One thing that sticks in my head about Gary Doer is what he said when he stepped down as premier two years ago.
He stood at the podium in Room 68B is the basement of the Manitoba Legislative Building and told reporters this: "This is a time to be retrospective or a time for renewal."
He went on to explain that any political party must continue to reinvent itself with new faces and ideas otherwise it grows stale, irrelevant and obsolete.
In the wake the NDP’s fourth win in a row at the polls and its ever-continuing grip on power, is it worth asking where the NDP see themselves going into the next election four years from now? Will they still be as vital then?
Premier Greg Selinger has done what few Canadian politicians have done before — in two short years he’s led his party from a low point in the polls to a crushing defeat of the opposition Progressive Conservatives for another four years in office. When October 2015 rolls around the NDP will have been in power for 16 years.
I asked Selinger the day after the election what he planned to do about continuing to reinvigorate his party. What would he do to continue to make it new and fresh and appealing to voters?
Would he step down as leader in, say, about two years, to put a new face on the NDP? Would someone like Health Minister Theresa Oswald or Attorney General Andrew Swan or Labour Minister Jennifer Howard "renew" the party going into the October 2015 election?
Selinger looked at me like I was nuts for just asking the question. (I get that a lot, not just from Selinger).
"We’ve got a four-year mandate. I’m looking forward to it," Selinger said. "I’d really like to just sort of savour that."
There’s no reason to doubt Selinger’s enthusiasm or commitment. He has bettered his predecessor, after all. He wants to ride the wave.
And the threat against the NDP even four years from now looks pretty weak even at this early stage. The PCs sunk a lot of money and effort for practically squat in this election. It will take a long time for them to rebuild under a new leader and get some traction. And the Liberals? Not even in the picture.
In 2015 Selinger will be 64. And he knows he’s got some ambitious people in his cabinet. How long does he make them wait for their chance at the premier’s chair?
Then again, there’s always more to the picture than meets eye, eh? Maybe Selinger just has to continue to reinvent himself.
Here’s a guy from Kelvin to explain: