Manitoba Liberals Renew Call for Provincial Inquiry into Winnipeg Police Headquarters Contracts

March 17, 2022

Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberal MLAs are renewing their call for the Stefanson PCs to finally call an inquiry into the deals and contracts around construction of the Winnipeg Police Headquarters and other questionable deals flagged by auditors and the RCMP.

Manitoba's courts have found that the City of Winnipeg's former top bureaucrat, Chief Administrative Officer Phil Sheegl, accepted a bribe to award a contract worth $137-million to a company to build the Winnipeg's new police HQ. The project ended up going $79-million over budget.

Under Premier Brian Pallister, the PCs claimed they could not call an inquiry during a criminal investigation. After years of investigations, the RCMP recommended charges but the Manitoba Prosecution Service did not proceed. Now, Premier Heather Stefanson is claiming that lawsuits mean she can't call inquiry.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont says that neither excuse is justified.

"Requiring witnesses to testify under oath at an inquiry is the only way we'll get the whole story into a massive scandal that's been dragging on for a decade," said Lamont. "A bribe was paid to a public official for a contract worth $137-million dollars in taxpayers money. If doesn't justify an inquiry, nothing does."

The Mayor of Winnipeg has been asking for a public inquiry since 2017.

The RCMP recommended charges, but the Manitoba Prosecution Service declined to proceed to trial. Manitoba Liberals called for an Inquiry in December in 2019.

Manitoba Liberals say there are a series of red flags beyond the civil suit that found former CAO guilty had accepted a bribe worth $ 327,000, which cannot be ignored.

  • The former Canada Post property that it was built on was never valued,
  • The company that won the contract never applied for it,
  • Building materials showed up on other sites during construction, and
  • There were $79-million in cost overruns.

"So long as the PCs let this fester, we are all paying a price for it - as taxpayers and as citizens. It is a serious issue for anyone who wants to know they want to invest here," said Lamont. "What happened to the PCs as the party of law and order?"



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