Let's be more specific -- the Tories and the Liberals now say they don't want an election any time soon.
The new comedy team of Kevin and Kevin (as in "I love Vic Toews" Goertzen and "I'm crazy -- really crazy" Lamoureux) joined forces to express the opposition parties' demand today that the premier hold off an election, pending Election Manitoba's investigation of the NDP nomination spat in the Maples.
"Whaaa?" you say. "Since when does an opposition admit it's scared of an election, even if they are?"
Excellent question, you sharpie, you.
First off, no sane person would think the accusations in the Maples by a disgruntled New Democrat over internal NDP business is of such import that it should have any effect on whether the premier should call an election.
After all, other accusations by a sitting MLA -- Denis Rocan to be precise -- about his party's malfeasance in manipulating the Carmen nomination against him makes the Maples issue look ridiculously tame, whether any of it is true or not (we suspect not, though).
But unlike the Premier who sent the Maples accusation to Elections Manitoba immediately, Huey has done absolutely nothing with the stinker in his own back yard (neither has Rocan, it must be said, even though he should).
Second, wasn't Hugh just raring to have an election called only a few weeks ago?
Why, yes he was. Here's Hugh in the House on November 30, 2006:
"He's [the Premier] got two options today, Mr. Speaker. Call an inquiry [over Crocus] or call an election. If he won't call an inquiry, will he call an election today?"
Wow. Huey sounded pretty confident then. Pretty cock-sure, eh?
Today, though, it seems not so much the case.
Perhaps that's why he passed off the job of wearing the chicken suit to Goertzen, rather than face the embarrassment of doing the public flip-flop himself.
Why the difference today, you ask? Why the change of heart?
Well we know why with Lamoureux. He's in big trouble facing a very strong NDP challenger who's a prominent member of the Filipino community. This is also why Kevvie grabbed this little issue and tried to wring every ounce of publicity possible from it -- going so far as to commit a probably regrettable act of defamation in the legislative hallway aimed at Michael Balagus that may well soon go to the courts.
But what about Hugh?
We'd say a good bet is his internal polling shows that he's in deep do-do and would get slaughtered at the ballot box in any outing in the near future.
Wait, you say? Is it fair to say Huey has flip-flopped on an election call? Perhaps the Maples stuff came to light since the last time he publicly dared the Premier to call an election and he didn't know about the Maples issue, such as it is, back then.
Nah, no dice.
Lamoureux raised the issue more than a week before in the House on November 22 and Mia Rabson wrote about the allegations in the next day's paper (as Kevvie so kindly documents), noting the matter was already under investigation by Elections Manitoba.
Now we don't know whether the Premier will call an election soon or not. But with the opposition so willing to show their chicken feathers, we wonder if this might help Mr. Doer's decision process.
From the file called: Not Only Does The Media Have No Long-Term Memory, Their Short-Term Ain't Too Hot Neither.
The CBC Manitoba web story about the above affair today begins with the following:
"The NDP government publicly acknowledged on Tuesday that Elections Manitoba is investigating allegations of wrongdoing by party members..."
Well, duh. The Premier's office sent it to Elections Manitoba for investigation as soon as it received Kaur Sidhu's letter in September (about the time Lamoureux decided to sit on it). This fact is actually mentioned later on in the story.
The idiocy goes further, though. The story carries the title "Elections Manitoba investigates alleged NDP misconduct."
Double duh. That was public back in November.
Wonder whether that fits the CBC's standards for journalism?
Here's an excerpt from the foreword to its handbook of Journalistic Standards and Practices: "It [the CBC] has established a reputation for rigorous and courageous journalistic programs, the excellence of which is recognized worldwide."
Hmm. Rigorous and courageous, eh?
But perhaps we shouldn't be too hard on the denizens of 541 Portage Avenue, as here's what they would find if they looked for further guidance from the Mother Ship's website to try and find out exactly what those Journalistic Standards and Practices are.
After beating up on them, we change pace to simply say: Janet Stewart? Yes. Thumbs up. (Beauregard ... eh, not so sure.)
Thanks to our correspondents again for this tip:
Long-time mainstay of Osborne Village, Basil Lagopoulos, is putting his well-known restaurant Basil's on the sale block, for a cool $1.5 million. Good luck, sir.
UPDATE: We note over the morning jo that the only print take-up on the Tory/Liberal laugh-fest was a story by Mia Rabson that got "Web Extra" treatment (in the old days, that simply meant it got the spike). Mia also largely ignored the Maples angle but focused on Tory complaints on how Elections Manitoba operates. (The Tories got more jam out of complaining that a Wheat Board referendum ballot got to a cattle rancher.) Either the Maples "issue" is boring even to the leg watchers, or the potential trouble with upcoming legal action outweighs any minor newsworthiness of the opposition's lame stunt. (Or perhaps a bit of both.) Just so this issue isn't forgotten, though, we'll link to the press release stemming from the chicken suit outing, noting we can only find it on the Liberals' site not on the PCs'.