Dear Mr. Singh,
As the newly elected leader of the federal NDP you are in a position to carry on with the party’s sound policies but you are also in a position to challenge and try to change policies that are not in the party’s or Canada’s best interests. I am writing to alert you to some of these questionable policies, which I think should be changed.
As a social democratic party, it stands to reason that to be true to its basic principles the NDP should support progressive economic, social and political policies in both Canada and other countries. Unfortunately, in the past few years there have been instances where this has not been the case. Although these aberrations have been noted, strangely, there has not been any hue and cry from NDP members to demand that the party remain true to its founding principles.
In fact, the NDP’s critic for foreign affairs, Hélène Laverdière, has openly echoed Washington’s position on Russia, Syria, Palestine, Ukraine and Venezuela. On many occasions she has aligned herself with American policies and seems to support the US-led geopolitical order. By doing so she has taken positions that violate NDP policies and principles. And yet, amazingly, with the exception of the NDP’s Socialist Caucus, there has been no demand for her removal as foreign affairs critic.
Prior to Hélène Laverdière’s election as an NDP candidate in 2011, she had worked for Canada’s Foreign Affairs for a decade, the first five years for the Liberals and the last five for Harper’s Conservatives. Although ostensibly now being NDP, from her overall political outlook it’s quite evident that she’s crept into the NDP from Harper’s Conservatives, bringing with her most of Harper’s foreign policy positions, and even worse, support for outright reactionary American policies.
On the matter of Venezuela
To begin with, let’s consider the case of Venezuela. Right from the time that Hugo Chávez was elected as president of Venezuela in 1999 till his death in 2013 the USA was opposed to his administration. This was basically because his government adopted an independent foreign policy and concentrated on improving living conditions, especially for poor people. Throughout these years Venezuela’s rich elite tried everything possible to destabilize the country and even attempted a coup d’état in 2002, with the support of the USA. Although Chávez and his government won four elections – the fairest in the world according to Jimmy Carter – the USA denounced him as a dictator.
Following the death of Chávez, his party under Nicolás Maduro was re-elected on April 14, 2013. However, President Obama refused to recognize Maduro as the constitutionally elected successor to Chávez. Since then the USA has waged an “economic war” against Venezuela, and in March of 2015 the Obama administration, at the urging of US oil corporations, declared Venezuela to be a “threat to the national security” of the USA. This past summer, with the propaganda support of the American media, the Venezuelan elite and right wing supporters staged constant demonstrations in Caracas, which resulted in street violence and the death of a number of people. In commenting on this President Trump stated, “We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary.”
To deal with the U.S.-provoked crisis, Venezuela held regional elections and on October 15 the government’s socialist party won 18 of 23 governorships. Turnout was 61 percent, the highest in fifteen years, and 1,300 national and international observers praised the electoral process. Nevertheless, without any evidence, the opposition made claims of fraud, and this was uncritically echoed by the media – not only in Venezuela but also in the USA and in Canada.
Holding these elections proved to be the correct course of action because it allowed the Venezuelan people to officially register their views – and the majority supported the government. This left the opposition in disarray and all demonstrations and protests stopped.
Despite this, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, immediately claimed that the vote was not “free and fair.” And where were Canada and the NDP on this? From the false position that Canada never interferes in other country’s affairs, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister had proclaimed prior to the election: “We are horrified to see Venezuela sliding into a dictatorship” and Ottawa proceeded to impose unilateral sanctions and provided support for Venezuela’s opposition. To the discredit of the NDP, their foreign affairs critic, Hélène Laverdière, echoed Freeland’s and the USA’s condemnation and demanded that the federal government should be “more active” in dealing with Venezuela. Undoubtedly to her satisfaction, recently in a move that probably violates the UN charter, Global Affairs Canada sanctioned 40 Venezuelans, including President Maduro.
Since 1999, despite the USA’s threats and interference in Venezuela’s affairs, the government through various socialist measures has managed to improve the living conditions for a large segment of its population. Undoubtedly because Venezuela has the world’s largest oil deposits, the USA has been determined to smash all aspects of this country’s socialist features.
