In this, my laziest blog post ever, I bulletize some thoughts about the Manitoba provincial election from the comfort of my Best Western hotel room.
- As stunning as this defeat was for the NDP, it could have been stunninger. (It’s my blog and I can make up words if I want to). The Liberal campaign collapse likely allowed the NDP to hold on to a couple seats that otherwise would have gone red if the Libs could have kept their act together. The NDP also won Wolseley by a narrow margin over the Green party. That could have easily gone the other way.
- If you’re afraid of “austerity” you can rest easy for a while, and if you want change you need to be patient. There will be no hacking and slashing any time soon because many public servants are covered by a no-layoff clause. What you might see is a more gradual reduction through attrition. I have lived through down-sizing with two employers and it is never easy, but people prioritize, eliminate redundant reports, and generally find ways to get the work done. I don’t expect aggressive down-sizing (though some may portray it as such) and I am confident the professionals working for the various departments will be able to adjust.
- What may be more important than staff reductions is culture change. A friend who has worked for two departments within the government has told me about instances where common-sense cost saving measures were denied for reasons of optics or ideology. Over the years an increasing number of positions within the departments have been filled with people who follow the previous government’s ideology and may be resistant to change. This could take a while to fix.
- They increased their vote count and the number of Liberal MLAs, but this election can only be considered a failure for the Liberals. With the NDP in shambles and the historic unpopularity of their leader, the Libs had a unique opportunity to establish themselves as a major player in the legislature. They did not do that, and by the time the next election rolls around the NDP will have a fresh face in charge (I’m assuming NOT Steve Ashton) and it will be an uphill battle for the Liberals once again to be considered a legitimate alternative.
- Yes the Liberals had a meager bank balance and internal dissent etc.. but much of the blame needs to rest with the leader Rana. She was unable to articulate how some of the odder Liberal promises fit into her party’s vision and she didn’t do a very good job of presenting or explaining their financial projections.
- More than that: she didn’t have the demeanor to survive the spotlight. She became somewhat snippy and defensive in the face of perfectly legitimate questioning, and on election night she was unable to (or chose not to) address her supporters and deliver a concession speech, which is not very leaderly.
- Given the above, many were surprise Bokhari decided to stay on as leader. Are these shortcomings ones that can be conquered with experience? Will a better organized party in four years make some of these criticisms moot? I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking.
- The NDP need to rebuild, obviously, but behind who? I believe the reason Wab Kinew jumped in to politics when he did, and *with* whom he did it, is because he wants to be Premier. That is the only way it makes sense to me, given the hypocrisy of him unequivocally supporting a party that has failed in the areas he says matter most to him, and of him instantly reversing his opinion of the PST hike when he joined the campaign.
- I’ll have plenty of time to write about Pallister and Co. in the coming months and years so I won’t say much, but they ran a good campaign. A smart campaign that didn’t insult the intelligence of the voters as some of their previous campaigns have.
- Polls showed that Pallister was not very popular with voters. He’ll have a chance to improve on that, and little things like joining the #FridayFools gang for coffee this past Friday give me hope that he may succeed. Still, I have to wonder how big of a throttling this election would have been if the PCs had a leader with charisma.
- It’s no secret that I was hoping to see a Green candidate elected. I wouldn’t want then to run the province, but I want them to have more of a voice because I think their perspective on issues is worth listening to.
- I questioned James Beddome once about why he decided not to run in Wolseley, the strongest riding for the Greens. I don’t remember the answer, but I think if he had he would have won a seat.
- Like the Liberals, this election was a bit of a missed opportunity for the greens, but in a different way. They had a good campaign and Beddome performed well when he had the chance, but they didn’t have enough visibilty before the campaign (see my previous blog post on this matter.)
THE MANITOBA PARTY
- I don’t know what they were expecting, but they ought to be happy with 1% of the vote given their newness and late start. I am frankly surprised they had as many candidates running as they did (although based on some tweets I’ve seen, the quality of some is suspect.)
- Their publicized policies (eg. a flat tax) are not as extreme as the non-publicized objectives held by their (for now) leader Gary Marshall (eg. NO tax).
- Change is good. I think it is a given that if a single regime is in power for over 10 years they begin to lose their perspective and begin to govern more for themselves than for the people. It happened in Alberta and it happened here. If Pallister hangs on for 12 or 16 years it might be time for him to go too. His Costa Rica estate will be waiting for him.