Thursday, September 12, 2019

Pallister Wins Second Term; How PC Numbers Have Changed Since 2011

With the return of Premier Brian Pallister to the helm of the province, the progressive left in its various forms fell far short of their hopes on election night in Manitoba, and a realignment is inevitable. 
Since 2011, the Progressive Conservatives have only increased its share of the popular vote by 3.36% to 47.07%, but has distributed votes to almost double the seats held, from 19 to 36. 
The NDP, which ruled the roost that year with 46.16% and 37 seats, have fallen to 31.38 percent of voter support, their seats cut by more than half to 18. Trying to halve that 15 point gap is the next step up the ladder. 
Former Premier Gary Filmon tells about the one that got away
As long as Wab Kinew can only attract 23% or so of voters outside Winnipeg, the NDP will never regain the seat of power. And by 2024, the term "FILMON" will be long put to rest, once and for all, as a dogwhistle to attack conservatives. 

While the Winnipeg Free Press framed the Kinew speech as "Despite election defeat, NDP does victory lap", the victory was over the other left wing opposition parties. The Tories were barely dented by Kinew, with none of the Winnipeg seats grabbed from the PC's qualifying as a total surprise. 

It was no secret backbencher Blair Yakimoski was in a tough fight in Transcona to retain, and in swing seat St. Vital, Jamie Moses was a persisent presence in the riding and decisively avenged his 2016 loss to Colleen Mayer. 

In my view, redistribution made St. James a tough but expected lost seat for the PC's.  If anything, the NDP failure to win the newly created McPhillips constituency in the north end of the city, where the Seven Oaks Hospital is located, was more surprising, as PC MLA Shannon Martin parachuted in and eeked out a return to the Legislature.

The prospects for the other two opposition parties dimmed greatly despite earlier polling which demonstrated the very definition of "parking their vote". After dislodging the volatile Rana Bokhari as Liberal leader, Dougald Lamont didn't move the dial beyond a .08% increase in electoral support in a disappointing result. He, Dr. Jon Gerrard in River Heights, and Cindy Lamoureaux (relocated to Tyndal Park), return to Broadway but the Libs fell short of official Party status.
Premier Pallister assured Audrey Gordon her
slim margin of victory in Southdale didn't bother him
Lamont waffled to the left with scads of climate change pronouncements trying to stem leakage to the Green Party, and made spending promises that even made socialists blush. In the process attracted only 5005 more votes and failed to hold a 4th seat and retain party status. 
The scant economic policy didn't chip into Tory support, and the ground game simply didn't materialize. I suspect the Trudeau government's scandals made even considering a checkmark beside a candidate labeled Liberal a no-go for more than a few voters. 

As for the Manitoba Green Party, support for leader James Beddome in Fort Rouge was tripled by Kinew, and the Party failed to close a 392 vote gap in Wolseley and saw it grow to 917, and out of reach, for David Nickarz. The Green wave is D-O-A here, and in his speech Kinew already promoted that progressive left is spelled N-D-P in this province. It's too bad because voters need more candidates with more new ideas, not less.


Premier Pallister was working the room sharing the thrill of victory around 11 PM and when he noticed me, laughingly remarking how after all these years (we first met in 1993) "we're getting better with age!" 

"Mazel Tov! Hey, I want to get a 30 minute interview with you sometime." Immediately I got the infamous Pallister steely glare. "No." I figured he was joking so I said, "OK, 20 minutes then!"
"No. You, and Bartley Kives," he said. 
Instantly he burst out laughing at the look on my face, reached down, grabbed and shook my hand some more and said "AWWWW I'm just joshing with you, of course we can!"
He conceded after the win that the biggest take-away is that his government needs to do a better job of listening, and I will hold them to that. There are a number of issues that I covered during the election that may not matter to MSM, but do to my audience.

I would ask Premier Pallister about construction contract corruption strangling Manitoba-based trades, and why accountability for the engineering profession has deteriorated under the revised Act to the point they act like a protection racket. And more:

Will he curtail the WRHA continuing to pump out 2 million "harm reduction" needles for meth addicts with no responsibility to deal with the impact of discarded used rigs in the community? What about the meth detox unit proposal of Morberg House that has so much support from politicians of all stripes, including two members of his own caucus?

Will loopholes in the candidate disclosure law (ie Garnishment Orders, and by the way the list is up to 4 NDP'ers now) be closed? 

* And not that it was an election issue, but the antique City of Winnipeg Act is a problem every week at City Hall - if there's changes to come, your voice needs to be heard.

Those are on the kitchen table, so to speak, of my audience.
I'm pitching for your help again: my donor campaign had some good spurts of support but waned towards the end of the campaign. 

If you readers think I have contributed to overall coverage of the 2019 Manitoba election and want me to do more of the same with the Federal Election kicking off, your help to keep the lights and internet on, cover gas and transportation costs. Some wiggle room for adding and upgrading equipment are going to be needed.

My goal is to raise another $1000 - and every donation of $100 or more gets a copy of RETROPEG, a veritable time capsule of black and white photos of the streets and scenes of Winnipeg in the 70's. It's a rare, beautiful book and I have yours.

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