Today we expect to see Manitoba voters deliver a historic repudiation of almost 16 years of NDP government.
But incoming premier Brian Pallister is dead wrong if he thinks that just giving the scoundrels the boot is enough.
The wolves have had free rein on the farm too long. By the end they had convinced themselves, like all despots, that they could do no wrong.
* Trying to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Jockey Club to patch the depleted provincial budget
* Publicly supporting a racist cabinet minister who admitted to prejudice against whites,
* Shrugging off a stomach-churning account of a woman spending her final hours of life screaming in pain on the floor of a hospital emergency ward
The NDP saw any opposition as downright evil and having to be stamped out.
By controlling the levers of power, the NDP were able to slough off one major scandal after another. That doesn't mean the scandals didn't exist. But you don't cure cancer by sending the patient home with a wag of the finger and the admonition "don't be sick again, got it."
Brian Pallister needs to get to the root of the cancer of the NDP.
Tonight, in his victory speech, Pallister needs to say the following:
1. Call for a judicial inquiry or a royal commission into the NDP election fraud of 1999.
Yes, its been 16 years. But if you believe that democracy is important and worth fighting for, then this cannot be allowed to pass.
The New Democrats, under the watch of then-leader Gary Doer, engaged in a conspiracy to defraud taxpayers of tens of thousands of dollars to finance their election campaign. When the scheme was finally detected in 2003, Elections Manitoba officials colluded with the NDP to cover up the fraud. It wasn't until 2009 that a party whistleblower went public with what happened.
You'll find the details here:
The NDP weren't about to investigate themselves, so they rode out the faux indignation of a sympathetic press, and carried on business as usual.
Pallister has to demonstrate that an assault on democracy cannot be condoned, regardless how much time has passed. It's too late to charge anyone, but not to subpoena them, to bring them in to testify under oath, and to prepare a report for generations to come to see how the NDP/union twisted the rules to get elected.
2. Order a Securities Commission investigation of the Crocus Fund debacle.
Way way back, Crocus was a labour-backed venture capital fund designed to raise money from Manitobans to invest in Manitoba enterprises. It was a time when private investors avoided Manitoba like the Zika virus and anything that could spark investment in the province was grasped like a straw by a drowning man.
But over the years, Crocus became a government-approved Ponzi scheme. The managers overvalued their "investments" to entice new investors whose money would be used to pay off the original investors who wanted out.
The fund had a back channel into the NDP cabinet --- through then-finance minister Greg Selinger ---which kept the NDP abreast of the fund's true liquidity problems. The NDP nevertheless continued to promote the fund as a great place to invest your retirement fund, right up until some newly hired managers ran in horror to the Manitoba Securities Commission with the grisly news of the fund's real numbers. Trading stopped, fund collapsed, 34,000 investors screwed.
The Manitoba Securities Commission declared it would launch an investigation, but there was always some reason for delay, not least because the commission itself was enmeshed in Crocus' convoluted schemes to stay afloat.
Pallister must order a true investigation into the Crocus Fund, including what the NDP cabinet knew and when. Given that the Manitoba Securities Commission is tainted by its dealings with Crocus, the investigation has to be conducted by an outside financial body.
3. The NDP broke the law in 2013 when it raised the provincial sales tax one percentage point to 8 pct from 7. The law was clear. No government could "introduce" legislation to raise the PST without holding a referendum. The NDP could have gone to the Legislature to revoke that law, but they didn't. They chose to break the law.
Read the details here:
Pallister must order a thorough investigation within the government's legal department to determine who approved breaking the law.
Those government lawyers and officials must be identified and removed. A government cannot function with the trust of the public when infested with civil servants who think they and the ruling government can act as they please regardless of laws passed by the Legislature.
This, too, is a matter of defending democracy, not cheap retaliation.
Pallister stupidly launched a civil action to test the government's right to raise the PST. This is not a situation where civil suits prevail. This is a matter of breaking the law, as its written.
If the prosecutions branch determines that charges are warranted, they must be laid as an example to future governments that nobody is above the law.
If they determine they can't get a conviction, then Pallister must release the emails and documents around the debate over sidestepping the law -- so that the public can see for itself who made what decisions and how and can deliver a verdict in the court of public opinion.
Finally, a valued reader who is more erudite than we are, sent us this historical quote that sums up tonight so poetically:
Date: April 18, 2016 at 10:01:01 AM CDT
Subject: On the Manitoba Election
Oliver Cromwell said it best:
It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.
In the name of God, go!