One would think that Canada’s NDP, as a social democratic party, would be supportive of the progressive policies that have been enacted in Venezuela. Surely the bulk of the people who vote NDP would be far more supportive of Venezuela than they would be of U.S. policies to undermine that country. So how is it that the NDP’s maverick foreign affairs critic is capable of aligning herself with American imperialist reactionary policies? There wasn’t a word from her when President Trump threatened to invade Venezuela and she has yet to criticize the recently announced Canadian sanctions.
Mr. Singh, as the new leader of the NDP, to salvage the reputation of this party on the issue of Venezuela, for this reason alone, it is imperative for you to remove this person from her position as the party’s foreign affairs critic.
Canada’s adoption of Bill 226, the “Magnitsky Act”
In a move that history will show to be ill-advised, this past month Canada’s Parliament and Senate unanimously approved Bill 226, a ‘Magnitsky Act’ for Canada which targets Russia for further economic sanctions. This act mimics its U.S. counterpart that had been instituted in 2012 and it served as an opening shot in the New Cold War with Russia. Russia immediately denounced Canada’s actions as being counter-productive, pointless and reprehensible. Actually an act of this type had been opposed by Stéphane Dion while he was Canada’s minister of foreign affairs because he viewed it as a needless provocation against Russia. Dion also stated that adoption of a ‘Magnitsky Act’ would hurt the interests of Canadian businesses dealing with Russia and would thwart Canada’s attempt’s to normalize relations with Russia. However, the current minister, Chrystia Freeland, with her well-documented Nazi family background and who is persona non grata in Russia, pushed this through. Not surprisingly, she had the full support of Hélène Laverdière, the NDP’s foreign affairs critic, who applauded the bill and has repeatedly called for stronger sanctions on Russia.
Both of these highly questionable Magnitsky legislative acts had been perpetrated by wealthy financier Bill Browder’s account of the death in a Russian prison in 2009 of his financial accountant Sergei Magnitsky. Browder has portrayed himself as an “activist investor” and that he agitated for Russian companies to adopt western-style governance. During the corrupt Yeltsin years, with his business partner’s $25 million, Browder amassed a fortune. Later, through Browder’s Russian-registered subsidiaries, his accountant Magnitsky acquired extra shares in the Russian gas companies Surgutneftegaz, Rosneft and Gazprom. This procedure enabled Browder’s companies to pay the residential tax rate of 5.5% instead of the 35% that foreigners would have to pay.
However, the scheme to bypass a Russian presidential decree that banned foreign companies and citizens from purchasing equities in Gazprom was an illegal act. Because of this, Magnitsky was interrogated in 2006 and later in 2008 he was charged by Russian prosecutors for participating in a scheme to avoid paying appropriate taxes. Unfortunately, in 2009 Magnitsky died in pre-trial detention because of a failure by prison officials to provide prompt medical assistance.
Despite Brower’s claims that Magnitsky died as a result of torture and beatings, authentic documents and testimonies show that Magnitsky died because of medical neglect – he was not provided adequate treatment for a gallstone condition. It was negligence typical at that time of prison bureaucracy, not a premeditated killing. Because of the resulting investigation, many high level functionaries in the prison system were fired or demoted.
Afterwards Magnitsky was found guilty of corruption in a posthumous trial. Actually, the trial’s main purpose was to investigate alleged fraud by Bill Browder, but to proceed with this they had to include the accountant Magnitsky as well. The Russian court found both of them guilty of fraud. The case against Magnitsky was closed because of his death.
In the meantime, after being refused entry to Russia in November of 2005, Browder launched a campaign insisting that his departure from Russia resulted from his anti-corruption activities. However, what he does not mention is that in 2003 a Russian provincial court had convicted Browder of evading some $40 million in taxes. It was after this that the Russian federal government next took up the case and initially went after Magnitsky, the accountant who carried out Browder’s schemes.
But back in the USA Browder portrayed himself as the ultimate truth-teller, and embellished his tale by asserting that Sergei Magnitsky was a whistleblowing “tax lawyer,” rather than one of Browder’s accountants implicated in tax fraud. As his case got more involved, he presented a convoluted explanation that he was not responsible for bogus claims made by his companies to fraudulently sneak away as much as $230 million in refunded Russian taxes. To put this in political context, Browder’s narrative served a strong geopolitical purpose to demonize Russia at the dawn of the New Cold War.
