Sunday, 27 November 2011

Thank you & good bye!

Well we came up a little short.  But a quick acknowledgement to our new councillor and best wishes to Brian as he serves the community.

I have to thank everyone who did support me; from my campaign team that worked tirelessly to the volunteers  that put up signs, did drops and fought valiantly on election day to drive out the vote.  A special thanks to Alex Forrest and his team of fire fighters.

The last three months were a remarkable journey and I truly appreciated the kindness of the people of St. Vital as my family and I campaigned through good weather and bad.  To all those friends we met along the way, it was wonderful to reconnect.

I also wanted to thank all the people of north St. Vital for the nine years I had the privilege of serving on your school board.   They were great moments of personal accomplishment that I will always remember.

Finally to Bei and Alphonse, nothing is more important than family.  We are embarking on a new opportunity for renewal.  The holiday season is upon us and then it's off to China!

Signing off.

Mike Ducharme

Friday, 25 November 2011

Independence Day

Whew, last day on the trail and spent it on Salme Dr. and Victoria Cres. Great response, running into people I and my family have known for years. Finished it off walking with my Dad, Gerry.

Interesting interview with CBC News today.  They called and wanted to do an on camera and caught up with me on St Mary's Rd, while I was doing a drop in the area. 

It appears that an unfortunate under current of partisanship is raising its head in this campaign.  One thing that I can guarantee my supporters.  I remain completely independent of any party affiliation.  If elected, I will be beholden only to the people of St. Vital. No one on Broadway will hold sway over the priorities of this community if I am your city councillor. Independent means serving you first.

When you go to the polls tomorrow, think of it as an opportunity to vote on your very own Indpendence day.

Cheers everyone, see you at the polls!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A Local Presence

It's amazing to think on how this election has carried on.  When I started knocking on doors to find out what issues were out there it was 34+ degrees and one kind lady offered me an apple off her tree because I looked too hot.  What a difference now. The mitts and tuques are out and the new kindness is when someone takes us in to chat and warm-up. 

Thank you so much to the people of St. Vital for your support and consideration in listening to my message and providing feedback on issues of concern to you.

For over 29 years I've had the privilege of serving the community of St. Vital in business and public service.  With your kind support on Saturday I hope to continue.  If all goes well, I will be maintaining a continuing community presence with a ward office located at 755 St. Mary's Rd.  This will offer residents the ability to call or just drop in locally to discuss issues or concerns.

This has been a family tradition extending back to my father's days in public life.  Our continuing local commitment will be a key tool in helping St. Vital grow and prosper.  

Sunday, 20 November 2011

St. Vital Mustangs Awards Dinner

Great evening last night at the St. Vital Mustangs awards dinner.  The Mustangs celebrated their Major and Midget teams.  Both were provincial champions this year.  Last nights celebration even included a couple of Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Joe Lobendahn (a guest speaker) and Dorian Smith.  Here is a picture with the two of them and Mustangs President Simon Mundey.  Go Bombers!

Getting back to the awards banquet it should be noted that the Midgets in particular had an incredible year.  They went 10-0, giving up only 13 points on defence; that was not per game, but only 13 points total all  Congratulations to this amazing team of young men and coach Craig Bachynski and his staff for an outstanding achievement.

We talk a lot about how community programs can make a huge impact in the lives of young people.  The young men and now women that graduate from this organization are models of confidence, discipline and sportsmanship.  Young people who are themselves motivated to give back later. This organization is a tremendous example, essentially self supporting with hard working volunteers and families, the Mustangs exemplify all that is great about St. Vital. 

Just a note on the meal.  It was catered by a St. Vital Business, CJL Specialty Catering.  Lynn Desrosiers has been in this business for over 20 years and runs the best catering kitchen in South Winnipeg.  The meal last night was fantastic!

Thank you Lynn for the meal and congratulations to your boys for their success with the Major team. 

Thank you also to Simon Mundey & Gord Mattes for the invitation and introductions. You gentlemen run an amazing program that carries on a St. Vital Mustang tradition of success for over 65 years.


