Many members of the party (and a few in caucus) wanted him to tone down his vocal opposition to the policy. They felt that it was too difficult campaigning when you were telling middle-class Manitobans that it would cost them more to send their kids to school. Toss in a few people who just bought into the idea that low tuition was just sound public policy, and maybe it is fair to say taking the opposite side - while correct from a policy point of view - was a net negative.
However, I still argued that we needed to stay in front of the issue and remain consistently opposed. We knew that the longer the province held out, the more damage the policy was going to cause our institutions and the louder the crys of opposition would grow. The newspaper was already behind lifting the freeze, most of the university heads as well. Manitoba's opinion makers were headed towards the Tory position.
We also knew that eventually the government would be unable to sustain the freeze any longer. We would be able to claim the moral high ground when they finally moved to lift the freeze and be rewarded in the media for being in front of the issue. We'd earn some credibility on policy in the eyes of the folks paying attention, something that we haven't always had with our big policy pitches the last few elections.
Suffice it to say, we backed off our outspoken support for removing the freeze.
Suffice it to say, there isn't a single Tory in this article on the NDP backing away from the freeze.*
So now the NDP will receive the kudos from the opinion makers for belatedly doing the right thing. And we'll around to say, "Yeah, we woulda did that too!" to anyone who asks.**
** - I hope that's how we spin it, as bad as it is for spin. What would be really terrible is if we come out 'fighting for students' and criticize lifting the freeze because of how it'll "hurt enrolment" and "keep poor Manitobans from attending." While I'm sure we'll take the weak spin tact, I'm unable to completely rule out the latter one. Can you?