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Rumours suggest disloyal NDP staff members may face firing

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger arrives for a news conference Oct. 28 to announce his future intentions. (David Lipnowski / The Canadian Press)
Premier Selinger versus the Gang of Five
Premier Greg Selinger announced Oct. 28 that he has no intention of stepping down and plans to lead the NDP into the next provincial election, expected in 2016. (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press)
Premier Greg Selinger is supported by 15 members of his caucus as he announced Oct. 28 he is staying on as NDP leader despite pressure from five outspoken cabinet ministers who want him to quit. (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press)
Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald is one of the Group of Five dissidents who demanded Greg Selinger quit as NDP leader. There is speculation she would like to replace him. (Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Health Minister Erin Selby said Greg Selinger should resign as NDP leader because the party's poll numbers are down significantly. She blamed a poor rollout of the PST increase in 2013 on Selinger. (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Finance Minister Jennifer Howard added her voice to demands Greg Selinger step down as NDP leader.  (Tim Smith / Brandon Sun files)
Municipal Affairs Minister Stan Struthers demanded Greg Selinger quit as NDP leader, claiming the premier is to blame for the dismal rollout of the PST increase in 2013. However, as finance minister in 2013, it was Struthers's job to sell that PST increase. He did not say anything about his responsibility when he demanded Selinger quit. (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Justice Minister Andrew Swan invited the media into his legislature office to hold a scrum n which he said Greg Selinger has to quit as NDP leader because of poor poll numbers. Swan ran against Selinger in a leadership contest five years ago. He had to pull out because of his poor showing. He entrenched himself in the Selinger camp at that time.
Becky Barrett, seen here in a file photo, loudly demanded on Oct. 27 the resignation of Premier Greg Selinger as NDP leader. The former labour minister and longtime NDP worker was the campaign chairwoman for cabinet Minister Andrew Swan during his failed bid for the leadership in 2009. Swan is a member of the Gang of Five cabinet ministers demanding Selinger step aside. (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free press files)
Darlene Dziewit, the former president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour and a longtime New Democrat, is one of those demanding Premier Greg Selinger quit as NDP leader. (facebook)
Transportation Minister Steve Ashton is hounded by a few reporters as he walks in the halls of the legislature. Ashton lost the leadership bid in 2009 to Greg Selinger. He was not one of the five dissidents who demanded Selinger resign. He was also not at a news conference Selinger held to announce he would not quit. Ashton is seen as a certain candidate if the party held a leadership race. (Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press)
Media members wait in the legislature to talk to politicians as Greg Selinger struggles with a palace coup. (Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press)
Conservative Leader Brian Pallister says the power struggle in the NDP is hurting Manitobans because it takes attention away from the business of governing the province. (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press)
Media pundits criticized Opposition Leader Brian Pallister for failing to take full advantage of the NDP power struggle. The Progressive Conservative party is sitting high in the polls, compared with the NDP's low approval rate. (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press)
Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger arrives for a news conference Oct. 28 to announce his future intentions. - (David Lipnowski / The Canadian Press)
Premier Greg Selinger announced Oct. 28 that he has no intention of stepping down and plans to lead the NDP into the next provincial election, expected in 2016. - (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press)
Premier Greg Selinger is supported by 15 members of his caucus as he announced Oct. 28 he is staying on as NDP leader despite pressure from five outspoken cabinet ministers who want him to quit. - (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press)
Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald is one of the Group of Five dissidents who demanded Greg Selinger quit as NDP leader. There is speculation she would like to replace him. - (Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Health Minister Erin Selby said Greg Selinger should resign as NDP leader because the party's poll numbers are down significantly. She blamed a poor rollout of the PST increase in 2013 on Selinger. - (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Finance Minister Jennifer Howard added her voice to demands Greg Selinger step down as NDP leader. - (Tim Smith / Brandon Sun files)
Municipal Affairs Minister Stan Struthers demanded Greg Selinger quit as NDP leader, claiming the premier is to blame for the dismal rollout of the PST increase in 2013. However, as finance minister in 2013, it was Struthers's job to sell that PST increase. He did not say anything about his responsibility when he demanded Selinger quit. - (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press files)
Justice Minister Andrew Swan invited the media into his legislature office to hold a scrum n which he said Greg Selinger has to quit as NDP leader because of poor poll numbers. Swan ran against Selinger in a leadership contest five years ago. He had to pull out because of his poor showing. He entrenched himself in the Selinger camp at that time.
Becky Barrett, seen here in a file photo, loudly demanded on Oct. 27 the resignation of Premier Greg Selinger as NDP leader. The former labour minister and longtime NDP worker was the campaign chairwoman for cabinet Minister Andrew Swan during his failed bid for the leadership in 2009. Swan is a member of the Gang of Five cabinet ministers demanding Selinger step aside. - (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free press files)
Darlene Dziewit, the former president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour and a longtime New Democrat, is one of those demanding Premier Greg Selinger quit as NDP leader. - (facebook)
Transportation Minister Steve Ashton is hounded by a few reporters as he walks in the halls of the legislature. Ashton lost the leadership bid in 2009 to Greg Selinger. He was not one of the five dissidents who demanded Selinger resign. He was also not at a news conference Selinger held to announce he would not quit. Ashton is seen as a certain candidate if the party held a leadership race. - (Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press)
Media members wait in the legislature to talk to politicians as Greg Selinger struggles with a palace coup. - (Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press)
Conservative Leader Brian Pallister says the power struggle in the NDP is hurting Manitobans because it takes attention away from the business of governing the province. - (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press)
Media pundits criticized Opposition Leader Brian Pallister for failing to take full advantage of the NDP power struggle. The Progressive Conservative party is sitting high in the polls, compared with the NDP's low approval rate. - (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press)

