Saturday, September 17, 2011

Winnipeg Free Press…? Please Meet Mr. Abacus

Manitoba’s official broadsheet and paper of record, including its two key legislative reporters and earlier this past week its top political commentator, have reported on at least two occasions that Mr. McFadyen has to win nine (9) seats to win the October 4 election.

The Blackberry Addicts pulled out their abacus to double check the Free Press’ math.

Let’s see. There are 57 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. To maintain the tinniest of tiny majorities, a party must win more seats than the other parties combined. In Manitoba, this equates to 29 seats.

At the time the Legislature was dissolved (notwithstanding earlier resignations), there were:
  • 2 Liberals
  • 19 Conservatives
  • 36 New Democrats
The Free Press suggests Mr. McFadyen must win 9 seats to form government. The Conservatives currently hold 19 seats, plus 9 more (carry the one…) equals 28 seats.

Twenty-eight seats is not a majority, folks.

Mr. McFadyen must win 29 seats to form a majority government. He has 19 right now. That means he must win 10 more, not 9 as the Free Press suggests.

And even if Mr. McFadyen wins 10 more seats, one of his 29 member caucus would most likely be elected Speaker of the House. This would leave 28 Conservative votes and 28 non-Conservative votes. A tie! This, of course, forces the non-partisan Speaker to cast tie-breaking votes.

Certainly, not an ideal way to govern.

To govern in practical terms, Mr. McFadyen needs to win at least 11 seats. This would give him a one seat majority without requiring the non-partisan Speaker to vote.

And, as we’ve seen in the past in Manitoba, governing with a marginal majority isn’t easy at all.

All Winnipeg media and pundits might benefit from reviewing an earlier post from the Blackberry Addicts showing the immense challenge facing Mr. McFadyen and his party.

At the end of this week, remember, Mr. McFadyen and the Conservatives have about two weeks remaining (~16 days) to achieve something Gary Doer and the NDP took ten years to achieve (3650 days), and Prime Minister Stephen Harper about five years to achieve (1825 days).

Pundits and analysts beware… all the anecdotal political crap aside, don’t get caught discounting the fundamental magnitude of what actually needs to happen for Mr. McFadeyn and the Conservatives to win.

Do the Blackberry Addicts think Mr. McFadyen can do it?

Stay tuned!