Skip to main content

The lazy press lets Selinger and Struthers get away with ticketgate cover-up.

Exactly one week ago, Finance Minister Stan Struthers was feeling pretty smug.

The Opposition thought they had some traction with a scandal involving free tickets to Winnipeg Jets hockey games that the Liquor Control Commission had given to a few cabinet ministers.

Struthers was confident the government had squashed the scandal. They had contained the damage to three cabinet ministers, announced that the ticket takers had paid back the cost of their freebies and that the NDP had a policy in the works to prevent MLAs from taking free tickets to any sports events in the future.

During Question Period in the Legislature, Struthers spoke with unmitigated scorn at Opposition members who asked questions about the ticket scandal.

Mr. Struthers: Well, again, Mr. Speaker, I know it must be frustrating for members opposite when the facts don't back up the narrative that they're trying to get across. I understand that frustration, but the facts of the matter are that nobody from this side of the government benefitted through Jets tickets at the expense of the Manitoba taxpayer. That's clear; that's obvious.

NDP Premier Greg Selinger, the dirtiest politician in the province, even tried to turn the scandal back on the Opposition:

"And what we've done, I–perhaps the member missed it, but we've said, no more tickets to Cabinet members, caucus members, or senior officials in our government, and we're still waiting for the policy from the members opposite on how it applies to his caucus."

Struthers was cocky when he attended a committee meeting on Estimates later in the day. He was armed with his party's talking points and ready to rumble. He was so ready, in fact, he sprang to the attack without bothering to listen to the questions asked him.

Mrs. Heather Stefanson (Tuxedo): And I gather the minister was out with the media and discussing some issues with the media, so was maybe a little delayed coming here today. No problem, but I do have a question for the minister.

I wonder if he could indicate if he went to any Jets games at all this year.
Hon. Stan Struthers (Minister of Finance): I don't mind the question. It gives me an opportunity to go back in time and remind people of how the Jets got here in the first place and who supported the building of the arena which is part of the equation for the Jets to make their triumphant return back to Winnipeg, and who participated in locking their arms around the Eaton's building to protest a progressive move forward.

But I won't do that, Mr. Chair.

Very directly, I went to three games. I went to three games because I'm a, I guess, a small player in a consortium of season ticket holders. So I managed to get drawn for three games.

Struthers launched into a long, detailed story about taking his son to two of the games, how he cheered for the Jets against his "former team, the Leafs" and how his son high-fived "with everybody in our section" when the Jets won against the Florida Panthers. Awwww.

It would have been touching if it wasn't for the fact that Struthers was lying.

He was using his son as a shield to minimize the scandal. It was a diversionary tactic to further a cover-up of how widespread the giving and taking of free Jets tickets actually was.

Unfortunately for him, the cover-up fell apart only one day later.

CBC News spilled the beans.

"In an email to The Canadian Press, Red River College said it also provided tickets to Finance Minister Stan Struthers and Justice Minister Andrew Swan for a game last December 23rd."


On Monday, Struthers was eating humble pie.

He had "inadvertently" misled the Legislative committee, he admitted. No, really, inadvertently, he said. He actually attended SIX Jets games, but only paid for three. He had forgotten "inadvertently" to tell the committee he got free tickets for Jets games from Red River College, the Manitoba Homebuilders Association, and an acquaintance he wouldn't name.

Slipped his mind, he said. Can't explain how he forgot. He meant to tell 'em.

Nobody is buying his act.

Struthers wasn't talking about the free tickets he got, not as long as the cover-up was holding. And neither was somebody else. His boss, Greg Selinger.

Anybody who knows anything about politics, knows that the first thing every NDP MLA did the day the scandal broke was divulge what Jets games they attended and how they got their tickets. Greg Selinger knew that Struthers was lying to the Legislative committee two days later, but he said nothing. He was part of the cover-up.

What's more shameful is that the lazy press in Winnipeg never asked Selinger what he knew and when he knew it.

We're not promoting an adversarial press. The Parliamentary Press Gallery in Ottawa prides itself in being the true opposition to the Harper government. The day they engaged in a public tiff with Stephen Harper over how questions are asked at news conferences, they became adversaries with a personal bias, and thereby lost all credibility with the public for being fair and balanced reporters of news.

That's not the case in Winnipeg for the most part. Legislature reporters here just don't ask relevant questions. It's too much bother.

Even worse, they're so easy to spin. Just this week both CJOB and CBC regurgitated the NDP's attack on the Opposition over the free-tickets scandal by asking if Opposition MLAs took freebie tickets themselves.

Here's the question they should have asked. So what if they did? You can't bribe somebody who is in no position to give you favours. You can only buy influence with somebody who has influence, who is in government.

Neither CBC nor CJOB has asked Selinger when he knew that the number of MLA's involved was not 3 but 13.

We're betting he knew from Day One and said nothing.

Is Energy Minister David Chomiak really sick, or is he hiding out from the Legislature so that nobody can ask him whether he will apologize for taking free Jets tickets as Selinger said he would? Is he too sick to answer the phone at home? That's news in itself.

Bruce Owen writes in the Winnipeg Free Press that Selinger has his own season ticket to Jets games. Really? It's funny that he never once mentioned that during the last election campaign or any time since.

Selinger the social worker is a big hockey fan? Isn't that a good story for any sports reporter? It's a story we have yet to see.

And WHEN did Selinger buy his ticket?

The first crack at season tickets went to Manitoba Moose season ticket holders, mini-pack holders and corporate advertising partners. Was Selinger a Moose season ticket holder? Or a mini-pack holder? He certainly wasn't an advertising partner.

Sales to the public went on sale Saturday June 4 and were sold out in just 17 minutes. Did Greg Selinger sit at home at his computer and snap up one season ticket during those 17 minutes. That's a hell of a story itself. We haven't read that one either.

Does Selinger sit alone at the games, or does he sit with somebody. Who? Somebody who could be considered a lobbyist? Maybe it's somebody who is a registered lobbyist. That would be an interesting story, too, if the press could shake themselves awake and start asking questions.

Imagine if Greg Selinger "inadvertently" misled the press about that season ticket. 

Would that make paragraph 15 of a Bruce Owen story the way Struthers' fibbing did last Saturday?

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, 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

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