Thursday, December 31, 2009

Yellow Snow Public Service Announcement

Around this time of year we always see an increase in stabbings at all night drinking parties. Since New Year’s eve is one of the biggest drinking days of the year I would recommend to all those thinking of hosting an all night drinking party to hide all knives in the house. If you are hosting a dinner party, followed by an all night drinking party, you may want to consider using plastic utensils which aren’t as classy but generally are not known to cause fatal injuries.

And for those of you who are getting stabbed at all night drinking parties, you may want to reconsider who you hang out with.

Have a safe and happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The shelves aren't fully stocked at the Bay, the store must be closing

According to CBC, "small Christmas crowds" and shelves that aren't fully stocked are prompting concerns about the Bay downtown’s future. And does the CBC have any new factual information to back up a) that the crowds are smaller than usual or b) that the Bay is any closer to closing. Absolutely not, unless of course you count one shopper's opinion.

$$$

How big is the government surplus/deficit?

Depending on where you get your news, it could be a deficit of $512 million, $602 million, $592 million, almost $600 million or a surplus of $221 million.

So who has got it right?

Well, everyone. It just depends on how you count it.

$512 is the core operating deficit and counts the $110 draw from the rainy day fund + the $20 million for debt retirement

$602 is also the core operating deficit but does not take in account the draw and debt retirement

$592 is the summary deficit which includes the bottom line of core government operations and crown corporations

$221 is the positive balance based on the four-year rolling average of summary results under the new balanced budget legislation

Now, how is the average citizen supposed to understand all this?

Round 2, X-mas style

It’s round 2 in the media pissing match and the Free Press has not been in the giving mood this holiday season. They have once again opened up a can of worms going after the CBC, the Sun and CJOB for allegedly doing a little rip and read or cut and paste, depending on the medium.

Here are a few things to consider (for the 2 reporters who read this blog):

1) Just because you thought of an angle or believe you got an exclusive doesn’t mean other reporters haven’t also.

For example, Mr. McIntyre, (who ironically has a show on CJOB) if you “immediately recognized” the man as someone you had “written about several times previously”, what makes you think others haven’t.

Also, police, justice and government officials will often contact more than one outlet to “leak” a story. Just remember that your “sources” are likely blabbing all over town.

2) Everyone does it
The Free Press watches CTV, Global and CBC TV and listens to OB every day.
The Sun does the same.
OB, CTV, Global and CBC read the Free Press.

It’s called staying on top of things and there’s nothing wrong with it.

This doesn’t mean you can swipe a story but it does allow you to follow up and confirm the same facts.

3) If you want to keep your exclusive do not do the following:
Do not put your story on your web site.
Do not share it with the Canadian Press.
Do not include it with the editor’s bulletin.

And finally and most importantly remember that the public does not care who got it first.

On a lighter note. Mia’s blog got me thinking about how many politicians actually use the word “Christmas” in their cards. So far, I’ve seen one. And a merry Christmas to you too.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Today's breaking news

This just in, Manitoba Hydro officials have “conceded” that a western bipole route would leave Manitoba more vulnerable to power outages because of its proximity to Bipole I and II than an eastern route. This was “revealed” at a Hydro open house.

I’m not here to discuss the merit of east vs west, but the fact that a western route is more susceptible to weather related events than an eastern route is as newsworthy as Tiger’s latest exploits or as fresh and new as this former Olympian (who incidentally kinda looks like this Lord of the Rings character.

It was clearly stated in the Farlinger report of 2007. It has been discussed in the house ad nauseum (for an example see below) and it has been reported and discussed in numerous media stories and blogs etc.

So Bill, why are you pretending you’ve just uncovered some great hydro secret?

Hansard, December 19th, 2007
Mr. McFadyen: Hydro said two weeks ago and I quote, further a western routed bipole is generally closer to the existing bipoles 1 and 2 in northern Manitoba than an eastern routed line. So the chances of all three bipoles being interrupted from a weather-related event are greater with a western routing, end of quote.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dirty Harry and The Exorcist

Every once in a while, I come across a government news release that's actually fun to read and is not full of the usual rhetoric or bureaucratic mumbo jumbo.

Exhibit A: December 7, 2009.

MANITOBA CONTINUES RECORD-BREAKING POPULATION GROWTH, BEST SINCE
1971: BJORNSON

"The last time Manitoba's population grew by close to 17,000 people in 12 months, Shaft and Dirty Harry were playing at the box office, John Lennon's Imagine topped the Billboard charts and The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty was listed amongst the New York Times' bestselling novels," Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade Minister Peter Bjornson said today.

Exhibit B

If anyone can think of others, send them along...

Friday, December 4, 2009

A little common sense

So Rosann Wowchuk got caught breaking the Election Finances Act.

I understand the intent of this rule. The governing party shouldn't be allowed to influence by-elections through advertisements or announcements. Pretty simple.

But the law should not be enforced so stringently. Can someone explain to me how giving a small cheque in Brandon is going to influence voters in Elmwood and The Pas? A little common sense please.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pay attention Kevin

Liberal MLA Kevin Lamoureux has a reputation for getting up in the legislature on procedural points of order. They range from quirky and odd to downright absurd and generally have little or no merit.

Well, you can add another one to the list.

Today in the house, Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard asked a question to the Premier quoting a letter in his possession. The Premier, in answering the question also quotes the same letter.

Obviously not paying any attention to what is going on, Lamoureux gets up on a point of privilege and demands that the Premier table the letter that his colleague had just read from (and tabled in the house). Way to waste the time of the legislature Kevin. Maybe if the two were able to sit together none of this would of happened. Oh right, they tried that one already (scroll down to matter of privilege, seating arrangement).


Here's the exchange:

Point of Order

Mr. Speaker: The honourable member for Inkster, on a point of order.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster): Yes, on a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier, in his response to the second question, made direct quote from a letter and, in accordance with our rules, the Premier is required to table it unedited. He made reference that he would want to table it in the future, but it should be tabled unedited. Thank you.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order. The honourable First Minister, on the same point of order?

Mr. Selinger: The leader of the Liberal Party will share the letter he tabled with his colleague in the Liberal caucus. I'm just quoting from his letter.

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker: Our rules are very clear that when members are quoting from a personal–personal, signed letter, that letter must be tabled, but I've just been informed that what the honourable First Minister was quoting from was the letter that the honourable member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard) had just tabled. So I–the honourable member for Inkster does not have a point of order.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Kicking some tires

A former Tory staffer and a current one have been kicking some tires to see if there’s enough support for them to make a run at a future Tory nomination.

Davidson is Tory staffer turned PR guy, while Squires took the opposition route, starting off in journalism for the Sun and Free Press, briefly did some PR work here and then moved over to the other side. Both are looking at south Winnipeg ridings with Squires having her eyes set on this MLA.

Just sharing what I’ve heard…

Monday, November 23, 2009

That's how you do it



For those of you who read this post. Same day, different suit and great photo-op.

And the award for the worst dressed politician goes to...



Minister Kerri-Irvin Ross

Previous winners include, Ron Lemieux for his crazy ties and Ron Schuler for his suits that are a little too hip (and tight) for a forty-something year old politician.

The worst thing about this photo is that it appears on the government's own website.

Couldn't they find a better shot of the Minister at the announcement?

Or maybe they should of skipped on a photo altogether.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Post number 100; a little fun

“Tories 'represent renewal' says McFadyen”

This was the Free Press headline our teacher brought to school.

"Your assignment", the teacher said, "is to pretend you are journalists and research whether this headline is true or not".

"You have one hour".

"This is great", I proclaimed. “I’ve always wanted to be a journalist”.

"They always walk around like they know everything, so they must be important".

As I started thinking about the task at hand, something just didn’t seem right about that headline.

For one, this is not what I had heard my dad tell my mom about the Tories.

He always said that diversity for the Tories meant being of Scottish descent rather than of English heritage.

I didn’t really know what that meant.

"England and Scotland are far way places", I thought. "My dad must be wrong".

For one, McFadyen himself looks pretty young.

"If Hugh is saying that they are the party that best represents Manitoba’s diversity, it must be true", I concluded.

"Politicians wouldn't just make something up would they"?

But before I buy this line hook, line and sinker, I should probably do what the teacher told me and do my own research.

"Now I'm being like a real reporter", I thought.

And so, I sat down at the computer.

"If a party was going to renew itself", I told myself, "what better time than at election time".

So I googled the Tory election class of 2007.

First was Rick Borotsik and Blaine Peterson.

"They don’t look that old", I thought.

I proceeded to read that one had been a Mayor of Brandon, an MP and an MLA.

"WOW! That’s pretty impressive".

"But I imagine you can’t be that young, if you’ve had the time to do all of that", I realized.

The other was a farmer.

"Well that’s an honourable profession, working the fields and feeding the world".

The next two I looked up were Stu Briese and Ciff Graydon.