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/10/2014 (2074 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A heavy pall pervades the Manitoba Legislative Building today with rumours Premier Greg Selinger is about to fire staff members he believes are disloyal.

There is also a degree of resentment against the five high-ranking cabinet ministers who’ve gone public about their fears Selinger’s leadership is dragging down the political fortunes of the NDP, and that their comments to the media Monday and Tuesday has also tarnished the New Democrats.

Premier Greg Selinger cancelled this week’s cabinet meeting to make a brief appearance at We Day in Winnipeg before heading to Flin Flon where he will spend the rest of the day.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI/ THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES

Premier Greg Selinger cancelled this week’s cabinet meeting to make a brief appearance at We Day in Winnipeg before heading to Flin Flon where he will spend the rest of the day.

Selinger cancelled this week’s cabinet meeting to make a brief appearance at We Day in Winnipeg before heading to Flin Flon where he will spend the rest of the day.

What Selinger does next in the political saga that’s enveloped the NDP government — much to the glee of the Opposition Progressive Conservatives—is expected to be played out over the coming days and certainly before the government introduces its throne speech, expected after Remembrance Day.

Selinger, in announcing he’s staying on as premier, has threatened that if the five cabinet ministers don’t want to support him, they could be expelled from cabinet or choose to resign. There is no indication today that any action has been taken by or against Finance Minister Jennifer Howard, Municipal Affairs Minister Stan Struthers, Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald, Justice Minister Andrew Swan and Health Minister Erin Selby.

Those pushing for Selinger to resign are hoping to duplicate in Manitoba what former B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell’s 2010 resignation did for the B.C. Liberals. The West Coast Liberals experienced a resurgence in public opinion polls and have remained in power under new leader Christy Clark.

Campbell resigned after his popularity fell to only nine per cent due to B.C.’s introduction of the harmonized sales tax.

Tourism, Culture, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux said today he supports Selinger.

He also said the current internal feud between members of the NDP caucus over Selinger’s leadership has to be resolved quickly.

"This whole issue should have been solved and dealt with internally," Lemieux said. "He said that he’s staying as premier, so as far as I’m concerned he’s staying as premier. No matter how you cut it, if the coach says he’s staying, he’s staying.

"If the premier says he’s staying, my job is to work with him and to work with my caucus and move forward."

Lemieux said he’s had conversations with Selinger over the direction of the government, but that those discussions will stay confidential.

"To me, who is the enemy? The enemy is Brian Pallister, on a political level. Brian Pallister to me, and the Progressive Conservatives, are a scary party."

Lemieux, also is responsible for Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, said he was in a standing committee Tuesday and could not be present at a news conference where Selinger said he was staying put.

Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross, a Selinger loyalist, said the work of government is continuing.

"You know what, it’s business as usual," she told reporters following an event celebrating Women’s History Month at the Manitoba Legislative Building.

She noted, for example, that the premier was in the North today "talking about jobs and the economy."

Irvin-Ross refused to comment on the concerns raised by some of her cabinet colleagues about Selinger’s leadership.

"I’m here to say that I support Premier Selinger wholeheartedly," she said before ducking into the NDP caucus offices. "I have confidence in his leadership. I know I have colleagues that have confidence in his leadership and also many Manitobans (who do)."

Meanwhile, former Manitoba NDP premier Howard Pawley said today that it’s in the party’s interests to resolve its differences soon.

"I don’t think (there) is any advantage within the party on either side (to let divisions drag on). I think they need to deal with it quickly," he said from Windsor.

Pawley emphasized that as a former premier he did not want to comment on Selinger’s performance or whether he should resign.

"I don’t want to say he’s doing the right thing or doing the wrong thing because I don’t think that would be appropriate," said Pawley, who was premier from 1981 to 1988.

He said if the party can come to a "compromise" it is not too late for it to recover and retain power.

"It’s over a year before the election so they have lots of time," he said.

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Read full biography

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History

Updated on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 1:09 PM CDT: Updates with comments from Kerri Irvin-Ross

3:46 PM: Adds comment from Lemieux, fixes typo in headline.

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