Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Writ of Election? We don't need no stinkin' writ of election. Part Deux.

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Here we are, a full seven days before the provincial election is expected to be officially called, and for all intents and purposes, the campaign has really already begun.

Last week, the Tories announced they would be launching some but not all of their platform at an event on Aug. 30. Then, over the weekend, the Tories were nice enough to give the Free Press an advance look at the slimmed down platform document, McFadyen 2011.

When first notified of the Tory intention to go a week early, the NDP initially claimed to be unfazed. Senior NDP strategists said the party would do some pre-writ advertising this week, and then focus on Premier Greg Selinger's nomination Monday night as the focus of their week-before-the-official-election activities.

Well, that was last week. On Tuesday, the NDP unveiled their "vision document," a slimmed down, sneak peek of the Selinger platform. Like the Tory document, it's just an appetizer, stripped of many specific pledges.

Did the NDP blink? Senior strategists vehemently denied it and to be fair, it may have just been a case of the NDP not being as leak-happy as the Tories. Perhaps. But reporters who were writing stories for the weekend and for Monday believed the NDP was going to hold firm and not get into the campaign before the campaign.

It's more likely the NDPers, who originally scoffed at the Tory's go-big-and-go-early strategy did not like the idea of having to respond every day to the Tory platform. That's called 'controlling the news cycle' and politicos from one party really hate it when they are forced into reacting and commenting on another party's ideas.

Either way, it's now on. History will show that the 2011 general election was a 28-day affair. Manitobans who care to remember this election at all will know it was really a 36-day campaign.

This fixed-date election law rocks.

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About Dan Lett

Dan Lett came to Winnipeg in 1986, less than a year out of journalism school.

Despite the fact that he’s originally from Toronto and has a fatal attraction to the Maple Leafs, Winnipeggers let him stay.

In the following years, he has worked at bureaus covering every level of government – from city hall to the national bureau in Ottawa.

He has had bricks thrown at him in riots following the 1995 Quebec referendum, wrote stories that helped in part to free three wrongly convicted men, met Fidel Castro, interviewed three Philippine presidents, crossed several borders in Africa illegally, chased Somali pirates in a Canadian warship and had several guns pointed at him.

In other words, he’s had every experience a journalist could even hope for. He has also been fortunate enough to be a two-time nominee for a National Newspaper Award, winning in 2003 for investigations.

Other awards include the B’Nai Brith National Human Rights Media Award and nominee for the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism.

Now firmly rooted in Winnipeg, Dan visits Toronto often but no longer pines to live there.

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