"They both kinda of look like my Grandpa", I said out loud, "but they seem really nice".

They were also farmers.

"There sure are a lot of farmers in this party", I said.

Then I randomly looked up other MLAs, since the class of 2007 seemed pretty small.

Len Derkach, Larry Maguire, Peter George Dyck.

"More old white men and more farmers".

"5 more minutes", the teacher yelled.

Great, just enough time to see if the NDP class of 2007 is as bland and boring as these bunch of Tories.

You can take the teacher out of the classroom but …

Health Minister Theresa Oswald, a former high school teacher, recently started asking reporters to raise their hands in order to ask questions at H1N1 press conferences.

While this isn’t in the same ballpark as Prime Minister Harper asking reporters to submit their names or even Premier McGuinty asking reporters to stand back 5 feet during scrums, it did seem a bit condescending to reporters.

After a bit of grumbling from the press gallery, the old system of shouting out questions was returned.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Shuffle, the morning after

Last Minister to do an announcement in her old portfolio and first Minister to do an announcement in her new portfolio.

McFadyen on Andrew Swan as Justice Minister:

“If you don’t have the fortitude to follow through on a leadership race, it’s hard to imagine that you're going to be effective standing up to gangs”, Hugh McFadyen, November 3, Global Winnipeg.

This is from the same man who didn't have the fortitude to follow through in an election against Reg Alcock and resigned his nomination in Winnipeg South.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

+/- Cabinet Style

+ for changing the name of the Department of Competitiveness Training and Trade because nobody could say the word “competitiveness” let alone spell it.

- for replacing it with another equally unpronounceable name “entrepreneurship” that even the government’s backgrounder spelled incorrectly.

- for not putting Sport with Healthy Living, an obvious fit.

+ for naming Eric Robinson co-Deputy Premier.

+ for elevating two female backbenchers to Cabinet for a grand total of eight.

- to one of them for spilling the beans early.

- to a few of the old guard for not doing the “honourable” thing. You know who you are.

- to Yellow Snow who only correctly predicted 50 % of new Cabinet personnel.

Winners
The new Ministers (Blaikie, Marcelino, Howard).

Andrew Swan, for the new high profile position.

Ashton, for picking up a fairly prominent position he once held, retaining Emergency Measures and getting additional duties (Lotteries).

Rosann Wowchuk, first female Manitoba Finance Minister.

Losers
Ron Lemieux, the Intergovernmental Affairs Department has been pretty much gutted. Emergency Measures gone, Neighborhoods Alive! gone. Not much left in the new “Local Government Department”.

Jim Rondeau, back to where he started.

Peter Bjornson, a slight demotion.

Shuffle part 1

MANITOBA EXECUTIVE COUNCIL IN ORDER OF PRECEDENCE

Greg Selinger
Premier of Manitoba
President of the executive council
Minister of federal-provincial relations
Minister responsible for francophone affairs

Steve Ashton
Minister of infrastructure and transportation
Minister responsible for emergency measures
Minister charged with the administration of the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation Act

Dave Chomiak
Minister of innovation, energy and mines
Minister charged with the administration of the Gaming Control Act

Rosann Wowchuk
Deputy premier
Minister of finance
Minister charged with the administration of the Manitoba Hydro Act
Minister responsible for the Civil Service Commission
Minister responsible for Crown corporations review and accountability
Minister responsible for the Manitoba Securities Commission

Gord Mackintosh
Minister of family services and consumer affairs
Minister charged with the administration of the Liquor Control Act
Minister charged with the administration of the Manitoba Residential Tenancies Act

Eric Robinson
Deputy premier
Minister of Aboriginal and northern affairs
Minister charged with the administration of the Community Economic Development Fund Act
Minister responsible for sport
Minister responsible for Aboriginal education
Minister responsible for the East Side Road Authority

Diane McGifford
Minister of advanced education and literacy
Minister responsible for international education

Ron Lemieux
Minister of local government

Stan Struthers
Minister of agriculture, food and rural initiatives

Nancy Allan
Minister of education

Jim Rondeau
Minister of healthy living, citizenship and youth
Minister responsible for seniors

Minister responsible for Healthy Child Manitoba
Minister responsible for mental health
Minister responsible for recreation

Peter Bjornson
Minister of entrepreurship, training and trade

Christine Melnick
Minister of water stewardship

Theresa Oswald
Minister of health

Kerri Irvin-Ross
Minister of housing and community development
Minister responsible for Neighborhoods Alive!
Minister responsible for Community Places
Minister responsible for co-operative development

Andrew Swan
Minister of justice and attorney general
Keeper of the Great Seal
Minister responsible for constitutional affairs

Jennifer Howard
Minister of labour and immigration
Minister charged with the administration of the Workers Compensation Act
Minister responsible for the status of women
Minister responsible for persons with disabilities

Flor Marcelino
Minister of culture, heritage and tourism
Minister responsible for multiculturalism

Bill Blaikie
Minister of conservation
Minister responsible for recycling and environmental education
Minister responsible for climate change
Minister responsible for green initiatives
Government house leader

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hold on there Mister MP

Government of Canada guidelines on who should be first in line for H1N1 pandemic flu vaccines.

The groups include:

• People with chronic medical conditions under the age of 65.
• Pregnant women.
• Children six months of age to under five years of age.
• People living in remote and isolated settings or communities.
• Health-care workers involved in pandemic response or who deliver essential health services.
• Household contacts and caregivers of individuals who are at high risk, and who cannot be immunized (such as infants under six months of age or people with weakened immune systems).

So why is MP Maloway already getting in line for a vaccine. From what I can tell, he doesn’t exactly fit the bill for the priority list, unless of course you consider Transcona to be an isolated community.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

He’s everywhere

I’ve been noticing that our new omnipresent Premier has been out and about announcing anything and everything imaginable.

While former Premier Doer would only announce major initiatives and let his Ministers take care of the more mundane news, there has been shift with the “new” regime.

Selinger has been front and centre at announcements over the last few weeks.

For example, today he committed $42 million for mines cleanup.

Yesterday he announced new child care spaces.

On Monday, he called for applications for youth leadership scholarships awards.

Last week he announced environmental improvements to Brandon’s landfill site, a new grant for St. Boniface College and improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway.

This makes sense. Get out there; solidify your image before the Tories have a chance to define you first ala Stephane Dion.

I imagine that this new communications strategy will only last for a few weeks or at least until Manitobans start realizing we have a new Premier.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cabinet Shuffle Prediction

With a Cabinet shuffle expected shortly, here are my predictions. The size of the shuffle will depend on whether some of the current Cabinet Ministers not running for re-election in 2011 decide to do a Tim Sale and leave Cabinet early to give younger MLAs time in a higher profile position before the next election.


IN:
Erin Selby, Minister of Healthy Living
She’s photogenic and in a swing seat, an obvious choice for Minister of photo-ops.

Bill Blaikie, Minister of Advanced Education
It won’t be a surprise when he’s added to Cabinet but not sure exactly in what capacity. I've slotted him in Advanced Education for now.

Jennifer Howard, Minister of Labour and Immigration
She’s capable and a good fit in this department.

Drew Caldwell, Minister of Competitiveness, Training and Trade
He’s back??



OUT:
Dianne McGifford, Minister of Advanced Education
She’s said to be on her way out. This might be the perfect time to exit gracefully.

Dave Chomiak, Minister of Justice
He has been a great Minister in some very difficult portfolios. He has also had to deal with some difficult personal issues. He has served the province well and deserves to enjoy life without all the stress of being a Cabinet Minister.


CHANGE OF SCENERY:
Rosann Wowchuk, Minister of Finance
First female Minister of Finance in Manitoba. I like the sound of it.

Eric Robinson, Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs
He’s served as Culture Minister but with the passing of Oscar Lathlin he’s the logical choice for the position.

Kerri Irvin-Ross, Minister of Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport
A slight promotion.

Andrew Swan, Minister of Justice
He’s been groomed for the position. It’s time.

Stan Struthers, Minister of Agriculture
Mainly because there are only a couple of rural members in the NDP to choose from.

Nancy Allan, Minister of Education
She’s been a capable Minister, a former school trustee and has also been the Legislative Assistant to the Minister of Education in the past.

Peter Bjornson, Minister of Conservation


STATUS QUO:
Gord Mackintosh, Minister of Human Misery (Family Services and Housing)

Ron Lemieux, Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation

Theresa Oswald, Minister of Health
She’s not going to be shuffled during a possible pandemic.

Christine Melnick, Minister of Water Stewardship

Jim Rondeau, Science, Technology, Energy and Mines

Steve Ashton, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
The Premier has promised to keep him in Cabinet and he has done a good job dealing with municipalities on flood issues.

Greg Selinger, Minister of French Language Services
Because no one else can do it.

