WINNIPEG - Manitoba Liberals want to know what work was done for two contracts worth $50,000 that Brian Pallister gave to his Ottawa-based PC campaign manager, David McLaughlin.
McLaughlin received two $25,000 "direct award" contracts, which means they weren't tendered. One is dated for February 20, 2020. The second is dated May 27, 2020 , after McLaughlin had already been hired as Clerk of the Executive Council on May 20. As Manitoba's top bureaucrat, McLaughlin will be paid $177,026.
Manitoba Liberals say the hiring of McLaughlin into this position is undemocratic as Pallister continues to politicize high paying non-partisan government jobs to people within the PC party.
The contracts have no details attached - only that the "Direct Award" with the department of Finance is justified because the "provider possesses specific and/or unique knowledge and abilities".
Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface says Pallister has a lot of explaining to do about what the contracts are for.
"At the same time that he is demanding draconian cuts, Pallister has gone on a PC hiring spree, handing out jobs contracts and raises," said Lamont. "Pallister is blurring the line by putting people on the public payroll to do work that should be paid for by the PC Party."
McLaughlin was paid to write the PC Green Plan. He came under fire for spending $60,000 on travel back and forth between Ottawa and Winnipeg.
Manitoba Liberals have been critical of the PC Green plan, which has no timelines, no goals, few financial commitments, and focuses overwhelmingly on environmental issues separate from climate change. Since being elected, the PCs introduced a carbon tax, then repealed it. They were going to introduce it again this summer, but canceled it again. "If it was McLaughlin's idea to bring in a carbon tax and cancel it twice, we are spending a lot of money for nothing," said Lamont. "Huge numbers of Manitobans are in dire financial straits and we could put that money to better rather than make-work projects for the Premier's cronies."