Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tory nomination news

It is curious with all the Tory blogs spouting nomination news that they either miss or avoid the one that is of most interest.

We mean, really, the Waddells move on Winnipeg (we loved the "our work is done here" line about rural Manitoba -- very reassuring to urban folks). That's significant?

Trudy Turner in Riel? What's that going to be like? "Hi, I couldn't beat weird old Harvey Smith where I'm known. I'm taking on Melnick who's liked locally and where the NDP is strong." Wow, good one.

Or how about Zyla, who at least surprised the pundits about River Heights--Fort Garry in placing quite respectfully?

Kerri Irvin-Ross may have won by a hair in 2003, but the provincial riding of Fort Garry has become very working class in recent years and Kerri has done lots of strong constituency work (apart from recent her elevation to cabinet).

But as we're on the topic of Fort Garry, let's also consider the last public domain Probe poll for a second.

In our first take on it, we postulated from the Free Press story that Probe was probably showing the NDP leading in the southwest quadrant. Indeed, now that Probe has posted the results, that is actually the case (in their numbers at least): 39 for the Tories, 44 for the NDP, 13 for the Liberals.

Remember, this is a quadrant which -- as we've pointed out before -- has four non-NDP ridings in it, out of a total 9 1/2.

That would seem to indicate a possibly very tight race with the NDP in at least one of those non-NDP seats (Tuxedo -- Heather Stefanson, Charleswood -- Myrna Dreiger, Fort Whyte -- Hugh McFadyen, River Heights -- Jon Gerrard).

Or, as we would say more likely, the NDP's hold on its incumbents has probably become quite a bit stronger than people think.

So, dear reader, you decide what that means. Does it mean that Ms. Zyla or her evangelical teacher opponent (or some other candidates that have been rumoured) needn't bother running in Fort Garry, or does it mean Hugh and Heather have to actually worry about holding onto their seats. Hmm.

We think the former is more likely, but are willing to entertain the latter.

However, the most interesting thing is what's coming out of the leaky ship that is the HMS Huey, which has spouted in the direction on more than one occasion toward the BBAs.

We're sure it has spouted in others, but we can only speak to what we know.

We hear that not only has women's curling champ Jennifer Jones , a lawyer at Crocus-central, Wellington West, been hurrying especially hard at Tory events over the past year or so, but is now definitely looking at trading her hack for working for one.

She's 90% along the way of spurning the pebbled ice on behalf of Team Baby Huey, to challege Health Minister Theresa Oswald in Seine River.

Clearly the PCs see Jones as a star candidate and hope this will give them some octane in their tank come the provincial election.

The unfortunate thing for the PCs' hopes in Seine River is rather less optimistic and it comes on several counts.

The first good thing as mentioned above -- the riding in question which had in the past been a Tory stronghold is likely now a pretty safe NDP seat, considering the overall NDP support in the quadrant and the fact that the local representative is a popular MLA who is now the health minister.

The other important thing to rememember is that star candidates, athletes in particular, often don't work out as hoped. Yes, there is Montreal Canadiens' legend Ken Dryden who won his Toronto-area seat for the Liberals and became Human Resources minister. However, he won in a safe Liberal seat beforehand (a condition Dryden had insisted on before agreeing to run, we understand). And it's not as if he overwhelmed while in the minister's office, or afterwords as a leadership candidate.

And it must be remembered, for every Ken Dryden, there is at least one Daniel Igali.

We also understand that Jones and her people have asked for a Seine River riding poll, which the PCs have been reluctant to commission (or hand over, if they already have one).

The stated reason for not doing a riding poll, apparently, is that of not wishing to expend scarce pre-election resources and the Tories are telling Jones she could take the seat handily without any testing of the waters.

We say that's fantasy-land.

Word is also, however, that Jones is becoming a tad wary (hence the word of her candidacy being kept to a very few top Tories), though she has basically committed and feels it's going to be very hard for her to back out considering the level of conversations that have happened.

We submit that if she wanted to avoid the liklihood of losing, she should stick to the mantra of demanding a riding poll before she throws her hat in officially. If Huey agrees to this demand, she will see that she has been fed a line.

And if he doesn't agree to this condition, she's got a good reason to back out.

Our public service has been done for the day. Carry on.