I'd rather be watching basketball

I noticed that Premier Selinger, in his first CJOB Breakfast with the Premier completely skirted Hal’s question on whether he was a Blue Bomber fan. Instead, he answered by saying how close the game was. Oh well, we can’t all be football fans (although he is committed to the new stadium so don’t worry folks).

I have a sneaking suspicion that our former Premier also would rather have watched this team play than spend a night at CanadInns Stadium. In any event, he ended up being a pretty strong supporter of the Blue and Gold.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Naughty, Naughty blogger

I’ve been a bad blogger as I’ve neglected to blog the entire week leading up to the vote. But here are a few anecdotes and observations from the weekend’s activities. I’ve tried to stay away from news that other bloggers/media have already reported on.

-Depending on your sense of humour, EMCEE Eric Robinson’s off colour jokes at the Premier’s tribute event either kept you giggling like a 10 year old boy in sex ed. class or shifting uncomfortably in your seat. My favourite line that I can repeat on this blog (and I’m paraphrasing) “we shouldn’t be crying, after all, the guy’s not dead you know” (referring to Doer leaving for Washington).

-A second great line was from Alex Forrest who told a story about California firefighters who remarked that they would gladly trade two Arnold Schwarzeneggers for one Gary Doer.

-Emily Doer, Gary’s oldest daughter stole the show and gave us a humorous glimpse into the family’s personal life. It was easy to see that this apple did not fall far from the Doer tree. There was one spoiled ballot and I’m pretty sure it went to Emily Doer.

-Selinger is 58 and if successful in the 2011 election would likely serve only one term. In six years time, Ashton will be 59. Does anyone think we’ve seen the last of him? Selinger has also confirmed that Ashton will be in his Cabinet which is probably a good move for party unity and to keep an eye on him.

-“Opposition leaders in Manitoba are warning the grace period for incoming premier Greg Selinger could be a short one. "I think the honeymoon will be brief to non-existent," said Hugh McFadyen, leader of Manitoba's Progressive Conservative party” CBC.

No kidding. Only hours after Selinger was elected, the Tories put out a lame release attacking the new Premier.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The human side of politics

I know I’ve poked fun at him in earlier posts but I thought it was classy of Hugh to leave politics aside today as he offered a sincere speech to the outgoing Premier on his last day in the house. However, it was unfortunate that this person was not able to show the same kind of civility during his speech.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

By the numbers

Thanks Curtis for taking me out of my misery. I've been trying to do this unsuccessfully for some time.

Ashton has picked up 68 of the MYND delegates, while Selinger has picked up the remaining 40.

Current delegate breakdown:
Selinger 741
Ashton 624
Swan 72
Independent 55

Delegates left:
Labour 430
Super Delegates 214

Total delegates 2136
Delegates to win 1068

Selinger needs another 327 to win
Ashton needs another 444 to win

I have 32 Super Delegates (MPs/City Councillors/MLAs) already locked in to Selinger and 7 with Ashton.

To win, Selinger would need to pick up half of labour’s delegates and half of the remaining Super Delegates.

To win, Ashton would need slightly more than half of Labour’s delegates, half of the remaining Super Delegates, all of Swan’s delegates and all of the independent delegates.

Which scenario seems more likely?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Riding association voting over

Selinger took Russell and most of the delegates in the Lac du Bonnet riding yesterday. This wraps up the constituency voting part of the process.

This leaves 752 votes up for grab with 108 going tonight. Because MYND is not voting as a block but based on proportional representation it is not winner take all tonight. Because of this, we are likely going to see both Selinger and Ashton pick up a fair chunk of support.

-108 at MYND (on Tuesday)

-430 at Labour

-214 super delegates

What we can conclude based on the riding vote:

Selinger won a large majority of the ridings and got support in all regions of the province (except maybe the north). He has a lead of over 150 delegates. He was able to translate MLA support into delegate support with the exception of The Maples.

Swan won a few South Winnipeg ridings. Most of his support is expected to go to Selinger. Swan was able to translate MLA support into delegate support in about half of the ridings.

Ashton won fewer ridings but got support in the three largest ones (The Maples, The Pas and Thompson). His support was concentrated in the North, North East Winnipeg, South West Winnipeg and areas with large ethnic communities. Like Selinger, he was also able to translate MLA support into delegate support.

Riding Breakdown:

Selinger:
Assiniboia
Lord Roberts
River Heights
Fort Rouge
Selkirk
Kildonan
Gimli
Morris
Carman
St. Johns
St. James
Burrows
Fort Garry
St. Norbert
St. Boniface
Minto
Elmwood
Riel
Inkster
La Verendrye
Wolseley
Dauphin-Roblin
Wellington
Point Douglas
Kirkfield Park
Lac du Bonnet
Russell
Most of Westman

Swan or independent:
St. Vital
Southdale
Seine River
Concordia

Ashton:
Thompson
The Pas
Flin Flon
Interlake
Radisson
Transcona
River East
Rossmere
Tuxedo
Charleswood
Fort Whyte
The Maples

Monday, October 5, 2009

Yesterday's split

Selinger and Ashton have split yesterday's voting with Selinger winning most of the Westman delegates and Ashton winning Fort Whyte. The delegate tally depends on who you ask. I have Selinger at about 150 ahead (riding delegates only).

Delegates left: 771
-20 delegates at constituencies (Monday: Lac du Bonnet and Russell)

-107 at MYND (on Tuesday)

-430 at Labour

-214 super delegates

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Update: Ashton closes the gap

Ashton is like the bad guy in a scary movie that just won't die. He has taken 128 of 138 delegates in The Maples and reportedly taken the Interlake. However, after taking St. Norbert, Wellington and Point Douglas on Thursday, Selinger is still ahead.

On a different matter, Ashton and Wyatt need to stop running to the press every time one of their supporters don't get to vote because they didn't follow a rule. The process is clearly explained from the onset and are the same for both sides. The Maples meeting was well organized and went smoothly. Yes it was long but don't you think Selinger's supporters have families too or was it because they went for a smoke.

Tally:
Selinger: 644
Ashton: 518
Swan or undeclared: 111 (most of these are Selinger's)

Delegates left: 863
-112 delegates at constituencies (eight constituencies go Sunday, the biggest being Fort Whyte and 7 others in the Westman region)

-107 at MYND (on Tuesday)

-430 at Labour

-214 super delegates

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Half-way point

First, let’s start with an update. Selinger has taken 61 of the 71 delegates in Inkster. He also took Dauphin-Roblin, Kirkfield Park, La Verendrye and Wolseley.

And this brings us to the halfway point of the delegate selection process.

So far just over 1,000 delegates have been chosen at the constituency level (42 of 57 ridings).

This leaves about 1,000 delegates to go including:

- 326 delegates at the constituency level

UPDATE: About 250 left with Interlake, St. Norbert, Wellington and Point Douglas having gone Oct 1.

-107 at MYND

-430 at Labour

-214 super delegates

From what I can tell, Ashton has the support of about 35 % of the delegates chosen at the constituency level to date, while Selinger has the support of about 65 %.

To win, Ashton would need to sweep The Maples, Interlake and Fort Whyte (205) which is possible.

But he would also need to pick up at least half of MYND, half of the Labour delegates and half of the Super Delegates as well as a few more constituencies such as Brandon, St. Norbert, Wellington and Lac du Bonnet.

Selinger’s road to victory is much easier. He needs to pick up half of MYND/Labour/Super Delegates and to be safe a couple constituencies such as Brandon.

The Yellow Snow decision desk is not ready to call this one yet (since I’ve under estimated Ashton throughout this process) but it’s getting close.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Delegate Update 3.0

Selinger has swept the last two days of delegate selection. This includes Burrows, St. Boniface, Minto, Fort Garry and Riel. None of these are very surprising.

Tonight we have Inkster, La Verendrye, Portage La Prairie, Wolseley, Dauphin-Roblin and Kirkfield Park.

La Verendrye and Wolseley should be a lock for Selinger, as should Dauphin-Roblin and Kirkfield Park. Portage is anyone's guess, while Inkster is likely to go to Ashton.


Selinger:
Assiniboia
Concordia
Lord Roberts
River Heights
Fort Rouge
Selkirk
Kildonan
Gimli
Morris
Carman
St. Johns
St. James
St. Vital
Southdale
Seine River
Burrows
Fort Garry
St. Boniface
Minto
Riel
UPDATE: Inkster


Ashton:
Tuxedo
Charleswood
Radisson
Transcona
River East
Rossmere
Thompson
The Pas
Flin Flon


In response to the comment below.

On Monday, the Free Press had 353 for Ashton, 319 for Selinger and 105 for Swan or not affiliated.

Selinger will get the lion's share of Swan's support and not affiliated (Concordia). Add on top of that St. Boniface, Minto, Burrows, Fort Garry and Riel and you're looking at well over 500 and maybe over 600 for Selinger.

