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Outdoor recreationists call for public inquiry on MNR activities

Monday, February 24, 2014   by: SooToday.com Staff

SooToday.com received a copy of a letter sent to David Orazietti from Mike Boudreau, president of Ontario Outdoors Recreational Alliance, Inc., in regards to illegal actions of MNR employees.

*************************
Honourable Sir:

On behalf of the Ontario Outdoors Recreational Alliance, Inc. (OntORA) and as its President, we join in the call for your government to immediately appoint a public enquiry into the problem of MNR employees unlawfully using their positions to gain lucrative tourism business opportunities.  

Due to my extensive outdoors experience in the Wawa district as a Bear Outfitter for 21 years, President of the Wawa Trappers’ Council, the Wawa Bear Outfitters Association as well as the Wawa Rod and Gun Club, Outdoor Education Instructor, long term member of both the Wawa and White River Local Citizens’ Committees (LCCs), I have personal knowledge of MNR employees using their positions for unlawful financial gain.  

I am prepared to testify, and to name names, at such an enquiry to expose the injustices by certain MNR employees using their preferred positions to acquire outdoor camps and lands for personal profit. 

Certain that these injustices have been occurring since at least 1982 in the Wawa District and have been reported and documented, but your Ministry has never taken any action to stop it. 

These injustices included the privatization of a large number of lakes and certain road closures that were aimed at protecting the private business interests of some MNR supervisors and employees.

There are certain other questionable practices occurring in the Wawa District of interest to a public enquiry, such as the 38 major lakes reserved for the private use of the now bankrupt and defunct Wilderness Outfitters, not being returned for the benefit of the general public.

We therefore call on you, Mr. Minister, to do the honourable thing and call a public enquiry to finally shed some light on these very disturbing and illegal actions of some MNR employees.

Yours very truly,


Mike Boudreau,
President, OntORA. 

*****************************
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Comments
46
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Gotmilk 2/24/2014 10:12:50 AM Report

Go get'em Mike!!
Number One Son 2/24/2014 10:13:37 AM Report

Sounds like sour grapes to me. Give it up pal.
Dictionary 2/24/2014 10:37:21 AM Report

I fully support ONTORA's efforts with regards to crown land access and the coddling of the remote tourism industry.
thomas 2/24/2014 10:46:57 AM Report

Quote: "These injustices included the privatization of a large number of lakes and certain road closures that were aimed at protecting the private business interests of some MNR supervisors and employees"

A great letter Mike and I hope this won't be swept under the rug.
Why should the MNR employeees have preferential access to purchasing and closing off lakes/lands/roads to the general public?
kaima 2/24/2014 10:56:54 AM Report

Ok Dave show some leadership for us in the North, and get the ball running.
AnnieP 2/24/2014 11:06:43 AM Report

Contact W5. They always like exposing stories like this.
Taye70 2/24/2014 11:08:53 AM Report

Corruption is rampant and I love this when people find their voices and stand up for what's right. Go Mike!
ti-guy 2/24/2014 11:16:30 AM Report

heh, number one son, are you related to one of the enployees? You dont see anything wrong here? Either research the issue or refrain from making useless comments.
Gater 2/24/2014 11:21:26 AM Report

Well well. The cat is out of the bag.
This has been going on in the Blind River area (MNR)also.

Private lakes planted and outpost camp sites allocated to MNR employees etc..
You should put a contact # on this article for others to contact you with info.. This goes farther than just the Wawa area...
Prrrrrrr 2/24/2014 11:36:20 AM Report

High Five!!!
4wheel 2/24/2014 11:38:21 AM Report

nothing will be done politicias are just as dirty as mnr the north has to do break away from ontario and have northerners for notherners take care of are selfs start putting some mnr's in prison like any normal northern
theprotector 2/24/2014 11:44:28 AM Report

sounds like a good case if he is willing to come forward with this stuff.
nishie 2/24/2014 11:58:36 AM Report

Hopefully, the MNR will really take a serious look at ALL the infractions and incidents of their workers looking the other way. Trying to find a campsite on crown land is impossible. People just set up their RVs (complete with porches!) and remain ALL summer on land that is supposed to have, I believe, a 21 day turnaround. Maybe if real regulations were enforced properly, we could all enjoy our beautiful area.
Kevin5069 2/24/2014 12:10:49 PM Report

It's about time! This has been an ongoing joke for years. Glad to hear some are standing up to these guys now.
cooper2006 2/24/2014 12:14:25 PM Report

Sour Grapes???

If there is something to this it should be dealt with. Sour Grapes...??? Sounds like you just may have moved from Montreal and are in the construction industry! THis is the BS stuff that erodes public trust of our institutions.

