So, while Huey Duck spends his freshman days as leader still seeking his sea legs, treading ground extremely well trod unsuccessfully to-date -- private health care, anti-master labour agreement, tax cuts for the rich -- there is new evidence today showing that route as a complete non-starter with Manitobans.
This week the Canada West Foundation released an analysis of a recent study they conducted of Manitobans' attitudes on major public policy issues.
Among the list of issues found to be salient with most western Canadians -- improving health care, strengthening the justice system, and increased accountability in general -- Manitobans buck the trends by placing a particularly high priority on the environment, eliminating poverty, aboriginal issues, and an interestingly non-polarized view of childcare (in short, we should both fund more daycare as well as provide support for stay-at-home parents).
Deep tax cuts, the Tory siren song, are not a high priority.
The survey was more evidence of how fundamentally humanistic and progressive Manitobans are in their general orientation. It's a sign that Manitobans think things are pretty good these days.
It's also one more sign that the Doer NDP model of government is right where the Manitoba consensus is and that it's going to take a lot more than a slick corporate lawyer to convince Manitobans that we need to significantly change the course we're on.
In the ever-popular "credit where credit is due" department, nods have to go to the much-maligned Winnipeg Freep Ress editorial pages for a much more sane view of equalization in Wednesday's edition. Not that we agree with the simplistic Frontier Institute nostrum they've bought into that equalization favours bad fiscal policy. (Would someone please tell Peter Holle AGAIN that Manitoba has one of the lowest public service costs per capita in the country?)
And credit also goes to the king of frequently colourful (yikes!) quotes, Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin, for his letter to the editor Wednesday condemning the recent Ontario CUPE anti-Israel resolution, showing that the Canadian labour movement and the federal NDP is not completely insane.