Unelected premier Greg Selinger has just felt the earth collapse under his feet and his future slip away into the swollen flood waters that still cover much of the province.
The Jets are coming back. That's shorthand for 'Winnipeg is about to get an NHL hockey team, again.' And it's exactly what Greg Selinger was praying would never happen.
Selinger has spent the last few weeks painting himself as The Man Who Saved Manitoba. He was supposed to stride into the fall election campaign as a hero, he who singlehandedly staved off the flood on the Red River, first, then the Assiniboine, and even the LaSalle.
But the water just won't go down, and the scramble to build dikes and fill sandbags and evacuate cattle just keeps going on and on and on. And its getting worse, with the overflowing lakes threatening to engulf cottage country and precipitate a new wave of evacuations and property loss, as we undergo another rainy weekend.
Meanwhile, back in Winnipeg, where the flood is old news, there's excitement building---for everybody except Greg Selinger.
The Jets are coming back. And nobody deserves to celebrate more than Opposition Leader Hugh McFadyen.
Four years ago, during the last provincial election campaign, McFadyen dared Manitobans to dream big, starting with the return of the Winnipeg Jets.
"People...have been reluctant to become too hopeful and too optimistic because of the negative experiences of the past," he said at the time. "What we're saying is, 'Let's be bold again. Let's start to think optimistically about our future'."
But McFadyen paid a heavy price for his optimism. He was mocked mercilessly by the pundits and opinion makers and, especially, by NDP leader Gary Doer in the Legislature.
He lost the election, he lost seats, and everyone pointed to his Jets announcement as a major blunder and turning point in the campaign.
Today, the last laugh belongs to Hugh McFadyen.
Selinger, at a news conference Wednesday, declared his government wouldn't help anyone buy an NHL team, which is great, given that nobody has asked them to.
In other words, his first reaction was to say what he WOULDN'T do to bring NHL hockey to Winnipeg.
He failed to mention that his predecessor, Gary Doer, gave $40 million--thats FORTY MILLION DOLLARS---to millionaire Gail Asper for her pet project, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which has guaranteed her a lifetime of free travel and accomodations around the world at taxpayers' expense.
Come election day in October, nobody will be talking about the flood, and everybody will be buzzing about hockey.
Hugh McFadyen will be talking about the role of hope in the future of Manitoba and Manitobans.
The NDP will be talking how great the Seventies were and how we should relive them, with Hydro megaprojects creating the illusion of growth and investment, and high taxes spent on social workers and bigger government.
The NDP know they have only one hope--- a summer of increasingly dirty attack ads. brought to you by the dirtiest politician in Manitoba with nothing to lose.