Legislative Report (10 May 2007)

Chequebook Lorne Strikes Again

Chequebook Lorne strikes again! That’s the name Regina Leader Post columnist Bob Hughes has given Lorne Calvert because every time the NDP are in a bind, “Cheque Book Lorne reaches for the province’s bank account.” (Leader Post – May 5, 2007). First, there was the $275,000 cheque to Murdoch Carriere, the man who was fired for harassment and convicted of assaulting many women for years. Now, the NDP are going to pay a big severance to the former NDP Caucus Chief of Staff who resigned over the NDP fraud scandal.

In the same article, Hughes writes, “Cheque Book Lorne is ready to cut him a cheque for resigning. Nice work, if you can find it. Screw up, resign, and get paid for it.” It’s clear the former Chief of Staff is just taking the fall for the cowardly Ministers who won’t own up to their part in this scandal. Glenn Hagel was the NDP Caucus Chair and, according to the evidence in the police report and other documents, was very much involved with all of the decisions to cover up the fraud.

Even former NDP MLA Pat Lorje stated that it was the intention of the NDP caucus to conceal the fact that fraud had been committed. But Hagel and the other NDP MLAs who were involved in the decision have done nothing but blame the former Chief of Staff – and more recently, tell the press that Pat Lorje’s comments to police were “false.” False? The ONLY NDP MLA who when it came to her attention two years after the fraud had been covered-up, pushed for more details and finally brought the confession letter and other evidence to the police? Lorje told the truth, which is more than we can say about her NDP colleagues who are still MLAs.

Now, after making the former Chief of Staff the scapegoat for this mess, the NDP are in the position of having to pay him a severance for taking the fall. But, there are questions about this. If, according to Hagel, the former Chief of Staff really resigned, why is he getting a severance in the first place? Legislative guidelines state that a caucus staff member can only receive a severance he/she is fired without cause – NOT if the staff member resigns. So why would the former Chief of Staff receive a severance? Because he’s taking blame for the fraud cover-up, so other NDP Ministers and MLAs who covered up fraud don’t have to.

It’s pretty simple. Lorne Calvert and the NDP are more than willing to write big cheques from the taxpayers’ purse as hush money when they’re in trouble. And it looks like the NDP will be giving their former Chief of Staff the “Murdoch Carriere Golden Handshake” very soon.

If you have a question about this report or any other matter, just Contact Lyle.

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