Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/10/2011 (3586 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A new reality emerged in Manitoba politics this week.
The Keystone Province is going to be governed by the NDP for some time.
Despite capturing 44.2 per cent of the popular votes in the general election, the Progressive Conservatives only managed 19 seats compared to the 37 won by the NDP with just 1.6 per cent more support.
And the historic urban/rural split is even more pronounced (excluding the north) now, with the Tories all but sweeping southern Manitoba, and the NDP pretty much owning the city of Winnipeg.
Those calling the current first-past-the-post electoral system unfair and unrepresentative need to understand those benefiting from it aren’t about to rush to change it.
And given the population trends, the balance of power will remain in Winnipeg — hence with the NDP — for some time to come.
This of course assuming the lifeless Liberal Party of Manitoba continues to flatline and prevents any “legal” left-wing vote-splitting.
So that places a lot of power in the hands of Premier-elect Greg Selinger and his 36 fellow New Democrats.
As the PC Party takes the next few years to rebuild — hopefully emerging as a vibrant right-wing alternative to the NDP — we trust Selinger will indeed govern for all of Manitoba and not cater solely to the constituencies who supported his party.
That brings us to the Wheat City and the situation with our two city MLAs.
One is Reg Helwer, a newcomer to the Manitoba legislature who held on to the seat by the skin of his teeth for the Tories — a mere 146 votes.
The other is Drew Caldwell, a former city councillor who brought home Brandon East for the NDP for the fourth time and strongly fended off a second consecutive challenge from Tory candidate Mike Waddell — by 1,129 votes.
In the past, we have called for Caldwell to be included in cabinet.
Westman has been without a regional minister since Scott Smith lost Brandon West for the NDP in 2007.
The fact he is the lone Westman NDP MLA demands that he be included in Selinger’s inner sanctum.
However, Caldwell — who resigned from cabinet for health reasons several years ago after a less-than-brilliant stint as education minister — has been passed over several times for a post by two NDP premiers.
Instead, Selinger promoted him to legislative assistant with special responsibility for western Manitoba.
This has provided Caldwell with equal or better access to the premier and also has allowed him to do more work in the community.
However, we again are calling for his inclusion in the new Selinger cabinet.
Not only has Caldwell proven himself to be a hard worker for the party and the people he represents, but Selinger needs to show right off the start that he doesn’t intend to cater to Fortress Winnipeg.
Looking at the cabinet Selinger assembled before the election, we’re also very confident Caldwell could outperform several former or existing ministers.
Selinger told the Winnipeg Free Press on Wednesday there will be a “tweaking” of his cabinet to replace some ministers who retired, followed by a throne speech and brief legislature session in late November.
We trust the premier will do the right thing for Brandon and Westman.
Not to mention rewarding the hard work of the party faithful in Brandon East who helped keep a speck of orange in a sea of blue.