Browder’s campaign was so effective that in December 2012 the US Congress passed a bipartisan bill, the Magnitsky Act, which was then signed by President Obama. This bill blacklisted Russian officials who were accused of being involved in human-rights abuses.
It should be noted that in 1998, Bill Browder gave up his U.S. citizenship and became a British citizen to avoid paying US taxes on foreign investments.
A U.S. investigative journalist, Lucy Komisar, published a report on October 20, 2017 that is a detailed account of the Bill Browder saga entitled “Checkered champion: Bill Browder, anti-corruption crusader, got $70 million from tax evasion and fraud in Russia.”
But an even better exposé of the Browder-Russia story is presented in a film that came out in June 2016 The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes by the well-known independent filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov. When Nekrasov started the film he had fully believed Browder’s story but as he delved into what really happened, to his surprise, he discovered that the case documents and other incontrovertible facts revealed Browder to be a fraud, a major crook and an audacious liar. The ensuing film presents a powerful deconstruction of the Magnitsky myth, but because of Browder’s political connections and threats of lawsuits, the film has been blacklisted in the entire “free world.” Hence, with the current anti-Russia hysteria and when the West’s propaganda lines don’t stand up to scrutiny, censorship and ad hominem attacks have become the weapons of choice to defend “perception management.”
Despite the frantic attempts by Browder’s lawyers to block this documentary film from being shown, Washington’s Newseum, to its credit, had a one-time showing on June 13, 2016, including a question-and-answer session with Andrei Nekrasov, moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. Other than the New York Times, the mainstream media condemned the film and its showing. As such, with the exception of that one audience, the public in the USA, Canada and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary’s discoveries.
Andrei Nekrasov is prepared to go to court to defend the findings of his film, but Bill Browder has refused to do this and simply keeps maligning the film and Mr. Nekrasov.
The latest development in this case occurred on October 24, 2017 when the Russian Prosecutor General, Yuri Chaika, requested the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to launch a probe into alleged tax evasion by Bill Browder, who in 2013 had already been sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison in Russia for a similar crime. Browder is currently being tried in Russia for suspected large-scale money laundering, also in absentia. Chaika added that Russian law enforcement possesses information that over $1 billion was illegally transferred from the country into structures connected with Bill Browder.
The Prosecutor General also asked Sessions to reconsider the Magnitsky Act. As he put it, “… from our standpoint, the act was adopted for no actual reason, while it was lobbied by people who had committed crimes in Russia. In our view, there are grounds to claim that this law lacks real foundation and that its passing was prompted by criminals’ actions.”
So far no response to these requests has been reported from the USA, but it should now be obvious that these are matters of considerable consequence to Russia and that at some point when relations with Russia normalize, these issues will have to be dealt with.
In the meantime, Canada’s parliamentarians, seemingly totally oblivious to the serious charges levelled against Bill Browder and his credibility, unanimously passed a bill in Parliament based mainly on Browder’s testimony – a bill that will significantly damage our relations with Russia. With the Liberals and the Conservatives this is not unduly surprising, but what is surprising is that not a single NDP Member of Parliament objected to this measure. What a sad commentary.
Mr. Singh, since this has now been brought to your attention, it is incumbent on you to deal with this matter and to somehow try to restore the NDP’s credibility on this aspect of Canada’s foreign policy. It is astounding that not a single one of the NDP MPs had the courage and/or knowledge to challenge the blatant American propaganda in this instance. History will not look kindly on the NDP for this.
The NDP’s support of the White Helmets in Syria
I would now like to go back to the NDP’s foreign affairs critic Hélène Laverdière for a further instance in which she has supported US foreign policy. In the fall of 2016 she co-wrote a letter to foreign minister Stéphane Dion in which she recommended that Canada nominate Syria’s White Helmets for the Nobel Peace Prize. Again in this instance the NDP was sucked into supporting an American foreign policy position advocated by the mainstream media and was somehow unaware of devastating critiques by reputable alternate media.
