"As Many Liars"
The Story of the 1995 Manitoba Vote-Splitting Scandal
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In 1998, Manitoba's Conservative government was oozing confidence and appeared certain to cruise to re-election under Premier Gary Filmon. But when a local radio reporter began to investigate rumours about Conservative dirty tricks in the last provincial election, he broke open the scandal that led to a riveting public inquiry, and ultimately to the fall of the government. The Conservatives' vote-splitting scheme was equal parts detective story and comedy of errors, tragedy and farce. Because it had occurred in the hardscrabble Interlake region, carried out by a wildly eccentric cast of characters, some media commentators dismissed the story as a low-rent scandal conducted by political hillbillies. But in fact the caper was masterminded by the premier's principal secretary and supported by two of the province's most distinguished entrepreneurs.