Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/7/2012 (3287 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
“I think that it’s important to understand the
theme of aim higher isn’t just a theme.
It’s something we all believe in.”
— Recently acclaimed Progressive
Conservative Leader Brian Pallister
Brian Pallister was tall on rhetoric but a little short on ideas for his first media scrum as the new leader for the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba on Monday.
The new leader certainly tossed out some pithy catchphrases before the cameras. Right off the mark, Pallister took careful aim at the governing New Democrats, saying that Manitoba was not a have-not province, but a province with a “have-not government.”
Yet he declined to offer up what policies and ideas he would bring to the Tory table, and instead pointed to policy discussion that would begin in the days and weeks ahead.
He preferred, he told the Sun, to bring forward a “shared vision” with the membership of the party.
While that’s all fine and good, the lack of a competitive leadership race has left a vacuum of ideas in its wake. The public has yet to hear what Pallister has in mind to turn around his party’s fortunes. While we can understand that the longtime politician doesn’t want to be seen as a “top down” dictator, the Tories need a visionary, someone who can propel them forward with exciting ideas.
What they don’t need are the same old recycled policies and repeated calls for grassroots initiatives. Thus far, they haven’t worked.
Case in point: “Aim Higher” — the slogan that Pallister has been using throughout his leadership campaign. It’s a nice turn of phrase, but it’s also singularly familiar. And after reading an excerpt of the biography for former Tory leader Hugh McFadyen on the Progressive Conservative website, here’s why:
“Hugh (McFadyen) is a proud Manitoban who believes that our best years lie ahead. He is not satisfied with mediocre results and wants to inspire all Manitobans to aim higher and to work together to forge a better future.”
The famous lyrics from “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who come to mind: Meet the new boss; Same as the old boss.
But to dismiss the new Tory leader after his first little splash in the media spotlight would be unfair.
Pallister is a bright and smart politician. He holds degrees in arts and education from Brandon University. He built up his own business in Portage la Prairie, Pallister Financial. He has managed to get himself elected to the Manitoba legislature and the federal House of Commons.
During a sit-down session with the Brandon Sun earlier this year after he threw his hat in the ring for the party leadership, Pallister came across as a man with plenty of ideas. His hopes to better address First Nation issues in Manitoba are worthy of note, and we can fully back his stated plans to review all aspects of the party’s operations, from internal structuring to election readiness.
He has also sold “several thousand” party memberships in his quest to become the PC leader, meaning more than a few Manitobans are expecting much of him and his leadership.
And that’s why we were disappointed. We know he’s got ideas. We only wish they had come through loud and clear during his media scrum. The NDP needs to sweat a little.
Well, he’s got a little less than three years to whip his party into shape to take on the New Democrats. He’s absolutely right about one thing — the Tories face a “very significant rebuilding job” ahead of them.
He also has to find himself a seat in the legislature — the most likely of course is Fort Whyte, recently vacated by McFadyen.
In the meantime, Mr. Pallister, we suggest it’s time to think up a new slogan. The old one didn’t work so well for your predecessor.