But this is so ball park that it's not really worth mentioning.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Swan out/Anybody but Ashton is on

The Free Press is reporting that Swan is dropping out of the race to become the next Premier.

This is partly due to Swan's poor showing to date but also because of the party establishment's fear of Ashton. Swan is a team player and realizes that an Ashton win could be devasting for the party. The anybody but Ashton campaign is on.

This development is a big boost to Selinger. You can bet that every MLA and Labour support that Swan had will now go over to Selinger as well as the St. Vital, Southdale and Seine River delegates. The vote splitting between Selinger and Swan is also over which should help Selinger in the coming days.

Ashton is still likely going to get large number of delegates in delegate rich Inkster and The Maples and could also pick up some more delegates in areas such as Fort Whyte. But with the entire party machine now behind Selinger, Ashton has taken a big hit.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Delegate Tally 2.0

As Dan Lett stated in his recent column, this is race that is very difficult to call, which partly explains my very suspect prediction record. I've also underestimated Ashton's popularity in Winnipeg.

But I'm not giving up yet. Fortunately, I still have a few obvious ridings to help me come back to .500. Prediction Thompson (Ashton), The Pas (split Ashton/Swan), Flin Flon (Ashton). I'm also going to predict that Swan River and Elmwood went to Selinger. The vote has already occurred but I don't know the result so you'll have to trust me that my prediction is not based on any prior knowledge.

The trend so far is Selinger holding on to the ridings where he has MLA support and picking off a few others, Ashton holding on to ridings where is has MLA support and picking off a few other Winnipeg ridings and Swan holding on to about half of the ridings where he has MLA support.

So far McGifford, Rondeau, Howard, Dewar, Korzeniowski, Jha, Reid, Allan, Oswald and Selby have translated their support for a candidate into delegate support (5 for Selinger, 2 for Ashton, 3 for Swan). Chomiak, Mackintosh and Bjornson were not able to hold serve for Swan.

Earlier predictions:
River Heights (Selinger) Correct
Fort Rouge (Selinger) Correct
Radisson (Selinger) Incorrect
Selkirk (Selinger) Correct
Transcona (Selinger) Mostly incorrect
Kildonan (Swan) Incorrect
Steinbach (Selinger) Unknown
Carman (Swan) Incorrect
Concordia (Selinger) Mostly correct
Gimli (Swan) Mostly incorrect
Lakeside (Selinger) Unknown
Morris (Swan)Incorrect
River East (Selinger) Mostly incorrect
Rossmere (Selinger) Incorrect
Seine River (Swan) Correct
Southdale (Selinger)Incorrect
Springfield (Selinger)Unknown
St. James (Selinger)Correct
St. Johns (Swan)Incorrect
St. Vital (Swan)Correct

Correct 7, Incorrect 10

Selinger:
Charleswood/Assiniboia/Tux 29
Lord Roberts 29
River Heights 21
Fort Rouge 24
Transcona, Selkirk, Kildonan 52
River East 1
Gimli 24
Morris
Carman
St. Johns
St. James
MLAs/City Councillors/MPs 19
Total: 260


Ashton:
Tuxedo 12
Charleswood
Radisson 31
Transcona 16
River East 18
Rossmere 41
Concordia 2
MLAs/City Councillors/MPs 7
Total: 130


Swan:
St. Vital
Southdale
Seine River
MLAs/City Councillors/MPs 12
Total: 67


Total delegates: 2000
Delegates needed for a first ballot win: 1000 delegates


MLAs/City Councillors/MPs based on this list + candidates voting for themselves

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Delegate Tally Update 1.5

Here's an incomplete account of yesterday's vote based on various sources.

Steinbach elected one delegate (winner ?)
Radisson elected 31 delegates (winner Ashton)
Transcona elected 18 delegates (Ashton 16, Selinger 2)
Kildonan (winner Selinger)
Selkirk (winner Selinger)

So far McGifford, Rondeau, Howard, Dewar, Jha and Reid have translated their support for a candidate into delegate support (4 for Selinger and 2 for Ashton). Chomiak was not able to hold serve for Swan.

Up next super Thursday, where 13 meetings are scheduled. This isn't as big a deal as some have made it out to be because most of these ridings have relatively few members. The big 3, in terms of membership (The Pas, The Maples and Inkster) are still coming up.

Prediction:
Carman Delegate Selection Meeting (Swan)
Concordia Delegate Selection Meeting (Selinger)
Gimli Delegate Selection Meeting (Swan)
Lakeside Delegate Selection Meeting (Selinger)
Morris Delegate Selection Meeting (Swan)
River East Delegate Selection Meeting (Selinger)
Rossmere Delegate Selection Meeting (Selinger)
Seine River Delegate Selection Meeting (Swan)
Southdale Delegate Selection Meeting (Selinger)
Springfield Delegate Selection Meeting (Selinger)
St. James Delegate Selection Meeting (Selinger)
St. Johns Delegate Selection Meeting (Swan)
St. Vital Delegate Selection Meeting (Swan)


Earlier predictions:
River Heights (Selinger) Correct
Fort Rouge (Selinger) Correct
Radisson (Selinger) Incorrect
Selkirk (Selinger) Correct
Transcona (Selinger) Mostly incorrect
Kildonan (Swan) Incorrect
Steinbach (Selinger) Unknown

The thing that bothers me about the process is that MYND members get to vote twice. They vote as part of MYND and as part of their respective constituencies. Same with labour. For this reason, I have no problem with trying to water down their vote a bit by not letting them vote as a block. One-member one-vote anyone.

Selinger:
Charleswood/Assiniboia/Tux 29
Lord Roberts 29
River Heights 21
Fort Rouge 24
Transcona 2
Selkirk
Kildonan
MLAs/City Councillors/MPs 19
Total: 124


Ashton:
Tuxedo 12
Charleswood
Radisson 31
Transcona 16
MLAs/City Councillors/MPs 7
Total: 66


Swan:
MLAs/City Councillors/MPs 12
Total: 12

Unknown: Steinbach 1 delegate


Total delegates: 2000
Delegates needed for a first ballot win: 1000 delegates


MLAs/City Councillors/MPs based on this list + candidates voting for themselves

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CBC bound

From working for City Councillor Gord Steeves, to CJOB, to City TV, this person is now moving on to the mother corp.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Delegate Support Tally: UPDATE 1

UPDATE: Unlike my earlier prediction (previous post), I hear that the River Heights/Fort Rouge meeting ended up being a race between Swan and Selinger rather than Selinger and Ashton (with Selinger taking both ridings).

So far the MLAs that have supported a leadership candidate (McGifford, Rondeau and Howard) have translated their endorsement into delegate support (all for Selinger).

I agree with Curtis that it would be nice for the NDP to post results but I can tell you that this is not going to happen. This is not a cut and dry process and I don't think that even the Party will have a firm grasp on the level of support for each candidate after the end of the week. Some delegates may get elected without stating a preference for a specific candidate while others may change their allegiance during the process.

As for reporters, the only outlet that has been covering some of the delegate process is the Free Press and they aren't even staying around until all the votes are counted. The numbers will get even less accurate when we hit Super Thursday. All we bloggers can do is give a ball park figure based on what we hear and vague media accounts (for example, I know that my Charleswood/Assiniboia/Tuxedo figure for Selinger is not completely accurate). So my little project may not last much longer than a few days.

With all that in mind, next up is Radisson, Selkirk, Transcona, Kildonan and Steinbach.

Prediction:
Radisson (Selinger, despite MLA Jha's support for Ashton)
Selkirk (Selinger, with the support of MLA Dewar)
Transcona (Selinger, despite MLA Reid's support for Ashton)
Kildonan (Swan will break into the action mainly because of the support of MLA Chomiak)
Steinbach (Selinger, but who really cares, maybe 3 delegates up for grabs)

Selinger:
Charleswood/Assiniboia/Tux 29
Lord Roberts 29
UPDATE: River Heights 21
UPDATE: Fort Rouge 24
MLAs/City Councillors/MPs 19
Total: 122

Magic number of delegates for a first ballot win: 878

Ashton:
Tuxedo 12
MLAs/City Councillors/MPs 7
Total: 18


Swan:
MLAs/City Councillors/MPs 12
Total: 12


Earlier predictions:
River Heights (Selinger)
Fort Rouge (Selinger)

Total delegates: 2000
Delegates needed for a first ballot win: 1000 delegates
Total delegates declared: 152
Delegates left to declare: 1848

MLAs/City Councillors/MPs based on this list + candidates voting for themselves

Tonight's prediction

First off, does anyone know the results of the Lord Roberts vote yesterday?

Now, let's get down to business.

I was pretty close in predicting MLA endorsements for the leadership candidates. Let’s see how I do with riding association voting.

On paper, River Heights and Fort Rouge should be a battle between Selinger and Swan but it will not be the case. Swan will be shut out again.

