Skip to main content

Auditor siccs Shamus on press as NDP drop excuses on disbelieving public

Imagine you're Nancy Allen, sitting in your comfy Labour Minister's office, when in comes a reporter from the Winnipeg Sun asking rude questions about the Auditor General's review of the Workers Compensation Board.

You panic.

The report isn't supposed to be released until tomorrow. YOU HAVE NO GUIDELINES.

You have to answer the questions as best you can, without the authorized spin. How can government function in such an atmosphere?

Politics is hell.

Manitobans got their first taste of what unrehearsed politicians are like thanks to a leak of the WCB report. We think they like it.

The report said the government could have saved a lot of time and trouble by listening to the former CEO of Workers Comp, Pat Jacobsen, when she wrote a letter in 2001 complaining about the tyrannical governing style of President Wally Fox-Decent and his board supporters.

They could have saved the workers and employers who contribute to WCB a lot of money, as well, by investigating Jacobsen's concerns that WCB was risking lower returns on investments by getting into social investing.

Allen told Winnipeg Sun reporter Rochelle Squires that she thought her predecessor, Becky Barrett, did the right thing when she ignored Jacobsen's complaints and sent her letter to the WCB board. The board fired Jacobsen three days later.

Barrett, said the current minister, had no choice because it was a "personnel matter" which she couldn't, by law, get involved in.Compare Allen's first-day honesty (from the NDP point of view) with the abysmal performance by Education Minister Peter Bjornson Wedneday on CJOB. To every question asked by Richard Cloutier, Bjornson read from the prepared script:

"There....were....no....guidelines...there...were...no...guidelines....there....were....no...guidelines."

Meanwhile Barrett inexplicably told OB's Richard Cloutier that she -- that's right -- followed the rules when she betrayed the whistleblower.

The same rules nobody in government now can remember ever existed.

When it came to writing the script, someone forgot to send a copy outside of cabinet to their former colleague.


The Black Rod has discovered that Jacobsen was more right than anyone is admitting.

She worried that WCB would lose money on an investment in the Manitoba Property Fund, a downtown Winnipeg real-estate development initiative put together by the Crocus Investment. Fund. After she left, WCB advanced $2.3 million of a $10 million commitment.


Nobody's yet said what a return WCB got from its involvement in the property fund. But we found a detailed breakdown of the value of Crocus investments culled from the receiver's report by Paul Sveinson, whose warnings about the performance of the Crocus Fund was ignored for years.

His findings at
http://www.homestead.com/Powerplace2001/ReceiversReports.html show that the the Manitoba Property Fund was worth $4,071,538 at the end of March, 2004. By June 28, 2005, the receiver put the value at only $928,462. (Scroll down to 'DROP IN HOLDING VALUE' )

It appears WCB has lost almost its entire investment.

Defenders of Wally Fox-Decent, who was one of the prime movers for WCB involvement, say the board has a surplus of $70.5 million, as if that mitigates the risky investments and eliminates the questions of why the board approved the risky investment in the first place. And only they could sniff at a loss of a million.Auditor General Jon Singleton says he's started an investigation into the leak of his report. He's wrong when he says it's unprecedented. The Black Rod has learned that two of the Alberta auditor's reports were leaked to the media last fall.

He may feel his cash-strapped office should spend money on Bob Anderson, Manitoba's Columbo, but Manitobans themselves have moved on to demanding answers about the intertwined relationships between the Crocus Fund, WCB and TRAF (which was brought into the Manitoba Properties Fund thanks to the government-appointed chairman -Alfred Black, who also sat on the board of WCB and was later appointed interim chairman of Crocus).

Did someone say conflict of interest??? Oh ya, the auditor general did.

We just remembered that Premier Gary Doer's wife, Ginny Devine, was awarded a half million dollar contract by WCB to do client statisfaction surveys and focus groups. She owns Viewpoints Research along with Leslie Turnbull, wife of Rob Hilliard, the president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour (and a former member of the Crocus board). And, according to the auditor's report, the MFL had undue influence in Workers Comp.

Oh, and Viewpoints did work for Crocus too. And Crocus was sponsored by the MFL.

Given this tangled web of inter-connections, family, professional and political, only the dimmest of pundits could continue to claim that Singleton's reports, which are not allowed to name names and instead must use obscure code to identify who did what, stands in place of a full public inquiry.

WCB clients, Crocus shareholders, institutional investors and taxpayers saw many millions of dollars disappear in to the bottomless pit of the Crocus find's socially conscious investment revolution and no longer accept Gary Doer's crew of ministers as stewards of the public trust.

In the meantime, we have only the auditor's inquiry into how his report got leaked.

May we suggest he look into who was in a position to lend it out on Monday, and have it back intime for Tuesday's formal announcement. Or have we attached too many episodes of Profiler.

***************

SHORT SNAPPERS

* Construction of then $40 million, 10 storey new Canwest head office at Portage and Main is about 6 months away. it will house Canwest's corporate operations, Global TV, their digital cable stations, COOL-FM, and it's national newsdesk. Does that mean national host Kevin Newman is moving to Winnipeg? Cool.

