Tuesday, April 03, 2007

An attempt at a clarification

We get mail. We always answer -- not always to correspondents' satisfaction, we admit.

We received a note from Mr. Bernie Bellan (apologies for earlier misspellings) taking us to task for writing this last week:

"Bernie Belan's gang pulled the government out of their main lawsuit as it was compromising their case. And a letter to the premier from Belan essentially saying 'if you settle with us I'll go away -- if not I'll run for the Liberals to make our issue as political as possible' is currently under investigation by Elections Manitoba."

Well, that the matter is under investigation is not in dispute. But our characterization was clearly not quite right. It was more the issue of Bellan offering to drop out of the race if the government agreed to his terms.

What those terms are exactly was the subject of some back and forth with Bellan.

Here's how the Free Press's Gabrielle Giroday characterized the situation on Sept.23, 2006:
"The shareholder who was one of the first to tip off Crocus Investment Fund investors to irregularities in the fund is now in hot water for e-mails he sent to the premier's office.

"Bernie Bellan announced last month he will seek the provincial Liberal nomination in the Assiniboia riding, potentially pitting him in an election race against NDP Energy Minister Jim Rondeau.

"However, Bellan's campaign may already be in trouble, thanks to e-mails suggesting he would not
run for a provincial nomination if the government settled with Crocus shareholders over at least $60 million worth of lost investments."
That is not quite so, now says Bellan to the Addicts:

"I didn't specify what it was that I was suggesting the government might offer to Crocus shareholders that would induce me to drop out of the race. As I told the investigators from Elections Manitoba, I was being deliberately vague because I thought the NDP would simply take my idea and promote it as their own unless I had some guarantees from them beforehand.

"What I was after was an increase in tax credits to Crocus shareholders who I thought, were about to be able to redeem their Crocus shares for cash as a result of the pending GrowthWorks offer to purchase all Crocus shares."
There's a lot more, but that's basically it. Those who have read the email in question (not us) and the reporter seemed to think Bellan was saying he wanted a settlement to drop out. Bellan says he was vague and was really angling for a new tax credit scheme.

So there you have it. Maybe.