Answers to pop-culture questions reveal plenty about the leaders of Manitoba’s political parties


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As irony would have it, NDP Leader Greg Selinger is unfamiliar with the upcoming Marvel film, Civil War.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/04/2016 (2313 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

As irony would have it, NDP Leader Greg Selinger is unfamiliar with the upcoming Marvel film, Civil War.

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister is the only party boss who closely followed the fortunes of the Winnipeg Jets this spring. And only Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari is an expert on reality TV.

These useless pieces of trivia were provoked by a series of pop-culture, lifestyle and personal questions posed to the leaders of Manitoba’s four major political parties in the midst of a serious election campaign.

Go on and scoff, if you must, but the responses to the questions reveal more than whether the premier wannabes live in a bubble. They serve as a sort of Rorschach inkblot, as the answers are less important than the way the candidates go about responding.

Keep that in mind as you peruse the 2016 edition of Stupid Questions for Smart Candidates, updated for the provincial election:


What does it mean when Beyoncé says “I slay?”

James Beddome: No clue, pass.

Rana Bokhari: Gosh, I don’t know. I love the song, though. She’s a little bombshell, so it must be something super-fierce. I know what fierce means. That’s a Beyoncé word.

Brian Pallister: Let me think of something clever and witty here. No. I’m at a loss.

Greg Selinger: I slay? I have zero idea.

From left: Greg Selinger, Rana Bokhari, James Beddome, Brian Pallister


Do you think Taylor and Calvin are going to be together forever?

Beddome: I’m going to say not likely.

Bokhari: I hope so. They’re adorable.

Pallister: No, because she just uses her dates for inspiration for her next album.

Selinger: I have no idea.


Friendly relations between Scotland and America. @calvinharris

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Jul 3, 2015 at 4:33pm PDT



You’re going to Las Vegas. Do you see J.Lo, Mariah Carey or Britney Spears?

Beddome: This election is all about the 1990s, so I’ll go with Mariah Carey.

Bokhari: J.Lo, because the ’90s. I’m a ’90s kid.

Pallister: I don’t gamble, so Vegas isn’t my favourite spot.

Selinger: J.Lo. She’s cool. Still cool, after all these years.


What does Beyoncé mean when she says ‘I slay?’


What would your name be if you were a rapper?

Beddome: The Green Machine.

Bokhari: Little Scraps. Get it? That’s so good! And that came off the top of my head.

Pallister: Dad, because I’d be getting the Christmas gifts ready. It’s not my favourite form of music.

Selinger: Oh, God. Rocky.


 What was the last book you read?

Mariah Carey

Beddome: I’m often reading articles and lots of non-fiction, lots of law stuff. I’m trying to think of the last I pulled out a novel. Probably Losing Confidence, by Elizabeth May, is the last book I read and sadly that was years ago.

Bokhari: It’s called Inspire. I don’t know who the author is… it’s just about time management and a culture of thinking that if you’re working 80 hours, that’s a positive thing. It’s a good book. It’s directed at women in leadership roles.

Pallister: This is old-timer stuff, but I’m reading Alice Munro’s collected short stories right now and it’s wonderful.

SelingerThe Reason We Walk, by Wab Kinew. I thought it was good. It was very, very interesting.


What was the last film you saw in a theatre?

Beddome: It’s been years. I only don’t go to the theatre. I haven’t been in over five years.

BokhariZoolander. I honestly didn’t think it was funny. I loved the first one. I didn’t like the second one.

Pallister: Really good question. I love film, as I think you know. I just saw Eye In The Sky, with Helen Mirren.

Selinger: The last film I saw was in the (Centennial) Concert Hall: Hyena Road. Paul Gross.



Which superhero movie excites you more: Civil War or Dawn of Justice? 

Beddome: Let’s go with Dawn of Justice because we have a lot of just policies.

Bokhari: I have no idea. Civil War.

Pallister: I’ve been engrossed in watching the $6-million man perform for the last few years. That’s the amount the premier borrows every day, more than he brings in, with some of Canada’s highest taxes.

Selinger: I haven’t seen either one of them, so take your pick.



Name one of the two Winnipeggers competing on Big Brother Canada.

Beddome: No clue.

Bokhari: Oh! Jerrod and Cassandra.

Pallister: I should know that. I don’t know.

Selinger: Currently competing? I have no idea. But I met the guy that was on the show and he works at St. Boniface hospital as a nurse. Him and his son, they did really well. They won! (”No, that wasn’t Big Brother,” sighed handler Naline Rampersad.)



Do you know what dabbing is?

Beddome: If you’re playing bingo, I do.

Bokhari: No, I actually don’t, and it does not sound really good, either.

Pallister: Dabbing? It used to refer to a technique that people used at bingo, but now I’m not sure. Probably a different application entirely.

Selinger: No.


Peyton Manning or Tom Brady?

Beddome: Neither. Either has some baggage I don’t want to be associated with.

Bokhari: I’d say Peyton Manning, maybe. Not interested.

Pallister: Sorry about this, but I’m really partial to whoever the latest Bomber quarterback is.

Selinger: Tom Brady. I like Boston and I like the Patriots.


Bloomberg Warner Bros. Pictures
Ben Affleck (left) as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

What does Andrew Harris bring to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers?

Beddome: He’s a tackle, isn’t he? I’m not sure.

Bokhari: I love wearing Blue Bomber gear. I love going to the games, but if you’re going to ask me whether I understand football, I gotta say I don’t.

Pallister: Hometown-hero status.

