Now that the provincial election is over, let me start by congratulating the winning party and candidates, while also thanking the losing parties and candidates for their commitment to the democratic process. You may or may not have voted for the winner, but we can all agree that we hope they do good work and help the north.
The unfortunate timing of this election has meant that we at The Reminder had to have all our content for this paper before results were announced last night – even before people actually headed to the polls on election day. I don’t like it either, but that’s the way weekly newspapers go. It happens.
That’s why I’m being incredibly vague here – this was written Sunday, Sept. 8, two days before the election. I can’t tell you who won because I’m not psychic. (We’ve got full election coverage on thereminder.ca, where we can publish whenever we want to.)
Nonetheless, here are some views on the whole campaign process.
Third parties edged their way into the conversation. These days, it’s easy to view Manitoba politics as a two-party game, but give the Manitoba Liberal Party and the Green Party some credit. The Grits fielded a full slate of candidates in this province and both mounted some strong campaigns and even if they weren’t granted the same level of coverage as others, they were there.
All four local candidates had moments of strength in the candidates’ forum in Flin Flon a few weeks ago. The answers were sometimes wonky, but each showed a willingness to do something for the north.
I’ve said before that we won’t endorse any candidate or party in any election in this paper and that won’t change. I will say that all candidates running in Flin Flon seemed to be running for the right reasons.
Provincially, the campaigns were brutal - not in terms of the work the candidates, managers, volunteers and others put in, but in the subject matter. I’m sure we all saw the ads run by the provincial PCs, each sure to slide in the much-loathed former Premier Greg Selinger somewhere, along with the NDP ads ending with the punchline “What an ass!”
Neither made much sense. Selinger was basically run out of town on a rail by the NDP years ago and I’m sure using the word “ass” in an ad offended someone somewhere.
We saw a few jabs about Brian Pallister’s vacation home in Costa Rica and some mentions of Wab Kinew’s rap career. They may rally some support in each party’s bases, but let’s be honest - the public never seemed to care about that.
Some of the press releases issued were almost laughable. Here’s an example. When NDP candidate Mark Wasyliw’s profession as a lawyer specializing in impaired driving cases was discovered, there were press releases issued accusing the NDP of being pro-drunk driving.
Come on. Driving drunk is bad. We all know that. Can we act like grown-ups, please?
That’s not to mention the campaigning on social media. I’ve written enough about social media in the past year. I view it as a tool that can be used in a positive way, but is instead used to harm people and leads to mob rule. You already know the score.
There were a number of Twitter accounts that appeared right around the time the writ dropped, spewing more nasty bits of political claptrap the candidates didn’t want to touch. We had political parties trashposting this election. Just what we needed.
They weren’t really all that successful in getting out to voters via Twitter - after all, while these accounts were active throughout the campaign, none of them have more Twitter followers than I do. That’s pretty sad.
They were also nonfactors in the north, since it seems there’s only about 30 people in Flin Flon who actually use Twitter.
Having candidates no show at debates was a terrible look, regardless of party. We did not have that happen here, mercifully, but the “don’t even bother” attitude shown by some people running elsewhere should be remembered by constituents. You can’t have democracy if you don’t listen to your voters, after all.
The biggest thing I want out of this election is for people to keep whoever was elected accountable to what they promised us during the campaign. People complain all the time about politics and politicians, equating them with liars, scoundrels, even criminals.
It’s true, people running for office don’t always live up to their word. That happens when people stop holding them accountable. If whoever wins all the key spots actively does damage to Flin Flon, the north and the province, they don’t deserve to keep their job.
If you know someone’s a rat and you still vote for them, you can’t blame the rat. You knew what they were. You can only blame yourself.
Now, take a breath, grab a sip of something and get prepared - because guess what? We’re going back to the polls again in six weeks for a federal election.