Friday, 11 November 2011


Many of you have seen Alphonse throughout this election on brochures or even in person at your door.  He is named for my mother's god father, her uncle Alphonse Normandeau.  My Alphonse's great-great uncle was a young warrant officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.

Alphonse is on the upper right, beside him is my grandfather Ralph and on the left is Paul.

Alphonse served on a Halifax Bomber and was killed when the aircraft crashed during a training mission on March 16, 1944.    His brother, Paul, died five months later during a flying bomb raid while on leave in London.  To this day I remember my grandfather's continuing grief over the loss of his brothers. Great uncles, that I never had the chance to know.

Today we reflect on the fact that much of what we have including this by election came at great cost.  Take time today for a moment of silence and remember to wear your poppy.

In memory of Alphonse, Paul & Ralph Normandeau and Louis Ducharme.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Canoe Club Green Space

I'm hearing concerns in the Elm Park neighborhood about the future of the green space around the former Winnipeg Canoe Club and the current golf course.  This issue touched close to home as I grew up at 326 Kingston Cres. and often walked to and from Windsor school through the area using the golf course underpass.  A lot of fond memories of that playful childhood time.

This area has a rich history for the community of Elm Park. At one time the park area extended all the way from Kingston Cres. to St. Mary's Rd. It has been an exhibition area, green space, private club and most recently a public golf course and residential housing area.

Above is a  great picture of the park in its earliest form.

As a city councillor I would oppose plans to convert the remaining green space to condominiums and would work with residents to preserve and protect some of the last parts left of Elm Park.

Thank you to area residents for building the attached link for more information in this important community issue.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Riverside Lions Estates

Busy day yesterday visiting with folks at Riverside Lions Estates.  Really good conversations and with plenty of dialogue about issues that are important to seniors.

Not surprisingly, the condition of sidewalks and snow clearing are serious issues for this community.  I am committing to work with these communities to raise the priority of sidewalk renewal and snow clearing that will reflect not just the volume of foot traffic in these communities but also the mix.

My family has a long history with this community, my father Gerry found the land for the project and we have supported the community in other ways.  Thank you to Stan Puchniak for the introduction and to Pat Dodd and Irene Henschel for their support.

Here's a picture of myself with Pat and Irene in the lobby.  The third bronze head from the left is a much younger Gerry.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Fire Fighters Join The Ducharme Team!

Today was a huge day! The United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg announced their full endorsement of my candidacy for councillor for St. Vital.  What a tremendous privilege and honour to have the support of this group of brave men and women.  As an insurance professional, I have the highest respect for their commitment to public safety and acknowledge all they do for our community when they put their lives on the line.

Their confidence in my experience and skills and my support for public safety is truly humbling.  The success of the UFFW as a campaign partner is unparalleled. I want to thank Alex Forrest and his team at the UFFW and welcome them to the Ducharme Campaign.

Alex, thank you for the sign!

Have a look at the full press release issued by the UFFW. Mike Ducharme

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Glenwood Community Centre

Wow, a busy day of canvassing that was broken up by a great visit to Glenwood Community Centre.  One of St. Vital's smaller centres, it's amazing just how busy it is.  Most of us think of community centres as places for hockey, soccer and baseball.  They are really a lot more than that.

Peter Elwick was kind enough to show me around the facility and share some of the programs.  There were no less than three other groups there while I was visiting in addition to the fact that Glenwood is the home of the South Winnipeg Scouts and Beaver movement including the unofficial Winnipeg Scouts museum.  The collection of Scouts memorabilia is impressive.

While I was there the gym was occupied by a seniors mobility group that was in mid exercise when I peaked in and got an invite to start stretching.

