Manitoba NDP, PCs point fingers at each other over how messaging getting out

Manitoba premier Brian Pallister and NDP Leader Wab Kinew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods;THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kelly Malone

Manitoba New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives are accusing each other of breaking the rules on the use of public resources for their messaging.

The NDP has complained to the provincial ombudsman that the Tory government issued a government news release for partisan purposes in June. The release welcomed federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s promise to reduce interprovincial trade barriers.

The New Democrats allege it was more of a party announcement than a government one.

The NDP also complained to the elections commissioner that Premier Brian Pallister used footage shot in the premier’s office in a Progressive Conservative video.

They say they received confirmation this week from the elections commissioner and the ombudsman that their complaints are being investigated.

“Pallister continues to use resources that belong to the people of Manitoba to promote his own partisan interests and help out his political friends,” Andrew Swan, a former New Democrat MLA who is not running for re-election, said Wednesday.

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The Tories, meanwhile, have complained to the elections commissioner about a couple of recent campaign events held by NDP Leader Wab Kinew.

The Tories say one event was in a public school and another was at a university – areas they say are off-limits for politicians on the campaign trail.

A lawyer for the Tories has asked the elections commissioner to meet with all parties and clear up the rules surrounding party and campaign advertising.

“We … have a suggestion that a conference with yourself, the investigator, an NDP representative and a PC representative may be a way to resolve this issue,” George Orle wrote in the letter.

“The mutual adoption of a policy regarding use of public or government buildings for advertising may be appropriate so long as no government staff resources are used.”

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