MPI staff shouldn’t get free Jets tickets

- May 9th, 2012

MPI staff who supposedly worked above and beyond the call of duty over the past year got free Winnipeg Jets tickets, paid for by motorists through their insurance premiums.
That’s according to the results of a freedom of information request submitted by the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation released Wednesday.
My question is, why on earth should anyone at MPI get free Jets tickets paid for by us just for doing their jobs?
This is not the private sector. MPI is a state-owned monopoly that forces us by law to purchase our car insurance through them — whether we like their product or their lack of consumer choice or not.
Nobody at MPI should be getting any bonuses for processing forced insurance premiums on Manitobans.

car crash portage 2

MPI insurance premiums should be used for insurance claims for crashes like this one, not for staff bonuses.

 

According to the FIPPA response, MPI paid $199,548 to True North Sports and Entertainment for 170 pairs of Jets tickets and to advertise road safety messages at MTS Centre during NHL games.

Some of the tickets — 86 pairs — were given to charity. I’m not sure MPI has a mandate to use our car insurance premiums for charitable donations. But we’ll leave that off the table for now.

Four pairs of tickets were given to MPI bigwigs.

And 80 pairs of tickets were earmarked for MPI staff who “demonstrate commitment and dedication to their work by going the ‘extra mile,’” — among other basic job requirements. What a scam.

If a private sector company wants to purchase tickets through whatever marketing or promotional deals it has with sporting teams and gives tickets to their staff for whatever reason, that’s nobody’s business.
You don’t have to buy their product if you don’t want to.
But Manitobans are forced to buy automobile insurance through MPI and any net revenues derived from that should be used to lower insurance premiums, not give bonuses to MPI staff for doing their jobs.
This is ludicrous.

Meanwhile, Manitoba Lotteries Corp. has also been snared in the ticketgate scandal. According to a separate CTF FIPPA response, MLC received tickets as part of a similar advertising deal. They also used some tickets for senior executives, for Gambling Minister Andrew Swan (who supposedly has since paid for those tickets) and for staff awards. Again, was is a Crown corporation doing rewarding staff with public money for doing their jobs? Any net revenues from gambling proceeds are supposed to be  transfered to the provincial government’s general revenues for spending in areas like health care, education and infrastructure?

It’s wrong.

Categories: Politics

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13 comments

  1. Steve says:

    Let me point out that I am in disagreement with the fact that MLS’s, Ministers, etc etc were taking these ticekts to attend games. As for this article though, I don’t agree with you here, Tom.

    I think the better question is how did the value of the advertising and the tickets returned compare to that of what would happen in other provinces? We aren’t the only province with state-owned auto insurance. Do they have similar policies?

    “You don’t have to buy their product if you don’t want to”

    Yes, yes you do! Fact is, car insurance is mandated, so whether through MPI or a private company, you WILL pay those premiums and the company WILL spend that money on advertising. If some of the tickets are earmarked for staff tht go above and beyond, great! its called motivation. People need that to continuously push themselves. Do you get bonuses or perks? I do. Everyone I know of in the private sector does. Why should the public sector be any different? Yeah, sure, some slack off. They shouldn’t be the ones getting the tickets. But the ones working their behinds off, doing more than is required…I have no problem with them getting tickets.

  2. tom.brodbeck says:

    Steve,

    Actually, most other provinces allow their citizens to buy auto insurance from whomever they please.
    Please give us examples of private sector companies that give away hundreds of free Jets tickets to employees for doing their jobs. This should be fun.

    Tom

  3. Steve says:

    Tom,

    “Actually, most other provinces allow their citizens to buy auto insurance from whomever they please”

    Most…not all…most. Do those provinces that do NOT allow their citizens to buy insurance from whomever they please have advertising with their pro sports teams where they are given tickets in return (if they have a team)? If they do, are employees given tickets at all?

    “was is a Crown corporation doing rewarding staff with public money for doing their jobs”

    That wasn’t the point of my comment though. The point of my comment was why should public sector employees be treated different than private sector employees? Your post insinuates that public sector employees shouldn’t receive bonuses. I don’t care if it is cash, a trip…or Jets or Bombers tickets. If they have earned their bonus by going above and beyond, why is it such a bad thing? Do you get bonuses Tom? I do. My wife does. My parents did (retired). My in-laws do. My friends do. My co-workers do.

