Skip to main content

Crocus scandal taints WCB: Auditor

What's that smell, we asked ourselves.

We knew the hog plant intended for St. Boniface was still at the planning stage, and they tell us its not supposed to stink anyway. So we kept sniffing around, and it wasn't long before we caught wind of it---the sickly scent of scandal and the stench of fear coming from government circles.

It didn't take long to confirm the tip that our digging into the Crocus-sponsored Manitoba Property Fund was on target, that the barely-remembered fund was a focal point of a new report which dismantles the veneer of competency at the Workers Compensation Board.

The NDP is holding another hot potato. Potato? Hell, it's a bombshell about to go off and singe their eyebrows away again.

Auditor General Jon Singleton is putting the final touches on a report into governance, human resources and investment management at the WCB. Ordinarily our reaction to that news would be "dull, dull and duller."

Not this time, not when people who know what's in the report say it's already sending ripples of fear throughout the administrations of government and the compensation board.Could it be because we're about to hear echoes of the Crocus Fund scandal?

Certainly some of the same players are about to be named in the WCB Report---Wally Fox-Decent, Alfred Black, Sherman Kreiner. (These days, it seems its not an auditor general's report if it doesn't mention Sherman Kreiner.) And you can bet the links between Crocus and WCB don't bring a smile to Singleton's face. Far from it.

And need we mention red flags. There will be red flags. There were bright red flags which were flown and ignored by government ministers. Again.

We know that the auditor general has some harsh words for the WCB. Words like "shocking and unacceptable" at the arrogance of some WCB officials who stalled his work by refusing him access to documents, and even questioned why he wanted them in the first place.

It's the first time a public sector organization has given him a hard time, and it doesn't sit well with him.

And just when he thought he was getting the proper cooperation, he discovered a climate of fear, with people scared to talk to him for fear of getting fired. They had seen it happen and they didn't want to be next.

The auditor general's report covers a lot of ground---from the shabby treatment of whistleblowers to a hostile work environment in the organization that's a centrepiece of the Manitoba labour movement.

But its the way the WCB manages the millions of dollars in premiums it collects from more than 20-thousand companies and over 325-thousand workers that's going to raise eyebrows and raise questions about government oversight.

Shades of Crocus.

The Black Rod has learned the report will raise concerns about :
* the WCB's lack of due diligence in making investments,
* an investment committee not accountable to anyone,
* perceived conflicts of interest in one high-profile $10 million investment,
* and, especially, a practice of accepting lower rates of return for under-performing investments in Manitoba without even trying to determine if better returns could be achieved out-of-province.

The audit of the WCB was started, in part, because of a letter of complaint about former CEO Wally Fox-Decent. The report has much to say about his tenure, including the fact he was appointed and reappointed to the post so often by both the Filmon and Doer governments that he stayed for 12 years even though the Act specifically sets a five-year limit for board members.

Singleton will say Fox-Decent managed with an iron hand, and problems arose after a period when he served as both Chairman and CEO when he couldn't let go of control even after a new CEO was hired in 1998. He and she butted heads until she was fired by the board in 2001.

The auditor general is particularly critical of Fox-Decent for phoning a consultant, hired by his office, at her home. He will say the consultant was unnerved by what she considered a warning that her career was threatened if the report was critical of the WCB or Fox-Decent.

In the strongest language in the report, Singleton condemns this "interference" with the work of his office.

Next: The ABC's of WCB conflict of interest.

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

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, 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 five ga

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

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