Still, this session, we’ve had only one scrum that I’d call remotely invigorating - the one where everyone hassled Doer about Crown corps giving money to the human rights museum. Even then, there was only a half-dozen reporters and the story died the next day. On any given day in the media balcony in the house, there’s maybe five regulars and the odd camera that shows up because a reporter needs a clip from the roads minister about potholes or something equally one-off. We’re just not covering QP the way we did, and the MLAs know this, so they’ve just stopped trying as hard.
It’s not just QP. There’s far, far fewer reporters covering the Legislature in general, competing with each other and spending time digging up stuff. CBC has all but abandoned the Leg, and no television station sends anyone down with any regularity. Space in my own newspaper has shrunk dramatically since the days of Arlene Bilinkoff and Curt Petrovich, so we’re doing fewer stories. Whole bills get briefed. That means the daily clash of Question Period, the moment where ideas and policies crystallize, just doesn’t have any impact on voters anymore. I don’t know what to do about that.
In France where the right has traditionally been sovereignty's staunchest ally, President Nicolas Sarkozy has strong personal ties to Quebec's federalist business establishment. For months, there has been speculation that he will re-triangulate the Ottawa-Quebec-Paris relationship to treat Canadian unity as a given.Yesterday, he sent his strongest signal to date, going off a prepared speech to say that France was close to Quebec but also loved Canada and that there was no need to choose between the two.
[The Hack] has a blog post today about the growing identity as "conservative" amongst younger (under 40) Canadians. Those of us who spend too much time drinking beer with [The Hack] have heard him riff on this before, but this time he's got Paul Wells and Ekos backing him up.
What is interesting about the Wells piece is how he cites increased support for two-tier medicare.
I think what it really demonstrates is that a prolonged, steady pushing of policy issues can and indeed does drive change. You don't need to get it over 50% to win, but who really thinks support won't just continue to grow as more and more baby boomers sit on waitlists for heart bypass operations?
This can and needs to be done in Manitoba. Our problem (yours I suppose, I'm not really one of you anymore) is that we shy away from anything difficult or controversial because there is "no voter support". We have gotten so used to letting the polls dictate policy that we've forgotten that with a continuous, prolonged push on issues the polls will change. Gary Filmon knew this when he won an election on crime even though it wasn't polling as in issue.
So, why do we shy away from controversial subjects like options for increased competition in hydro development? Privatization of Crown corporations? Aggressively reducing payroll and corporate taxes... increased capacity in provincial jails... increased numbers of Crown prosecutors... eliminating local school boards... eliminating health authorities... these are all issues some or all of you have discussed in the past few years. 3 years from the next election is the time to start developing our wedge issues.
I'm pleased to see that the Leader has not backed down on the Eastside Hydro issue. With a steady attack the message does get through to voters. I suspect that in the next election the electorate will go from not caring/siding with the NDP on the eastside issue to being split or even slightly favourable to Hugh.
Unfortunately I know that all of you guys "get" this... its just unfortunate that our caucus has grown so gunshy and complacent that they seem unwilling to roll the dice.
These conservative minded cohorts exist in Winnipeg. Especially amongst the under 40 crowd who have seen so many people take good educations and leave town. Nobody under 40 who has travelled to Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto or Minneapolis can honestly believe that the status quo is acceptable. This is a generation who have been screwed over by large public sector unions, witness on a daily basis the inequity of less qualified workers "bumping" them and who understand (even when employed in the public sector) that an economy is driven by a strong private sector.
Here is a thought to ponder: why does a state like Mississippi with a less educated workforce, in a less central location, far from any of the raw materials of production and in the heart of the hurricane dartboard attract auto industry factories and Manitoba does not? Why did a state like Indiana manage to avoid becoming part of the rust-belt and become a beacon of finance and tech? How did a backwater like North Carolina emerge as an economic pillar? How come huge oil finds are happening in southeast Saskatchewan, but all the oil and gas fields magically halt at the MB/SK border? (read about how the Bakken field is being driven by this Manitoba ex-pat and then try to tell me we don't lose something when half the people graduating from UofM professional programs leave town).
This rant brought to you by Hacks & Wonks and the sign at the Encana building ("the Bow") which indicates that its OWNED by a different company and only leased by Encana... a crazy notion which could maybe have applied to the Manitoba Hydro office?
I suppose eyebrows are raised because the organizations in question are owned by and accountable to Manitobans, and because two of them (MLC and MLCC) pour their revenues directly into those of the government. But are the donations in question unreasonable or inappropriate?
The opposition might have had a point if the sums being given were so huge as to threaten the financial well-being of the crowns in question or to risk putting the government in a deficit position, but the donations are entirely appropriate and reasonable.
Graves identified two big trends emerging. One is a steady, marked shift in Canadians' political identification from liberal to conservative. That's obviously bad news for the federal Liberals. The other trend looks less menacing: the emergence of two broad cohorts of under-40 voters, one broadly left-leaning, the other more conservative. Since they're about the same size they should more or less balance out. Except both of these groups of younger voters have their own generational quirks, and so far Stephen Harper's Conservatives have had better luck reaching out to "their" young voters than the post-Paul Martin Liberals have to "theirs."
Don't know why, but that just made me smile. Felt like a metaphor on a number of fronts.