Conservatives are typically hard on their leaders so it would not be too surprising if in time there is an attempt to replace McFadyen. Gerrard can hardly be faulted for the poor result of the Liberals. The political climate was simply against him and it is hard for a third party to break through. Next time if the public is fed up with both NDP and COnservatives they could come back big time but that is not too likely. If Doer tried for a fourth term it would probably result in a defeat unless his performance improves a great deal or the Conservatives are really bad! Let us hope that Doer goes for an early walk, maybe even before the snow comes!
On the Ledge
May 28, 2007
Doer’s walk in the snow
Filed under: Uncategorized — Mia Rabson @ 3:58 pm
Don’t worry. My title above has nothing to do with the weather. Which as an aside totally sucks right now.
I’ve just been thinking how odd it is that following the provincial election last week not one, not two, but all three leaders of Manitoba’s main political parties find themselves answering questions about their future.
For somewhat different reasons of course. Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen has to explain how the man brought in to save the party from the floundering it was doing with Stuart Murray, could fare worse than Murray did in seat count. I don’t think most Tories thought McFadyen could win this election, but I bet most of them thought he’d do better than 20 seats. So to come away with 19, two of which were won by the barest of margins, is an embarassment.
But young Mr. McFadyen - who turns 40 this week - isn’t likely going anywhere unless he wants to. There is no obvious successor waiting in the wings, and the party has time to lick its wounds, learn its lessons well and begin preparing for next time. Someone may take the fall for the Tory campaign but except for an ousted MLA (Jack Reimer) and an almost-ousted MLA who we know isn’t exactly the biggest McFadyen backer in the bunch (David Faurschou) the dump Hugh movement isn’t gathering steam.
Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard also will likely be able to stay on as long as he is willing or able. Some thought he would throw in the towel last Tuesday. That’s just not Jon’s style. Besides one of the reasons Gerrard’s run the party this long without any challenge is because there aren’t exactly a lot of people clamouring to be the leader of a caucus of two people. Names like Reg Alcock will be tossed around in the months to come as possible Gerrard successors but until the NDP lose Gary Doer and take a sharp turn left of centre, the Liberals are going to struggle to get a foothold in Manitoba. So Gerrard has nothing to worry about.
Then we come to Gary Doer. Who just won the biggest majority government in Manitoba in 40 years, and tied for the biggest ever. Is it ironic that of the three leaders right now he might be the least likely to still be the leader come 2011?
I think what we’re going to see from Gary Doer is that somewhere around 2010, as the fever pitch about his future breaks the thermometer, he will take his walk in the snow, Chretien style. He’ll announce he’s going to step down as NDP leader several months down the road. And a leadership convention will be set. And then a new leader will be elected and Doer will sit out the rest of his political career as a backbencher so he can represent Concordia without being hypocritical and resigning to become one of those “quitters” he loves to criticize.
As for who will succeed him? The list of possibilities is long, the list of who has a chance in heck far less so. But I will say this - I do not think it’s a coincidence that there was only one NDP MLA whose lawn signs in this last election bore a photo of someone other than Doer. His name is Greg Selinger. And it certainly wouldn’t be the first time in Canadian politics that a finance minister took over as party leader after that leader took a walk in the snow.