Sunday, 13 May 2012
Jets Tickets & Regulatory Capture
Money has influence in politics, even with effective campaign finance laws in place. This is clear in "ticketgate", where various Ministers received Jets ticket gifts from Crown and private sector corporations. This is particularly disturbing in the case of private sector corporations that can use tickets to soften Ministers who oversee their industries - because small-ticket gifts are the first step towards American-style buying of politicians, where oil company and hedge fund lobbyists regularly use their organizations' deep pockets to influence public policy for private gain.
Sadly, one member of the supposedly social democratic New Democratic Party of Manitoba fails to understand this. That man is provincial energy minister Dave Chomiak.
Earlier Friday, Selinger said he would not ask his energy minister Dave Chomiak to resign over Chomiak’s acceptance of free Jets tickets from an oil exploration company....
Chomiak attended a game at the MTS Centre last Feb. 14.
Chomiak said in an interview with Global News that he did nothing wrong in accepting the tickets.
"It's doing business, you can’t not do business with companies that are in Manitoba, it has to do with jobs, job creation, there's several thousand people working in the oil field in Manitoba, I think it's appropriate to meet with these companies," he said, adding he also also accepted free tickets from telecom provider MTS last October.
Global News also reported that Chomiak had just that day disclosed he’s received the tickets from Tundra. MLAs are required by law to disclose gifts over $250. Tundra did not return calls from Global.("13 MLAs received 33 free Jets tickets: Selinger". Staff writer, May 11, 2012. Winnipeg Free Press)
Chomiak's lack of regrets for having an old boys club relationship with people he's supposed to be regulating is abhorrent. Selinger must reverse his decision and backbench Chomiak immediately. A man who thinks fraternizing with oil companies is okay because they employee people, regardless of whatever long-term negative consequences or corruption can result from it, has no place representing a government in Manitoba. If Chomiak wants, I might be able to procure a time machine that'll lead him back to Ralph Klein's cabinets - he'd be right at home there.