Monday, July 13, 2009

Rod Bruinooge: Prophet or Profit for the Lord?

Rod Bruinooge is the Conservative MP for Winnipeg South. His bio claims that he is a businessman, an amateur film maker and computer games designer. All true.

He is also a Metis and the Harper government loves to hold him up as an example of how enlightened they are. Drawing in aboriginal candidates helps them to shed their old image of being harsh toward Canada's First Nations.

Unfortunately, Bruinooge is not an aboriginal member of Parliament, but a Member of Parliament who happens to be of aboriginal descent. In fact the Native community has never endorsed him.

During the 2004 election, Bruinooge and party leader Stephen Harper were the targets of a protest by aboriginal activists, including David Chartrand of the Manitoba Métis Federation.

In 2006, though Bruinooge was a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation, that organization endorsed his Liberal opponent, Reg Alcock. He beat Alcock by just 111 votes.

At the First Nations General Assembly in Nova Scotia in July 2007, Bruinooge described the Paul Martin government's Kelowna Accord on aboriginal investment as nothing more than an "expensive press release". This statement was strongly criticized by Assembly of First Nations leader Phil Fontaine. The deal had been hammered out over five years, and one of Harper's first acts as prime minister was to scrap it.

Fontaine argued that the accord "was designed to eradicate poverty in First Nations communities and make Canada a better place."
William Davison of the Indian Métis Christian Fellowship, who works with urban aboriginals in Regina, said he wasn't surprised that the Tories chopped the funds. But he said the billions promised in the Kelowna Accord would have gone a long way to helping improve the lives of aboriginals in Canada.

"I work with a lot of hopelessness and despair within the aboriginal urban community dealing with traditions and cultures and dealing with those trapped in the streets," Davison told CBC News.
Hardly a simple "press release".

Instead, as a member of Canada's Religious Right, Rod Bruinooge has focused most of his attention on re-criminalizing abortion, validating feminist Gloria Steinem's claim, that the neoconservatives believe that "life begins at conception but ends at birth".

Child poverty rates are on the rise in Canada. In November of 2009, Vipal Jain wrote in the Toronto Star:
One in nine Canadian children, more than a million, live below the poverty line according to the 2008 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada ... “For many families, it’s very difficult to get out of poverty. There isn’t enough money to feed the children, clothe them properly, or even enough money to pay for the bus fare or to look for a job,” says Grant Wilson, President of Canadian Children’s Rights Council. It’s even harder for new Canadian children and aboriginal families as they are at a greater risk of living in poverty. (1)
UNICEF confirms the plight of many First Nations children. From their 2009 annual report:
Aboriginal children are among the most marginalized children in Canadian society. Despite some advances, in almost any measure of health and well-being, Aboriginal children – including First Nations, Inuit and Métis -- are at least two or three times worse off than other Canadian children. As children, they are less likely to see a doctor. As teens, they are more likely to become pregnant. And in many communities, they are more likely to commit suicide.

This disparity is the greatest children's rights challenge facing our nation.
The Canadian Press reported that:
... infant mortality rate for native babies in Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand is up to four times that of non-native newborns, says a groundbreaking new study ... Dr. Janet Smylie, a researcher who works through St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto, says the international replication of startling native health gaps among such diverse populations suggests social deprivation – not genetics – is to blame.(2)
The Native Women's Association of Canada, post that "our infants are challenged right from the start, and that our infant mortality rates are equal to developing countries such as Chile, Sri Lanka and Fiji, and higher than Latvia and Lithuania."

If Rod Bruinooge was really pro-life and an "aboriginal" MP, he would be doing something for these children, instead of exploiting his heritage for political gain.

When First we Practice to Deceive

When Dr. Henry Morgentaler was slated to receive the Order of Canada, many in the pro-life movement came out in opposition.  It's a divisive issue.

Fortunately, the honour remained, and Morgantaler was rewarded for his work in offering safe abortions.

Most of the Conservatives didn't see it that way, but Rod Bruinooge went above and beyond.  He was behind a poll that appeared on Lifesitenews, suggesting that "56% of Canadians Oppose Morgentaler Order of Canada".

