Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Bask in the afterglow — then what?
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:
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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen
Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.
Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.
At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.
Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.
He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.
Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.
In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.
You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.
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