The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Monday, September 19, 2011

The NDP's long history of election campaign dishonesty

So the NDP got caught cheating in the provincial election.

Gee, what else is new?

When grinning Greg Selinger, Manitoba's dirtiest politician, joined Winnipeg Jets co-owner Mark Chipman to announce a mentoring program for high school students, it wasn't the first time the NDP broke the law during this campaign. And it wasn't an accident.

Manitoba's Election Financing Act prohibits governments from publishing or advertising any information about its programs or activities starting 90 days before an election.

The Winnipeg Jets/mentoring breach only made the news because Liberal leader Jon Gerrard officially complained to Elections Manitoba. But if the mainstream media had done their research, they would have known that Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux is already being investigated for breaking the same law in mid-August.

Lemieux handed a government cheque for $15,000 to the Landmark Friendship Festival for organizers to buy new playground equipment. He even generously posted a photo of himself presenting the cheque on the blog

That's publishing by any definition. And, although he might have been the first to break the election financing act, two other cabinet ministers were right behind him, breaking the intent if not the letter of the law.
Winnipeg Free Press reporter Mary Agnes Welch commented about the deception on her barely-read newspaper-approved blog Gripe Juice. On Aug.31, a staffer in the NDP media office phoned the Free Press newsroom to offer a tour of a new birthing centre in St. Vital.

"That’s an obvious attempt to do an end run around the very election spending legislation the NDP overhauled with great fanfare a few years ago." she wrote.

" By calling us up and offering a tour of the birthing centre, the NDP aren’t publishing or advertising. They’re getting the Freep (and CTV, who were also on the tour) to do it for them. Making matters worse, two NDP cabinet ministers – Health Minister Theresa Oswald and Education Minister Nancy Allan – were on the tour. Both represent south Winnipeg ridings the Tories are targeting."

"A cheesy start to an election that technically hasn’t even begun." she concluded.

The FP did ask the question at the time in as sidebar to their story about the tour (complete with picture of the two cabinet ministers).

"Tour or election-law violation?"

"WAS it a way of skirting the province's election laws or just a tour of a health facility that just happens to be coming into operation days before the official start of the election campaign?"

"Oswald denied she was doing anything to run afoul of the act."

"This is a tour," said Oswald, as she left the centre Wednesday.

"I didn't announce anything new. Joan (Dawkins, executive director of the Women's Health Clinic) wanted the media to come in and didn't want to hold up the births. I didn't ask for this arrangement.

"We had our formal announcements on this months ago."
Allan added "they wanted to get us in there before the babies and midwives."

They forgot to mention that their colleague Labour Minister Jennifer Howard used to be the executive director of the Women's Health Clinic. Funny how she wasn't invited on the media tour.

Two weeks after the, ahem, "non-political" media tour for reporters and NDP ministers only, unelected Premier Greg Selinger was sharing a news conference with Mark Chipman and he, too, was denying it was a government announcement. Responding to critics, the NDP said it was an election promise, not a government announcement.

Now that is a blatant lie. The smoking gun is right here in the government's own news releases.

Manitoba Youth Corps to Provide Mentorship, Job Opportunities For More Than 2,800 Young Manitobans


"Province’s Unprecedented Focus on Youth Opportunities Will Benefit All Manitobans: Selinger"

"A new provincial initiative known as the Manitoba Youth Corps will connect 2,500 high-school students to mentorship and job opportunities and create an additional 345 new job spots over the next three years, Premier Greg Selinger announced today at Tec Voc High School."


"The $6.7-million program will launch in September 2011..., the premier said."

So Greg Selinger is present at an announcement about a mentorship program in -- when? -- September, 2011. Coincidence?

In short, the NDP under Greg Selinger has been planning for 10 months to break the law. They knew in November, 2010 when the next provincial election was to be held. And yet they planned to start their vaunted mentorship in the blackout period, regardless.

Selinger feels he is above the law. The NDP cheated their way to power in 1999 and managed to keep the scandal secret for a decade. You can read here the details and how then Finance Minister Greg Selinger engaged in the cover-up:

The day before Mentorgate broke, we wrote in The Black Rod:
Manitoba election Day 10: McFadyen draws first blood

"It's too early to say if this is the game changer, but the NDP's phony deficit figures could turn into just the integrity issue that tips the election."

Between releasing phony deficit numbers to openly breaking Manitoba's election financing laws, the whiff of scandal is spreading from the NDP.

But MSM reporters are slow to catch on. During the last leaders debate, "professional journalists" asked tough questions like “By the way, your teeth are really white. Really, really good looking. Have you got them whitened at all?" (Richard Cloutier, CJOB, to Tory leader Hugh McFadyen.)

Before leaving the issue of NDP dishonesty, we have to thank our readers who continually prove the internet adage "everybody knows something."

Last time we wrote how the NDP snookered the news media by giving them an NDP ringer to verify the hardship story of nurses allegedly fired by the heartless Conservatives in the Nineties. It turns out the former nurse who gave her sob story was none other than NDP school trustee Suzanne Hrynyk, who wasn't identified as such by either the NDP or the reporters who quoted her.

Well, after our story was posted, we got more information on sweet Suzanne, starting with the fact she's a current member of the board of directors of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority!

And who appoints members to the WRHA board, you ask? Why, the Minister of Health. Just another fact the NDP, um, forgot to tell you.

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