Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A Really Unfortunate Choice of Words

Take a moment to read Diane Poulin’s letter to the editor in today’s Winnipeg Free Press, which is pasted below. She publicly “confirms” a bottle of good scotch was “involved” in getting at least one councilor to help get Glen Murray's property tax reductions approved.
Correcting record

As Glen Murray's communications manager during his first term as mayor, I am writing to correct the public record. Throughout this past civic election, it was repeatedly reported that Winnipeg has experienced "13 years of tax freezes." This is wrong.

Murray, with the help of Bill Clement, respected chair of the finance committee, actually cut taxes by two per cent plus two per cent plus two per cent for a total of six per cent from 2000 to 2002. I can confirm a bottle of good scotch was involved in hammering out that plan.

City staff worked hard to achieve these cuts, so I hope that the newspaper of record in our community will use this phrase in future, which is accurate: "Winnipeggers have experienced a decade of property-tax freezes plus three years of tax cuts."



Now read section 123 of Canada’s Criminal Code:
Municipal corruption

123. (1) Every one is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years who directly or indirectly gives, offers or agrees to give or offer to a municipal official or to anyone for the benefit of a municipal official — or, being a municipal official, directly or indirectly demands, accepts or offers or agrees to accept from any person for themselves or another person — a loan, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind as consideration for the official

(a) to abstain from voting at a meeting of the municipal council or a committee of the council;

(b) to vote in favour of or against a measure, motion or resolution;

(c) to aid in procuring or preventing the adoption of a measure, motion or resolution; or

(d) to perform or fail to perform an official act.

Do we really think Glen Murray and/or Bill Clement were guilty of a criminal act? Probably not.

But we do think Ms. Poulin should refrain from publicly "confirming" anything further. Her comments today are as silly as John Harvard publicly admitting to Dan Lett in 2004 that he may step aside to allow Glen Murray a chance at federal office if prime minister Paul Martin offered him the position of Lt. Governor.

Manitoba Liberals really need to start thinking before they speak (and write).