Reports by investigative journalists such as Canada’s Eva Bartlett, UK’s Vanessa Beeley, USA’s Robert Parry and many others were ignored. Bartlett and Beeley have both spent considerable time in Syria and have presented highly informative accounts of actual conditions in that country. When it comes to the White Helmets, rather than being a group of courageous volunteer first-responders, they actually support the terrorists and are nothing more than a propaganda wing of Al Qaeda itself, funded by more than $100 million mainly by the US and UK for the purpose of creating false narratives and designed to manipulate the Western public.
In the fall of 2016 when I first heard about the NDP’s support for the White Helmets, I wrote an open letter to the NDP denouncing their ill-advised position. In response, I received commendation from many NDP supporters, but not a word from any NDP MPs.
As far back as 2012 Hélène Laverdière condemned the Harper government for failing to take stronger action against Syria and Assad, so in effect she had supported the terrorists from the very beginning. She urged Harper to raise the Syrian conflict with China in the hopes that Syria could be condemned at the United Nations. Did it not occur to her that such actions could help to depose the secular Syrian government and replace it with a tyrannical Wahhabi religious regime? Long gone are the days when the NDP opposed US foreign policy such as their war in Vietnam.
Mr. Singh, perhaps you should have a word with the NDP’s foreign policy critic, and remind her about the NDP’s foreign policy position in the past.
Hélène Laverdière’s partisan support of Israel
When it comes to the Israel-Palestine issue, Hélène Laverdière has definitely sided with Israel on a number of fronts. Last year she spoke at a Washington conference of the notorious anti-Palestinian lobby organization American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Later on a visit to Israel Laverdière participated in tree-planting ceremony in Jerusalem put on by the explicitly racist Jewish National Fund.
These are unquestionably partisan actions and it would be interesting to know to what extent Laverdière had the support of the NDP caucus in these ventures. If these activities have been largely on her own initiative, for the sake of the NDP’s reputation, this is a matter that you should deal with Mr. Singh.
The NDP’s support of Ottawa’s position on Ukraine
On another foreign policy matter, instead of urging the government in Ukraine to adopt the provisions of the Minsk II Accord, which could then lead to a peaceful resolution with the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, the NDP along with the federal government, condemns Russia for not heeding the Minsk II agreement. This is bizarre and a perversion of the reality of the situation because Russia is not a participant in this matter and nowhere is it even mentioned in the 13 provisions of the accord document. When Stéphane Dion was Canada’s foreign minister I wrote an open letter to him in which I discussed this matter at considerable length. But before he could take any action he was removed from his post and replaced by Chrystia Freeland, and nothing productive in this situation has occurred since then.
Mr. Singh, on the complicated matter of Ukraine it may be helpful for you to examine a couple of articles that I wrote on this issue, located here and here. The first article had been translated into German, French, Spanish and Polish, so it is of some consequence.
After the USA engineered the coup d’état that occurred in Ukraine in February 2014, it proceeded to blame “Russian aggression” for all the ensuing problems in that country. And from this myth grew the totally unfounded accusation that Russia was planning some type of aggression against Poland and the Baltic countries. No evidence of any kind has ever been presented to support this accusation – simply because it didn’t make any sense for Russia to do such a bizarre thing. Despite this, at the behest of the USA, NATO obediently began massing troops in this area – and not surprisingly Russia increased its forces across from these frontiers. Naturally, this was then viewed as evidence of further Russian aggression!
In compliance to the belligerence directed at Russia, in September of 2015 Canada sent 200 “military trainers” to Ukraine, with unanimous support in Parliament. Not surprisingly, NDP’s Laverdière supports deploying troops right to the Russian border and has repeatedly called for more sanctions on that country. She said the plan to send military trainers to the Ukraine “sounds good in principle,” but when the Trudeau government, without parliamentary consent, decided to send 450 Canadian troops to Latvia, she said it would have been good to have had a debate in Parliament first.
NDP’s lack of response to Ottawa’s decision to send troops to Latvia
Canadian troops arrived in Latvia in June of 2017 as part of Operation Reassurance – a multinational NATO mission aimed at discouraging “Russian aggression in the region.” As with other such missions we ostensibly did this with great pride by coming to the aid of people who “share our values.” Actually our troops were to arrive in early spring but the date was pushed back to June. The delay resolved a bit of problem for the Canadian government in that they didn’t have to come up with an inspired way to spin Latvia’s annual tribute to fascism.
