Supercluster, a group of Manitoba-based companies. Private donations were also given to the group, totalling $19.1 million in funds, to try and improve the protein industry in the country.

The Prime Minister’s special advisor for the Prairies, Jim Carr said: “As consumers become more and more discriminating in what they put into their tummies, this is going to move that needle significantly.”

The investment will source close to 20,000 acres worth of canola and peas grown in the Prairies, according to Merit Functional Foods, one of the companies in on the project.

They added that the money is expected to over 100,000 metric tonnes of the protein products within 5 years.

Carr said that this kind of project is a prime example of how Canada is developing the kind of products that are necessary for the rest of the world.

“This protein supercluster serves as an anchor for innovation, for job growth, and for job creation that will help Canada capture premium markets for agri-business as we truly feed the world,” said Carr. “We are letting the rest of the world know that Canada is a global leader in the plant-protein market.”

Carr added that the investment is expected to create increase the country’s GDP and create more than 50,000 jobs.

The Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation has announced that the Hay Disaster Benefit (HDB) has been activated and associated payments will begin shortly.

Federal Ag Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Provincial Ag Minister Blaine Pedersen said that estimated payouts for 2019 are expected to be in excess of $5 million on approximately 1,500 claims.

“We recognize it has been a difficult harvest for many families in Manitoba,” said Bibeau. “The Hay Disaster Benefit is one of the ways our government is supporting farmers to protect their businesses against weather-related risks, such as forage shortfall.”

“The HDB is a complimentary feature of the AgriInsurance program that compensates insured forage producers for the increased cost of hay and transportation when there is a severe provincial forage shortfall,” said Pedersen. “All producers who are enrolled in the Select Hay Insurance and Basic Hay Insurance programs are automatically enrolled in the HDB.”

The Disaster Benefit was first introduced in 2014 as part of a revamped forage insurance offering. Producers first received payments in 2018.

All insured hay types (alfalfa, alfalfa grass mixtures, grasses, sweet clover and coarse hay) are eligible.

For producers to receive HDB payments, at least 20 percent of producers with Select Hay or Basic Hay Insurance must harvest less than 50 percent of their long-term average hay yield. For the 2019 crop year, producers will receive an additional $40 for each tonne below their Select Hay or Basic Hay Insurance coverage.

The benefit will not cost producers anything. The premiums are cost-shared 60 percent by the Government of Canada and 40 percent by the Province of Manitoba.

For more information on forage insurance in Manitoba contact a MASC office or visit their website.

Yesterday we reported on the creation of a Youth Advisory Council on Climate in Manitoba. 18-year-old Caitlin Stewart from Swan River is on the council

“It feels incredible. I couldn’t believe it when I first heard it, there were 85 applicants and I was 1 of 9 that got picked.”

Stewart shares her motivation.

“Here in Swan we have an incredible environmental program and I’ve taken lots of courses there and my mom’s a biologist. My teacher and my mom both inspire me to try and fight for climate justice.”

She’s hoping to change peoples’ opinions on climate change.

“Especially from the Swan River area, there’s a lot of stigma around climate change about if it’s real or not and I’m hoping that people will be able to realize that it’s happening and the very rate it’s happening at. Hopefully, help create some positive change in the world.”

The council will report to the Expert Advisory Council, which makes recommendations to the minister of conservation and climate on all aspects of the climate and green plan including the pillars of climate, jobs, water and nature. Their first meeting will occur in early 2020.

Second-year nursing students at Brandon University are facing disciplinary action after a recent exam was found to be compromised.

A spokesman for BU says the incident involved a December exam for a class of 46 to 48 students.

In a press release, the University said: “Academic dishonesty is always subject to penalties on a scale appropriate to the level of the infraction, possibly including a grade of F and a permanent mark of Academic

Dishonesty on a student’s transcript.”

All of the students will be given a chance to rewrite the test, with a maximum grade of 70 percent. The students will also have the opportunity to appeal their grade if they feel the disciplinary actions taken are too harsh after retaking the exam.

“Integrity is especially critical in a field like health-care, where trust relationships are central,” said the University. “Given the circumstances of this particular case, BU has worked with the faculty member, the student’s union, and the students in the class to fairly and appropriately deal with this serious infraction.”

The school added that by allowing the students to appeal, it will give them a chance to pursue a grade that fits their circumstances while not holding back the entire cohort from second-term classes.

According to BU’s spokesperson, the university has introduced a new exam policy that stresses academic integrity and is working on finalizing an academic integrity policy.

Late Tuesday night, a Ukrainian Airlines plane, carrying 176 passengers, crashed minutes after takeoff.

Sixty-Three of the 176 people on board were Canadians, with nine people being from Winnipeg.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has now said that evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian missile.

“We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile,” said Trudeau. “The news will undoubtedly come as a further shock to the families who are already grieving in the face of this unspeakable tragedy.”

