04/18/2016 12:59 EDT | Updated 04/19/2017 05:12 EDT

The NDP Lost The Manitoba Election The Day Greg Selinger Ran


Years from now when people think back to this Manitoba election, what will they remember?

I like to imagine that they will remember all of the great polling done by Mainstreet, but that is just my own fantasy, my own ego.

If I really had to speculate, I think one day after Premier Pallister is retired and sitting on the beach in Costa Rica, he should invite Greg Selinger down for a visit to thank him personally, because Brian Pallister won the election the day Greg Selinger decided to run.

This election, like my little fantasy, is about the ego of one man and that is how it will be remembered.

Any other NDP leader at the helm would have made it a contest, instead of the blowout it will be.

To understand this, we only have to look back at some of the numbers we've polled here since 2014.

Back in November of 2014, we started polling in Manitoba just after the resignation of five cabinet ministers. A majority of people indicated in that poll that Greg Selinger should resign (57 per cent) including 45 per cent who completely agreed he should resign. Perhaps it's a coincidence that the PCs now have 46 per cent of the decided vote, and 55 per cent of the decided and leaning vote, numbers very similar to what we found over a year and a half ago.

At the time, we also found that more people would be willing to vote NDP with a new leader, fiver per cent more, even with an un-named leader. How many NDP seats would be saved in Winnipeg with a five per cent increase today? At least three, perhaps more.

Greg Selinger said he wouldn't increase the PST -- I don't have to tell you that he did. He said the funds were directly for flood relief, turns out they weren't entirely.

He lied, and that day his fate was sealed -- but it didn't need to seal the fate of the Manitoba NDP.

The Selinger train wreck was 17 months in the making, and it's hard to forgive anyone not having the foresight or basic math skills to simply get out of the way.

With over a year and a half to work, a new leader could have righted the ship, made this election competitive, saved the careers of dozens of MLAs and perhaps even have won government.

What Greg Selinger likely counted on at the time, despite seeing these numbers, is what we saw during the last election, and what historically happens in Manitoba. With the Liberals in a strong third place at 24 per cent in 2014, he expected that vote to collapse to the NDP during the campaign.

If he had read further in that poll, he would have seen that over 52 per cent of Liberal voters agreed he should resign, and even one in four NDP voters. The desire for change in Manitoba is so strong, so disliked is Greg Selinger that the collapsing Liberal vote went overwhelmingly to the PCs throughout the election

We can forgive Jim Prentice for not seeing the collapse coming in Alberta a year ago, so sudden and swift was the reaction to his budget and numerous mis-steps.

The Selinger train wreck was 17 months in the making, and it's hard to forgive anyone not having the foresight or basic math skills to simply get out of the way.

Fate may yet be merciful to Greg Selinger in St. Boniface, where we expect a tight race. Perhaps the voters will show him the exit he has struggled to find.

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