Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
What’s next for Rebecca Blaikie?
NDP candidate Rebecca Blaikie lost by 117 votes last night in a squeaker in Winnipeg North, thanks to Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux’s strength in Tyndall Park and some advance votes that bumped him over the top.
The Freep’s Melissa Martin tweeted last night that Blaikie was pumped about the NDP’s remarkable gains federally, despite her loss. She was equally cheerful this morning, but coy about what she might do next.
For now, she said she’d go back to her job co-managing the Community Education Resource Association on Selkirk Avenue.
I asked whether there might be a role for her in Opposition Leader Jack Layton’s office. He’ll certainly be hiring. Blaikie said she hadn’t thought about it yet but was keeping her options open.
She did speak highly of the new NDP caucus which, despite jokes about new MPs who went to Vegas instead of campaigning, is replete with some quality people (including Freep business columnist Marty Cash's rock star brother — www.cashfortoronto.ca/), who is as dapper and slouchy as Marty.)
Keep in mind Blaikie laid the groundwork for the NDP’s remarkable gains in Quebec. When no one else wanted the job, she ran the party’s Quebec wing and helped orchestrate MP Thomas Mulcair’s toehold in the Outremont riding.
"We had nothing, and someone had to build the from-scratch part and I was nuts enough to try," she said.
That grassroots work paid dividends last night in the form of 58 seats. If Blaikie had stayed in Montreal, she might be an MP now.
One thing she all but ruled out was a run provincially. The number of core-area ridings without NDP nominees is dwindling anyway, but Blaikie said it’s not her intention to run for the provincial NDP.
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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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