I discovered that the Louis Riel School Division has been using the facility for special needs students learning skills for living.  Students from Nelson Mac, Glenlawn and Dakota all participate in programs and activities that see them bake (great homemade turtles), help with chores, and even help with the gym equipment.  This is exactly the kind of inter sectoral support and networking that children of all ages in our community need

Finally I sat in as the Spanish Play Group was just sitting down for Lunch.  We chatted about this program in which families gather to share Spanish culture and language in a drop in format with lots of play activities for kids.  The program is open to non-Spanish speakers and is a great way to introduce your child to the language and culture.  Thank you to Eugenia and Sergio for a wonderful introduction to your group and thanks for the tremendous homemade tomatillo salsa that I sampled.

Our big community centres are very valuable members of the community but organizations like Glenwood are also incredibly important to their communities and need every bit as much attention from their city councillor as well.  They have so much to offer the community and really put the activity into living.

A nod to Colleen Champagne, what a tremendous job she does on behalf of Glenwood finding and retaining programs like the ones I saw today.

For those of you who want to know a bit more about one of St. Vital's many special places check out the attached link.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Trick or Treat!

Canvassing of a different sort this evening.  We took Alphonse out for his first Halloween (it was also Bei's).  He was a little wary of the whole thing but soon warmed up.  We started at my uncle Albert Ducharme's.  Al was councillor for St. Vital back in the days when the city of St. Vital was amalgamated with Metro Winnipeg in a process that came to be called Unicity.  Here's the picture of Al, Joyce, Alphonse & Bei.

From there we wandered down Nichol Ave. and took in the Halloween sights and collected some candy for Alphonse.  The people of Nichol Ave. really put on a show tonight and everyone seemed to be having a great time.   Have a look at this one setup.

It was a great family evening, one of those experiences where communities share with family and friends. Even the weather cooperated. I hope you all enjoyed the evening with your little ghosts and goblins.  Happy Halloween!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Breakfast at St. George

Sundays are always a busy day, more so during an election.  The nice thing about weekends is that days start with a nice quiet family breakfast.  This thought leads me to reflect on one of the more enjoyable breakfast experiences I've had the opportunity to participate in.

I've been involve with the St. Boniface/St. Vital Rotary club since 1994.  That's 17 years of fundraising, community service and fellowship.  I was even club secretary in 2002.   Rotary is a really good way to connect with people in the community and our club does a lot of work.  Over the last decade, we have raised over $100,000 for St. Amant Centre.  That is not a typo.  Your little Rotary club now annually contributes over $20,000 a year to Western Canada's leading provider of special needs services.  The last two donations have allowed St. Amant to complete construction of a "Sensory Pool".  Have a look at the attached link for more information.

Getting back to what I started with, one of my favourite Rotary experiences was serving breakfast at the St. George School breakfast program.  Once a month Rotarians attended the school on a Friday morning to help school staff serve breakfast to community kids.  This was a great program to ensure all kids had a good, nourishing breakfast so they could meet the day energized for learning.  What a way to end the week. It was really fulfilling and was a natural fit given my school board involvement. 

The program has now evolved into a snack program but I will always remember those smiling young faces. A quick tip of the hat to the staff of St. George School for their compassion and caring for our kids!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

LRSD receives national award

In late September Louis Riel School Division won significant recognition from the Canadian Mental Health Association for its on-going work with the Social Emotional Learning Framework (SELF). 

SELF is a program that builds education in early years beyond reading, writing and arithmetic to include education and assessment in the social and emotional aspects of child development.  The CMHA recognized LRSD's leadership in this area. Leadership that is now being copied by other divisions.

Success such at this does not happen by chance or overnight.  The genesis of the SELF project began in the early days of the division back in the early 2000's and really got going in 2005 around the time I was Chair of the Board.

It was a true privilege to serve with LRSD and be part of the innovative and exciting things we have done for the children of South Winnipeg.

Have a look at the link.

Monday, 24 October 2011

St.Vital Curling Club

Whew, what a day on Sunday.  Breakfast with the rest of the Past Presidents of the St. Vital Curling Club and then a great sunny afternoon of canvassing in South St. Vital.  Still running into lot's of old friends and acquaintances and a great response at the doors.

