We defend Manitobans, not alleged multi-million dollar cocaine traffickers: Schuler
Manitoba’s PC Caucus is disappointed to learn that NDP MLA for Fort Garry, Mark Wasyliw, is once again moonlighting to defend alleged criminals who make our streets less safe. Mark Wasyliw is on record as the lawyer arguing an alleged large cocaine trafficker should not receive jail time, and be allowed back on the streets, according to local media.
“In a time where Manitobans want increased public safety, Wab Kinew’s NDP see no issue with making our streets less safe,” said Ron Schuler, PC Caucus Chair and MLA for Springfield-Ritchot.
This isn’t the first time Manitoba’s PC Caucus has raised concerns with the business that Mr. Wasyliw conducts while being paid by taxpayers as an MLA. He has repeatedly been absent from the legislature to appear in court as a lawyer – many times representing drivers charged with DUIs. He maintains active online ads where he advertises “Drinking and driving is NOT against the law,” and “Facing Sexual Assault Charges in Winnipeg? We Can Help! We’ll Fight To Keep You Out Of Jail.”
Wasyliw also appears in court on constituency Fridays when the Legislature is not sitting, however, as elected MLAs, Fridays are primarily meant for MLAs to conduct constituent work to ensure Manitobans have access to their elected officials.
“Today, our PC Team is challenging Wab Kinew, who himself has a criminal past that was defended by Wasyliw, to pledge that his NDP caucus will not allow this type of moonlighting to interfere with their duties as MLAs,” said Schuler. “Furthermore, Mr. Kinew should denounce his colleague for repeatedly fighting to make our streets less safe.”
Criminal defense lawyers play an important role in our legal system, and Manitoba’s PC Caucus believes in being innocent until proven guilty. However, Manitobans deserve transparency, and the optics of an elected official defending serious charges and pleading to keep alleged criminals out of jail is concerning, and sends the wrong message as our province works to combat rising crime rates.
“It’s time that Mr. Wasyliw is held to account, especially in a year when Manitobans are heading to the polls,” said Schuler. “The NDP need to answer: do they work for drunk drivers and drug traffickers, or Manitobans?”