* Why did police raid a home of a former city councillor in Point Douglas last week? He's told neighbours nothing was seized in the raid. Was the late-night visit by police connected to another raid 3 days later, just a block away?

Popular posts from this blog

The unreported bombshell conspiracy evidence in the Trudeau/SNC-Lavelin scandal

Wow. No, double-wow. A game-changing bombshell lies buried in the supplementary evidence provided to the House of Commons Judiciary Committee by former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. It has gone virtually unreported since she submitted the material almost a week ago. As far as we can find, only one journalist-- Andrew Coyne, columnist for the National Post--- has even mentioned it and even then he badly missed what it meant, burying it in paragraph 10 of a 14 paragraph story. The gist of the greatest political scandal in modern Canadian history is well-known by now. It's bigger than Adscam, the revelation 15 years ago that prominent members of the Liberal Party of Canada and the party itself funneled tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks into their own pockets from federal spending in Quebec sponsoring ads promoting Canadian unity. That was just venal politicians and a crooked political party helping themselves to public money. The Trudeau-Snc-Lavalin scandal is

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. There, we said it.

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. Oh, you won't find anyone official to say it. Yet . Like relatives trying to appear cheery and optimistic around a loved one that's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the people in power are in the first stage of grief -- denial. The prognosis for Hydro was delivered three weeks ago at hearings before the Public Utilities Board where the utility was seeking punishingly higher rates for customers in Manitoba. It took us this long to read through the hundred-plus pages of transcript, to decipher the coded language of the witnesses, to interpret what they were getting at, and, finally, to understand the terrible conclusion.  We couldn't believe it, just as, we're sure, you can't--- so we did it all again, to get a second opinion, so to speak.  Hydro conceded to the PUB that it undertook a massive expansion program--- involving three (it was once four) new dams and two new major powerlines (one in the United States)---whi

Crips and Bloodz true cultural anchors of Winnipeg's aboriginal gangs

(Bebo tribute page to Aaron Nabess on the right, his handgun-toting friend on the left) At least six murder victims in Winnipeg in the past year are linked to a network of thuglife, gangster rap-styled, mainly aboriginal street gangs calling themselves Crips and Bloods after the major black gangs of L.A. The Black Rod has been monitoring these gangs for several months ever since discovering memorial tributes to victim Josh Prince on numerous pages on Bebo.com, a social networking website like Myspace and Facebook. Josh Prince , a student of Kildonan East Collegiate, was stabbed to death the night of May 26 allegedly while breaking up a fight. His family said at the time he had once been associated with an unidentified gang, but had since broken away. But the devotion to Prince on sites like Watt Street Bloodz and Kingk Notorious Bloodz (King-K-BLOODZ4Life) shows that at the time of his death he was still accepted as one of their own. Our searches of Bebo have turned up another f

Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP's Christian-bashing, cop-smearing, other star candidate

As the vultures of the press circle over the wounded Liberal Party of Manitoba, one NDP star candidate must be laughing up her sleeve at how her extremist past has escaped the scrutiny of reporters and pundits. Parachuted into a safe NDP seat in Winnipeg's North End, she nonetheless feared a bruising campaign against a well-heeled Liberal opponent.  Ha ha.  Instead, the sleepy newspeeps have turned a blind eye to her years of vitriolic attacks on Christianity, white people, and police. * She's spent years  bashing Christianity  as the root cause of all the problems of native people in Canada. * She's called for  a boycott of white businesses . * And with her  Marxist research partner, she's  smeared city police as intransigent racists . Step up Nahanni Fontaine, running for election in St. John's riding as successor to the retiring Gord Macintosh. While her male counterpart in the NDP's galaxy of stars, Wab Kinew, has responded to the controversy over

Exposing the CBC/WFP double-team smear of a hero cop

Published since 2006 on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever. Exposing the CBC/FP double-team smear of a hero cop Some of the shoddiest journalism in recent times appeared this long August weekend when the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press doubled teamed on a blatant smear of a veteran city police officer. In the latest example of narrative journalism these media outlets spun stories with total disregard for facts that contradicted the central message of the reports which, simplified, is: police are bad and the system is covering up. Let's start with the story on the taxpayer funded CBC by Sarah Petz that can be summed up in the lead. "A February incident where an off-duty Winnipeg officer allegedly knocked a suspect unconscious wasn't reported to the province's police watchdog, and one criminologist says it shows how flawed oversight of law enforcement can be." There you have it. A policeman, not

Winnipeg needs a new police chief - ASAP

When did the magic die? A week ago the Winnipeg police department delivered the bad news---crime in the city is out of control. The picture painted by the numbers (for 2018) was appalling. Robberies up ten percent in  a single year.  (And that was the good news.) Property crimes were up almost 20 percent.  Total crime was 33 percent higher than the five year average. The measure of violent crime in Winnipeg had soared to a rating of 161.  Only four years earlier it stood at 116. That's a 38 percent deterioration in safety. How did it happen? How, when in 2015 the police and Winnipeg's police board announced they had discovered the magic solution to crime? "Smart Policing" they called it.    A team of crime analysts would pore through data to spot crime hot-spots and as soon as they identified a trend (car thefts, muggings, liquor store robberies) they could call in police resources to descend on the problem and nip it. The police