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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/10/2014 (2083 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Wolseley NDP MLA Rob Altemeyer has sent a bulletin to his constituents explaining his views on the attempt by several front-bench NDP cabinet ministers to get Selinger to resign to give the party a better chance at winning the next election.
Altemeyer supports Selinger.
He was asked by the Free Press Tuesday to explain what he thinks about the revolt, but declined only saying he supported the premier.
I’m not much of a fan of ignoring elephants in the room. Most of you receiving this are probably wondering about my thoughts on recent events at the Manitoba Legislature, which at the time of writing are still unfolding. At some point that might be helpful or even necessary, but now isn’t that time. Let me just simply say that, as you may have seen on video yesterday, I was standing behind Premier Selinger when he stated he is staying on as Premier to work on the task he was elected to do: improve the lives of Manitobans. I support that decision.
My purpose with this Postcard is to give you an alternative analysis on what really happened in the Winnipeg civic election. This is timely because the "common wisdom" in the corporate media has tried to link Judy Wasylycia-Leis’ loss in the Mayoral race to the provincial government’s PST decision. That storyline just isn’t supported by the evidence available, but left unchecked, progressive people may draw the wrong conclusions from the election results or worse yet, feel demoralized about engaging in the crucial federal election coming up, or the provincial contest after that.
Let’s start with the more or less unanimous description of what happened according to the corporate media: Judy had a huge lead, then lost it due to a tidal wave of anger from voters who were mad the provincial government raised the PST.
Now, hit the pause button and ask yourself one very simple question: when during the civic election did the voting public find out about the PST?
The answer of course, is 18 months ago. Well before the marathon civic election even started.
Which makes the whole "PST sunk Judy" storyline in the civic election look pretty stupid.
There’s other evidence discrediting this overly simplistic analysis. For instance, Ft Rouge City Councilor Jenny Gerbasi is about as outspoken a New Democrat as City Hall has had over the past decade. How did she do in the face of a "tidal wave of anger" at the NDP? She claimed two-thirds of the votes and won her seat by nearly 10,000 ballots. Brian Mayes, another NDP Councilor but in the far more suburban St. Vital ward had an even stronger result, winning over 14,000 votes and nearly three-quarters of all votes cast. Indeed, the City Council that got elected has more progressive people on it than the old Council did. That’s not much of a tidal wave.
One last bit of evidence to consider – in the same Ft. Rouge ward where Jenny Gerbasi did so well as an NDP Councilor, the Judy for Mayor campaign finished third. Yes, you read that correctly, third. Eventual winner Brian Bowman got 5,500 votes, and Robert Falcon Oulette received just over 4,000, leaving Judy with just under 4,000 from what should have been a very strong ward in her Mayoral campaign.
Clearly, the electorate delivered a far more sophisticated message last week than the "referendum on the PST" mantra being spouted by corporate media sources, and echoed more recently by even prominent members of the NDP (who should know better).
The far more likely explanation is that multiple factors probably led to Judy’s defeat. With further hindsight perhaps those who were closest to her campaign will be able to identify those issues so we can address them better in the future.
The PST may have been one of those factors, but at most it was only one piece in the puzzle. Claiming otherwise is inaccurate at best. Doing so to serve an ulterior political purpose is deceitful, and damaging to the movement for social justice that all of us need to be working towards.
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