- More than a dozen NDP MLAs, including Premier Greg Selinger, are still advertising their constituency offices on bus benches during the campaign. The NDP says the benches are paid for by the campaign, not the MLA's allowance, and have been since early August to avoid even a hint of impropriety. The Tories say, if that's the case, each bench should have a sticker saying it's authorized by the candidate's official agent. No stickers appear. The NDP says the order to affix the stickers went out some time ago and it's been tasked to a third party.
- The Manitoba Teachers' Society launched television ads that are said to be so partisan they should be included in the NDP's annual advertising spending limit. The ads tout the value of smaller class sizes, and the Tories say they started airing after Premier Greg Selinger hosted a press conference at the MTS headquarters Sept. 2 and made a pledge to cap class sizes. Not so, says MTS president Paul Olson. The commercials started running in May and there was never any collusion with the NDP on the ad campaign.
- Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux doled out a $15,000 playground grant in the hotly contested riding of Dawson Trail during the 90-day blackout period when the government cannot "publish or advertise" information about its activities or programs prior to an election. And Lemieux wrote about it in his MLA's blog posted on mySteinbach.ca
- The Manitoba Cattle Enhancement Council, a government-appointed group tasked with improving beef slaughter facilities, posted a quarterly newsletter online and published articles in rural newspapers during the 90-day blackout period.
- An NDP campaign worker in the Agassiz riding is said to have posed as an Elections Manitoba enumerator, collecting signatures for the NDP candidate's nomination papers. The NDP says volunteers did no such thing.
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/9/2011 (3692 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The NDP has routinely violated its own election spending rules, and Manitoba's election commissioner is frustratingly slow to investigate, the Conservatives allege.
Since July, Conservatives have made 14 formal complaints alleging the NDP sidestepped election rules by making government announcements during the blackout period, colluding with unions and even impersonating an Elections Manitoba enumerator.
The NDP calls the allegations "absurd." The party has made seven complaints of its own against the Tories.
Those complaints will be the first substantial test of a raft of new election and campaign-finance rules the NDP government introduced several years ago as part of new fixed-election rules.
Tory campaign co-chairman Sen. Don Plett says the rules are in place to level the playing field and to bar government from taking advantage of its ability to dole out money close to voting day.
"If they are using government funds and handing out cheques, that, to me, constitutes a very serious violation," said Plett.
The Tories are also frustrated with what they say is the plodding pace of the elections commissioner's investigation, saying a ruling cracking down on the NDP after the Oct. 4 election is essentially useless.
"It looks like people who are afraid to take the government on," said Plett.
Bill Bowles, the commissioner of elections, said thorough investigations take time.
"Our goal is to resolve complaints as quickly as we can, and we recognize there is some urgency given the date of the election," said Bowles. "But we want to make sure we do the best job we can and the pending election isn't an excuse for a sloppy investigation."
The Tories have long been critical of Elections Manitoba and the office of the elections commissioner, who ensures election laws are followed.
Following a hubbub over an NDP rebate scheme used in the 1999 election, the Tories accused Elections Manitoba of kowtowing to the ruling party and being unaccountable to the public.