Right in the centre - Some election observations


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

Manitoba’s provincial election proved some obvious and some not so obvious points on Tuesday night, this past week. The obvious points first.

•The PC Party, lead by Premier Brian Pallister, lost some seats, as was expected. The NDP recovered some traditional ground in the City of Winnipeg. The PC loss was predicted by many because of changes to hospital emergency rooms and the idea that PCs are cutting health care. Whether they are cutting health care or not is a matter of debate, but in politics, perception becomes the reality.

•The obvious other side of the coin is that the NDP hammered the health care debate and with the unions firmly on their side, they were able to gain back about a half dozen seats. The NDP constitution, membership and selection of convention delegates are largely controlled by the unions, a fact that many people don’t realize. (Historical fact: the NDP was formed by an amalgamation of the Canadian Labour Congress and the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in 1961. The NDP first gained power in Manitoba in 1969).

•The Liberal Party, as was expected, didn’t gain ground. They actually lost a seat and party status.

•Last week, I said there should have been a major shake-up in politics in Manitoba. The Liberals should have dissolved a few years back. They have not formed government in 60 years and I think have only been official opposition once in that time. The NDP needs to kick out their screwy, mandated union involvement. The unions should free their people to vote as they see fit, rather than bullying them all the time to vote NDP. The NDP are faltering in a lot of places across Canada. Quite frankly, in Manitoba, the sooner we get to a Conservative party and a Green party, the better off we will be. The current NDP, Liberal and Green parties can’t really be taken seriously as they now stand, but a re-alignment as a young, modernized, union-free party, Green might bring some good policies to the public debate.

Now for some not so obvious points

•In the past few years, several MLAs have been accused of wrong doing, mostly of a sexual harassment nature. The allegations range from hearsay to much more serious allegations. Wab Kinew was elected leader under a cloud of accusations and arguably, the accusations against Kinew were the most serious. In spite of the accusations, he has been elected twice as MLA. Mohinder Saran, an NDP MLA also faced accusations, but he wasn’t allowed to run again, as he was booted from the NDP caucus. PC MLA Cliff Graydon was also accused, booted from caucus, and ran as an independent. He lost. PC MLA Rick Wowchuk was accused, but was allowed to run again and won with about 65 per cent of the vote. PC MLA Nic Curry was accused, but didn’t run again. Perhaps he was pressured out, perhaps not. There is a wide range in the application of the rules here. I submit that unless there are criminal charges laid and an MLA is found guilty, the people should make the decision, not the party. The voters decided in favour of Kinew and Wowchuk. They decided against Graydon. It’s a fairly simple process.

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer chair of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.