Legislative Report (24 May 2007)

Tough Session for Scandal-Plagued NDP

The spring session of the Legislature couldn’t end fast enough for the NDP. The trouble started a few days before the session began when Chequebook Lorne and the NDP decided to stroke a $275,000 to Murdoch Carriere, the long-time government employee who was fired for harassment and convicted of assault. When more details started to surface about the payout, how poorly the harassment victims were treated, how people in ‘high places’ ignored serious harassment complaints for many years, how Murdoch Carriere was a buddy of NDP Minister Buckley Belanger, etc., things went from bad to worse. It’s clear the NDP could have chosen to fight paying Carriere hundreds of thousands of dollars in court, but they took the easy route. They wrote a cheque. As a result, no sordid details about other MLAs and ‘higher ups’ that were friends with Carriere would come to surface.

The Murdoch Carriere scandal won’t go away any time soon, and judging from the phone calls, e-mails, letters, and the over seven thousand five hundred people who filled out the Saskatchewan Party postcard mail out, Lorne Calvert and his candidates will hear about this on the doorstep. The Saskatchewan Party delivered the thousands of postcards directly to Lorne Calvert on the last day of session.

The next huge scandal was the NDP Caucus fraud case. Back in 1992 when Glenn Hagel was the Caucus chair, several thousands of dollars was stolen from Caucus office. Instead of taking the evidence to police, Hagel, the chief of staff, and others, decided it was best not to tell anyone the details. They covered it up. After two years went by, a newer employee discovered through a quick audit that nearly $20,000 was stolen by former employee Ann Lord. It wasn’t until this new employee took the information to the new Chair of NDP Caucus at the time, Pat Lorje that evidence was taken to the police. Lorje told the police that it was the intention of Caucus to hide the fact that fraud had been committed. All of this evidence came out during the session. The result? The RCMP is currently investigating the case and now Minister of Culture, Youth and Recreation, Glenn Hagel, has resigned his Cabinet position.

And speaking of resignations, the latest veteran MLA to jump ship is Eldon Lautermilch. He’s been around since 1986. He’s also known for having a ‘checkered’ history in government and for being responsible for scandals like SPUDCO. Lautermilch is the 7th MLA to announce they won’t be seeking re-election and there are more to come! ‘Farewell Fridays’ (the name we’ve given to the resignation announcements since they typically take place on Fridays), are becoming commonplace for Lorne Calvert. How can anyone have confidence in Lorne Calvert’s NDP government when his own Cabinet doesn’t have faith in their future?

Most people hope there is an election before the next session. But with Farewell Fridays and scandal after scandal, Lorne Calvert isn’t in a hurry to go to the polls.

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

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