As was seen during Sunday’s vote in Charleswood, Tuxedo and Assiniboia (where Selinger picked up the support of 29 delegates and Ashton picked up the support of 12 Tuxedo delegates), the race will be between Selinger and Ashton.

What seems to be happening here is that the established members are supporting Selinger and to a lesser extend Swan, while many of the newly signed members are supporting Ashton. (NOTE: Swan will get the support of delegates but he will have to wait until at least Wednesday when Kildonan votes).

With the backing of Fort Rouge MLA Jennifer Howard and the make-up of the members(Curtis appropriately called them white wine socialists) Selinger should be able to take Fort Rouge fairly easily.

With no NDP MLA, River Heights could be a bit tricky to call. Like many other ridings, the membership in River Heights has more than doubled over the last three weeks. It is possible that Ashton has signed up enough new members to repeat Tuxedo but I’ll predict that Selinger will have enough support to take this one.

Interesting figures:
In August, the NDP had 5,500 members. They now have 14,000.
Liberals currently have 5,100 members.
Tories currently have 6,000 members. They had 21,000 during their leadership race in 2006.

Conclusion:
1. The NDP were completely unprepared and complacent with renewing memberships.

2. The Tories were able to sign up many more members during their leadership race. This is surprising since the NDP is choosing the next Premier and have a real race on their hands. I’m going to suggest that the short time frame for signing up members and the confusing delegate style system is the culprit. The NDP should seriously reconsider changing back to a one-member, one-vote system.

Friday, September 18, 2009

That's all I got this morning

Add this person to this post (she's also going to Shaw but she's staying put in Winnipeg) and add this person (supporting Selinger) to this post. Done for the day!

Ok, maybe not done just yet.

Frank Whitehead, MLA for The Pas has announced that he will be supporting Swan. With 100 delegates coming out of The Pas, this is a very important endorsement, or is it.

Endorsements have been a central theme so far in this leadership race (and on my blog). But I wonder, if the endorsements will translate into delegates at the riding association level.

I would be willing to wager that many riding associations will follow their MLAs' wishes in supporting a certain candidate. However, I see three exceptions. These are Transcona, Radisson and La Verendrye.

I just don’t think that Reid, Jha and Lemieux will be able to convince their members to support their candidate of choice. I believe that Selinger will take all three of these with the help of Blaikie in Transcona/Radisson and his own personal popularity in La Varendrye, which has a large francophone population.

Others such as Southdale, Seine River and Kirkfield Park may also be close and could go Selinger, while St. James could go Swan and Rupertsland may go Ashton.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Miny bloopers

Mike, check.

Podium, check.

Ribbon, check.

Sharp scissors for Health Minister Theresa Oswald…ah crap.

Small blooper from yesterday’s St. Boniface Hospital announcement.

It’s at 15:06 if you have the patience to wait for the commercial.

Another recent blooper was when Greg Selinger went to hug Eric Robinson at the leadership launch.

A bit awkward.

I was too lazy to find the video but I’m sure you could track it down.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Q and A

What do Chris Henderson (2002), Dan Vandal (2004) and Kaj Hasselriis (2006) all have in common?

They have all unsuccessfully run for Mayor and they are all supporting Greg Selinger for Premier, another unsuccessful mayoral candidate (1992).

On a different matter,

Ron Schuler, in question period yesterday, asked whether the province would ban kids from shaking hands after a sporting event because of fears over H1N1. If you don’t believe me, here’s the quote:

“And will the minister consider recommending that the customary handshakes before and after all games be suspended until further notice?”

Has it really come to this?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where did they go, part deux

Here’s round two of this earlier post. This one is a bit old but ex-Global reporter Mike Brown has left his job as CTV web writer to work for Conservative MP Vic Toews.

It has also been rumored that this Global tv personality will not become the future Sylvia as she will be leaving the weather girl business (at least in Winnipeg) for greener pastures (Shaw Calgary). She is leaving many sad, mostly male viewers I’m sure.

Interesting?

Not sure if this is of any interest at all but this excerpt from an Andrew Swan letter to the MYND saying that he will be “accepting public campaign financing next year” caught my eye. I guess he’s no Doer after all or is he?.

Dear members of MYND,

(...)

I am also committed to accepting public campaign financing next year. With these additional funds, Provincial Office will have access to additional funding which will help to build our resources and organizational strength. Youth is a priority for me because I have witnessed the energy that Young New Democrats bring to their events and our party, and I want to help the MYND to increase their activities throughout the province.

(...)

Please do not hesitate to contact me at my campaign office if you have any questions.
Sincerely,

Andrew Swan
Candidate for the Leadership of the Manitoba NDP

Monday, September 14, 2009

Some more totally useless information

Here's another entry in the same category as this useless one....

If Facebook is any indication of who is leading the race for Premier (which obviously it isn't) it's not going to be a close one.

Selinger has just passed Swan today in terms of Facebook supporters (233 vs 218).

But both are still behind Ashton at 471.

Odds and Ends

Ashton:
I’m not sure if musing about a first ballot win is the best strategy for Ashton. Ashton is seen as a bit of a bogeyman in some NDP circles and this might coalesce the party into an ABA campaign (Anyone but Ashton). If you need proof about how talk of a win (or majority) can backfire, you don't need to look much further than the Federal Conservatives.

And even if you sell more memberships, recent history has shown us that it does not necessarily translate into a win. Ask Ron Schuler (see bottom of story).

Wedge:
Andrew Swan via Dan Lett is trying to put a wedge between himself and Selinger on the issue of the HST. Unfortunately it’s not much of a wedge when the candidates' positions can hardly be differentiated.

Here are a couple of recent quotes from Selinger:

Winnipeg Free Press, September 14:
“He (Selinger) said under the current terms being offered by Ottawa, "the HST is dead."

Brandon Sun, September 11:
“At this stage I don’t think it would be wise to implement it right now ... I keep an open mind on it, but the business case for it today was not good.”

Endorsements:
This person has announced that she is supporting Selinger.
That's up to 14 MLAs for Selinger.

Friday, September 11, 2009

You make how much

This just came out yesterday and is always an interesting read. To find out how much your MLA is paid or if you're nosy and want to know what your friends or family make at the Province of Manitoba click here.

Who's backing who at the zoo, two

UPDATED

Here’s a new list of who’s backing who so far.

Some of these were hinted at in this post.

Andrew Swan
Nancy Allan, MLA St. Vital/Labour Minister
Theresa Oswald, MLA Seine River/Health Minister
Stan Struthers, MLA Dauphin-Roblin/Conservation Minister
Peter Bjornson, MLA Gimli/Education Minister
Ron Lemieux, MLA La Verendrye/Infrastructure Minister
Dave Chomiak, MLA Kildonan/Justice Minister
Gord Mackintosh, MLA St. Johns/Family Services Minister
Sharon Blady, MLA Kirkfield Park
Erin Selby, MLA Southdale
Frank Whitehead, MLA The Pas
Pat Martin, MP Winnipeg Centre
Darlene Dziewit, president, Manitoba Federation of Labour
Robert Ziegler, UFCW.
Mike Davidson, President, CUPE Local 500
Kevin Rebeck, CUPE Manitoba president

Total: 7 Ministers, 3 MLAs, 1 MP, 4 Labour, O City Councillors = 15

Steve Ashton
Bidhu Jha, MLA Radisson
Darryl Reid, MLA Transcona
Tom Nevakshonoff, MLA Interlake
Niki Ashton, MP Churchill
Jim Maloway, MP Elmwood-Transcona
Russ Wyatt, City Councillor Transcona
Alex Forrest, president, United Firefighters of Winnipeg

Total: 0 Ministers, 3 MLAs, 2 MP, 1 Labour, 1 City Councillor =7

Greg Selinger
Eric Robinson, MLA Rupertsland/Culture Minister
Rosann Wowchuk, MLA Swan River/Ag. Minister
Diane McGifford, MLA Lord Roberts/Advanced Ed. Minister
Kerri Irvin-Ross, MLA Fort Garry/Healthy Living Minister
Melnick, MLA Riel/Water Stewardship Minister
Jim Rondeau, MLA Assiniboia/STEM Minister
Rob Altemeyer, MLA Wolseley
Marilyn Brick, MLA St. Norbert
Greg Dewar, MLA Selkirk
Jennifer Howard, MLA Fort Rouge
Doug Martindale, MLA Burrows
Mohinder Saran, MLA The Maples
Flor Marcelino, MLA Wellington
Bonnie Korzeniowski, MLA St. James
Bill Blaikie, MLA Elmwood
Drew Caldwell, MLA Brandon East
UPDATE: Judy Wasylycia-Leis, MP Winnipeg North
Dan Vandal City Councillor for St. Boniface
Jenni Gerbasi, City Councillor Fort Rouge
Brandon and District Labour Council president Jan Chaboyer
Paul Moist, CUPE President

Total: 6 Ministers, 10 MLAs, 1 MPs, 2 Labour, 2 City Councillors =21

Here are the caucus members and city councillors that have not publicly endorsed anyone yet:

Gerard Jennissen, MLA Flin Flon
Erna Braun, MLA Rossmere
Harvey Smith, City Councillor Daniel McIntyre
Lillian Thomas, City Councillor Elmwood

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Big News

I hear that the Selinger campaign will be making an announcement tomorrow. Could it be on a big name joining the team? Maybe this person is someone that I hinted at in this post?

