Since the day after the Oct. 4 election, Freep comrade Larry Kusch and I have been trying to get in touch with Brian Pallister.
We were told that in some Tory circles, the former Portage MLA and MP was the heir apparent to outgoing provincial leader Hugh McFdayen.
One person suggested that even if McFadyen had won more seats, his days of being leader were numbered anyway, and that Pallister was already waiting in the wings to take over. He’d even started that wooing process during the campaign by sending flowers to some Progressive Conservative candidates.
Anyway, Larry and I left several messages for Pallister at his business and home, trying to find out his intentions.
Then on Halloween, Pallister surfaced. He talked to a bunch of media, including Larry, but only offered a vague hint on whether he’ll toss his name into the as-of-yet unannounced leadership contest.
Pallister’s name has come up before as being a leadership material. The first was in 2000 to replace Gary Filmon. The second was in 2006 to challenge Stuart Murray for the provincial leadership.
This time Pallister sounds a little more committed.
But if he expects to re-enter public life—he left federal politics in 2008—he’s got to pick a platform plank different than Bipole III.
For him to say there should be a provincial referendum on the route the new hydro transmission line takes is four years too late. Some would argue even longer. And it’s hardly original.
If Pallister is truly serious about putting the "C" back in the conservative party, he can’t do it on bipole, or by sending out flowers to a few select Tories.
Chief McCaskill: Five more years? Three?
One of my last assignments as police reporter was covering the swearing-in of Keith McCaskill as the city’s police chief Nov. 20, 2007.
He said then he was committed to the position for five years.
I asked him recently about his intentions of signing up to stay on the job longer, but he offered no firm answer.
All he said was he and his wife Grace will talk about it at some point soon.
From what I see, McCaskill has four stable years as chief under his belt, certainly a lot more stable than his predecessors Jack Ewatski, David Cassels, Dale Henry and Herb Stephen.
From what I see, he doesn’t appear to be a person in a rush to go anywhere -- just yet, anyway.
The other question is: who in the department has his or her eyes on the chief’s office? The two deputy chiefs are Shelley Hart and Art Stannard. Both could ease into McCaskill’s chair without much of a blip.
With all respect to Stannard, my money is on Hart.