Someone raises a complaint about potential misuse of public authority and funds and you say SOUR GRAPES??? wow....either that or you work at the MNR

If this is true, I would hope the government responds accordingly!
jim 2/24/2014 12:27:52 PM Report

does this also include the corrupt game wardens ? I know hunters who have had there moose taken away with no excuse, just gone. I believe there saleing them to american hunters for profit out of certain lodges. Probably the lodges owned by MNR supervisors. Hopefully this will be exposed also
S.M.A.R.T. 2/24/2014 12:43:28 PM Report

Why is it that we ALWAYS, ALWAYS have to have idiotic, gratuitous comments appear in this forum, such as that of Number One Son's, which are intended to dim the light being shone on an issue of the utmost importance? Clearly there is something that's gone seriously awry with respect to public access to public lakes in Ontario. Unless the legislation has changed, there is no such thing as private ownership of any waterway here in Ontario and therefore limited private access to these bodies of water is not legitimate and needs to be thoroughly investigated. Number One Son, until you have something of substance to add to the discussion, stifle it!
George J 2/24/2014 12:43:29 PM Report

If it takes a public enquiry to expose the true facts about this, then call one David. You've known about this for a long time and it's time you did something about it. I thought when the government appointed a Minister to head up the MNR from Northern Ontario he would investigate what's happening and correct it. I'm very disappointed.
Gater 2/24/2014 1:00:09 PM Report

nishie Good point . Campers on Hwy 129 leave trailers on crown land all year. Awnings /gardens/outhouses at Peshu/rocky Island/trolling lakes.

All visited by C.O's and also Ontario Parks Superintendents on regular basis and doing nothing about this..
Well beyond the 21 days .. and no one else can get a spot to camp????

Zero enforcement...
Public inquiry long over due..
HowAbooutSomeLogic 2/24/2014 1:03:28 PM Report

SMART, there will always be a segment of the population that sees corruption and either doesn't care, because they're too caught up in themselves, or they stick their heads in the sand because it makes them scared to know that such evils do exist and they're not sure what to do about it, so they take the path of least resistance - defeatism.

When we find corruption (and if we're being honest with ourselves, it is everywhere) we should promote awareness and draw action to stem and stop it.

Most people do care and want to live in a community where others care as they do and will do whatever it takes to stop the corruption for themselves, for their community and future generations as well.

I know David to be a good man (though obviously misguided) but his party and every other in this country has a very long history of taking action against the best interests of 99.999% of Canadians/First Nations and will never receive a vote from me.

Why do you need someone to govern you?
debo 2/24/2014 1:04:04 PM Report

These are very serious allegations voiced by Mr. Boudreau . Mr. Orazietti has a responsibility to investigate the circumstances that have led to the penning of this letter. As one (of many) who elected our Representative I hope he acts on the concerns enumerated in the letter ... and makes full public disclosure of those findings.

David, to keep your electors trust, this seems to be a matter you must take the lead on.
sinikka 2/24/2014 1:05:53 PM Report

If the activities discussed in the letter are actually illegal as the writer suggested then call the police and let them investigate. Criminal activities should involve the authorities and then a public inquiry can be called after the criminal activities are made public. These accusations being brought out in this letter seem very serious. I do hope that the writer does have concrete proof and not just hunches. Good luck to you mr. boudreau.
Boomer4771 2/24/2014 1:28:20 PM Report

I as a tax payor want these allegations investigated immediately..
rotciv 2/24/2014 1:32:03 PM Report

Mr Boudrea has all the ammunition he needs, he is absolutely correct with his accusations-it has been happening in the Blind River District for years and it starts with top MNR employees in particular with acquiring crown lands and camps on crown leases and just making up new areas for lease to suit where Gov. employees want to situate their camps in prime fishing and hunting areas , as far as closing access roads that is an illegal move .The MNR has the liability on these roads , if it was a forest access road that went no where they have no problem making loggers destroy the road why not let people fish and hunt there and leave it accessible to everyone no one has a monopoly on Lakes on Crown land anywhere
Slim Shady 2/24/2014 1:33:34 PM Report

@ Gater, @nishie

Yup... All up Hwy 129...Shaw Dam, Snowshoe Creek, Wakamata too!

The entire government commitment towards conservation has gone into the toilet since the late 1980’s. The MNR/DFO is supposed to be the stewards of our Natural Resources – to ensure sustainability for future generations. Multiple recessions has allowed various government regimes to cut back scope/funding to the MNR/DFO. People in their Toronto downtown condos do not understand or care of the significance in maintaining an effective MNR/DFO! There are not enough Game Wardens to manage wildlife programs, hunting quotas let alone check to see if “camping squatters” obey the 21 day rule! There are not enough biologists to manage evasive species, tree & wildlife diseases, fish hatchery programs, lamprey control etc. Who enforces logging companies to scarify and replant harvested forests?! How about the DFO enforcing the commercial fishing industry?!

