I can hardly believe the news, unable to determine whether we are in the midst of a divine miracle or witnessing a sign of the rapture. In all my politically disgruntled life, I never thought I’d live to see the day when one, let alone five, public servicemen *wipes away tear* serve the public.
It was Monday, October 28th when news broke of the revolt in the NDP cabinet. Five ministers, all stepped down in an act of brazen heroism for the people of Manitoba, “Our concern is the premier has become more concerned about remaining leader than necessarily doing things in the best interest of Manitobans,” said Stan Struthers, the former minister of municipal government. At first I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I rubbed my eyes, asked to be pinched and frantically Google searched for any images pertaining to the incident, looking to see if the former ministers were wearing spooky skeleton costumes that could accredit all of this to a Halloween prank.
However, I found nothing of that sort, and was forced to come to terms with the idea that not all politicians are power-hungry monsters. “It’s become clear that if you are in a position where you support the point of view of the premier, that your priorities and your projects move up the queue ahead of what was once a government plan and what would be, indeed, the priorities of Manitobans and what Manitobans need,” said Theresa Oswald, the former minister for jobs and the economy. Struthers, as well as Jennifer Howard, the former minister of finance, Andrew Swan, the former minister of justice, and Erin Selby, the former minister of health were the five to question Party Leader Greg Selinger’s competence in the wake of an NDP drop in approval ratings. This drop is attributed to the government’s increase of the provincial sales tax from 7 to 8 percent, something Selinger had specifically said he would not do during the election campaign.
That same day, Selinger recruited a roster of amateur cabinet minsters to replace the subordinates including longtime backbencher Greg Dewar and rookie MLA James Allum, forming a cabinet that resembles the underdogs in every Disney sports movie: the team no one thought could succeed, though in this case they probably don’t.
Since last week, two more caucus leaders as well as two party executives have called on Selinger to consider resigning, leading to Selinger offering to hold a party leadership vote at the provincial NDP’s annual convention in March. Selinger’s press secretary, Sally Housser, said last Sunday that Selinger made the proposal to the party executive over conference call on Saturday –probably to spare himself the embarrassment of all the high-fives that went around after he caved, though I would imagine they still got picked up over the phone.
It’s what gets me up every morning, knowing that there are still a few politicians out there not afraid to, well, do their job. Who knows, maybe the rest of our public officials will soon follow suit? Monkey see monkey do, after all.
Ah, who the hell am I kidding, I probably shouldn’t get my hopes up. Though that analogy between politicians and chimps wasn’t too far off.