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:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stickhandling won't save Selinger this time. Is his end sooner than expected?

So Greg Selinger lied to the public, lied to the Legislature, and lied to the press.
Since when is this news?

Why do you think we call him the dirtiest politician in Manitoba?

Even the most recalcitrant taxpayers caught on to his lying ways when he broke his (useless) word, during the last provincial election campaign, not to raise the provincial sales tax. He also openly broke the law to do it. Then he lied about why he lied, coming up with a new excuse for why he had to raise the PST as quickly as an old one was disproved.

Now he's admitted another lie, but only because he got caught dead to rights by CJOB.

In 2012 when it was revealed that NDP MLA's were gorging themselves on free tickets from public utilities and a raft of private groups to see the Winnipeg Jets, Selinger pretended to care.

He told the MLA's to pay back the cost of their freebies, to apologize to the people, and to promise not to do it again.  He failed to mention that he was among those at the trough for free tickets.

(Believe it or not, The Black Rod believed Selinger was  lying even back then:
MONDAY, MAY 14, 2012
Premier Greg Selinger isn't talking about his free Jets ticket
When Premier Greg Selinger released a list of 13 NDP MLA's who got free tickets to Winnipeg Jets games he forgot one name -- his own.)

On Wednesday, he remembered that, oh yeah, he did watch a Jets game on a free ticket. But, he reasoned lamely, it wasn't really free because five weeks later he made a charitable donation to a group that had nothing to do with the Jets, the arena, or, well, hockey in any way, shape or form. See, all cleared up.

Uh. Nope.

This time everybody knows he's lying. They know it because the news outlets are citing Hansard from May 9, 2012, when Selinger was asked specifically about taking free tickets:

 Mr. McFadyen: And so I just - I need to ask the Premier, and I think he knows I need to ask the question: I know he had the opportunity to attend games, did he have any tickets provided to him that he didn't pay for personally?
Mr. Selinger: No.

That was a lie, we know now.  Selinger attended a game on Dec. 29, 2011, on a "ticket provided to him that he didn't pay for personally." 

Selinger was the guest of Ken Cheveldayoff, a Saskatchewan MLA and, it just so happens, the brother of Kevin Cheveldayoff, executive vice president and general manager of the Winnipeg Jets.

Now, do you think that Kevin is so chintzy that he's not going to comp his own brother?  He's going to make his brother buy a couple of tickets on the VISA, but let him sit in the MTS Centre's private box so those pricey tix go to waste?  Puh-lease.

Ken got a couple of freebies and, God knows why, took Greg Selinger with him.  Selinger says he offered to pay for his ticket, but Ken C. said to forget it.  Of course he did. What? He's going to get comped tickets, then sell one of them for beer money?

Selinger says Ken told him to make a donation somewhere instead of paying for the Jets ticket.  And that's what Selinger said he did -- five weeks later he "made a donation of $300 to Friends Housing Inc."

Here's the problem -- Friends Housing has no connection with the Winnipeg Jets! Or Ken Cheveldayoff. 

The only way Selinger could pay back the cost of his free ticket was to write a cheque to either of those two,  the team that sells the tickets or the person who provided him with the ticket.

Friends Housing is a third party with no relationship to either. So any donation to them does not benefit the Jets, which is the purpose of selling tickets in the first place, or to Ken C., who could legitimately claim ownership of the ticket used by Selinger. 

If Selinger had made a donation in Ken's name to a charity and sent Ken the receipt, then maybe he would be off the hook, provided, of course, that the cost sitting in the MTS Centre private box is $300 and that's a true price.

Greg Selinger made a personal donation to a non-profit organization. It was not repayment for a free ticket provided to him; the person who took him to the Jets game didn't even know about the donation.

The more serious offence is Selinger's statement intended deliberately to mislead the Legislature.

That is contempt.

Following the Throne Speech today, Oppositon Leader Brian Pallister must make a motion to hold Selinger in contempt of the Legislature for his lie. 

He has to do it Thursday, because previous rulings in the Legislature on the issue say such a matter must be raised "at the earliest opportunity" or be dismissed.

If the Speaker rejects the motion (to refer the contempt to the Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs), the Opposition could ask the House to overrule him. He may count on the votes of the five rebel NDP MLA's who have challenged Selinger's leadership.  He may flush out others in the NDP caucus who support the rebels, and who would have a way to open up an internal campaign to replace Selinger as leader. Can you say Christine Melnick, who was thrown under the bus by Selinger for lying to the Legislature?

And speaking of the rebellion against Selinger, who was it that leaked the Jets story?  Of the Gang of Five, three (Stan Struthers, Andrew Swan and Erin Selby) were among the 13 shamed for taking free tickets to Jets games.
We're betting on Swan who got no sugar from Selinger during the ticket scandal in '12. Revenge is sweet.

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