Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Babinsky sent son to event; trustee riled

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DESPISE me if you will, but leave my family out of it, embattled Winnipeg School Division trustee Mike Babinsky declared Tuesday.

"I have five words: Don't mess with my family," an angry Babinsky said.

He claimed trustee Suzanne Hrynyk chewed out his son, Jake Babinsky, last week when dad sent son to represent him at an awards ceremony at Elmwood High School. Jake also graduated from Grade 12 last week.

Babinsky said he had three conflicting school events and has been sending his six children to fill in for him for many years, reasoning it gave them the public-speaking experience.

Hrynyk fired back at Babinsky Tuesday: "It's been a longstanding concern that he sends family members," said Hrynyk, who'll table a motion in September to end the practice. Unlike other politicians, trustees have no staff, and if they can't make it, trustees send a message, she said: "Reasonable people send regrets; that's what all of us do, except Mr. Babinsky, who sends his children."

Hrynyk said when she saw Jake Babinsky Wednesday, she told the Elmwood principal in front of the young man she was the only elected official present, she should be the one to bring greetings from the division, and she should speak first.

"My name was called," said Hrynyk, but as she moved to the microphone, "(Jake Babinsky) beat me to the podium. I went back and sat down" rather than sully the event for the students there, she said. "It was quite embarrassing for me."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 3, 2013 B2

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