Posts Tagged ‘manitoba liberal party’

It is with great vigour, excitement, and simulated frisson that I announce the start of the start of my run for the leadership of the Manitoba Liberal Party.

I am the perfect candidate. Smart, but not too smart. Attractive, but not too attractive. Rich, but not… well, not rich at all, really.

There is no reason why we can’t have a province to be proud of, where solutions are actually based on rational thought and discussion rather than talking points and partisan orthodoxy.

You know, I used to run around saying that the NDP in Manitoba were ethically bankrupt. Now, thanks to so many years of NDP “leadership” I can say that the bankruptcy has spread to cover every aspect of the NDP in our province, like the ever-reaching tentacles of our dark lord Cthulhu.

from http://squeakybonbon.deviantart.com/art/Cthulhu-Girl-2-303981491

So in order to take back our province, I need to raise $2,500 and gather a hundred signatures with ten signatures each from at least six regions.

So I’m basically unstoppable. Like Cthulhu.

from http://cthulhucrochet.blogspot.ca/2010/05/cuddly-cthulhu-with-free-pattern.html

For media inquiries, please email me at wolfrom@wolfrom.ca, fill out the contact form below, or tweet dirty pictures at me.


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No, seriously… what the fuck is wrong with you?

(Oh… apparently this post has foul language. We can deal with my personal issues later, though.)

Backstory: here and here

(good intentions or not, the damage was done and I believe a public apology for the apparent misunderstanding is the right thing to do)

Sexy soundbite:  So the Manitoba Liberals aren’t in the pooper; we’re already flushed halfway down the drainpipe. Nobody’s buying what we’ve been selling, and to be honest I can’t fault anyone for that. We used to rely on the Federal Liberals throwing a tiny life preserver into the toilet for us, but now they’re circling the bowl, too.

It’s our own fault, but that means that we are the ones who can fix it.

I’ve said this before (albeit in a more polite manner), but I’ll say it again, since I’m nothing if not shrill and repetitive:

Conservatives hide their poop.

Dippers hide their poop.

Liberals fling their poop at every other Liberal in the room.

Used to be a clever magnet at AllPosters.comI don’t like being covered in poop; some people do, like those two lovely girls in that video with the cup, but I’m not like that. And I change enough diapers to know that I don’t want that stuff touching my skin (or my eyes, or my mouth, or my vas deferens).

If you are unhappy with something, find constructive solutions. One of my year-and-some son’s favourite books is called Roadwork, and it shows various workers and machinery building a road. Now, if a person wanted to build a road for the Liberals, one that leads from, say, the sewer pipe in the basement up to a place high enough that we wouldn’t need to smell like poop anymore, that person would construct said road, as opposed to tossing hand grenades at the work site and hoping that eventually you’ll get a paved ribbon out of it.

Construction is how you build things. My son has grasped the concept firmly, more firmly than walking on his own or not dropping cheerios down his pants.

But is there a point in doing all this work? Is there any hope for the Liberals?

I think so, but don’t take my word for it. I spend most of my time building a business and writing stories about garden-gnome-on-girl romance. This isn’t my area of expertise.

But I can tell you one thing. There is no party in Manitoba other than the Liberals that I feel I can support in good conscience.

I believe the NDP are corrupt, tired, and ineffective.

I believe the PCs are reactionary, untrustworthy, and ineffective.

I believe the Greens are impractical, inexperienced, and ineffective.

Now the Liberals? Hot dog! They’re intelligent, progressive, and ineffective.

So you can see why I love them so much.

So who is effective, then? Well… in Manitoba, there are plenty of people who are effective, people who know how to get things done and then get those things done, often by asking for advice and help when they need it, and respecting the concept that other people may disagree from time to time. Those people are sometimes called “everyday heroes”, but usually we just call them people who aren’t in politics.

And they aren’t in politics because they enjoy being effective. You don’t get into politics if you like getting things done. Well, you might get into it, but you probably wouldn’t last very long.

When my neighbours and I were trying to save a community centre in Winnipeg, we joined as a team and worked together, focusing primarily on revitalizing the club as opposed to waxing political. We were politically inexperienced and we were motivated by what we felt was the right thing to do, and I still don’t know the political leanings of many of the people I worked alongside.

And when the city shut us down I cried, not because of politics or rivalries, but because I knew that the kids in the neighbourhood were losing something they’d grown proud of.

We weren’t effective in politics (who is, really?) but we were effective in giving kids something to believe in, at least for a little while. If you ask me what part I liked, if it was speaking at city council and doing interviews or if it was working with the kids and building something special, my answer will be pretty clear.

And if I were to do it all a second time, I’d hope to come back into it with enough resources to focus on the kids and stay out of the politics as much as humanly possible. Because like normal people, I enjoy being effective.

Will I return to politics some day? I don’t know. I think about it sometimes, but I’m not sure I’m cut out for it.

I don’t want to pretend that everyone’s uninformed opinion is worth listening to ad nauseum, or that it feels perfectly normal to beg people to vote for you like they’re doing you a favour. If a voter believes a candidate will do the best job, the voter has a duty to vote for that candidate; the candidate’s duty is to do the best job possible.