Trudeau went on to say that the downing of the plane may have been unintentional. The Prime Minister’s comments came shortly after U.S. intelligence officials said that it was “highly likely” an Iranian missile accidentally brought down the plane.

The plane crashed just hours after Iran launched an attack on U.S airbases in Iraq, as a response to the States’ killing of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani.

Trudeau did not blame the U.S. airstrike for the crash; he only said that Canada needs to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the crash.

“The evidence suggests that this is the likely cause but we need to have a full and complete and credible investigation to establish what happened,” said the Prime Minister. “That’s what we are calling for and that’s what we’re expecting will happen

With snowmobile trails in Manitoba expected to start opening up this month, STARS, Snoman, and Lifesaving Society Manitoba have come together to form a partnership.

The group is encouraging the safe operation of snowmobiles this winter.

Snoman President Alan Butler emphasizes that snowmobilers should be mindful of their speed. He adds that Manitoba has the third most extensive snowmobile trail system in the country, so it’s essential that all riders practice safety at all times.

Butler has some points to keep in mind, don’t operate a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, don’t trespass on private property or ride on land without the owner’s permission, wear a helmet, ride according to the terrain and your ability, bring a tool kit and first aid kit, and stay on designated trails.

According to Grant Therrien, STARS Provincial Director of Operations in Manitoba, between 2017 and 2019, STARS responded to twelve snowmobile related calls. Excessive speed was a common theme in those incidents.

Therrien says the most concerning part to STARS, is the serious nature of the injuries that come from these incidents.

Another thing the group wants snowmobilers to be aware of is unpredictable ice conditions throughout the province.

STARS, Snoman, and Lifesaving Society Manitoba want riders to have fun, while avoiding the life altering or fatal accidents that happen every year.

The Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association is giving away three post-secondary bursaries for students in Manitoba.

The $1,000 bursaries are available to students who are enrolled full-time in an agricultural program in the province, have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and come from a farm that is in good standing with the MWBGA.

Students who apply need to write a one-page letter describing their interest in wheat and barley crops, or agriculture in general.

Letters should be a maximum of 500 words long and should include the applicant’s connection to agriculture, why they decided to enroll in an agricultural program, and how they will benefit the agriculture industry once they enter the workforce.

Applications can be emailed to Kate Menol at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line “MWBGA Bursary Application 2019/20” by tomorrow night (January 10th) at midnight.

Successful applicants will be notified by January 31st.

Back in September, the provincial government announced they would be creating a Youth Advisory Council on Climate.

In November, the government started to allow applications for the council.

Now, Manitoba has announced the 9 member youth advisory council.

The council includes Caitlin Stewart from Swan River, David Bredin from Oakbank, Jake Ayre from Minto, Jenna Martens from Steinbach, Hunter Frank-Settee-Beardy from Thompson and four members are from Winnipeg, Faria Akhter Meem, Mika Peterson, Jayden Kyryluk, and Amy Spearman.

The Manitoba government received over 85 applications and the nine members speak a total of six languages.

Members of the youth council will report to the already-established independent Expert Advisory Council, which makes recommendations to the minister of conservation and climate on all aspects of the climate and green plan including the pillars of climate, jobs, water and nature.

Chair of the Expert Advisory Council, Collen Sklar says once the council has their first meeting they’ll know more about what exactly the council will be doing.

Sklar adds in a press release that she looks forward to working with the Youth Advisory Council.

“Addressing climate change requires broad action across all economic sectors and collaboration among all Manitobans, businesses, academia and governments. Hearing the voices of youth is essential as we collectively work to provide advice on delivering the Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan.”

Conservation and Climate Minister Sarah Guillemard says the council’s first meeting will be in early 2020.

Manitoba Hydro has been awarded the “Emergency Recovery Award” by the Edison Electric Institute, for its outstanding power restoration efforts following the Thanksgiving snowstorm.

The award is given to EEI member companies to recognize extraordinary efforts to restore power to customers after service disruptions due to severe weather conditions or natural disasters.

On Thanksgiving weekend, a severe snowstorm brought wet snow and high winds to the province, resulting in 184,078 outages Manitoba-wide. Due to Hydro employees’ tireless work, crews restored service to 98 percent of customers 9 days after the storm, dedicating 186,000 man-hours to the recovery.

Hydro president and CEO, Jay Grewal, says that Hydro is pleased to be recognized for their efforts following the storm.

“This was the largest restoration in our company’s history, requiring the replacement of more than 4,000 poles, stringing 600 miles of new overhead wire, and the engagement of three mutual aid partners –SaskPower, Hydro One, and Minnesota Power,” said Grewal. “I’m very proud of the work our employees and partners did under such challenging conditions to get our customers back on as quickly as possible.”

Hydro was presented the award at EEI’s Winter Board and Chief Executives Meeting in Tuscon, Arizona.