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This article was published 4/9/2015 (1675 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Erin Selby insists she's not a sacrificial lamb for the NDP as a late entrant into the federal election campaign, and if party sources are to be believed she may be right.
On Friday, Selby ended weeks of speculation by announcing she will resign her seat in the Manitoba legislature to represent the national party in Saint Boniface-Saint Vital.
She also challenged the notion she wouldn't play more than a spoiler's role in what has been seen as a contest between perceived front-runner Liberal candidate Dan Vandal and Conservative candidate François Catellier.
"When I decided to run for (the provincial constituency of) Southdale in 2007, everyone said I couldn't win, and everyone said the NDP could never hold that seat," Selby told about 80 supporters jammed into a tiny room at the Glenwood Community Centre. "I'm not afraid to go into a difficult election."
NDP sources say Selby was persuaded to launch a federal run after a party poll commissioned last week put her 10 points back of Vandal and well ahead of Catellier. The sources refused to release details, including the size of the polling sample and the phrasing of the question.If the poll is accurate, it may explain why, according to some Tory sources, Conservative party workers are pulling out of Saint Boniface-Saint Vital to work for Joyce Bateman in Winnipeg South Centre and Gordon Giesbrecht in Winnipeg South.
The conventional wisdom among pundits is that Selby's candidacy could split the centre-left vote and allow Catellier to keep the seat for the Conservatives. Shelly Glover, the area's MP since 2008, is not seeking re-election.
Asked to comment on the NDP poll, a Catellier spokesperson said: "The only poll that matters to us is (on) Oct. 19."
Selby, a former Manitoba health minister, was one of five cabinet members who challenged Premier Greg Selinger's leadership last fall, sparking a divisive provincial NDP leadership campaign. Selinger defeated Theresa Oswald, another member of the rebel five. The Manitoba NDP remains divided by the leadership battle, and many within the party have not forgiven the mutineers.
Many, if not most, of the New Democrats who attended her kickoff supported Oswald in the leadership contest. Among the caucus members who attended were rebels Stan Struthers and Andrew Swan and cabinet ministers Dave Chomiak and Gord Mackintosh. Bidhu Jha, who supported Steve Ashton for leader, was also there.
Most political observers believe Selby would have been hard-pressed to retain her Southdale seat in next spring's provincial election, given low polling numbers. Some speculate she could be given a plum post by the federal party if she loses. Asked about that on Friday, she replied: "No, I plan to win."
Speaking to reporters, Selinger thanked Selby for her years of service in the legislature. "It is a loss. I wish her well at the federal level. She brings some good experience that I think would be an asset," he said.
Political scientist Royce Koop said the premier may be relieved one of the rebels has left provincial politics, but it's not good news for his party: "I think the party has actually lost someone who proved she could win in a seat that's a challenge for that party."
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.
Updated on Friday, September 4, 2015 at 8:53 AM CDT: Adds comment re: Vandal
8:58 AM: Updates with full writethru
10:05 AM: Changes photo
12:18 PM: Corrects spelling of Shelly Glover.