Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Dedicating NDP campaign to Layton a disservice

  • Print

"WIN one for the Gipper." With these immortal words, legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne successfully inspired his football team to dramatically turn around a half-time deficit and score a second-half upset.

The incident is dramatized in a Hollywood movie, Knute Rockne All American, with Pat O'Brien playing the title role. His star halfback, George Gipp, played by Ronald Reagan, on his deathbed had urged his coach to use these words as inspiration if ever his team were in a rough spot and needed an extra emotional lift.

It would appear Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger has decided to take a leaf from Rockne's book and use it in a political context. He says the forthcoming provincial election campaign will be dedicated to the memory of Jack Layton.

There has been, of course, what some may regard as an inordinate amount of media coverage dedicated to the passing of the former leader of the NDP. There is no question Jack Layton's untimely death, coupled with his amazing accomplishment in the last federal election, was deserving of widespread sympathy and also the universal recognition, which it demonstrably received.

But the slogan "Win one for Jack" in a provincial election is a bit much.

Selinger says Layton dedicated a federal campaign to my former friend and colleague, former Saskatchewan premier Allan Blakeney.

That may be so. But I never heard Blakeney's name mentioned in this context during the entire election period. If it was something internal to the party, it is of no consequence and entirely harmless. But the announcement by Selinger amid the current ongoing media adulation of Layton indicates Selinger is hoping that some of this atmosphere will rub off to the benefit of the Manitoba party.

If this is what Selinger has in mind, he is badly mistaken. Layton's death should and will not have any effect whatsoever on the Manitoba election. To link the NDP election campaign with the death of Jack Layton is to denigrate rather than dignify his passing.

The election campaign in Manitoba will be a political war fought among the NDP, the Conservatives and the Liberals. In this battle we can expect to see the traditional name-calling, misrepresentations and even some serious debates on important issues.

I predict it will ultimately come down to a single-issue election. Ultimately, voters will zero in on the question of whether the new Hydro transmission line should be built on the east side or the west side of Lake Winnipeg.

On this issue most, if not all, expert opinion says the east side route will save hundreds of millions of dollars. That is something the voters will have no difficulty in understanding.

The fact that the Conservatives and the Liberals are opposing the NDP has nothing to do with public feelings about Jack Layton. The fact that the NDP is hoping to use his death as the theme of their election campaign is a disservice to the public.


Sidney Green is a Winnipeg lawyer

and former NDP cabinet minister.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 1, 2011 A15

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Maurice Leggett on his three interceptions vs. Alouettes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Goslings with some size head for cover Wednesday afternoon on Commerce Drive in Tuxedo Business Park - See Bryksa 30 Goose Challenge- Day 12- May 16, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005

View More Gallery Photos


What do you think of the new school-zone speed limit?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google