He may have tried to tell CBC it wasn’t really exactly what the Winnipeg Free Press reported, but St. Norbert MLA Dave Gaudreau definitely was in a panic when he confronted Premier Greg Selinger on Wednesday.
Gaudreau appears very much justified for being in a panic about the election prospects of the NDP government.
The Free Press said a source told them Gaudreau said: ,”‘I’m sorry to say it, Greg, but people hate you. They like me. And I try to tell them they’re not voting for you. They’re voting for me. But it’s not working.’”
Gaudreau might be in denial that voters don’t like him either because it’s typically Canadian to be nice to someone at your doorstep when telling half the truth will get the message across.
Whatever. The result was, he engaged in a centuries old political gambit derived from a 2500 year old Aesop’s fable:
The fable concerns a group of mice who debate plans to nullify the threat of a marauding cat. One of them proposes placing a bell around its neck, so that they are warned of its approach. The plan is applauded by the others, until one mouse asks who will volunteer to place the bell on the cat. All of them make excuses
… In 1482, at a meeting of nobles who wanted to depose and hang James III‘s favourite, Robert Cochrane, Lord Gray remarked, Tis well said, but wha daur bell the cat? The challenge was accepted and successfully accomplished by the Earl of Angus. In recognition of this, he was always known afterwards as Archie Bell-the-cat
Gaudreau tried to bell the cat by stating the obvious – but Greg Selinger is remarkably tone-deaf. He blames the public for not liking him. His ego has resulted in him driving the Orange bus off the cliff.
Although Gaudreau was seemingly silent on the real reason ‘he was not feeling well’ and missed Question Period that day, the Free Press explained why:
“An angry government house leader, Dave Chomiak (Kildonan), immediately jumped in, taking Gaudreau to task. Using salty language, Chomiak said he had heard enough sniping in caucus, and Gaudreau’s outburst was not helpful… (Gaudreau) became angry at Chomiak’s attempt to silence him. He said caucus should be a place where members can speak the truth. If they can’t, he said, “then F— it, I’m out of here.” And off he went.”
As for Dan Lett’s column, his headline started out pretty definitive:
“Provincial NDP out of time to fix fatal flaw”. He then stated: “It’s hardly a stretch to say what Gaudreau is experiencing now is pure, unadulterated panic.”
Like the CBC story, Lett somehow left out any mention of Chomiak pulling his attack dog routine on Gaudreau in front of everyone. By the end of his analysis he hedged, if not backed away from, his original premise:
“the NDP has likely run out of time to fix this fatal flaw in its re-election bid”, concluding “while it might not yet be time to panic, it’s getting perilously close”.
“Likely”? “Not yet be time to panic”? I’m confused — Maybe Dan Lett is just being like the people politely telling Gaudreau at the door, oh I like you but I can’t vote for your leader. But the truth is, people have been pushed too far and hate the NDP; when Greg Selinger says on TV he wants to give us “a little more money” , well, the voters all know, he – THEY – shouldn’t have taken it from us in the first place. When Gaudreau stormed out, Selinger supposedly said, “That was unfortunate”. Tone deaf.
Negative ads about the other parties won’t overcome a negative record of the party in power, which is the real problem facing sitting NDP MLA’s like Gaudreau and new standard-bearers like Wab Kinew. It’s their record to own too.