The government has closed local MNR offices like the one in Little Rapids in midst of our heritage Kirkland Forest!

I used to work as a University Co-op student for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in the late 1980’s… They were involved in many species/habitat/fish dam projects…. Now? They are a shadow of what they once were!

Patronage and nepotism are not uncommon…. I believe the writer that people with connections and inside knowledge have been getting the best land, leases, access rights etc. It is unfair and a conflict of interest.
Me myself and I 2/24/2014 1:47:56 PM Report

NUMBER ONE SON....either you work for these or you are related. Sour Grapes? How could you say that? I hope they look into this.
Gentleman 2/24/2014 2:45:41 PM Report

Great letter and I wish Mr. Boudreau the very best on his continued efforts to challenge the MNR on land-access issues. I give him tremendous credit for taking time to make things right for Outdoor Enthusiasts who have been short-changed for all these years by MNR policies. With a Provincial Election on the horizon, there are some possibilities that will likely take place. #1: The Fiberals are tossed, then we are dealing with a new government and lobby procedure starts all over again or #2: The Fiberals squeak back into power and the Ministry "Musical-Chair-Portfolio" swapping starts. I like the idea of the W5 concept. Good luck!
Thim 2/24/2014 4:29:35 PM Report

Way to go Mike, this is akin to work place fraud and evidence warrants a public enquiry, the Minister has absolutely no other option under the circumstances.
The Ministry has already admitted they allow employees to acquire public lands from which to directly or indirectly derive a financial gain, this means that every employee can dream of such an opportunity and possibly feather their own bed or assist co-workers. Thus every employee of the MNR is in a conflict with every Policy, directive, manual or decision on this issue suspect in the eyes of the law which requires they be ruled null and void.

The MNR has admitted to this, the question isn't did they, it's how much they did.
WAY TO GO MIKE,
Tom Brason
Beej 2/24/2014 4:53:07 PM Report

A very pertinent issue that affects many, many outdoors type people, I truly hope they can't ignore this and have to take a serious look at the allegations and the proof.
I see Number One Troll has struck again, spewing more of his endless Number Two. He thrives on this for some twisted reason!
Bad Dawg 2/24/2014 5:39:42 PM Report

a few yrs ago we had come across a nice little spec lake, north of Elliot Lake, on crown land accessed by crown land. we were headed back with our limit, when were pulled over by a C.O. he was very respectful and professional. asked us where we caught our fish and we told him. and the very next weekend there were "berms" blocking the trail and a sign saying "no motorized vehicles". we walked in about a kilometer and found two camp sites trailer and motorhome with porches, equipped with four wheelers and boats. never found out who owned them but the people staying there said they were "lent" to them..... 6-7 different American families all summer long.

things that make you go HMMMM
Thim 2/24/2014 5:40:49 PM Report

Above all as some seem to think, this isn't just about outdoorsmen, this affects every citizen of Ontario.
Our lands are being turned into the equivalent of private game preserves for the enjoyment of a select few, 85% of whom are not citizens of Canada plus roughly 50% of the businesses deriving a benefit from being able to charge up to three times more for this artificial remoteness are US citizens.
And then we've got the The MNR at the Deputy Ministers level which says they've a special internal directive allowing employees opportunities to dole out lands to themselves for a side business, a directive we've reason to suspect has been creatively altered.

This is about our grandchildren, our Canadian values and our sovereignty, not just hunters and fishermen who are the ones experiencing this nonsense.
Tom Brason
OrganicGuy 2/24/2014 5:44:48 PM Report

Ya and our current or any previous gov't official, employee have never ever used their power to work out deals that the common person wouldn't know about or ever hear about. It happens all the time and its something we hardly hear about. So if Mike has some info that shows that some people have been in a conflict of interest then all this should come out so it can honestly be reviewed and action taken as needed.

Hey if I work at a car dealership and sell cars/trucks on the side then I think I'll have a problem with my employer!

I conflict of interest is a conflict of interest. Let it shine...
right wing 2/24/2014 7:37:37 PM Report

Well they are at it tell them to explain why Beaver Rock in Lake Superior Provincial Park is gated and closed off to the general public.
MNR exclusive stay there, it is a beautiful spot.
I did some work there and was not given a straight answer when I asked how they could gate it when it was part of a "provincial park".
frnlak 2/24/2014 8:24:04 PM Report

OK people, It's easy to sit there on your fat asses and shoot your mouths off to make yourselves feel good.Don't let Tom Brason and Mike Boudreau do all the work for you. Put your money where your mouth is. If you have a beef, story, complaint or any kind of information spit it out like I did. There are people out there waiting for this scandal to explode.

