Elmwood-Transcona NDP MP Bill Blaikie announced his plans to retire in March, 2007. That's a year and a half ago, and the riding still can't seem to get its crap together to find a star candidate or nominate one of the three people already running. Well, two declared candidates - CUPE's Kevin Rebeck and nurse Lorene Mahoney - and MLA Jim Maloway, who has been playing coy for months.
Mary Agnes Welch's Gripe Juice
with Mary Agnes Welch
The province re-announced a wind farm re-announcement today. Besides the fact that the company building the wind farm is dying a slow and painful death in the pages of every Australian newspaper, there were a few interesting things about the announcement:
- today, the questions from Altonans were wide-ranging, intelligent and pointed but polite. People floated good ideas. Everyone knew everyone else and they teased each other a little. The debate ran like clockwork with just enough latitude for some older folks who'd earned it. It was a pleasure to witness.Roy MacGregor wrote today that this has been the worst election he's covered in 30 years. If I'd been around to cover all of it and not just the last two weeks, I would probably agree, except I got to go to Altona.
- point: It was an NDPer who said, quite reasonably, that Elmwood-Transcona is among the safest NDP seats in the country. Blaikie has held it since it included Birds Hill in 1979. That's almost longer than I have been alive. But, I note he won the riding with about 50% of the vote in 2006. Judy W-L won hers with 57%, so maybe that makes Winnipeg North the safest Manitoba NDP seat even though big chunks of it were Liberal a few years ago.My point was that, without a good NDP campaign fronted by a decent candidate who gets out early, that seat could switch if the Tories have a great candidate and some electoral momentum. They pushed hard in the provincial election there last year. And the riding has changed a lot in recent years, and you could argue it was held by Blaikie's personal popularity, not an unwavering loyalty to the NDP. Just sayin', don't write it off. See post below.
- said what should have been said ages ago. I'm sure Curtis, and West End Dumplings will both get soundly trashed for the next several days on TGCTS, or at least until Marty Gold blows the lid off the next story about the profound infallibility of the Winnipeg Police Service.
- wrote about the first one from a Vancouver Island MP late last month. This latest flyer was about drug addicts and how our playgrounds are littered with needles and drug dealers are prowling schoolyards looking to hook kids on the junk. It's all a bit melodramatic, and the American-style over-sell trivializes a complex problem. Plus, it kind of gets up my nose that some MP from small-town Saskatchewan or idyllic Vancouver Island is trying to talk tough about drugs in a riding he's probably never been to and that has genuine problems that deserve a little more thought than a scare-tactic photo of a dirty needle under the baby swings.
About Mary Agnes Welch
Mary Agnes Welch joined the Free Press in 2002, first as a general assignment reporter and then covering city hall and the Manitoba legislature before moving to her current post as public policy reporter.
Before Winnipeg, she worked at the Windsor Star and the Odessa American, a small daily newspaper in West Texas. There, in addition to covering more than 20 counties, she took high school football scores from coaches all over West Texas by phone every Friday night.
Mary Agnes is a graduate of Columbia University’s journalism school, has won several Western Ontario Newspaper Awards and has been part of two teams of reporters nominated for a Michener Award. In 2011, she was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the beat category. She is also the former national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists.
She once misspelled "Shih Tzu" in the paper and received 37 emails from angry dog-owners.
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