Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/1/2016 (1324 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In terms of political drama, the year 2015 had more than its fair share.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s astonishing come-from-behind win in the federal election last October was certainly the most intriguing event, even as Conservative candidates in Brandon-Souris and Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa held on to their seats.
The internal troubles for the Manitoba NDP that culminated in an extraordinary floor show during the party’s leadership race did not end when the final vote was made in March. Even now, as only two of the five NDP rebels have seen fit to continue campaigning under the orange banner, the suggestion by the premier that the party is now united is merely code for “we’ve pushed the troublemakers out.”
In the wake of Premier Greg Selinger’s narrow victory over leadership challengers Theresa Oswald and Steve Ashton, the unofficial provincial election campaign has been kicked into high gear with the recent leaders debate in Brandon. As we approach the provincial vote that looms less than four months from now, we can no doubt expect even more acerbic attacks between the parties.
In the brief lull that new year celebrations allow this weekend, we offer a look back at the political year that was in part two of our Quotes of the Year feature, and offer our best wishes to all our readers in 2016.
“The first hundred days has me really looking forward to the next hundred, 200, 300, 400. I think that we have a lot of potential. I like that we have a great diversity, and there’s a huge amount of respect across the table which allows you to debate in a healthy manner.”
— Coun. Jeff Fawcett (Assiniboine), marking the first 100 days for the new Brandon City Council.
“Beautification is fine, and putting out benches and plants and trees and so on … it’s fine but it’ll mean nothing if the properties remain empty.”
— Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest, during the first Downtown Development Forum co-hosted by Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell.
“Just wondering if they really knew what they were signing?”
—Coun. Vanessa Hamilton (Riverview) in reference to the more than 2,300 people who signed a petition calling for a new Eighth Street bridge.
“I would say a long campaign benefits the Conservatives because of the election rules, and because the amount of money the parties can spend increase.”
—Probe Research associate Curtis Brown prior to then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s expected writ drop last summer, which kicked off the longest election campaign in modern Canadian history. The Liberal party under Justin Trudeau ultimately defeated the federal Tories.
“He’s a dictator. He’s not a conservative, it’s the Harper party. He’s a control freak and his caucus are nothing more than trained seals.”
— Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa independent candidate Inky Mark during the Brandon Sun/Westman Communications federal election debate.
“It is unconscionable for a civil servant to publicly question government policy and here’s why. I’m accountable for government policy and I’m accountable for what I say and people can vote for or against me based on what I say ... If a civil servant wants to speak out, he or she should put their name on a ballot like I did and get out and speak out.”
— Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa Conservative candidate Robert Sopuck during the Brandon Sun/Westman Communications federal election debate.
“In my community, 95 per cent of my people are on welfare and we need to change that.”
—Ken Chalmers, on the need to address aboriginal issues in the federal election campaign.
“A lot of us needed to see a picture like that for it to really hit home that these aren’t just numbers, they are actual people — families and children —who desperately need help.”
— Brandon-Souris Liberal candidate Jody Wyman, in response to a photo showing the dead body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi lying face down in the sand on a beech in Greece. The boy’s Syrian family, including his father Abdullah, his mother Rehan and his five-year-old brother Galib, were attempting to leave Turkey and reach Greece when the boat they were in capsized. Only Abdullah Kurdi survived.
“It’s one more thing that rural Canada gets kicked on and nobody gives a darn. Our vote doesn’t count, I guess.”
— Elgin resident Bob Miller, who was furious that he was unable to cast a ballot for the federal election in his own community. Not only was his name spelled wrong on his voter card, he had to travel to Minto to vote.
“I’m hearing anecdotally that there were some aboriginal communities, reserves that were actually running out of ballots because there were so many people that were voting.”
—Brandon University political scientist Kelly Saunders, on the federal election.
“I have been in Opposition as an MLA before, so I have some experience in that area. We’ll just have to work with the government to continue to get the things going that we’ve already got on the books.”
—Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire after his bittersweet election win on Oct. 19.
“You have the right to your opinion but you don’t have the right to make up my opinion.”
— PC Leader Brian Pallister during a leaders debate in Brandon. Pallister was defending himself from comments made by Premier Greg Selinger, who told the crowd that the PC leader would support a two-tiered health-care system.
“We have not been idle … we haven’t been out of touch.”
— Manitoba NDP Premier Greg Selinger during a debate hosted by the Association of Manitoba Municipalities. He was responding to criticism that his government ignored infrastructure for 15 years.
“We’re the reasonable voice, that’s the fact. It’s a very different time and I’m a very different leader.”
— Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari, in an interview with The Brandon Sun editorial board.
“It’s not a secret that I had some pretty serious concerns about the decision to raise the PST. In particular the way we did it. It came too fast and without consultation with Manitobans. It also happened on the heels of (Premier Greg Selinger) saying he wouldn’t do it ... It was very, very jarring to Manitobans and they were angry. I think they’re owed an apology for that.”
— Former Manitoba health minister Theresa Oswald, who ran against Premier Greg Selinger and former transportation minister Steve Ashton for the leadership of the NDP.
“I think (Oswald is) the best leader to take us into the next election.”
— South Centre Coun. Lonnie Patterson, one of two Brandon councillors who threw their support behind leadership contender Theresa Oswald.
“Everyone makes mistakes but there is no reason to crucify him.”
— BU student Krystal Kayne, who supported NDP Premier Greg Selinger during the leadership race.
“The premier of Manitoba is now the premier because he cut deals with public sector union bosses in a back room last week and he guaranteed himself the support of CUPE, and the support of the United Food and Commercial Workers, and someone managed to get the firefighters to support him.”
— Manitoba PC Leader Brian Pallister, following an NDP leadership review in which Premier Greg Selinger defeated challengers Theresa Oswald and Steve Ashton.
“This isn’t good news if you’re Drew Caldwell.”
—Probe Research vice-president Curtis Brown, after a September poll showed Greg Selinger’s NDP had dropped in popular support to 25 per cent. Fully 45 per cent of decided voters said they would vote for the Progressive Conservatives, while 24 per cent supported the Liberal party.
“I’m not going to get into a promise game, a vote-buying game, with anybody.”
— Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister, in a sit-down interview with The Brandon Sun last fall.