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Tories rejig 2011 election strategy

Planned to fight Doer in next round

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/8/2009 (3923 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Hugh McFadyen: needs new strategy

Hugh McFadyen: needs new strategy

THE departure of a popular premier should give the leader of the Official Opposition a boost, but Hugh McFadyen wasn't saying so Thursday.

"Our focus is really not so much on them (the NDP) as it is on preparing ourselves for government" by developing sound policies and nominating good candidates, the Tory leader said.

"That will have a lot more to do with our success or failure than anything that happens with our opponents," he told reporters after Premier Gary Doer announced he would be stepping down this fall after a decade in office.

McFadyen, on Thursday, called Doer a "formidable" opponent, but declined to comment on the political implications of his departure.

"We were planning our next election campaign on the assumption that we were running against Gary Doer. I'm going to have to now throw that plan out the window and start a new one, I guess," he said.

But others believe the Conservatives must be salivating at the thought of facing anybody but Doer in the next provincial election.

Paul Thomas, a University of Manitoba political studies professor, said Doer looked "almost unbeatable" even after a decade in power. "He continued to ride high in the polls and if you had to make a prediction based on available evidence, you'd think he could have won a fourth term," Thomas said.

By leaving the provincial stage, the premier leaves an opening for McFadyen because it is unlikely Doer's successor will have the political skills, Thomas said.

One advantage for McFadyen's Tories is that they will soon learn who they'll be facing in the next election as the NDP leadership is expected to be settled this fall.

There had been a lot of speculation about the timing of Doer's departure or whether he would seek a fourth mandate. But now that political guessing game is over.

"It's not as if Hugh McFadyen is doing cartwheels now," said Jared Wesley, another U of M political scientist.

But the Tory leader may be relieved that the wait is over, 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.

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