Of course there is an obvious comparison to be made between the current Liberal leadership race and the Progressive Conservative nomination race — or rather, coronation — of more than a year ago.
Last year, we suggested on this page that the lack of a race looked poorly for Manitoba’s second party, as disgruntled Tory members began muttering about the need for a new party in this province to replace the Progressive Conservatives as a means to unseat the NDP.
And we still believe the Tories would have been better off with the stronger focus and sharpened political senses that come from such a contest.
Nevertheless, Brian Pallister and his party have done well in the past year to show that they can be a political force to be reckoned with. In fact, Pallister has every right to claim success after managing to postpone the PST vote until the fall session, among the other concessions made by the NDP caucus.
We do, however, caution that for the Tories to take control of the legislature in the next election, they will have to show the public that they can do more than stall NDP legislation.
Without doubt, the NDP are worn out, and appear bereft of any new ideas. Pallister and the Tories can capitalize on that, but they need to do so by offering what the NDP cannot — a solid course forward for this province that will rid us of our have-not status and clean the red ink from our financial books.
That kind of direction could have been fleshed out in a leadership race, but now it will be up to Pallister and his brain trust to work out. Lets hope they’re up to it.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 21, 2013