Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A good reason why Hugh will not only lose today, but deserve to lose

Pictured above is not a piece of NDP propaganda. It's the headline from the May 16 editorial in the Thompson Citizen.

Now, many of you southern folks will say, "Thompson Citizen? Yellow-dog NDP country. Who cares?"

While it's true "Landslide Ashton" has a strong hold on the northern seat (although he first won a gazillion years ago by just a hair), the Thompson Citizen is no NDP cheering section. In fact, not long ago it proclaimed its support for Huey McFading as premier.

That has changed -- hoo boy, has it ever.

And the reason why they had a change of heart is laid out plain in the editorial. Refering to McGriddle's agriculture policy announcement in Brandon earlier this month, the Citizen says:

"McFadyen accused the NDP of politicizing where highway dollars are spent. He said that the Conservatives would spend the same $400 million a year on highway(s), but if elected, his government would cahnge how the money is allotted, which would mean more spending in the south...

"A premier needs to represent the entire province and not only the regions where you have high support. Why even run candidates in the four northern ridings, if the region is going to be treated in this manner? He certainly has it right in Flin Flon where there is no Tory candidate (on) the ballot."

And it ends with a blistering line:

"In fact, McFadyen, you aren't welcome in Thompson."

Now, apparently the Conservative campaign denies saying the above statement, which was reported in the Brandon Sun by Curtis Brown. Brown stands by the report.

So, what is the relevance of an editorial in a regional newspaper? A lot actually.

They hit the point on the head. As premier, you have to govern for the whole province, despite where your political base is.

This is something we have seen since 1999. Despite little hope of winning in southern Manitoba yellow-dog Tory seats, there has been plenty of government largesse all over the province. Certainly, the north has seen a significant increase over the Filmon years, to make up for years of under-investment. But no one can credibly claim neglect in PC stronghold seats.

This is what it takes to be premier -- even premier-in-waiting. To be premier you can't just be a glorified mayor of Winnipeg with a rural rump in your pocket.

His crass position to cater for southern votes is a clear symbol of McFadyen's lack of appreciation of the entire province. Which means not only will he lose today and severely underperform expectations, but he also deserves to lose.