Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Greg Selinger - Return of the King
I can't be the only one confused about the NDP leadership convention. In my mind an actual leadership race should take place only when the position is open or being held by an interim leader not running or campaigning for any party. It's simply really. Anything else is an unfair advantage.
It is shocking that any challengers agreed to the terms that Greg Selinger and his supporters placed on the leadership race. The wearing of two hats in the leadership race of premier and leadership candidate continued the confusion and cemented the advantage of the man who seemed to have all the cards in the game.
It gets worse though. The unique aspects of select delegates for unions meant that slots would be reserved for people the union chose to fill them. Once again the strongest advantage lay with the man who remained as active premier of the province.
In the end, two candidates emerged to run for the leadership despite everything being gamed against them. Steve Ashton possibly thought he could simply overwhelm the odds against him by selling even more memberships and having a few unions support him. It would simply not be enough against even larger Winnipeg unions. Theresa Oswald entered the race thinking that there was possibly enough opposition that would congregate around her to win the leadership if it came down to two people.
The raw anger at the dissidents was a defining characteristic of Selinger's support. The feeling was that the outspoken MLAs were damaging the brand and that their tactics were odious and against democratic principles. The truth obviously was and is a little more fuzzy.
When Sunday was all said and done, Greg Selinger was affirmed as leader and Premier by the thinnest of margins. The purge began the very next day as staffers were let go. The outcomes for the six MLAs outside caucus remains undecided. But here is one fact: If all the MLAs resign immediately, we could be having an election right now.
The NDP would probably like nothing better than to hide for the next year and have people forget these last weeks but that is just not in the cards. A budget is required and work is required across a spectrum of ministries. And somehow the party has to come together.
Nothing is impossible but the NDP party did not come of the leadership race unified and motivated to fight an election.
It is often said governments defeat themselves. If this is not an example of that, I don't know what is.