Wisintainer leaves John Howard


Jay Wisintainer has stepped down as vice president of the John Howard Society of Nunavut, saying he believes his involvement with the society has been the root cause of its troubles with city hall.

Wisintainer will continue to volunteer and work part-time for the society as his services are “indispensable” for the Saturday night TV bingo.

The non-profit prisoners’ aid society, which raises its own money through weekly bingos, hit a snag last September when city councillors decided not to automatically renew the group’s bingo licence in an in camera session.

Instead, they issued a two-month temporary licence and asked to see detailed financial records. The licence was not renewed when it expired at the end of November, causing the JHSN to miss two weekly bingos in a row.

The bingos resumed on Dec. 18, but with another two-month temporary licence that will soon expire as the city waits for the society’s 2004 audited reports, which are now in progress at Iqaluit’s Mackay Landau accounting firm.

Office manager David Fraser says the city is causing his group “enormous hassle,” demanding financial records it does not require from other groups in town.

The JHSN recently tried to organize another, separate bingo to raise money for the tsunami relief effort in Southeast Asia, in which all of the proceeds would go to charities. At present, the JHSN gives half of their profits to local charities, while keeping half for charity work they conduct themselves, such as judo programs for kids.

That this has yet to be approved by city council, signals that, Fraser says, show the JHSN is being singled out unfairly.

City officials are now refusing to talk directly to the JHSN, instead choosing to communicate through their lawyer.

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