In less than a week, the election forecast for the NDP has turned from sunny and mild to unsettled with a chance of revulsion.
It's getting cooler. The winds have shifted. Radar is picking up clouds on the horizon.
Is there a storm coming? Or will it just blow over? It's too soon to tell.
But, unexpectedly, a theme is developing within the election campaign--- can you trust the NDP?
And in the eye of the growing tempest is unelected Premier Greg Selinger, the dirtiest politician in Manitoba, whose re-election campaign boils down to scaring voters with attack ads that paint Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen as the Boogieman.
No lie is too great to throw at McFadyen, but it's those very lies that are backfiring in the face of the NDP.
It started last Saturday with a letter to the editor of the Winnipeg Free Press from Len Bateman, the former chairman of Manitoba Hydro. Selinger has consistently declared that the Conservatives have a secret plan to privatize Hydro. Bateman pointed out there's actually a law in Manitoba that Hydro can't be sold without a public referendum.
"This should quash one of the fear-mongering attacks by government on the opposition parties," wrote Bateman.
It didn't. Selinger just kept repeating the lie.
A few days later, the Winnipeg Free Press revealed that police have recommended criminal charges be laid in connection with the 2008 death of Brian Sinclair, a wheelchair-bound man whose dead body was noticed 34 hours after he came to the Health Sciences Centre emergency room with a non-life-threatening bladder infection.
The NDP has managed to stall an inquest into Sinclair's death for 3 years to keep the secrets of its malfunctioning health care system under wraps until after the election. Justice officials went into overdrive to try and discredit the Sinclair charges story.
A careful reading of the denials shows the police saying they haven't formally submitted a report to the Crown --- yet --- not that they won't be recommending criminal charges. Anyone familiar with the process knows that reports like this are first completed, then circulated among the principals involved for comment and corrections, before being officially presented. Someone got the draft report and leaked the explosive recommendations to the FP.
The day after the Sinclair story broke, the most ardent NDP defender, FP columnist Dan Lett, had to concede in print that the NDP has been misleading the public on the provincial deficit. Greg Selinger has claimed the deficit for the 2010 fiscal year is $247 million less than forecast. Lett now admits that critics were right when they said the NDP is hiding hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses off the books of government spending.
Then, with the week winding to a close, Will Tishinski, a former vice-president of Manitoba Hydro, revealed in the Winnipeg Sun that the provision in the Hydro Act that prevents any sale of Manitoba Hydro without the public's approval in a referendum was inserted "in 2001 when Greg Selinger was the minister responsible for Hydro."
"It effectively blocks any attempt to privatize. Selinger knows this, and yet he persists in deceiving Manitobans by accusing Hugh McFadyen of planning to privatize Hydro." said Tishinski.
And why not? Selinger has nothing else to sell the public. And it's just so easy to deceive the news media.
When Selinger announced this week the NDP would hire 2000 more nurses, he repeated the Big Lie that the Tories fired a thousand nurses in the Nineties. He trotted out one of those alleged nurses to attack Hugh McFadyen. Global News obligingly reported her angry words over a font identifying her---Suzanne Hrynyk.
But the Global News reporter failed to Google the name Suzanne Hrynyk.
If she had, she would have learned that Hrynyk is not only an NDP-affiliated trustee in Winnipeg School Division, Ward 3, she is the division chairman.
So the NDP provided an NDP politician to verify the claim of an NDP politician and the reporter swallowed it whole.
Telling the truth is hard. Lying is so easy.
Ask Greg Selinger, the dirtiest politician in Manitoba.