The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

Manitoba election: and the winner is ...

Well? How was it?

How was what?

The election, of course.

But, but, but....isn't election day, like, 10 days from now?

Nope. Voting started yesterday (Sept. 24) and continues non-stop, except for one break of 48 hours, until Oct. 4. That means you can vote for 8 out of the next 10 days. The election is officially over, dude.

Then, who's going to win?

Have you noticed that this is the first election since the cavemen that there was no poll of voter preferences? So The Black Rod did its own polling and discovered that the election is neck-and-neck between Don't Vote and Spoil Your Ballot.

It hardly matters, because the winner will be the NDP---either the NDP under Greg Selinger or the NDP 2.0 under Hugh McFadyen. The Conservative Party decided to sit this one out.

Selinger is the dirtiest politician in Manitoba, linked to every scandal in the past 12 years from the NDP election fraud in 1999 to the Crocus ponzi scheme to the phony deficit figures released just before the election call.

He took his party into the gutter with him. Even incumbents like Gord Macintosh, who was respected by friend and foe alike and who was trusted enough by the public to be the man the NDP sent in to clean up troubled cabinet portfolios, was forced to campaign on lies and vitriol aimed at the half of the province that doesn't support the NDP.

McFadyen's NDP, on the other hand, reached into the gutter to bring in candidates like Gord Steeves, the poster boy for voter cynicism. Steeves lied to voters when he ran only last October to be elected as a city councillor when he knew all along he was going to abandon the position to run for MLA. He even whined about the law that forced him to quit city council to run provincially; he wanted to be assured he had a job to return to if he lost, and lose he should. He was, in the words of another slimeball, entitled to his entitlements.
Selinger's NDP has run out of ideas. Like him, its stuck in the Seventies--- big government financed by big deficits funding megaprojects to create the illusion of growth.

McFadyen's NDP thinks the Original NDP is doing a good job, but could do better if it only spent more money for longer, running deficits for 7 years instead of three. McFadyen doesn't object to anything the NDP is doing, except for building a power line on the wrong side of the province. He would just do everything the NDP plans to do, but more of it, plus more stuff. And, he assures us, it will be paid for by the Money Fairy.

Both the Original NDP and Hugh McFadyen's hybrid party have announced they plan to spend $1.3 billion over the next four years, on top of the half billion dollar deficits they'll run each year. Some choice, eh.
Selinger knows that all he has to do is keep McFadyen's NDP from winning 10 seats. His campaign is geared solely to winning his base. Hence the endless attack ads. He doesn't care who they alienate, as long as they get the Original NDP base to the polls to hold at least one of those 10 seats.

He knows the popularity of the NDP has waned badly in Winnipeg. The Party might have been popping champagne out East, but here they were drinking hemlock after the last federal election. On the heels of the trouncing given the NDP candidate for mayor, the NDP lost her former safe seat in Winnipeg North twice in a row (byelection, then election) as well as another "safe" seat, Transcona. The vaunted union voter delivery "machine" isn't delivering like it used to.

McFadyen has abandoned his base--- that's the men and women who support the Conservative Party for its values like fiscal prudence--- in order to attract women in south Winnipeg. Taking Conservative Party voters for granted, he'll do anything and say anything and obviously promise anything to pry seats back from the NDP.

At least he's stopped trying to be "one of the guys". He's not ashamed to wear a suit this election. Oh, and he's been told to be nice, not attack anyone, and smile, smile, smile all the time. He obviously missed the study that came out last March that said women aren't attracted to men who smile a lot.
The best campaign of the election was run by someone who's not even a candidate, Dave Angus, president of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

Angus travelled the province pitching the Chamber's campaign called Manitoba Bold. Innovative and exciting, Manitoba Bold was the spark missing from the dreary campaigns of Selinger and McFadyen.

"We believe that to achieve this we can’t tinker our way to success. The Chamber believes it’s time to be BOLD and focus on growing our economy, creating jobs and leveraging our strengths through a strategic, focused and results driven approach." Manitoba Chamber of Commerce news release

Ranging from revitalizing the agriculture sector of Manitoba to fostering an entire industry of creative arts and artists to stimulate the imaginations of youth, Manitoba Bold was exactly the sort of positive, future-oriented vision Manitoba voters wanted to see.

"Leaders need to spend the time necessary to bring people on side with bold ideas and to move forward and stand on principle. People will respect that," Angus told the Winnipeg Free Press. You dreamer.

In many ways the Manitoba Bold campaign resembled Hugh McFadyen's abandoned 2007 election run for office on the theme "If we can dream it, we can do it."

But the Angus plan depended on the presence of "leaders."

When McFadyen's wildest dream, the return of the Winnipeg Jets, came true this year, he had abandoned dreaming for pandering. And Selinger's dream is a Soviet-style planned economy but without any of that newfangled obscene dance music.
With no poll of the intentions of Manitoba voters to guide pundits, we've had to resort to the only thing available---a national poll of voter support for the national parties.

An Angus Reid Public Opinion poll for the Toronto Star and La Presse was released Saturday. It shows 39 percent of voters (and leaners) supporting the Conservatives, 29 percent the NDP, and 21 percent the Liberal Party.

"The Conservatives remain the most popular party for both genders (Men 43%, Women 36%). Respondents aged 18-to-34 pick the NDP first (38%), while those aged 35-to-54 and those over the age of 55 prefer the Tories (42% and 48% respectively)."

"Three parties—the Conservatives, the NDP and the Greens—are holding on to at least four-in-five voters who supported them in the May 2011 election. The retention rate is lower for the Bloc (75%) and the Liberals (70%)."

The latter figure offers no hope for McFadyen. The addition of all the Liberal votes to the Conservative tally in the 2007 Manitoba election wouldn't have changed a single riding. There just aren't enough Liberals left in Manitoba to make a difference.
So, its back to our choice.
We'll let science decide.
Heads Don't Vote, tails Spoil Your Ballot.

And the coin is up....it's spinning....spinning...
-30-

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