On Election Night it took only about 15 minutes for the calls and texts to begin.
The collapse of the NDP vote in the east was surely headed this way, I was told, and this would further dampen the prospects for a successful provincial re-election in April, and what did I think?
“Never mind in April”, I said, “how bad is going to get for the NDP tonight?”.
The only source for how deep the collapse in Winnipeg reached, came from a Twitter post that roughly estimated (the rough part being allowances and estimates for riding boundary changes) that the NDP vote in Winnipeg fell from 78,413 in 2011 to 50,082.
The 36% drop was part Liberal tide rising of course, but also voters making clear the NDP brand in Winnipeg is toast with Greg Selinger as leader, and his cozying up to Justin Trudeau the next day wasn’t about to make voters forgive and forget his own record.
But as I’ve written, Selinger’s “laser-like focus” on what was best for him and his incompetent supporters like Kerri Irvin-Ross has given us a good sense of what he is all about. Him telling the media ‘we have to be the change people want’ just seemed insulting, because the NDP party in Manitoba had a chance to change already – and didn’t.
(I haven’t really gotten a good sense of what the provincial Liberal leader is about and I’m not the only one, so what sort of change she offers I’ll have to contemplate posting about later).
Which leads to the big question raised on Monday night- who’s next ?
One text in particular was from a person who had an Erin Selby sign on her lawn, so her leanings were no secret and she saw a silver lining.
“Oh, it will be Theresa”, I was told confidently. (Becoming leader by means of another political convention or by caucus appointment, I should have asked.)
After asking around for a few days I am skeptical that families will accept Theresa Oswald as “change”, even if she is portrayed as the leader of the Rebel 5 who really, really wanted it.
It wasn’t unnoticed that she has not declared her intentions about running again in Seine River, and when I mentioned that the reply was, well of course not, she wanted to see how well they did on Monday.
So, essentially, provincial politics comes across as a reluctant career choice for Teresa Oswald, if what I was told is true.
Which puts her in the same ballpark for potential voters as star candidate Erin Selby, another “rebel” of I admit far less poise and accomplishment as Oswald, but whose personal political cachet was so unattractive she couldn’t even get the support of an NDP councilor in the riding and finished with 5169, or 10.6%, of the vote.
Repeated low standing in national comparisons of wait times – at sky-high costs – was Oswald’s legacy as Health Minister and she continues to wear it.
And Brian Sinclair being ignored to death at HSC, as well as every other chaotic experience people endured at Emergency Rooms in the city. In rural Manitoba closures became the norm and she never solved it and neither did Selby or their successor Sharon Blady.
Any success as Jobs and the Economy Minister was bought in part by the PST expansion to everything the government could think of clawing a piece of — and then there’s the 14% rate increase Oswald claims she didn’t like but went along with anyways. Easy for her, not so easy for people with low or fixed incomes, but she didn’t care.
Or she did but didn’t tell anyone for awhile.
As for her political acumen, she relied on a promise for second ballot support from the Firefighters operative Alex Forrest, which shows how trustworthy he is and how smart she is. He’s a whole ‘nother story.
My sister-in-law works in the medical field and the comments by Oswald about the disclosure that brown envelopes were being slipped to WRHA officials (this was about 8 years ago) really got her upset. The specific details I’ll have to ask her for. The point is, that isn’t the only person who worked under Oswald’s tenure in the health care field and have been unimpressed.
Voters would like a choice in April but Selinger is not about to change and Theresa Oswald isn’t real change or smart change either.
Who in or out of the NDP caucus might be sellable as “change”, I have to think about.