POLITICS

Manitoba ombudsman to examine flood-fighting equipment controversy

07/07/2015 12:00 EDT | Updated 07/07/2016 05:59 EDT
WINNIPEG - Manitoba's ombudsman has agreed to look into a controversy surrounding flood-fighting equipment for First Nations.

Charlene Paquin says she aims to ensure proper procedures were followed in the decision to help flood-prone reserves get water-filled tubes, known as Tiger Dams.

The government issued a tender last December for $5 million worth of the equipment to help First Nations in the Interlake region.

An anonymous whistleblower complaint alleged Infrastructure Minister Steve Ashton tried to have the contract not put up for open bidding, and instead awarded it to a company whose owner had contributed to Ashton's 2009 leadership campaign.

Premier Greg Selinger has said the matter was discussed by cabinet and he directed that the contract be up for open bidding, which it was.

The Opposition Progressive Conservatives have called for an investigation, saying public money was involved.

The ombudsman's office has limited powers, as it can investigate government workers and departments, but not politicians.