Right in the centre - It shouldn’t be that tough


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner

This week, there has been many things happening that will affect our lives. People in government make decisions and those decisions affect our daily lives. Here’s a few items that have come down that affect us both directly and indirectly.

• Premier Brian Pallister resigned as Manitoba’s premier and Kelvin Goertzen was named Premier of Manitoba. Goertzen is likely the smartest parliamentarian in Manitoba. He will guide the government ably through the next few weeks while the PC Manitoba party selects a new leader. Goertzen will step down as premier as soon as a new leader is elected and sworn in as premier. If the new leader already has a seat in the Manitoba legislature, then they will be sworn in immediately and appoint a new cabinet. If the new leader doesn’t have a seat, they will have to run in a by-election and if they win, they will be sworn in as premier after the by-election and appoint a new cabinet.

As we go to print this week, there are three candidates for PC Manitoba leader, including MLA Heather Stefanson, MLA Shannon Martin and former member of parliament, Shelly Glover. As the leadership election unfolds, there is a definite line in the sand between those who think the leader has to come from within caucus and those who think a change is needed and anyone in caucus is tainted goods as they should have stood up to Brian Pallister when it was felt he was too bossy and too outspoken.

Feeling Pallister was too bossy and too outspoken is matter of sharply debated argument. Pallister was exactly what the party needed at the time he was acclaimed. The party had been in opposition for 15 years, wasn’t all that flush with cash and was very disorganized. I know, as I was on the provincial board and the level of management and financing of party affairs prior to Pallister was pretty bad. God knows I tried, but you have to remember in political parties, us poor country folks aren’t really smart enough to run important things like political parties.

In this leadership race, they have set down a couple of rules that work against any outsider coming into the fray. There is a $25,000 deposit, but a candidate gets that back if they attain five per cent of the vote. The bigger roadblock is that the candidate and their team have to sign up 1,000 new or renewed memberships to get on the ballot. That’s a lot of memberships to sell and the time frame is tight. I believe it’s from Aug. 23 to Sept. 15. At the outset, the odds are weighted in favour of a sitting MLA and there have been suggestions that the race rules were purposefully fixed to favour Heather Stefanson.

• On the federal election front, it has been stated that about the only person who wanted an election, over two years early by the way, was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He said he needed a new mandate. Two weeks ago I said, “Trudeau needs an election to satisfy his needs. If he wins a majority, he will resign soon and go on to something that pays better and is less work. This prime minister is allergic to actual work, by the way. Maybe he will get on at the UN or some corporate boards, whatever. If he gets a minority, same story, he will move on. If he loses, he will move on.”

Trudeau’s excitement over an early election has been tempered by other circumstances. I don’t think he realized how upsetting it is to have an early election. Or how upsetting it is to have hundreds, if not thousands of Canadians and former Canadian army support workers trapped in war-torn Afghanistan. Trudeau looked pretty dumb trying to announce the election while some Canadians’ and Canadian supporters’ lives were at risk in a country that really doesn’t like us that well and whose new regime actually hates us.

Add to all this turmoil the fact that government rules on COVID-19 are all over the map and it makes for a very angry electorate. Just think of some of the stupid things that have been said surrounding C-19. Masks protect others, but not yourself. That’s nonsense. If a mask works, they protect both. Lockdowns will be for two weeks to flatten the curve. Well after 20 months and counting, we all know how well that worked out. Then there was that Dr. Tam advice to wear a mask if you were having sex with someone you don’t know. Really? If you are stupid enough to have casual sex, then I am not sure we want you in the gene pool anyway. The most galling one that is causing a lot of anger and frustration is that we were told if we reached 75 or 80 per cent vaccination rate, we could get back to normal. Manitobans reached that and we are far from normal yet.

Governing is tough, I get that, but politicians and civil servants make it a lot tougher than it has to be.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.