Skip to main content

Richard Balasko: keeper of the NDP's dirty election secrets

Manitoba's Chief Electoral Officer Richard Balasko had the responsibility of assuring the public that elections were fair and honest.

It was on his watch that a forensic auditor examining the 1999 election returns discovered the NDP had engaged in an organized scheme to defraud the public by falsifying election finances to get rebates they weren't entitled to. In fact, he said, they had been doing this for every election in the past 15 years.

Instead of informing the public, Balasko covered-up the information. He squeezed the auditor out by refusing to pay his fees. Then he allowed the NDP to silently refile corrected returns three years later and repay, without interest, the $76,000 they tried to scam from the public purse. Nobody from the NDP was charged, but election candidates and agents with the Conservatives and Liberals who made honest accounting mistakes were dragged into court.

Balasko says he can't discuss his secret negotiations with the NDP regarding their 1999 returns but everything he did was supported by secret legal advice which he can't reveal or discuss either.

Trust me, he says.

Richie, that train has left the station.

The Chief Electoral Officer must have the confidence of the members of the Legislature. Today the only support he has is from the NDP, whose secrets he's keeping.

The NDP ran a dirty campaign in 1999. They knew it.
The inner-circle which devised the scheme and those who were responsible for falsifying the election returns didn't even tell their official election agents, leaving them to be the fall guys in case the scheme fell apart.

Finance Minister Greg Selinger knew it was dirty. The moment he found NDP accountants had been altering election finance reports, he demanded a letter exonerating him from any responsibility. He then joined the conspiracy of silence for the next six years, until outed by one of the NDP's agents.

Other cabinet ministers like Nancy Allan knew it was dirty. They were informed in 2003 that their campaigns had been used to scam money for the NDP from the public purse. They, too, have kept the public in the dark.

We changed the laws so it could never happen again, they now say. That's not the point. They ran a dirty election in 1999---and for years prior---and the public deserved to know.

The man with the responsibility to tell them was Richard Balasko.

Balasko is sitting on a bushel of secrets, two of which deserve special mention.

One, he's never given the slightest acknowledgement to, and the other he hinted at a few times and which could be a scandal bigger even that Rebategate.

David Asselstine, the forensic auditor who turned up the NDP rebate scheme, wrote to Elections Manitoba explaining his decision to leave his job with them. Note this sentence:

"In a letter dated Sept. 27, 2001, from Mr Tom Milne to Mr Green, a complaint was levied against my conduct in an interveiw with Ms Hindle, a controller of the Manitoba NDP when various unions and the Manitoba NDP entered into " quid pro quo" transactions to obtain public funds."

We know how the scheme worked with the unions. They provided volunteers for 13 NDP election campaigns in 1999. The NDP paid the "volunteers" the daily salaries they were foregoing to work on the election. Their union then "donated" the exact amount of those salaries back to the NDP. The NDP then claimed the payment to the volunteers as an election expense for which they received a 50 percent reimbursement from the public purse.

The obvious question is "What unions?"

How many unions participated in this fraud?

How many union execs were aware of it?

Did Balasko's negotiations with the NDP include a promise never to reveal this information?

If not, why not tell us today which unions were entangled in the NDP scheme.

Could it be that he doesn't want anyone to know whether the trail leads to CUPE, whose regional director was Eugene Kostyra?

There's a familiar name.

You'll remember it was Kostyra who was the Crocus Fund's secret back channel to Finance Minister Greg Selinger. Huge Uge is a familiar face in the NDP inner circle.

But Balasko is sitting on an even bigger secret.

Here's what he told the Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs in April, 2004:

"On the elections finances side, a couple of items in our past reports I would draw to your attention. One is we believe there needs to be a very specific requirement in the law that reimbursement that is paid must be used to settle election debts. We had circumstances in the '99 election where this became an issue. From an enforcement and compliance point of view it would be very helpful. It seems to us to be just plain logic that the reimbursement should be used to settle the expenses of a campaign, but it is not spelled out in the act. That does to some extent limit our ability to enforce compliance with that."

That's all he said.

Cryptic? Yes. Obvious? Oh, yeah.

In 1999 the NDP collected $76,000 for expenses they never had. This money wasn't going for printing bills ie. signs and brochures. It went directly into the kitty for the next election.

And the NDP had been doing this for at least four previous elections, taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from the public under false pretences.

They were being reimbursed for election expenses which, because of their cheque-swap scheme with the unions, they didn't have. This money could then be spent on the next election with no trace. It didn't have to be included as a donation on any formal election returns because it wasn't.

Balasko knew what was going on. Did he ever tell the public in plain words?

No wonder the only supporters he has in the Legislature are the government members who depend on him keeping his lips zipped.

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