September 27, 2017
WINNIPEG - Dougald Lamont, who is running for leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party, said that Brian Pallister's suggestion that candidates for office make minimum financial disclosures doesn't go far enough.
Lamont said that in addition to rules for financial disclosure - and clear sanctions for failure to disclose - the province should consider minimum residency requirements to prevent part-time, absentee Premiers from becoming a long-term problem for the province.
"Absentee, part-time premiers are a known risk to Manitoba's economy, infrastructure, and healthcare system," said Lamont. "If left to fester, the problem of absentee Premiers with no skin in the game will only get worse. We have to nip it in the bud."
Lamont said Premiers would have to disclose all financial assets - even the ones that aren't normally considered a conflict of interest, like corporations with no revenue that own vacation properties and recreation vehicles in Central American tax havens.
He also suggested that the Manitoba Government should consider docking future Premiers' pay for every day they spend on vacation out of the country that they can't be reached by phone or e-mail. Fines would double if the Premier could only be reached through a family member, and triple if the holiday took place in a country that is a major exporter of pineapple.
Lamont said that rules for disclosure for Premier will only work if they are backed up by strict enforcement. He proposed that punishments would be based on whatever the politician themselves had demanded similar offenses while in opposition: public shaming, referendum, resignation, or snap election.
"This press release is a joke, but the double standards being promoted by Brian Pallister and the PCs are not.
Brian Pallister is proposing to increase disclosure requirements for future candidates for public office - though he hasn't even been willing to follow the minimum existing financial disclosure requirements set out by law.
If the Premier were a member of any other political party, and he spent two months a year in Costa Rica while hiding his ownership of corporations there, would PC MLAs be silent?
This is why politics in Manitoba needs to change. Standards need to be applied across the board - not just to opponents."