Thursday 12 November 2009

Opportunity for Selinger (and soup for me)

It would be easy to write off Selinger's leadership of the NDP as "more of the same". I know because I've done it. It was very easy. Took almost no effort at all. However, today I am in a good mood (see what a warm sunny weekend can do?) so I am going to give Selinger a chance, and some free advice:

The Manitoba PCs are weak, but the retirement of Gary Doer has opened a door for them and given them new hope. Still, the PCs need to differentiate themselves from the NDP and make an impression with the people of the province. If the average Manitoban has any impression at all, it's a vague notion that the PCs fancy themselves as being more fiscally responsible and pro-business than the NDP. There's that, but the unfortunate "bring back the Jets" campaign blunder has also put a big sticky "Gimmick" label on them. If they are to make a comeback, they really need to get back to basics, expose the economic, social and environmental ineptitude of the NDP, and propose real conservative policies to address those areas.

Selinger has an opportunity to simultaneously step out of Doer's shadow and put a bullet to the brain of the PCs by beating them to the punch. Suppose, if you will, that Selinger decides to reign in government spending, reopen the debate on the routing of Bipole III, cut corporate taxes, over-haul the administration of our health care system and index personal tax brackets. What would the PCs have left? Selinger could define himself as a pragmatic and responsible leader, leaving Hugh McFadyen with nothing but more cheesy gimmicks to win over voters.

Mayor Sam recently suggested that Selinger is open to re-evaluating the province's requirement that the city spend $350 million on nitrogen removal in their new sewage treatment plant -- a policy that, like Bipole III, actually wastes money while further damaging the environment. "He definitely has an open mind" says Sam. That's good news, if it's true. Perhaps he is willing to take a fresh look at all of the government's policies. Is it true though, or is he just faking it? Is he actually feigning open-mindedness, while secretly plotting new ways to spend money, destroy the environment, drive away private investment and sacrifice health care delivery for bloated health care bureaucracy?

I hope that Selinger really does have an open mind. An open mind and fresh perspective are mandatory if we hope to achieve anything close to our potential here in Manitoba. However, I feel that I am asking a leopard to turn himself into a zebra. Selinger is not a conservative. If he were, he'd be in the PC party, not the NDP party. Even still, many of the sort-comings of the previous administration were a result of laziness or political expediency rather than flawed ideology. Even as a moderate progressive, Premier Selinger could make a huge difference, should he choose to be a real leader instead of a Doer clone (without the grin), while at the same time making it all the more difficult for Hughy and the PCs to gain traction with voters.

Will it happen? I don't know. I'm not optimistic, but I'll give him a chance ...

bonus post: Siloam Mission gave me soup

I have given money to Siloam Mission because I am fortunate to have more than I need to get by. Imagine my surprise this afternoon to discover that Siloam Mission sent me soup!

It was a little foil packet of soup along with a letter asking me to sign the packet and mail it back along with a donation so they can feed it to their patrons. This is a silly idea. If you just bought the soup in bulk instead of individual foil packets, you could save enough money to buy a bunch of food right there. Plus, I looked at the ingredients and found this as the top three: maltodextrin, salt and flavor. High in sodium, low in energy and vitamins. This is not good food for a starving person.

Plus, I hate gimmicks, so I refuse to play their little "game" this time. I am sipping on the soup as I write this post, and I am disappointed but not surprised to inform you that it tastes like tin.


Anonymous said...

He may not need do anything to win the next election. But, if he did a few things you mentioned, he would put Hugh in the backseat.

As far as being can rest assured, the last 6 years of NDP spending lined a few if not all "PC" bidness.

I would have to say, without the rampant government spending, there would be almost no construction in the City.

Hugh's got a big problem. The scandals are ignored, business got fat and is well fed. Unions are strong and happy with government imposed increases. Majority of public has no taste for change. There is no outrage regardless of Chomiak the WhRA, H1N1.....all is good in the mighty dingy called Manitobah

Seems to me, everyone likes the NDP and selinger can only make one mistake on his path to reelection, change Doer's formula.

unclebob said...

I think the possibility of developing some lasting imprint specific to Selinger as a person, different than as a party caretaker will eventually surface and I hope it does.

The fastest way to do that would be to set the tone by changing something that was previously decided and your suggestions make sense.

However, I do think that he will not be that bold until he consolidates sufficient personal power internally.

Give it about six months and if he is not seriously undertaking a move by then I will be disappointed and you can probably put the tick mark beside caretaker rather than leader.

cherenkov said...

"selinger can only make one mistake on his path to reelection, change Doer's formula." This may be true. It is the safe path anyhow, but it does leave room for the Tories to make a move. I think part of the reason that the scandals didn't stick is because of Doer's charisma. Selinger does not have that to carry him.

@ Bob ... agree .. it will take some time, but the staff here at Anybody Want A Peanut may not be able to wait 6 months. They are notoriously impatient.

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