Selinger: Running-back ability. The ability to move… with the ball.


Who should start in goal for the Jets next year?

Beddome: Pavelec.

Bokhari: You’re asking me sports questions! I don’t know. What are my options? Can you give me some names?

Pallister: They’re going to have such a good defence, it really doesn’t matter.

Selinger: That’s a good question. It’s a little early to say. They’ve got re-evaluate at the end of the year. It’s going to be somebody who doesn’t get injured very often, let’s put it that way.


Did you support the tank this year?

Beddome: I don’t even know what the tank is.

Bokhari: What’s the tank? I don’t know what that is.

Pallister: No. I’m thinking we should change the formula to disincent that tactic.

Selinger: Don’t even know what it is.


Bomber GM Kyle Walters introduces running back Andrew Harris.


Where were you on 9/11?

Beddome: I was living in residence (at U of M). I went to my political studies class at about 10 a.m. and we talked about what happened that morning for the entire class.

Bokhari: IQs. The University of Manitoba. The billiards (place). I was up there having coffee. There were like 300 people jam-packed into that coffee place on the second floor of University Centre, watching it all go down.

Pallister: I was in my office in Ottawa. I was the newly appointed foreign affairs critic for the Official Opposition.

Selinger: I was in Quebec City at a conference on energy conservation and hydro. Everybody flew out right away. I stuck around and drove up the coast of the Gaspé region and looked at wind-power projects. We came back and did some in Manitoba.


To tank or not to tank?

Where did you go the last time you left Canada?

Beddome: I went all over Ireland. My favourite place probably was Achill Island. We also went to Sligo Town, Dublin and Cork. That was June of 2014.

Bokhari: Bridgetown, Barbados (in) 2014.

Pallister: The former site of Jack’s Bar in Maida, N.D…. I used to make at least a semi-annual drive down there. It was the drive as much as the steak at the end. It’s one of my major lamentations that it’s closed now. (I went) back last fall.

Selinger: Paris, for the climate-change conference, just before Christmas.


How many cars do you own and what are they?

Beddome: It’s the same answer the last time you asked (in 2011). It’s a 1998 Buick Century. I hardly drive. It was my grandma’s car.

Bokhari: One. It’s an Audi A4. 2012.

Pallister: I have a used BMW sedan with awesome legroom. It’s a 2003, I think. Our daughters have vehicles as well.

Selinger: One. Dodge Journey, 2011. We’ve always been a one-car family.


What’s the assessed value of your home?

Beddome: I rent a condo, so zero.

Bokhari: I don’t own a home. I rent a condo and if I have an assessed value of anything, it’s zero.

Pallister: I think it’s assessed at over $2 million, but I wouldn’t sell it for that.

Selinger: My wife just told me the other day. It’s around $230,000, $240,000. Something like that.


How many drinks do you consume every week?

Beddome: Oooh. Can I plead the fifth on that one? I tend to have a couple of drinks at the end of a long, 14-hour day, so I tend to have a few cocktails in a week.

Bokhari: That’s a good question. Considering all the events we go to, I would say maybe like two, three probably, easily. Two, three glasses of wine.

Pallister: You didn’t describe the nature of the drinks, so I would go with 50. [”How many alcoholic beverages?”] Fewer than 50.

Selinger: Maybe half of one. I don’t drink much.



What will you do the day after marijuana is legalized?

Beddome: I’ll be enjoying that day. But I will say I have a bet with everyone that I know that Trudeau’s not going to do it in his first term. I’m willing to make a legal bet of one quarter of marijuana if it’s legalized — or $70 of cash if it’s not within his first term.

Bokhari: I’ll probably try to avoid the smell. Sorry, I hate the smell of marijuana. That’s just my only thing. Down with legalizing it, but don’t like the smell.

Pallister: Drive even more carefully.

Selinger: The same thing I did the day before.


All of Barbados’s beaches have public access, so pack a picnic and take your pick. (Cinda Chavich / Canwest)


Where do you buy your groceries?

Beddome: Sometimes Fresh Carrot, sometimes Safeway and I do some direct ordering from Food Ethos Farms.

Bokhari: Superstore, Safeway and Sobey’s.

Pallister: Food Fare.

Selinger: Up at Safeway, often. I also go to The Forks, and go around to different shops for fish and things like that. I also go to Tall Grass for breads.


What will your party do to secure the future of Tommy the Turtle?

Beddome: We’re all about habitat protection, so we’ll make sure we take care of Tommy.

Bokhari: First off, I would like to sit down with Tommy the Turtle and he can tell me all his special qualities before I make that answer. 

Pallister: One of the first things we’re going to pursue is better water-management strategies, by co-operating with Saskatchewan.

Selinger: We’re big on protecting endangered species of all kinds and we’re declaring more every year. That’s part of our plan to keep Manitoba diverse project.


What happens once marijuana is legalized?


Say one nice thing about another party leader.

Beddome: I was friends with Rana Bokhari in law school and I know she has a good heart.

Bokhari: I wish I could say something nice about Brian, but that would take a lot of hours of reflection. Selinger: Public servant for a really long time. I think you gotta give him props for that.

Pallister: I think Rana Bokhari is doing really well. It’s her first campaign, and I think she’s doing really well, based on that.

Selinger: Brian Pallister believes in what he believes in. Rana Bokhari (is) trying to do it for the right reasons.


Questions by Scott Billeck, Erin Lebar, Randy Turner, Wendy Sawatzky, Brad Oswald and Bartley Kives.

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