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 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:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Campaign financing laws are for chumps: union-backed Mayor candidate Judy W-L

The NDP-backed candidate for mayor, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, has broken election law by accepting donations from a union.

Two days ago the Winnipeg firefighters union announced it was endorsing her for mayor. But yesterday that endorsement exploded in her face when another mayoral election candidate, Robert Falcon-Ouellette, started asking questions about the extent of the union's support.

Union boss Alex Forrest sneered "It's a stupid complaint."  He then told the Winnipeg Free Press that the signs carried and t-shirts promoting Wasylycia-Leis by his members "were all invoiced to her campaign."   
Reporter Aldo Santin got confirmation from the Wasylycia-Leis campaign that the items will be a reported campaign expense.

That's what's known in police circles as "a confession."

The city bylaw governing municipal elections, passed under orders by the provincial NDP government, states categorically:

Prohibited contributions not to be accepted
9(1) A registered candidate in an election shall not
(a) solicit or accept a contribution from
(i) a person who is not an individual normally resident in Manitoba, or
(ii) an organization;

"organization" includes
(a) a trade union, a partnership and an unincorporated association,

The union broke the law by contributing advertising material to her campaign, and she broke the law by accepting it, proved by her appearance at the endorsement announcement and her campaign's statement that the material will be reported as a campaign expense.  

This is the second mayoral campaign for Wasylycia-Leis, so she has no excuse for not knowing that union donations are specifically outlawed, whether they are reported as an election expense or not.

The penalty for breaking campaign financing legislation?  


Anyone caught has to either pay for the illegal donation or give it back.  That's it.

This isn't the first time that NDP election campaigns have broken financing legislation. The fact they have never been punished may have encouraged the Wasylycia-Leis campaign to thumb its nose at the law.
In the 2010 election, attendees at a public meeting heard NDP-backed council candidate Ross Eadie declare he couldn't run if it wasn't for the financial support of the NDP.  Despite 8 complaints filed with Marc Lemoine, described as Winnipeg senior election official, he did nothing to investigate the matter.

In 1999, the provincial NDP party defrauded the province for $76,000 in rebates for election expenses attributed to union volunteers. The fraud was kept secret with the collusion of Manitoba's Chief Electoral Officer, Richard Balasko.  
See the details here:

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