But I'm not saying just yet. You'll have to wait a bit longer.

I also hear that Bonnie Korzeniowski who attended all three launches has made up her mind on who she is supporting. Should be interesting. Find out more tomorrow.

All of this a day after the final figures for the 2008-09 fiscal year were released showing a net summary surplus (this includes all the operations of government including crowns) of $463 million and a size able increase in the rainy day fund. The surplus is much higher than the $316 million projected in the third quarter.

The numbers are quite strong especially when you consider the state of the world economy over this period. Compare this to pretty much any other province in Canada and Manitoba's finances start looking even better.

And I'm not saying that this current year won't be tough but first quarter projections never tell much of a story.

For example, in last year's first quarter, expenditures exceeded revenue by $119 million but the province came out pretty good in the end didn't they. The same story is repeated pretty much every first quarter.

So why is it even being reported? I dunno.

Anyway all of this to say that it's been a pretty good end of the week for the Selinger Team. Ok, enough of my cheer leading.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Who's backing who at the zoo

All the serious candidates have declared. To recap, here’s a list of who’s backing who so far.

Andrew Swan
Nancy Allan, MLA St. Vital/Labour Minister
Theresa Oswald, MLA Seine River/Health Minister
Stan Struthers, MLA Dauphin-Roblin/Conservation Minister
Sharon Blady, MLA Kirkfield Park
Erin Selby, MLA Southdale
Pat Martin, MP Winnipeg Centre

Steve Ashton
Bidhu Jha, MLA Radisson
Darryl Reid, MLA Transcona
Tom Nevakshonoff, MLA Interlake
Niki Ashton, MP Churchill

Greg Selinger
Eric Robinson, MLA Rupertsland/Culture Minister
Rosann Wowchuk, MLA Swan River/Ag. Minister
Diane McGifford, MLA Lord Roberts/Advanced Ed. Minister
Kerri Irvin-Ross, MLA Fort Garry/Healthy Living Minister
Rob Altemeyer, MLA Wolseley
Marilyn Brick, MLA St. Norbert
Greg Dewar, MLA Selkirk
Jennifer Howard, MLA Fort Rouge
Doug Martindale, MLA Burrows
Mohinder Saran, MLA The Maples
Added: Flor Marcelino, MLA Wellington

Here are the Cabinet Ministers, caucus members and MPs that have not publicly endorsed anyone yet and a prediction of who I think they will end up supporting.

Bill Blaikie –Selinger, MLA Elmwood
Gord Mackintosh –Swan, MLA St. Johns/Family Services Minister
Jim Rondeau –Selinger, MLA Assiniboia/STEM Minister
Peter Bjornson –Swan, MLA Gimli/Education Minister
Ron Lemieux –Swan, MLA La Verendrye/Infrastructure Minister
Christine Melnick –Selinger, MLA Riel/Water Stewardship Minister
Frank Whitehead -Selinger, MLA The Pas
Gerard Jennissen -Ashton, MLA Flin Flon
Jim Maloway -Ashton, MP Elmwood-Transcona
Drew Caldwell MOVED from no guess to likely Selinger, MLA Brandon East

And those that I can’t even give an educated guess.
Dave Chomiak –??, MLA Kildonan/Justice Minister
Erna Braun -??, MLA Rossmere
Bonnie Korzeniowki –who attended at least two (UPDATE: make that all three) of the conferences. ?? She has been quoted as saying that she will sleep on it another night.
Judy Wasylycia-Leis ??, MP Winnipeg North

UPDATE: Scott Smith (ex MLA Brandon West and currently working in Minister Swan's department) also attended both Swan's and Selinger's newsconferences.

UPDATE: I hear Dan Vandal City Councillor for St. Boniface was at Selinger's launch but this has not been confirmed.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tidbit

I hear Andrew Swan had to change his plans and give away his tickets to the big game.

The inevitable sacrifices of running for Premier or has he heard something and is getting a bit worried?

Friday, September 4, 2009

You can't vote twice

According to CJOB, St. James MLA Bonnie Korzeniowski is at the Steve Ashton news conference. If you recall, she was also seen at the Andrew Swan leadership kick-off event.

Others at the confenrence (so far): Bidhu Jha, MLA for Radisson.

Update: Darryl Reid is also there.

Fair enough (on Bonnie's reasoning for attending both events).

Didn't I just read that

Interesting CBC comments; looks like the Steve Ashton speaking points are making the rounds.


BrianL wrote:
"Steve Ashton represents a significant positive change from the policies of Doer and the like. And as far as politicians go, he is a good one by any standards - honest, experienced, without a hint of controversy, and if he managed to go from winning a squeaker in the early 80s to regularly over 75% these days, he's obviously doing something right. And in a fight with McFadyen, Ashton would make mincemeat out of him. I'm not an NDP member, but this has me thinking of taking out a card."

Tractor wrote:
"Ashton has a reputation as a straight talking, honest and hard-working MLA and Minister. He regularly pulls over three-quarters of the popular vote in his riding (which he took in a squeaker from the Conservative incumbent some time back in the 80s I think?). He has had 20+ years of experience with multiple ministerial portfolios and never a sniff of controversy. Even right-wing commentators in the Winnipeg papers have shown him grudging admiration... and oh yeah, wasn't he the guy who took the Golden Boy down and gave it a good clean and polish? :)

Would you vote for this guy? I would."

Kiss of death, Firefighter's support Ashton

Curtis has provided us with an interesting analysis on Ashton’s chances in the leadership race. But we will have to agree to disagree on this one. This generation of NDPers are disciples of the Gary Doer school of politics and if he has taught them anything during the last two decades is that they need to be pragmatic (read centrist) and pick someone who can appeal to the general public. Ashton will have his supporters, knows how to play the game and will get respectable results, but it won’t be enough.

As for the firefighter union’s record on picking winners. Ouch!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Now we have a race, well kinda

Steve Ashton is putting on his running shoes and making this a two man race. But the sprint to October 17th is over before it has even started, as Andrew Swan will run circles around him.

Don’t get me wrong, Ashton has his supporters and will bring some fresh new ideas. Unlike Swan, Ashton is not happy with the status quo and the current direction of the party. He’s feisty, quick on his feet and one of the best orators around. He may even sell more memberships than Swan.

But his brand of politics does not resonate with the public and will not win the NDP an election. For this reason he’s a non-starter according to most NDP members. This is not the federal NDP. The provincial wing is not content with being the conscience of the legislature.

This race is more in the category of a him vs him contest or him vs anyone else on the planet.

Only Greg Selinger will make this a true contest. A third candidate would also be good news for Ashton and provide him with some clout in a delegate style convention.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We've got one!!!

Andrew Swan is in. This is not a big surprise.

But check out the list of people who have come out in support of Swan.

Nancy Allan -Labour Minister
Stan Struthers -Conservation Minister
Theresa Oswald -Health Minister
Sharon Blady -MLA Kirkfield Park
Erin Selby -MLA Southdale
Bonnie Korzeniowski -MLA St. James

What is interesting about the last four on the list is that Greg Selinger helped them out during the last election by going door-to-door with them. I guess memories are short in politics.

Winnipeg, home of the hardcore

Another reason we will need a police helicopter.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Coming out of the woodwork

Greg Selinger briefly spoke to the media for the first time earlier today at the legislature. It is definitely starting to look like he will run. He had spent most of this week on the phone and it looks like he has the support needed to make a run at the leadership.

Persistent rumors at the legislature also indicate that Gord Mackintosh is seriously considering running.

Nancy Allan has also confirmed that she will not be running for the leadership.

Others will also be making their intentions known in the next day or two.

UPDATE: Bill Blaikie has also just confirmed he is not running.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Forget someone?

Bruce/Larry you forgot someone.

In Saturday’s Freep piece speculating on Doer’s replacement, Bruce and Larry didn’t even mention one of the obvious front-runners. They’ve completely left him out of this story.

No picture, no quote, nothing.

Friday, August 28, 2009

That sums it up

One Minister’s response when asked about his/her thoughts of a possible replacement to Doer.

“I’m too busy grieving to care”

Well played Harper

Harper's move: Poach the most popular Premier in NDP history.

Results:
1. Fill an important position with a very competent individual
2. Rip the heart and soul out of the Manitoba NDP
3. Give your team a shot in the next provincial election

=

Not a bad day’s work

Monday, August 24, 2009

Swan song

Here is Vic's last “Excuse me”.

