Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Selinger's Staying Is Pure Folly

The mass resignation on Monday of five sitting Manitoba cabinet ministers irrevocably damaged NDP Premier Greg Selinger's political career. Moreover, his failure to adequately address the issues raised by the 'Gang of 5' in their post-resignation news conference has truly tainted his legacy. The reasons behind the rebellion required more substantial redress from Selinger than just a desperate Hail Mary cabinet reshuffle. When the heaviest hitters from your cabinet quit because they believe you are more preoccupied with retaining power than governing in Manitoba's "best interests": the die is cast. It's a damning indictment. The kind from which there is no coming back. No longer is the question "can Selinger continue to lead?" (He cannot.) The only question now is: How can he be forced out?

Yesterday, in the media scrum after the reshuffle kerfuffle, Selinger was asked how he hoped to stay on given the blistering criticisms and open dissent coming from within his own government. His reply?  "I am listening to Manitobans". Really? One wishes he'd first 'listen' to the most important voice of all, the one in his head chanting: "Staying be pure folly. Staying be pure folly." But alas no.

Selinger's stubbornness is not doing anybody (err, save Manitoba PC leader Brian Pallister) any damn good. Because of his obstinance, five major cabinet portfolios are now in limbo. Until his erstwhile bench warmers, now ministers, get up to speed on key files in their respective departments, some things (presumably some very important things) will suffer delays. In addition, the now reconstituted Planning & Priorities and Treasury Board Committee's both have major hurdles and time constraints to overcome if they are to have any meaningful input in the formulation of the next provincial Throne Speech and ensuing budget. Selinger's favourite catch-all mantra "jobs, the economy, and families" will not be enough to sell either a speech or a budget. Overused at both the federal and provincial level at budget time, the "jobs, the economy, and families" mantra has lost its meaning, it is now just retail schtick - and voters are tired of the charade. Manitoba's economy has pressing issues. As such, voters deserve to be presented with a 2015 Budget that includes a clearly articulated, frank, and honest fiscal roadmap. With all the new inexperienced faces suddenly sitting around the budget-making sausage machine - this may prove a daunting task. And with Selinger remaining at the helm, it may be nigh impossible. Fairly or unfairly, the perception is Selinger lied in 2011 about increasing the PST. That the 1% increase was a necessary evil matters not. What matters is, voters remember Selinger declaring, on the record, that if elected, he wouldn't increase the PST. Rightly, or wrongly, this fact, is enough to ensure any budget primarily authored by the now politically compromised and embattled Selinger will be virtually unsellable to the people of Manitoba.  His staying is pure folly.

No comments:

Post a Comment