Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/4/2007 (3775 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
This weekend, in a classic piece of over-reaction, the NDP jumped all over Reimer, calling the veteran Conservative MLA sexist.
His sin? He referred to Selby as "a prop" in a media interview.
Selby is the NDP's star candidate and the woman who hopes to unseat Reimer in Southdale. She is, in fact, the only star candidate in this year's race.
Her name recognition comes from her career in television, where the telegenic Selby was an anchor for City TV. It does not come from her lengthy background as a political insider.
There's nothing wrong with fielding celebrity candidates and hoping folks will vote for the name they recognize. Every party does it. Think back to 1995, when CFL star Chris Walby was persuaded to run under the Liberal banner. Like Selby, he was chosen because folks knew him, liked him and might be moved to mark an X beside his name.
The strategy failed, as Bluto picked up only 22 per cent of the vote.
Jack Reimer stated the obvious. The NDP asked Erin Selby to run against him because she's well-known, well-liked, involved in the community, and has a fair chance of garnering a pile of votes.
Does that make her a prop? Heck, I'm not even sure what Reimer meant when he used the term. Of all the insults traditionally hurled at women "prop" is one I've never heard -- and I've been on the receiving end of most of them.
The NDP went into overdrive, flaying Reimer as though he'd used Don Imus language to denigrate its candidate. They accused the Conservative MLA of being threatened by strong women, not respecting women and "lashing out" at Selby.
Status of Women Minister Nancy Allan smelled an excuse for a little moral outrage. She fired off a news release condemning Reimer and announcing she and other female NDP candidates would gather outside the Fort Garry Hotel to expand on their fury.
Reimer promptly apologized to Selby, denying the NDP the opportunity to milk this one any further.
But the NDP wasn't done. In an e-mail yesterday, a party insider pointed out that Reimer refers to himself as "the best man for the job" on his website.
Cue the creepy organ music.
Are we really supposed to conclude that "best man for the job" is code for "that prop girl can't possibly do the job"? Gimme a break.
This is lowest common denominator of politicking. By pandering to voters and painting an opponent as morally bankrupt, spendthrift or sexist, you're just flinging mud and hoping some of it will stick.
I find it interesting that the veteran NDP women decided to treat Erin Selby as some sort of delicate blossom in need of their protection. By hopping all over Reimer and defending Selby's honour, they gave the impression she can't take care of herself.
News flash: Erin Selby is smart, capable and so well organized she was able to juggle a high profile media job and her job as the mother of triplets. She's already proven she's nobody's baby.
Yesterday, Selby said she "was disappointed" by the remark and that she felt "completely supported" by the NDP. What else was she supposed to say: "This young prop can kick the stuffing out of Jack Reimer any old day"?
Save the outrage in case something truly sexist happens in this campaign. So far, we've got nothing more critical than an NDP-created tempest in a tea pot. Nancy Allan knows that but she was hoping our current awareness and antipathy towards racist and sexist language would work in her party's favor.
Props to Selby for running and props to Reimer for getting the conversation back to what's best for Southdale. May the best person win.
Lindor Reynolds blogs at www.winnipegfreepress.com