Heading towards the Manitoba election, a government backbencher brought forward Bill 240, the Elections Amendment Act.
|Winnipeg Police Chief Smyth laughs it up with Danny's NDP Angels, |
(R-L) Wab Kinew, Point Douglas MLA Bernadette Smith, Smyth, Nahanni Fontaine
It was characterized by the Progressive Conservative caucus as an important tool to ensure "candidate transparency".
Eight candidates have disclosed criminal convictions - 4 New Democrats, 3 Green Party candidates and one from Manitoba First. Candidates who don't disclose could face a fine of up to $10,000 and a jail sentence of up to a year.
The Free Press reported, "The offences range from non-violent civil disobedience and shoplifting to impaired driving and assault. The most recent conviction dates back 15 years while another happened more than 50 years ago."
The description in the former case is of NDP leader Wab Kinew, who has prior convictions from about 15 years ago for an assault and a DUI. He also disclosed 2 breaches of court orders from that period, all of which have been pardoned.
"These were serious mistakes made years ago, for which they have all taken responsibility," NDP spokeswoman Emily Coutts said in an email statement.
There's another matter only vaguely remembered by members of the press corps as coming up.
My archived notes indicate it was revealed in an 'anonymous' circular when Kinew ran for the NDP leadership against longtime MLA Steve Ashton.
Kinew subsequently was elected an MLA and is a candidate in the provincial election. Similarly, in 2011 a Winnipeg City Councilor who later was elected a Progressive Conservative MLA, was the target of a Garnishment Order. But that story has a slight twist.
Scott Fielding was dinged to the tune of $863.25 plus $50 costs. Fielding became an MLA and a cabinet member in the Pallister government, now running for re-election in Kirkfield Park.
The order was terminated a week later apparently due to a misunderstanding, no wages were seized, and Fielding paid the fine promptly afterwards.
I have discovered that Kinew was not the only NDP candidate to have wages seized for failing to pay a provincial court fine.
It could be said, that in his case, Kinew was not serving in public life, and that sometimes, these things can happen. Maybe it was careless but still a simple private matter, was suggested to me, and not Bill 240-worthy. But at least, when his wages were seized in 2015 he wasn't an NDP MLA occupying a seat in the Legislature.
|Chief Danny Smyth flanked by NDP Pt. Douglas rep Bernadette Smith |
and St. Johns incumbent Nahanni Fontaine
|Fontaine (in blue) gazes at the biggest 'boy in blue', Danny Smyth|
EDIT: (From a reader) "Good analysis. One fact missing, though, is that she was also the NDP justice critic at the time of the unpaid fine and subsequent garnishment."
- The Sheriff serving the notice and filing an affadavit was paid on the public dime. (Maybe the $50 covered that).
- So was the payroll officials who had to redirect her pay to the courts. (The $50 was towards the court's costs, not the government's, so ...)
- The court officials who had to administrate the payment and reflect it on the public record, were also paid by the taxpayer.
- By that point $50 to cover costs seems stretched a little thin.
TGCTS is first to ask if Bill 240 went far enough to inform voters about the conduct of candidates.
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