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Phil Fontaine under fire for hiring a gangster

The Story

Phil Fontaine knew he was taking a risk when he appointed Manitoba's most powerful gangster as his special advisor to deal with the problem of youth gangs. And when Brian Contois, the 39-year-old leader of a powerful native gang called Manitoba Warriors, is arrested for drug trafficking, Fontaine comes under fire. The incident makes headlines across Canada, leading some Manitoba chiefs to call for Fontaine's resignation as leader of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. As seen in this report, a tired-looking Fontaine emerges from an all-day emergency meeting having survived a confidence vote. 

Medium: Television
Program: National News
Broadcast Date: Feb. 19, 1997
Guest(s): David Cassels, Phil Fontaine, Curtis Fontaine
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Reg Sherren
Duration: 2:13

Did You know?

. According to a May 1998 article in Saturday Night magazine, Winnipeg was reputed to have the worst street gang problem in Canada with the highest membership per capita and the highest street gang related homicide rate. Most of the city's gang members were native.

. Brian Contois was reportedly paid $2,500 per month to advise the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs on strategies for reducing street-gang violence.

. While Fontaine survived the behind-closed-doors confidence vote, Contois wasn't so lucky. Contois was fired from his advisory position, deposed as the leader of the Manitoba Warriors and received a three-and-a-half-year sentence for drug trafficking.


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