I’m a bit surprised that he mentioned bloggers in his last address. Who knew that we were getting under his skin?

And Vic will be replaced by this guy, former Adler technical producer, rather than this guy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Note to self....

don't defame anyone on this blog.

Vic Grant is retiring

As of Sept 1, Vic Grant will no longer be news director at CJOB. Now this is not a big surprise as he's been talking of retirement for years. But it seems that this time it's for real. As for a replacement, I wonder what the Chorus executives in Toronto have in mind. Long time host Richard Cloutier??? Or maybe they will bring in some new blood from TO. I have to say I will actually miss his "Excuse Me" segment even though I hardly ever agreed with the guy.

In other news, CJOB is finally filling one of its two full-time reporter positions. They have been vacant since Jeff Keele left for Global and Colleen Bready took a job at City TV.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Minus two points for cheating on Manitoba Day

Here’s a fun little video from the Free Press. Even though the Freep calls it a tie, I’m giving Swan the victory on this one. Hugh clearly didn’t know Tom Burgess was the quarterback for the Bombers in 1990. You can tell he was getting a little help from his political aides.

Monday, May 4, 2009

"50 km/h when children are present"

Now that the issue of photo radar in construction zones “when workers are present” has been dealt with, I wonder if we can now take it one step further.

I would like the city to put signs up in school zones stating “50 km/h when children are present” and in every intersection stating “60 km/h when other cars are present”. If no construction workers, kids or cars are around, I’m plowing through at high speeds. Can I really tell if workers and kids are around until it's too late?...probably not but what's one or two kids when you can shave 30 seconds off your trip.

I’m not a fan of photo radar, but this debate is getting a bit silly.

And if I do get a ticket, it better be in both official languages.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A whole flood of trouble

Buying out some of these flooded homes may make sense instead of repeatedly paying to fix them up, but let’s not make the same mistake Filmon did and try to sell them off without any disclosure.

Whatever happened to this review anyways?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cabinet Shuffle

Now that the new MLAs have been sworn in, a Cabinet shuffle is in order.

Please note that these are complete guesses (in my defence, the Premier himself likely doesn’t know what he will do so how am I supposed to read his mind).

First, I don’t think the shuffle will occur during this present session. The Premier will wait until the summer to give Blaikie a bit of time to get adjusted to his new life before making any changes. It’s not unusual for the Premier to let a Cabinet posting stay vacant for a relatively long length of time. Andrew Swan became permanent Minister of Competitiveness, Training and Trade in February 2008, over 8 months after Scott Smith vacated the post due to his loss in the May 22, 2007 election.

Second, it won’t be a major change so don't expect Oswald or Selinger to get moved. Doer has stayed away from major shuffles and he isn't going to start now especially with the current economic situation. And if it aint broke, don't shuffle it.

Now for the guess work...

1. Current Culture Minister Eric Robinson will get his old gig back at Aboriginal and Northern Affairs. This is one is pretty straightforward. Mr. Whitehead is from all accounts quite capable but wouldn't be ready just yet for a Cabinet post.
2. Either Diane McGifford or Peter Bjornson will get moved to Culture, while Blaikie will get the position vacated.

Why? I don’t know, it’s just a hunch.

McGifford is due for a move and has had the Culture post before so it wouldn't be a big adjustement for her. She would just need to do some of her dirty work first.

But Advanced Education might be too junior a position for Blaikie which is why Education might also be a good fit.

Friday, April 3, 2009

How ironic

What?? Ticketmaster is bringing in technology to discourage scalping while at the same time lobbying to get rid of scalping legislation and may be involved in a scalping scheme of their own.

For some reason a certain Alanis Morissette song comes to mind.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

When nature calls

Story from the Canadian Press.

LONDON - The family photo must go on.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was an unexpected no-show this morning at the initial group picture of G20 leaders. So the whole routine - which actually included leaders from more than 20 countries - had to be restaged about an hour later.

Harper was slated to stand on the far right flank of the traditional summit picture, next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But as the leaders of the major industrialized and developing countries first convened, the Canadian prime minister failed to appear.

The British Broadcasting Corporation claimed Canada's prime minister was "in the loo," but a Harper spokesman insisted he was getting briefed by his officials on the draft G20 communique.

Regardless, officials made sure Harper was on hand for the reshoot.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My heart bleeds for you

I would also be pissed off if my gravy train was coming to an end. Ripping off poor immigrants can be quite lucrative.

Immigration recruiters are not needed. They offer very little in terms of services for immigrants. And if a business chooses to recruit overseas, they should pay the cost, just like they do when they are looking for domestic workers. Why should we treat immigrants any differently?

It’s also nice to see other provinces are slowly joining Manitoba’s efforts to deal with this issue.

UPDATE: Ontario has announced that they will in fact follow Manitoba's lead and introduce legislation.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Making inroads into yellow dog

Well nobody can accuse the NDP of being politically motivated with this move. New schools in Steinbach, Winkler and La Broquerie?? It is reassuring that decisions are being made based on need and not on politics. Let the whining begin in South-west Winnipeg.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

CBC cuts

CBC English services announces program, service changes

Don't worry everyone HNIC and the National are staying put. If you go down the list I can't really find one show that I will miss...and I'm a supporter of the CBC.

It's too bad that the Thompson office will close. This region is already all too often ignored by the media.

Lazy post-budget analysis

I bet you thought I was talking about Hugh. Nope. I'm going to take the easy way out and let the banks do the talking.

“A Rare Show of Balance
Manitoba’s FY2009/10 budget takes a balanced approach against a weakening economic backdrop…. Longer term, the Province is committed to keeping the bottom line in the black, with another small surplus projected in FY2010/11. Though the Province will tap its reserve fund for $110 min, Manitoba will be one of the select few to balance the books this coming fiscal year.

This budget also builds on the Province’s infrastructure spending program, with capital investment increasing to $1.6 bin. This reflects a $625 min boost, with a continued focus on transportation, social housing health care infrastructure.

Manitoba’s economy will continue to fare relatively well amid the downturn thanks to its diversified range of sectors, still-buoyant capital spending and strong population growth.”

BMO Capital Markets
March 25, 2009


“Manitoba’s 2009-10 Budget – Focused on a Steady Course
Despite the economic slowdown, Manitoba forecasts a small consolidated surplus of $48million for fiscal 2009-10 (FY10)….

Manitoba presents a carefully managed plan to further its longer-term policy objectives, aided by its diversified economy that is noted for its resilience. In FY10, the government will continue to pursue fiscal repair, enhance key services and trim the provincial tax burden, albeit at a sharply slower pace given the soft economy and the need for fiscal stimulus.

One noteworthy change will be dropping the small business corporate income tax rate to zero on December 1, 2010. In light of the financial market turmoil, efforts to provide financing for Manitoba businesses through loans, loan guarantees and venture capital are increased this year.

In the near-term, several factors offer Manitoba a fiscal cushion, including the four-year averaging period in its balanced budget legislation, a healthy balance in its Fiscal Stabilization Account and interest charges that now absorb just 6¢ of each revenue dollar.”

Scotiabank Group, Global Economic Research
Fiscal Pulse, March 25, 2009


“Manitoba will be rare among the provinces in staying in surplus in 2009/10, as its diversified economy sees a smaller hit from the global downturn, although capital spending will boost the debt/GDP ratio somewhat.

Manitoba will be rare among the provinces in planning to stay in surplus for 2009/10,despite facing a small 0.4% drop in revenues, largely owing to a 4.4% drop in income taxes.

A planned increase of $709 mn in the coming year would take net debt to 23.0% of GDP, an uptrend we have seen in all provincial budgets this year.

CIBC, Economics & Strategy
Provincial Budget Briefs, March 25, 2009


“The province’s economy outpaced the nation as a whole in 2008 with an estimated 2.2% real GDP growth and 6.3% nominal GDP growth.

Given the deterioration in the economy and the significant downward pressure on revenues, the Manitoba government could have taken the easy way out. Notably, it could have opted to run a deficit, as has become the norm across Canada and around the world in 2009, or it could have elected to postpone previously-announced tax cuts. However, the government chose not to take either of those paths…. Over the short term, the infrastructure spending and tax cuts will provide some much-needed stimulus to the economy. From a longer-term perspective, the province’s sound fiscal management – not to mention its steadily improving tax competitiveness – will stand it in particularly good stead.”

TD Bank Financial Group
TD Economics, The 2009 Manitoba Budget, March 25, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

By-election results

I’m going to claim victory on my by-election predictions. I got the winners right (easy) as well as the order of the second and third place finishers. I was right on the money on Blaikie’s popular vote at 54 % and was quite close in guessing the overall turnout (I was off by only 2 % in both cases 29 % vs 31 % in The Pas and 39 % vs 37 % in Elmwood).

The only thing I was off was the margin of victory for the NDP in The Pas. I guess the north hasn’t forgotten about these Tory pledges.

