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This article was published 5/12/2008 (4674 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Bill Blaikie, the NDP's elder stateman in Manitoba, is jumping into provincial politics at the request of Premier Gary Doer.
The recently retired federal MP from Elmwood-Transcona, is seeking the provincial nomination in Elmwood. He's filed his papers with the party, said NDP Provincial Secretary Sonia Kowalewich this morning.
Blaikie said Doer approached him to run in Elmwood - not the first time the premier has tried to woo Blaikie into provincial politics.
"I retired from parliament. I didn't retire from my interest in public life and service," said Blaikie, adding this allows him to remain active in politics but closer to home.
He's battling two other candidates for the right to carry the NDP banner in the upcoming byelection: Darryl Livingstone is a longtime party activist and Elmwood Coun. Lillian Thomas's assistant, while Ed Innes is running for nomination largely on the issue of the proposed closure of the Disraeli Bridge.
The nomination meeting is in very short order on Dec. 14.
Premier Gary Doer hasn't called a byelection yet. He's expected to do that in time for a spring race.
If Blaikie wins the nomination and the seat, it means he would have swapped jobs with former Elmwood MLA Jim Maloway, who resigned from provincial politics to run for Blaikie's former federal seat.
Blaikie is widely expected to get a cabinet post almost immediately, especially since there is a vacancy following the recent death of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Oscar Lathlin.
"I certainly hope I would be in cabinet," said Blaikie. "But I just want to get the nomination first."
Blaikie's entree into the Manitoba house would likely kickstart speculation about the next leader of the provincial NDP should Doer ever step down. Blaikie is well-regarded within the party, and would likely be considered a possible successor to Doer, though many believe Doer will seek a fourth term as premier.