The politician, the judge and the sentence


You can—in a law-school-essay, sentencing-guidelines way—justify Justice David MacAdam’s decision to sentence disgraced former MLA Richard Hurlburt to house arrest instead of clapping him off to jail.

But not in the real world.

Richard Hurlburt repeatedly violated the trust of his electors while bilking taxpayers of more than $25,000, and then attempted—until the truth trapped him—to justify his actions.

In his decision, MacAdam argued “there were no other aggravating factors… other than abuse of his position of trust.”

Is that not aggravating enough?

MacAdam also did his best to draw distinctions between Hurlburt’s case and that of fellow former MLA Dave Wilson, who is now serving jail time in the expense scandal.

While Wilson had claimed expenses in the names of other people, the judge pointed out, there was no evidence Hurlburt “involved anyone else” in his illegal dealings.

What about the generator salesman, whose price “estimate” Hurlburt turned into a phony invoice and submitted as an expense? What about the taxpayers?

And remember, Dave Wilson was a gambling addict. Hurlburt was just greedy. That to me is especially aggravating.

MacAdams added Hurlburt “resigned shortly after the release of the auditor’s report, a year before charges were brought against him. He has issued repeated public apologies. He has taken full responsibility for his actions.”

Fact check time.

Hurlburt resigned because he’d been caught in his own fraud.

In February 2010, when he was first outed as the purchaser of the $8,000 generator—it took him another week to fess up to the $2,500 TV—Hurlburt didn’t apologize. He claimed the generator had been purchased “to assist local organizations in the event of a power failure.”

In truth, there was no $8,000 generator; he pocketed that money and only bought a cheaper one after the auditor general began poking around.

He also claimed he’d simply followed existing expenses regulations. There is no regulation allowing fraudulent claims.


Hurlburt’s resignation letter did say he was leaving “with deep regret and sorrow.” For what? He didn’t say. He’d already escaped to his vacation home in Florida and unavailable for comment.

Full responsibility? Not by a long shot.

  1. There’s a conspicuous, widely publicized difference you seem to have deliberately avoided mentioning in this article: While Hurlburt took his coin directly from the public purse, Wilson skimmed a lot of his ill-gotten gains right out of the mouths of his own people. Every day, he looked the overworked staffers right in the eye – staffers in a high unemployment area that scheduled his meetings, took crap from the constituents, worked late, and probably even carted food back to his desk for him – and smiled, even as he was robbing them blind of their allotted wages. Preach as much theatrical, hysterical outrage as you want as “we, the taxpayer”, but any fool can see where the difference lies here.

    Personally, I’m really, really looking forward to the bevy of justifications for poor, poor Mr.Zinck’s (alleged)actions that will undoubtedly be spewed forth by the NDP establishment. No pile of insider skeletons in that crowd to be exposed by a former NDP member, eh? Thank goodness he was allowed to sit long enough to qualify for the fat, decadent pension plan the current government has the power to abolish with ease.


  2. The tidbit about NOT buying the generator only finally came out during his sentencing hearing last month…


  3. Hold the phone, he didn’t even buy the dang generator? I thought the whole house of cards fell on him when somebody reported the generator was in his house and not in a community hall. I need to pay attention, then again it is too aggravating.


  4. I’d like to say I’m very sorry…I got caught. I didn’t mean to get caught. Mistakes were made, the biggest one being that I thought I was smarter than anyone else. I have learned my lesson and will stay in the comfort of my home and collect my MLA pension and reflect on how I could have possibly got caught.


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