The evening followed with the St. Vital Past Presidents dinner.  It was well attended with Presidents from as far back as 1967.  It's great to see these club leaders and share stories of the club and it's past.  My term was 1999-2000 and it was a very busy year.  Many thanks to my fellow board members for their assistance and support that year.

My time at the St. Vital began as a junior at age 11.  Spent many a weekend there curling and throwing rocks. At one time, I curled four times a week not including bonspiels.  Curling was a big part of my life until my early 30's.  Even managed to win an event in the big MCA bonspiel.  Shortly after reaching the men's ranks, I began coaching, which led to working with the juniors and later on to the board.  I enjoyed my time there with the many connections that were made and the skills learned in working with the St. Vital curling community.

The St. Vital remains one on Winnipeg's busiest and healthiest clubs.  A real resource for the community and a centre for activity.  Never mind the success of some of it's bigger name rinks.  Thanks to Ralph Dooley, past president from 2006-2007 for standing in with me.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The vertical integration of active living


Several posts ago, I talked about the "Live Out Loud" wall climb for Jocelyn House Inc.  I wanted to go into a bit more detail how the ideas for that came about.  Also, it is Saturday and active living certainly comes to mind.

I have had a passion for the outdoors for many years now.  Cycling has been a big part of my life for many years and it set the stage for camping, hiking, rock & wall climbing and ultimately mountaineering.

Yup, that's me on Mount Fresnoy on Canada Day a couple of years back.  A day in the Rockies, what a way to celebrate our country's birthday!  This was my second Alpine Club of Canada General Mountaineering Camp and third overall moutaineering trip.  The GMC's are a popular and well known experience in Canada's climbing community.  They are week long camps, where climbers both hard core and not so hard (myself) get together and share a few outtings, adventures and laughs.  We even share the chores.

It has been a priviledge to spend many summer days hiking in the Rockies as we did as a family last summer.  Here we are...again Alphonse along for the ride.  He had a great time, reaching out and touching nature. 

As your councillor, I commit to working with the community to enhance our active living experiences.  Everyone in the community should have access to services to improve fitness and quality of life.  We need to ensure that we maintain the services we have and make services accessible year round.   This committment is not just about civic services but also those clubs and venues that need to work with the city and also serve the broader community.

Active living is something we all can partipate in and lend a hand to. It's a way of life and an inspiration to the community for fundraising, engagement and celebration.


Thursday, 20 October 2011

School Board

We have certainly had a beautiful fall.  The weather has been warm and dry making for great canvassing and other outdoor things.  One that my family and I really enjoy is the annual Terry Fox Torchlight Run, sponsored by the Louis Riel Teachers Association.  Bei and I walked while Alphonse just came along for the ride.  Considering he is only 19 months and Dad was willing to do the carrying, who can blame him.

One of the toughest things to do in this election was leaving the Louis Riel School Board. It was a great nine years with board colleagues and the staff at the division.  I joined the board at amalgamation in 2002.  Those first few years were very busy. 

Amalgamation was like putting the bike together while you were riding it and writing the instruction manual!  Louis Riel was a marriage of two great divisions, St. Vital and St. Boniface.  It was amazing how different both places were.  Policies and practices differed with respect to everthing, from lunch programs and practical arts to technology and transportation.

Rather than pick one system over the other, the board and senior administration took advantage of the opportunity to design new practices unique to LRSD.  It was ambitious and challenging.   The focus of everything was the best interest of kids and their education.

Today Louis Riel School Division is a provincial leader in student service supports, French immersion, student evaluation & assessment and staff supports. The divisions continuing focus is on policies and practices that put student education and achievement first while continuing to build classroom environments that recognize the incredible diversity of our community and also remain caring & supportive of all children. All of the above was accomplished while not increasing our overall tax burden on the local homeowner, an achievement that was maintained for the last four years.

