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.

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??

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.

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

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:

Lord Roberts
River Heights
Fort Rouge
St. Johns
St. James
Fort Garry
St. Norbert
St. Boniface
La Verendrye
Point Douglas
Kirkfield Park
Lac du Bonnet
Most of Westman

Swan or independent:
St. Vital
Seine River

The Pas
Flin Flon
River East
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.

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.