The poll was commissioned by Lifesitenews, and conducted by KLRVU polling.  But what they don't mention, is the fact that KLRVU polling is run by Allan and Katherine Bruinooge.  Rod's brother and his wife.

Prophet or Profit?

Canadian dominionist, Faytene Kryskow, has called Rod Bruinooge, a 'Prophet for the Lord', because of his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.  Her organization, 4MY Canada, threw their support behind his election campaign, and continue to endorse his political career. (3)

But just how righteous a man is he?

In an alleged shady deal with a former Brian Mulroney crony, Gary Thomas Brazzell, Bruinooge showed that he could play the game.

It began with a patronage appointment in 2007.  According to WaverleyWest:
There was a recent Tory appointment that the WFP [Winnipeg Free Press] missed, as they always seem to miss it. That man is the one Manitoban who got plum appointments from both Prime Ministers Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper. That man is Ladco Board Member and former Rod Bruinooge lawyer Gary Brazzell. (4)
Ladco is one of the primary owners of  Waverley West development (35%).  Bruinooge lobbied hard for the Waverley underpass, which would be beneficial to Waverley West.
Less than two years after the Kenaston underpass finally ended traffic mayhem on one major south Winnipeg artery, the area's MP says it's time to do the same thing on Waverley ...  (Waverley West is a project of ladco) And Winnipeg South MP Rod Bruinooge says his government is prepared to pony up its share of the cash." (Senior Manitoba minister Vic Toews has signalled to me that should the province come on board, the federal government will be there," Bruinooge said.

"My interest now is in convincing the premier they should also come to the table." Bruinooge said the additional 30,000 homes in the Waverley West subdivision makes the underpass at Waverley a desperate need."A lot of people don't use Waverley because they can't count on it," Bruinooge said. "It's been a constant burden."
But was Bruinooge really concerned with congestion, or something else?

Seems that the MP owed Brazzell a favour.  A Waverley West watchdog group provides a bit of background:
December 2, 1998 Lawyer Gary Thomas Brazzell is made a director of Abject Modernity Internet Creations.   Its president is Rodney Bruinooge (now the MP for Winnipeg South.)

December 23, 1998 Brazzell buys 25,000 shares of Abject stock.

December 23, 1998 Brazzell provides share certificates to Bruinooges’s step-brother’s co-worker.

February 1999 Brazzell provides share certificates to an uncle of Chantale Marion (Bruinooge’s wife). They had been backdated to December 23, 1998.
Brazzel had actually once been removed from the Ladco board for questionable business practices.

From a report by the Manitoba Securities Commission:
C1. BRAZZELL acknowledges and agrees that he acted contrary to the public interest in that he: (a) traded in securities without having been registered and without prospectus in contravention of sections 6 and 37 of the Act; (b) facilitated or permitted the purchase of shares by a number of investors under the sole name of one investor, so as to minimize the number of apparent investors in an effort to purportedly rely upon the private company exemption under section 19(2)(i) of the Act; (c) failed to ascertain whether the company in question was in fact a private company as defined in the Act, thereby causing shares to be traded in reliance upon such exemption, when the exemption was not so available; (d) facilitated or permitted the purchase and sale of securities in ABJECT in the name of one investor, when he knew or ought to have known that the shares were intended to be purchased by a number of other investors in addition to the investor so named. Brazzell will pay the Manitoba Securities Commission $3,000 plus costs for his actions.
Is Rod Bruinooge really a "prophet for the Lord"?

I'd say he's just another self serving Conservative politician.


1. Rich Nation, Poor Children, by Vipal Jain, The Toronto Star, November 20th, 2009

2. Native infant mortality rate four times non-natives', By Sue Bailey, Toronto Star, March 30, 2009

3. The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada, By: Marci McDonald, Random House Canada, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-307-35646-8 3

4. Gary Brazzel gets federal appointment to the Intellectual Property Office (CIPO),  Trade-mark Agent, March 2, 2007

5. Time for Waverley underpass: Tory MP, By Mia Rabson, Winnipeg Free Press, June 16, 2008


What is Rod Bruinooge's Private Members Bill Really About?

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