And what a weak quote by Hugh .

Now, budget time.

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Lies, damned lies and statistics"

Looks like Brodbeck has "slipped up" again.

“The problem with politicians and their hacks trying to spin, craft and fudge information about controversial issues in hopes of softening the political fallout is it usually comes back to blow up in their faces”, Tom Brodbeck Feb 6th.

Well said Tom. Looks like this logic should also apply to journalists/columnists.

Tom of course would know all about spin. Over the years, he has provided his readers with his own dose of number fudging, fact twisting and pretty much making things up in order to make the “facts” fit his point of view.

Fortunately BB has already documented a few cases which will save me the dreadful task of having to go back and re-read more of Broedbeck’s work to make my point.

My predictions

I’ve never done this so let’s see how close I get. I’m using the past few election results (general 2007, 2003 and recent by-elections) to base my predictions. I've done this mainly because I haven’t paid any attention to the local campaigns and also because local candidates only play a very small role in influencing the results anyway. I’ve stayed away from 1999 since I don’t think the results would be especially helpful.

ELMWOOD:

Things to consider:
-NDP's Jim Maloway received 65 % (2003) and 62 % (2007) of the vote.
-Tories finised second in both elections.
-Libs finished third in both elections.

-Doer is still well liked in Winnipeg
-The governing party’s popular vote tends to slip a bit in by-elections.
-Blaikie’s change from federal to provincial politics may have pissed off some folks.
-Blaikie is still very well regarded.
-This is a traditional NDP seat.

Winner -NDP 54 %
First loser –Tories 28 %
Second loser –Liberals 18 %

All things considered I don’t think Blaikie will hit 60 % but it will still be an easy win for the NDP. The Lib candidate seems to be working hard but I don’t think it will translate into much. The Lib brand is just too weak.


Turn out:
Things to consider:
-Turn out for the 2005 Fort Whyte by-election was 21 % lower than the 2007 general election. 59 vs 38 %.
-Turn out for the 2004 Minto by-election was 3 % lower than the 2007 general election. 50 vs 47 %.
-Turn out for the 2004 Turtle Mountain by-election was 7 % lower than the 2007 general election. 54 vs 47 %.

Elmwood has had a turn out of 47 % (2003) and 50 % (2007).

Final verdict on turnout: 39 %


THE PAS:

Things to consider:
-NDP has won the last two elections by landslides (69 % in 2007).
-Tories were second in 2007, while Libs placed second in 2003.
-Doer is still well liked in the north.
-The governing party’s popular vote tends to slip a bit in by-elections.
-NDP candidate seems to be quite strong but won't have the same kind of name recognition as Oscar Lathlin did.
-This is a traditonal NDP seat.

Winner-NDP 59 %
First loser-Tories 25 %
Second loser- Liberals 15 %


Turn out:
-Things to consider:
The Pas has had a turn out of 40 % (2003) and 37 % (2007)

Final verdict on turnout: 29 %

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Worst idea ever

I thought the CTF's job was to reduce duplication. Craig wants to create an "all-party committee to review provincial spending”. Great idea. Except for one thing. We've got one already. It’s called the committee of supply. You know the one that's part of the estimates process. The one that's been around forever and sits every year.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this but can we have Adrienne back.


COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY - Committee comprised of all Members of the Assembly chaired by the Deputy Speaker. This Committee meets to consider the Spending estimates of all government departments.

The Committee of Supply does have the ability to defeat a supply resolution, or entertain a proposal to reduce its amount.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My dog ate my homework

Hopefully the CTF did their homework this time before handing out the hardware. We wouldn't want another embarrassment like this following story. And they blamed the Sun for it too. Classy. I know there is waste in government and they should be called on it but I just like poking a little fun at my absolute favorite taxpayers group.

Wasteful spending award withdrawn
Winnipeg Free Press
Friday, March 10, 2006
Byline: Gabrielle Giroday

THEY'RE used to embarrassing politicians, but yesterday members of an outspoken advocacy group said they were embarrassed after not doing their homework.

And they blamed a rival Winnipeg newspaper for misleading them.

Yesterday, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) withdrew an award for wasteful spending given to the Manitoban government last week for publicly funding Botox and tummy tucks.

On March 1, the CTF awarded Manitoba its top provincial prize for spending $918,000 on tummy tucks and $10,900 on Botox from 2003 to 2004.

Following the awards' release, Manitoba Health officials defended the spending and told the Free Press the procedures were not used for cosmetic purposes.

Botox is a common cosmetic procedure to smooth fine wrinkles, they said, but it's also used to stop muscle spasms for sufferers of multiple sclerosis. The 218 publicly funded tummy tucks were used to treat patients with chronic skin infections on their stomachs, health officials added.

"It makes it out that all of these procedures are cosmetic and that's not true," said Jackie Sul, director of insured benefits for Manitoba Health, last week.

After about a dozen complaints to the CTF, the organization decided to withdraw the award for the first time since the annual campaign began in 1999.

"Frankly, we had not done our homework on this," said Troy Lanigan, National Taxpayers Federation communications director.

"We were under some misinterpretation about the nature and scope of those procedures, and we felt (withdrawing the award) was the appropriate thing to do."

Yesterday, the CTF released a statement apologizing to burn victims and patients with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and cancer that had Botox or tummy tucks because it was medically necessary.

CTF said in a release that when it first heard of the tax expenditures for the treatments it was "implied that the said amounts were for cosmetic purposes," in an article published in the Winnipeg Sun in December 2005.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another one bites the dust

It has been an awful year for media layoffs. To view the latest, check out CanMediaLayoffs.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Batting .500

I called that reporter Mary Agnes Welch was leaving her beat at the legislature but I got her replacement wrong.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

To Iceland and beyond

Curtis' favourite Minister is unfairly getting criticized for going to Iceland to recruit skilled workers through the Provincial Nominee Program. Now there are huge holes in the arguments put forward that the province should train Aboriginal people or recruit out of work Ontario auto-workers instead of looking overseas.

Manitoba needs highly skilled workers in certain specific professions. We are talking doctors, engineers and geothermal installers. These workers are key to helping Manitoba businesses grow and keeping the economy out of a recession. It is a complete oversimplification to suggest that we should use Aboriginal labour or Ontario workers to fill these jobs.

Of course training Aboriginal people is important and the province has put a lot of effort and funding to train this largely untapped resource. However, Manitoba businesses need these high skilled workers now. It’s not like you can take a person and train them overnight to work as an engineer. It just doesn’t work that way.

It also doesn’t make any sense bringing auto-workers to Manitoba. Firstly, has no one noticed we don’t have an auto industry? Secondly, it’s not like you can say “hey buddy, you used to put cars together, how about installing these geothermal heat pump thingys”. They are both skilled jobs but with completely different technical requirements that require special skills. It's like asking a dentist to do a lung transplant.

Iceland has a huge geothermal industry and many highly trained workers possibly willing to relocate here. That’s why the province is recruiting there. Businesses have looked locally and couldn’t find people to fill the jobs (it’s a requirement under the Provincial Nominee Program that businesses prove that they have made an effort to fill the jobs with local people).

Manitoba needs immigrants for population and economic growth. Let’s not get caught up in the anti-immigration rhetoric now.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hydro, how not to spin

For the third straight year, Manitoba Hydro is set to post another huge profit. Good for them. They recently released third quarter results showing a profit of $217 million and the headline writers at CBC find a way to put a negative spin on the story. Maybe they got confused and were looking at their own bottom line but I’m not sure how posting a multi-million dollar profit especially in these economic times warrants a negative headline. Now the CBC is not the only one to blame here. They were just following the lead of hydro who put out this release. And what a dumb release it was. In his wisdom, Glen Schneider decides to state in the first paragraph of what should be a completely positive release that his company’s profit was fractionally smaller than last year’s and then goes on to explain the reasons. Why is that in there at all? And nowhere does he mention that they are projecting a much higher than anticipated year-end profit. I had to find that out from the Sun, who were the able to put the full story together. Now Glen, share the bad news when you actually have some bad news. When you post a nice tidy profit don’t shoot yourself in the foot by talking about inconsequential minutia that distract media from the positive story.

BLOGWATCH

Congrats to Tom Brodbeck and DailyRants which had their blogs mentioned in the provincial government’s weekly issue of BLOGWATCH (and not MB gov). Not bad considering they write for a Manitoba audience (and Blogwatch is not based in Manitoba).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

They are watching you

Our friend at endless spin recently pondered whether bloggers actually had much of an affect on the political discourse.

Well a certain government (not likely the one you are thinking of) has started officially monitoring blogs. We all know that government staffers have been looking at our scribbles now and then, usually just for a good laugh, a bit of gossip or to gage the importance of an issue. But now this is different. They have government staff monitor the blogs, analyse the top issues and create a weekly BLOGWATCH which is sent around to all communication and political staff. Just thought you should know.