    As for naming companies that give away “Hundreds of tickets”..to employees, I can name 3-4 companies off the top of my head that give away a LOT of tickets to employees; maybe not hundreds, but that would be relative to the number of employees. It is not my place to name them as I am not employed for said companies, nor do I have any legal right to speak for them.

  4. tom.brodbeck says:

    It’s very simple Steve. I don’t have to buy products from any private company. If I don’t like how they conduct business – including if they inflate my price to boost their their staff’s remuneration – I don’t have to shop there. I can go elsewhere.

    When govt forces me by law to buy their products, they have no moral authority to inflate the remuneration of their staff. Also, when the state-owned monopoly is supposed to be generating net revenues for provincial general revenues, they have no mandate to spend excess revenue on perks like Jets tickets, which the vast majority of workers don’t get>

    Big difference.

  5. Steve says:

    Agree to disagree I guess.

    In the case of car insurance, it isn’t that simple as yes, you do need to buy it from somewhere. If there was more than one company, you would have the choice, but you would still have to buy it. If you chose to buy that insurance based on bonuses or incentives the employees receive…well, I’ll just leave that one alone.

    As for how they spend excess revenues. Were these excess revenues they spent or were they already being spent previous to the Jets? Did MPI spend money on advertising at the MTS center when the Moose were still here? Was the $200,000 included in their budgeting or did it come on a whim?

    Lastly, say MPI puts a program in place that awards the best (most accurate) reserving over a monthly period on claims. That program rewards the employees with a pair of Jets tickets. The added accuracy and incentive of the employees to get their work that much more accurate may very well exceed the cost of that advertising expense anyway. In that case, i’d say it was a damned good expense.

    To look at this situation and say “they spent money they shouldn’t have” is just incredibly too under-informed. Do I agree with executives, cabinet ministers, etc? No, not at all. But to use some tickets as incentives for improvment? 100% agree with it.

    For the record…you never commented on if you get a bonus or not….interesting….

  6. J Anderson says:

    Agree with Tom on this one:
    1) Public, monopoly company like MPI should not be using our $ to buy tix for employees.
    2) MPI, which forces people to get insurance from them, doesnt need to advertise. Why would they ever need to advertise when you have to go to them anyway if you drive a vehicle. If its advertising to teach us about the dangers of driving too fast, I still dont care…..dont spend my money on social engineering commercials.

    Public employees should be treated differently. Private companies can use their cash/equity to buy gifts/bonuses for employees. Its their money. Public companies should not be using public money to provide bonuses. They already operate in a monopolistic environment, have a union backing them up and have pensions….that is plenty.

  7. Barb says:

    It should be noted as well, that only governing MLA’s were given these freebies. If that’s not influence peddling I’m not sure what is….

  8. Andrew says:

    Hi Tom,

    Just to make your point, I know of one “large insurer” in Manitoba who has a total of 4 season tickets, not 170 or so, totally ridiculous.

  9. ray says:

    i’m sick of government employes,mla’s etc getting a free ride to attend functions that me,my neighbors and friends pay for.
    If MPIC wants to reward anyone,a random draw for game tickets of insurance purchasers.
    This is just another example of the NDP giving away our money.

  10. Greg Syposh says:

    MPI has to compete with the private sector in attracting trained professionals. Not doing so would be a disservice to the province, as it would put the corporation at a disadvantage. If a company goes for the cheapest employees, it shows in the product. The Sun is a perfect example.

  11. Bob says:

    As usual, Tom hits the nail right on the head! it’s no different than MP’s using their budget to fund fishing excursions or private jet flights, only on a smaller scale…

  12. Mark Felt says:

    @Greg Syposh “MPI has to compete with the private sector in attracting trained professionals”. Please. Lets see how they attract trained professionals if these positions weren’t government and overpaid!

  13. opus says:

    MPI should use those extra dollars on staff to help the adjusters answer the phone .. do you get free tickets for actually answering the calls made regarding claims .. mostly voice mail.. i would give them all free jets tickets if they could answer their calls in a more timely fashion..

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