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Tories to introduce bill seeking Melnick inquiry

Manitoba politicians will vote next month on an opposition push for an inquiry into former NDP cabinet minister Christine Melnick.

Tory house leader Kelvin Goertzen will introduce a motion after next week's spring break to have a legislature committee set up to conduct the probe.

Goertzen said an inquiry is needed to find out whether Melnick or Premier Greg Selinger is telling the truth about a controversial immigration debate in April 2012.

But the committee is unlikely to see the light of day. Government house leader Andrew Swan said there are higher priorities.

The Melnick controversy dates back almost two years, when government-funded immigrant-agency workers were invited to watch a legislature debate.

Melnick initially denied using civil servants to invite people, but the provincial ombudsman reported she did.

The ombudsman said the use of civil servants raised questions about partisanship in the bureaucracy.

Last month, Melnick laid the blame on the premier, saying his staff was making her take the fall. Selinger dumped Melnick from caucus the next day, and said he and his staff were never involved in the decision to use civil servants to set up the debate.

Hall hopes to rebuild relationship with city

A bitter feud between city hall and the Aquatic Hall of Fame has ended with the resolution of a 2007 lawsuit over the hall's eviction from the Pan Am Pool.

Luke Small, chairman of the Aquatics Hall board, said he's looking forward to partnering with city hall for the display of thousands of pieces of memorabilia that have sat in boxes for eight years.

"It's hard not to be bitter, but I want to work as well as we can with (city hall) so that both us of benefit," Small said.

City council approved a settlement of the lawsuit, which includes a $250,000 cash settlement, allows the hall to display its collection on the interior walls of the Pan Am Pool in new display cases provided and installed by the city at a cost of $600,000, and gives the hall exclusive use of the gallery space.

The Aquatic Hall of Fame and Museum of Canada housed memorabilia from the country's four pool sports: speed swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming.

Small said the settlement is a testimony to the dedication of the board's late chairman, Vaughan Baird, and other board members who died while waiting for the resolution of the dispute.

Baird, a former diver and international diving judge and constitutional lawyer, died in August.

-- The Canadian Press / staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 27, 2014 A7

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