It’s been almost a month since the provincial Tories spring dinner, but the chatter continues.
It has to do with whether St. Vital city councillor Gord Steeves will run as a Progressive Conservative candidate against NDP Health Minister Theresa Oswald in Seine River in the Oct. 4 election.
The reason for all this chatter is this video that was played at the dinner, used to introduce leader Hugh McFadyen before his speech.
In response, Steeves has said he’s happy being a humble city councillor, and at this stage of his political career, has no ambition to leave city hall.
"Some day, sooner or later, I will probably try to move on to something else," Steeves said in a recent email.
I wonder. Is sooner now?
For the hell of it, I Googled his name and came up with this: http://gordsteeves.com/.
Is this the same Gord Steeves who argued unsuccessfully earlier this year that city councillors should not have to resign their council seat to run as a candidate in a provincial election? Steeves said they should only resign if they are elected.
Oswald says the rumour Steeves is running against her is about as old as some of my socks.
"Until such a move is made, it doesn’t make any never-mind to me," Oswald says. "Whoever decides to run for whichever party, I will view as a formidable candidate. I will just work very hard."
What baffles me is if Steeves is actually thinking of running, why is he taking his own sweet time to announce his candidacy?
What’s the advantage? A big splash?
Or is he waffling?
Other Tory candidates in south Winnipeg have been busting their butts for months knocking on doors and getting their names out in advance of Oct. 4.
Rochelle Squires, a former journalist and about-to-resign Tory staffer, has worn out a couple of pairs of shoes campaigning in Riel. Then there’s Karen Velthuys in St. Norbert, Judy Eastman in Southdale and Ian Rabb in Fort Garry-Riverview. (For a full list, go to the PC website).
So what’s Steeves waiting for?
Maybe it’s because Oswald is no pushover. In 2007, her margin over the PC candidate was 2,497 votes.
Or maybe Steeves is thinking of running in nearby St. Vital? That’s where NDP Education Minister Nancy Allan is running. Maybe he and the Tories think she’s more ripe for picking. (In, 2007, her margin over of the PCs was 2,753 votes.)
Whatever’s going on in the Tory situation room, if Steeves and other big-name candidates are going to make plays against seasoned NDP cabinet ministers they’d better do it now.
Because if McFadyen really has his eye on the premier’s chair, he needs committed candidates in south Winnipeg.
And the longer big names like Steeves and others wait, the less that’s going to happen.
Oswald, Allan and Advanced Education Minister Erin Selby running in Southdale, will see to that.