Thanks to Scott Taylor, a noted Canadian journalist who specializes in war reporting, we were informed about an inconvenient truth regarding Latvia, a truth that has been studiously missing in the mainstream media. So let me quote from Scott Taylor, back on March 12, 2017:
Since Latvia’s independence in 1990, every year on March 16 the locals stage a parade in the capital of Riga in commemoration of the SS Latvian Legion. This is the same Waffen SS that became synonymous with Adolf Hitler’s Nazis.
This is not Russian fake news. The parades to celebrate the SS were officially sanctioned. In 1998, March 16 was declared an official Remembrance Day in Latvia; however, due to international pressure, in 2000 this date was abolished as an official commemoration day. Riga city council then attempted to ban the marches in 2010, but that ruling was overturned by an administrative district court. The controversial parades thus continue to this day.
This annual event is not merely a nostalgic commemoration of Latvian Waffen-SS veterans who fought side by side with the Germany’s Nazi armies, their current neo-fascist National Alliance Party holds 17 out of 100 seats and they are part of the ruling coalition. Few people know that of the 70,000 Jews that lived in Latvia when the Nazi Germany entered its territory, it’s estimated that 67,000 died in the Holocaust.
Ex-inmates who survived Latvia’s concentration camps are appalled at the resurgence of far-right nationalism.
So as Scott Taylor says “… sending our soldiers to protect a large group of Latvians that are sporting SS runes and celebrating their Nazi past is bound to cause the majority of Canadians some unease.”
Taylor also comments on the non-citizen status of all non-ethnic Latvian residents, saying:
Approximately one-eighth of Latvia’s two million inhabitants are effectively considered second-class citizens as they are not allowed to vote and cannot hold certain positions in local and national governments as well as in the civil service. The majority of non-ethnic Latvians are ethnic Russians, whose family history in Latvia dates back to the Second World War.
One wonders how Latvian people of Russian ethnic origin feel about this. After all, the USSR lost about 27 million people fighting the Nazis, while now, after all these years, there are some Latvians who still revere and glorify the Nazi military. Taylor’s concluding comments: “We repeatedly are told that we are deploying our military abroad to ‘defend Canadian values.’ However, Canadians do not celebrate Nazis and we pride ourselves on striving for equal rights for all.”
Although the NDP often comment on human rights issues in certain countries, how is it that there hasn’t been a peep out of them about the rather disturbing conditions in Latvia?
NDP’s apparent support of Canada’s minister of foreign affairs
I’ve already commented, at some length, about the NDP’s foreign affairs critic, but it’s important to also comment on Canada’s foreign affairs minister, Chrystia Freeland. This past spring a brief media storm swirled around her. The controversy arose when a number of international media reports revealed that her maternal grandfather, Michael Chomiak, was a Nazi collaborator during the Second World War. When journalists asked her for comment and clarification, she brushed this aside and presented herself as a victim of Russian disinformation.
To her defense came the entire phalanx of Canadian journalists and media, indignantly denouncing any such assertions about our dear innocent minister. All with the exception of a very few, David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen, being one who stated, “Michael Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator … . So much for Russian disinformation.” In other words, it isn’t disinformation if it’s true. There was also Tom Walker of the Toronto Star, saying:
None of this would matter (sic) if Freeland had not talked and written glowingly about the influence these grandparents exerted on her. But she did. ‘[Their experience] had a very big effect on me,’ she told Star national affairs writer Linda Diebel shortly after being appointed to cabinet in 2015… . But it was neither Russian disinformation nor false news. It was true. Freeland’s grandfather had worked with the Nazis. The newspaper he edited did publish ant-Semitic material. Documents attesting to this fact exist in an Alberta archive, according to the Ottawa Citizen. Freeland’s uncle, a historian, had written about it in a 1996 academic journal… . Freeland has known of her grandfather’s wartime activities for at least two decades.
To put this in proper perspective, Chrystia Freeland’s grandfather Michael Chomiak was not some minor insignificant functionary during the Nazi occupation of Ukraine and Poland. After the war broke out in 1939, Chomiak left his job in Ukraine and moved to Nazi-occupied Poland in order to work for the Third Reich under the command of Governor-General Hans Frank, a later convicted war criminal who organized the Holocaust in Poland. Chomiak’s work was directly supervised by Emil Gassner, the head of the press department in the Polish General Government. There are photos of him dining with Gassner and other Nazi officials.