Contact information...
dorazetti.mpp@liberal.ola.org
CC
premier@ontario.ca
christina.blizzard@sunmedia.ca
fifth@cbc.ca
newsonline@ctv.ca

Lets keep this ball rolling !
Thim 2/24/2014 9:16:22 PM Report

Gang, I sent a request to the MNR thru' the Access to Information Act for lands acquired by Ministry staff over the past 20 years and the reply was it'll take a minimum of 10 hours work for just one aspect of the search costing at least $300.
How many of you have heard of public lands becoming available, well couple this with the fact Ministry employees can only acquire public lands thru' a public lottery or auction.
This Ministry Directive
http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@crownland/documents/document/mnr_e000095.pdf
outlines how a spouse can waive an employees COI by simply signing a paper plus it explains how Ministry staff can apply internally after a specific waiting period for lands not taken... isn't this trouble waiting to happen?
Tom Brason
atoz 2/24/2014 9:39:40 PM Report

So sad another mafia run province. These sort of things have been going on for years. Good luck with this one cant wait to see how long it takes them to cover this up time to bring in the cleaners.Best of luck Mike
thomas 2/25/2014 7:19:47 AM Report

Gater we camp in the areas you mention on Hwy 129: Peshu/rocky Island/trolling lakes.

If you can't find a place to park your trailer/tent/motor home, then you must have a gigantic rig.
There is PLENTY of room up there most of the summer for many more campers. Occasionally, (like on long weekends)there are lots of campers, but where we go, there has never been wall to wall campers without room for more unless you're looking for a place that is 100 feet away from the next camper? Good luck on that! We've never had trouble finding a spot to park and many times our neighbors are very close. That is just something you have to accept in an unorganized (free) campground.

If people like you b*tch and whine enough, then they might just cut everyone off of this wonderful oportunity we have to camp for free.
Thim 2/25/2014 8:10:03 AM Report

thomas...I used to camp in the area you speak of and was disgusted that people would leave their rigs in the best locations for extended periods with no one around and people like myself with a week off had to camp in some 3rd rate part of the area.

Weekend campers leaving their rigs set up all week in the best locations don't really garner any respect from me, I've been on the other end of it too much.
Tom Brason
Gater 2/25/2014 8:33:09 AM Report

@Thim You nailed it..And its not just taking good spots for a couple week.Its the ones that set up residents for the Whole summer.
Yes its great its FREE for EVERYONE. But everyone cant get the use when the others are setting up in April and staying til Oct.
@ Thomas as you can see its not just me that has concerns with the MNR and ON Parks letting the few that are bent on ruining it for the rest and free load all summer and prevent the family with a weekend /week off from having a Good spot..
I have forwarded these issues to the Minister through the MNR web site.And the Premiers office.
mosquito123 2/25/2014 12:03:45 PM Report

Please all of you who feel strongly about this topic write a email to the MNR Minister and the Premier.
Being publically exposed is the only thing they understand .
It's time for the people of Northern Ontario to pull together.
thomas 2/25/2014 12:52:19 PM Report

Thim and Gator, I could care less where we park if the choice spots are taken. We have parked in many various spots and they are all good IMO. Just being able to enjoy the free camping and having access to clean lakes no matter where you park, is a privilege I certainly don't take forgranted.
rotciv 2/25/2014 1:56:39 PM Report

Answer to an earlier comment on MNR closing the Kirkwood office in Little Rapids , that is not all that is happening in the Kirkwood plantations they are now clear cutting Red pine stands, see this in clear view on East Line road everything gone but a pathetic buffer along the road, good bye to a show forest. It also is being dune in other areas in the North Shore Forest with the Red Pine , loggers love it and it's not their fault. Speaking on Peshu Lake, I was there last June and the trailors were parked end for end along the water front for the summer allowing no one decent access to the lake this was a planed set up . If a trailer had to leave at least 4 would have to move one at atime so they could hook up . If that is not hogging the sites go figure
ti-guy 2/25/2014 3:33:19 PM Report

@Thomas
I also have been to Rocky Island and Peshu where there are , at times in the summer, many big trailers and fifth wheels that DO stay for weeks on end, which they shouldn't, but that's not the issue. The issue that we are 'Bitchin' about, is individual members of the Ministry abusing their positions and as long as that happens, we will keep bitchin!
Number One Son 2/27/2014 12:28:27 AM Report

You guys are all auditioning for the next episode of "Redneck Wilderness". Load up your 4-wheelers with enough beer to keep you for a month, and disappear for a while, .... you make me puke.
atticus 2/27/2014 1:18:20 AM Report

We trespassed? all over Beaver Rock several times in not so long ago yore and wondered the same RW.
Me myself and I 2/28/2014 1:17:08 PM Report

Number one son! Sounds like our mission is accomplished! Hope you enjoy puking!
Comments
46
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