I am proud of the accomplishments at LRSD and feel very priviledged to have been chair in 2005 & 2006.  It was also a priviledge to serve with dedicated trustees and educators, thank you everyone for nine great years!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Windy Sunday

Wow, a bit breezy today, but had a great group to canvas with.  Got a lot done and a lot of fun connecting with the community.  Working through St. Vital is such a great experience talking to people I've known for years and renewing acquaintances with a few I have not seen in a while.

We started the day at the office and ran down several local streets. Had to keep Alphonse straped into the stroller for a bit or he might have blown away!  In all fairness, he's our greatest little campaigner at the doors with a great big smile for all the people he meets.

Family & freinds are such a big support in an endeavor like this.  They help keep everthing light and really put perspective into everthing. Nevermind making it possible to cover a lot of ground.  St. Vital is a huge diverse ward.  There is something special in every corner of it, filled with friends both old and new.

Check out today's crew!

Friday, 14 October 2011

A little bit about election day

Just a little information for the community about this election.  I believe this will be the first civic election held on a Saturday in Winnipeg.  It will be an experiment to see if weekend elections can improve voter turnout.

This particular Saturday is Grey Cup Saturday November 26 (Go Bombers!).  No worries for for those who wish to enjoy their Grey Cup weekend, there will be several days of advance polls.  Other important information regarding election dates can be found at the following link:


Thursday, 13 October 2011

At home in St. Vital

Visited Sunset Drive today. Great opportunity to reflect on connections to the community.  Ducharme Agencies has been actively serving St. Vital for over 50 years and many thanks to the community for the support.

The Ducharme family has served the community in other ways, my grandfather, Louis was a councillor when St. Vital was an independent municipality and my father Gerry and uncle Albert also were priviledged to serve for a time together. 

We have seen the community grow, I myself grew up on Kingston Crescent (love that BDI ice cream) and attended Windsor School and then Glenlawn Collegiate before heading accross the road to Ducharme Agencies Ltd. after university and college. It is amazing how quickly 30 years has passed by.  I have been involved with St. Vital my entire life and can't imagine a finer community.

I  remember many a quiet summer on Kingston where outside to play was a way of life.  Safety is such an important issue for so many in the community.  I want to make sure that parents feel our children are safe and seniors know that its o'k to walk our streets.  As your new councillor, your safety will be one of my first priorities and I'm committing to you to my considerable experience working with diverse groups to ensure we can all enjoy our community in peace and safety.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

On helping with creative solutions

Visited Baisinger Dr. yesterday, the community was reflecting on the Provincial election and were really good to talk to about the civic side of things.   Getting a lot of questions about how I came to the decision to run.

The answer comes back to the desire to serve the community.   A councillor's first responsibility is to help his community with their issues; connect them to resources and help them solve problems creatively.   Something I've been doing for years now, in education through nine years with the Louis Riel School Board and before that with various community groups.

I like to reflect on a fund raiser I designed and proposed to Jocelyn House Inc., our local hospice.  A few years ago I approached them with the idea of an event that combined wall climbing with fund raising.

We reached out to Vertical Adventures and  St. Vital Centre and had a wall climb day at centre court.  We called it the "Live out Loud" wall climb. The really neat thing about the event was how it brought diverse groups together in support of palliative care.  A lot of fun for everyone and over the course of several years raised over $50,000 for Jocelyn House and really raised their profile in the community. 

Monday, 10 October 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoying a quiet thanksgiving at home. Yesterday was busy, lots of signs went up with more to go.  Followed the hockey game for a bit, the return of NHL hockey to Winnipeg is a great sign and proof that Winnipeg is a city on the go.  Too bad about the outcome, but just like our city, there is no where to go but up.  Great things are happening in Winnipeg and this is a great time for all of us to get involved.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Off to the races!

Well we're officially off to the races.  After weeks of door knocking, I can tell you that the support has been great!  Thank you everyone.  I will be out and about, canvassing this weekend.

Enjoy the weekend with your families and have a great Thanksgiving.

PS. Anyone wanting to join the sign club just send us an email to