As such, Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator from the beginning to the end of the war – his job was to spread Nazi propaganda. He was given a prestigious position, money, home and car by the German Army in Krakow, then the capital of the German administration of the Galician region. He was assigned to be editor in chief and publisher of a newspaper the Nazis created, Krakivski Visti (News of Krakow). His printing plant and other assets had been confiscated from its Jewish owner Moishe Kafner, who later died in the Belsen concentration camp in 1942. In his editorials and articles Chomiak rejoiced over Nazi military victories, including the terror bombings of Britain. According to John-Paul Himka, a Canadian historian of Ukrainian origin and Freeland’s uncle, Krakivski Visti stirred up emotions against Jews and created an atmosphere conducive to mass murder. But it’s not only Jews that Chomiak targeted; his newspaper justified the slaughter of Poles, Russians and anti-Nazi Ukrainians throughout the territories controlled by the Third Reich.
As the Soviet forces advanced, Chomiak along with his supervisor Gassner moved west with the retreating German Army. In Vienna with Gessner’s tutelage he continued to publish his propaganda newspaper.
As the war was drawing to an end, Chomiak evacuated with the German Army into Germany, ending up near Munich at Bad Worishofen near a spa resort for wealthy Bavarians. Records are missing on Chomiak from then until 1946. During that period the USA army controlled the area and at some point Chomiak switched from the Wehrmacht and wound up being employed by US Army Intelligence. Chomiak and his family were then accommodated at a spa hotel. Chrystia Freeland says that on September 2, 1946 her mother was born in a refugee camp, but the spa resort was hardly a refugee camp. During this period Chomiak worked as an operative in clandestine US military and propaganda operations against the Soviet government in Kiev and Moscow. Further details are this and this.
It took Chomiak another two years before the government in Ottawa allowed the family to enter Canada.
It’s now been revealed that because Chomiak had been so high-ranking and active in the Nazi cause, Polish intelligence services were actively hunting for him until the 1980s – without knowing he had fled for safety to an Alberta farm in Canada. So now Poland has reopened his file, and it may be only a matter of time before other evidence on him will be revealed.
In the meantime Freeland was reported in the Washington Post as saying: “Russia should stop calling my grandfather a Nazi”. Hence she appears to be in a total state of denial regarding her grandfather. On August 24, 2016 she wrote on Twitter, “Thinking of my grandparents Mykhailo & Aleksandra Chomiak on Black Ribbon Day. They were forever grateful to Canada for giving them refuge and they worked hard to return freedom and democracy to Ukraine. I am proud to honour their memory today.”
“Is a person who describes her Nazi-collaborating grandfather as someone who “worked hard to return freedom and democracy to Ukraine” fit to represent Canada to the world?” This highly appropriate summation is made in a recent well-documented article on this issue.
Exactly why Justin Trudeau replaced Stéphane Dion with Chrystia Freeland is not known and it’s not known if he knew about her dubious family background. But he surely does now, yet he has retained her.
By doing this he has jettisoned his party’s commitment to more constructive relations with Moscow.
In commenting on this, Professor Michael Jabara Carley at the Université de Montréal stated that Freeland’s appointment was a catastrophe for Canadian-Russian relations, concluding with:
Freeland’s views of Russia and Putin are distorted by a Ukrainian ultra-“nationalist” prism. If Canadian foreign policy toward the Russian Federation is to be based on Freeland’s mendacious distortions and misapprehensions of Russia and Putin, then Canada-Russian relations are headed to new lows.
It is absolutely certain that those Canadians who have taken the trouble to discover the truth about Canada’s minister of foreign affairs are dismayed and perplexed. But where is the NDP on this matter? From what I know, there hasn’t been a word from them on this issue.
Mr. Singh, could you possibly do something about this?
In this letter I have presented several matters that require the NDP’s attention. These matters if unresolved undermine the NDP’s credibility and its claim to be a social democratic party.
As the new leader of the NDP it is incumbent on you to deal with these issues.
John Ryan, Ph.D., is a retired professor of geography and a senior scholar at the University of Winnipeg.