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Manitoba Justice reviewing audit's questions about Virginia Fontaine payments

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    ... Subject: Manitoba Justice reviewing audit s questions about Virginia Fontaine payments Date: Sun, 1 Feb 2004 18:22:14 -0500 From: Russell Diabo
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2004
      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: Manitoba Justice reviewing audit's questions about Virginia
      Fontaine payments
      Date: Sun, 1 Feb 2004 18:22:14 -0500
      From: Russell Diabo <rdiabo@...>
      To: <Undisclosed-Recipient:;>




      January 31, 2004
      Manitoba Justice reviewing audit's questions about Virginia Fontaine
      payments
      WINNIPEG (CP) -- Manitoba Justice says it is looking into questions
      raised about a provincial magistrate in a forensic audit of the Virginia
      Fontaine Addictions Foundation, says the Winnipeg Free Press in a report
      out of Ottawa.
      "As it now stands, with regard to the issue of magistrate Ken
      Courchene, Manitoba Justice is reviewing the audit report to determine
      if there is a basis for a complaint to the chief judge of the provincial
      court," said department spokeswoman Diane Coble-Kendall.

      "This review will be completed within days."
      The newspaper said that in the confidential report, auditors flagged
      some payments to Courchene, the former chief executive officer of the
      native treatment centre, as "unusual" and lacking in "business rationale."
      The audit said Courchene was paid $390,000 in salary and payments over
      a 29-month period.
      David Newman, Courchene's lawyer, said his client did nothing wrong and
      that all payments received were due to him.
      "He was, in effect, always doing what he was asked to do and what he
      was paid to do," said Newman.
      The lawyer said nothing in the report prevents his client from
      performing his job as magistrate.
      Tory justice critic Gerald Hawranik said the audit raises too many
      questions for Courchene to continue the largely voluntary position,
      which pays $75 a month.
      "I think the honourable thing for him would be to resign and failing
      that the Justice Department should rescind his appointment or put it
      into suspension," Hawranik said.
      Courchene is named in a $5-million civil suit Health Canada filed in
      December 2000 in an effort to recoup tax dollars it alleges were
      misspent at the treatment centre at Sagkeeng First Nation.
      Courchene has been interviewed by the RCMP but police say he is not
      under investigation in their massive fraud probe which stretches from
      the Virginia Fontaine Addictions Foundation to Health Canada
      headquarters in Ottawa.
      Courchene was appointed a community magistrate in 2002 for the Sagkeeng
      and Pine Falls area. As a magistrate, Courchene can issue summons, take
      oaths, hear bail applications and authorize search warrants that police
      need to conduct raids.
      (Winnipeg Free Press)


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