Gary Doer---Gittin' while the gittin's good
Manitoba Premier Gary Doer went for a checkup this summer and got some bad news.
His teflon was gone.
Internal polling showed that NDP support had gone softer than jell-o. The day when his personal popularity could carry the party through times of trouble were over.
The NDP has been running a stealth election campaign for over a month. We saw it, but couldn't figure out what was going on. By the new law of fixed election dates, the next election isn't until October, 2011. So how, we kept asking ourselves, could they precipitate an early election?
With Doer's resignation as Premier, we now know the game.
The NDP had to change its public image with or without Doer at the helm. They launched their '11 election campaign early, counting on the momentum to carry them through the dark days ahead.
- Gary Doer is telling everyone he's leaving because he's been Premier for 10 years and its time to revitalize the party. Don't believe it.
He's bring driven out of office by scandal. Revelations that Elections Manitoba covered-up a scheme by the NDP under Gary Doer to fraudulently collect payback from the taxpayer for non-existent election expenses hurt more than the MSM wants to admit.
It was the first time that a political scandal touched Doer personally.
He knows he's dirty and he doesn't want to face the buzzsaw of questions in the House again, not when he can duck out now and claim the high road.
This is the best time to leave, right before the perfect storm that's brewing for 2010 hits.
- The Opposition has been in hiberation all summer, allowing the heat of the election scandal to drop from boiling to barely tepid. The Manitoba economy has escaped the ravages of the recession, and if the government has been told privately that equalization payments are being slashed, Doer will be long gone before the public knows how deep the red ink will be.
He won't have to approve a harmonized sales tax that will raise taxes on everyone and everything; he'll leave that to his successor. By the time the Brian Sinclair inquest exposes the defects in the NDP's health care system, Gary Doer will be Mr. Yesterday . If the Public Utilities Board concludes the NDP's socialist economy-boosting Manitoba Hydro mega-projects are riskier than buying 649 tickets, they can talk to the hand.
And when the Canadian Museum for Human Rights sinks in a sea of debt, he'll leave it to the new Premier to bail them out.
- The MSM dragged out the usual dinosaurs to comment on likely candidates for the Premier's job. All they did was demonstrate how out of touch they really are.
Theresa Oswald, said poli-sci prof and media whore Paul Thomas. Uh, Paul, she's moving to Wisconsin, where her hubby just got a job and bought a house this summer. And the kid starts school in the good ol' USA this September.
Greg Selinger. You mean the man who ran a backchannel into caucus for the Crocus Fund so they could get pesky governance laws changed whenever they ran out of cash? The same guy who covered-up the NDP election fraud scandal for five years---after learning about it and demanding a letter of exoneration from the election team? That guy?
Steve Ashton. Uh, Paul, he doesn't represent a Winnipeg riding and that's the battleground, as it's been since the Nineties.
Bill Blaikie. Didn't anyone notice how deftly Gary Doer slipped the stilletto into Blaikie's ribs?
Doer returned several times to the idea his success was based on transcending the traditional attitudes of the Old Left, as he called it, and the Right. He, himself, had governed for all the people, he said. The Old Left was out of touch with the modern electorate.
Old Left? Is there anyone further left than Bill Blaikie? Rabidly anti-American. While in Parliament, as a member of the NDP caucus for 29 years, he voted the party line against every tax cut proposed and for every tax hike.
He demonstrates a dangerously selective memory on his years with the federal NDP. For example he has no memory of anyone named Joe Comartin, the NDP Justice Critic, nor does he remember the NDP's boast that it successfully kept deterrence and denunciation out of the Youth Justice Act, thereby successfully undermining any punitive measure against young criminals and fueling the car theft epidemic in Winnipeg.
- Doer mused about his legacy. He spoke whistfully about national parks. The man who set aside land for Assiniboine Park lost the next election, but we all thank him, he said. He peppered his quitting announcement with repeated references to the Point Douglas Provincial Park.
Up to now that was considered just a gleam in his eye, given how there have been no consultations with Point Douglas residents. But we see that it's much, much more.
It could be his parting gift to his sweetie Gail Asper and a finger in the eye of the Winnipeg taxpayer.
If he manages to create by fiat a provincial park that runs along the Red River from Waterfront Drive to Higgins Avenue, he'll also manage to include the Canadian Museum for Human Rights within its boundary.
The museum's address is 85 Waterfront Drive, didn't you know?
One situated on a provincial park, the museum would be exempt from city taxes, thereby saving them $5 million to $9 million a year. And screwing the City of Winnipeg out of that same amount.