A) Highway Traffic Act tickets and penalties are priced too high, or
B) NDP candidates aren't diligent about obligations to the courts.
Considering the combined wage of the first two NDP candidates identified in last week's story were earning over $100,000 at the University of Winnipeg (Wab Kinew in 2015) and over $94,000 as a Member of the Legislature (Nahanni Fontaine in 2017), pleading poverty seems an unlikely option.
I have learned the NDP Leader and his Deputy Leader aren't alone in the category of NDP candidates who had a garnishee order executed to satisfy overdue Provincial Court fines.
And since Southdale hopeful Karen Myshkowsky was a school teacher in the Louis Riel School Division at the time, it seems unlikely that her wage was an issue in affording to pay the ticket, before the sheriff visited her employer with a Notice of Garnishment.
Myshkowsky is a first-time campaigner set up in a former Liquor Mart in the constituency. She started full-time at Glenlawn Collegiate with high risk and special needs students in January 2015, after a couple of years as an on-call substitute. Before the end of the year, $343.80 had been redirected from her December paycheque. And it wasn't the last time, either.
In March of 2018, another Certificate of Default was entered, and the Sheriff made sure the school division coughed up an even higher fine - $439.00 - off Myshkowsky's wages to the courts.
Like Kinew, Myshkowsky was a private citizen employed in education, both times her wages were seized by the court.
Like Fontaine in St. Johns, the garnishment of the NDP candidate in Southdale was apparently not previously reported in the media or self-disclosed. Voters would have no idea.
Last week I raised the Fontaine matter with Liberal leader Dougald Lamont and asked if Bill 240 should include the public's right to know if at the very least, elected officials (as Fontaine was) seeking re-election, went offside with the courts. His answer seems to encompass the Myshkowsky case too, saying a political party should be upfront about these issues (assuming their vetting process even looks for garnishment orders involving candidates).
"I think offences against democracy should be considered just as much as other kinds of offences especially when you are talking about people who are politicians." Manitoba Liberal leader Dougald Lamont(Lamont also slid in that Brian Pallister kept having "bozo explosions" from within the PC Caucus, refering to last week's discovery that MLA Rick Wowchuk was allowed to run for re-election after complaints of problematic behaviors towards staff.)
When I investigated that maybe new disclosure laws for candidates didn't go quite far enough, people hadn't thought about it at all. Their thinking mostly stopped at how the legislation was largely designed by the PC government to embarass Wab Kinew.
But when I gave the example of voters in St. Johns not being told the wages of their MLA were garnisheed to pay a court fine - and it had to sink in a bit - Lamont echoed the feedback I got from readers: "Ya, I think it's in the public interest".
It isn't known right now if there are even more candidates in the Manitoba election, for the NDP or for other parties, whose employer got a visit from the Sheriff.
The Manitoba NDP is running at least 3 (professionally-paid) candidates who forced the sheriff's office to serve legal notice on their employer to collect an outstanding court fine. How did that escape the attention of the mainstream media in Winnipeg?
Or as Lamont put it "Who's going to be the watchdog?"
Well... the Myshkowsky candidacy has another controversy in play that more directly points to the media and its selective approach to applying the microscope to candidates.
In 2014, the Gord Steeves campaign for mayor of Winnipeg was KO'd after the MSM insisted he account for comments his wife had made - years before on Facebook - about drunken aboriginal panhandlers downtown making her feel unsafe. When those comments were originally posted, one of the people who endorsed those views was the husband of Myshkowsky.
"I love your post" he wrote, a post so controversial one local outlet said it "derailed her husband's campaign".Why wasn't the NDP candidate in Southdale grilled and hounded for her spouses comments the way a PC-affiliated mayoral candidate was? Was she asked about it even once?
Surely, not a double standard from MSM.
(It should be noted that less than a year ago Global News actually asked Jay Myshkowsky about this when he ran for school trustee in LRSD Ward 4 - and he apologized.)
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