That’s all there is to it.

So I’ll stay out of the political cage matches for now. If people decide someday that my skills, experience, and ideas are valuable in the public octagon, they know where to find me.

But this isn’t about me. Well, everything’s really about me. But I’ll indulge you for a moment.

The Manitoba Liberals have a fever, and the only prescription is being more selective.

People badmouth the leader publicly? Drop them like a turd, especially if they don’t apologize and particularly if they try to deflect, backpeddle, or act like a misquoted victim (this isn’t a single incident I’m talking about, but a sad series of them over many years). “How’s the leader doing?” “Great.” That’s how it’s done.

Unqualified or unreliable people want to be candidates? Don’t nominate them and accept that you won’t have a full slate. The extra funding from those votes isn’t worth the opportunity cost of damaging the brand by running bad candidates. Bad candidates include anyone who publicly disrespects the leadership, has no intention of campaigning actively, or is running just because they have an axe to grind.

People want you to beg for their vote? Tell them that you’re not in the business of sucking up. I don’t want people to support me or my party as a “favour”. Either we’re the right choice, or we’re not. We’ll do our jobs, and hopefully a handful of voters will do theirs.

I’d rather be a member of a small, principled, and disciplined party that gets a genuine 1% of the vote than a hot mess that gets 5% based on habit or pity.

I’m not sure I’m still a member of the party, actually. I guess that makes it okay for me to mention the Manitoba Liberals and the word ‘poop’ over and over again in a blog post.

About working with the Greens: why not? Is it a merger? No. A federalist Canadian party can’t merge with a Global Greens party; one or the other would die in the process. But if Greens run in Wolseley while Grits run in Fort Rouge? Why not try it? Will the rivers run in red and green blood? Would you even notice the difference in the water?

A while back I crunched the numbers and found that if the Manitoba Liberal Party limited its candidacies to the dozen or so constituencies where it felt it could be competitive, the vote percentage of the party would drop like a stone. We’d go from 7.5% to less than 5%, assuming we could do as well in those ridings.

So a Votepocalypse in traditional terms. That’s true. But how has being traditional been going for us lately?

Manitoba Liberal Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again while flinging poop at the leader’s head.

The only thing we’ll get out of that is Manitobans sitting back and watching the death of the MLP with a bucket of popcorn.
Oh, and more of the same rotten politics in Manitoba.
So smarten up, Liberals. You know you’ve sunk pretty low when a blogger who keeps saying “poop” starts to look like the voice of reason.

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Maybe I can’t stay out of it. I have a big mouth, you see…

Lately the Manitoba Liberals have entered another exciting backstabbing phase, much like the last season of treachery that took place during the Elmwood By-Election and 2009 AGM. (Notice how I avoided “season of treason”? You’re welcome.)

One of the best things about Liberals is that we tend to be independent thinkers. That often results in the best ideas coming from the Liberals.

One of the worst things about Liberals is that we tend to be independent thinkers. That often results in people arguing in public and creating an impression that we can’t get alone with one another.

The NDP is successful because they know how to keep control. There are people in charge, and everyone else does what they’re told. That is why NDP policy conventions result in very little actual policy, since the real policies are decided by a small group of people beforehand and the less important people (known in the NDP charter as “members”) are generally ignored.

The Conservatives work in a slightly different way, but the result is the same. A small inner circle makes the calls, and everyone else follows orders. I’d guess around three of four people in Manitoba actually have any inkling as to whether or not Hugh is planning on privatizing Hydro; one of them may be Hugh, but I’m not sure on that.

I like that Liberals aren’t like this, that when you ask a Liberal to do something, they’re just as likely to argue with you about it than to just go and get it done. But this makes us bad at elections, since elections are about following a singular vision from start to finish while getting as many party volunteers to help out as possible.

Now we have a situation where we are fighting an election against two other major parties. One is tired and thinks “status quo” is working just fine for our sky-high crime rate and continued health care woes. The other is in my opinion about as trustworthy as the male enhancement e-mails I keep receiving for some odd and confidence-busting reason. But instead of seizing on opportunity, there are a good number of Liberals, some quite prominent, doing their best to mess up the chance to win new seats.

I understand that Anita Neville and friends are upset that one-time Liberal Gord Steeves decided to run for the Conservatives in Seine River. But strategically it makes no sense to support the NDP and a health minister who should have resigned years ago for her apparent indifference to a man’s death at HSC, no matter how personally offended they are by Mr. Steeves. (These endorsements are also an insult to the Liberal candidate for Seine River, Troy Osiname.) This is especially ridiculous considering that Gord Steeves has not changed; he is the same person he was five or ten years ago. Being angry at Gord Steeves switching sides due to opportunism is about as sensible as shaking your fist at the sun for setting at dusk, or cursing out your unneutered dog for humping your leg while you’re trying to watch The Amazing Race. It’s just the way things are. Anyone who believes that Gord Steeves was a Liberal due to deep ideological conviction must also believe that Wendy’s Baconator was created as a cure for the obesity epidemic.

Another story is the racial slurs being tossed around about Joe Chan in Logan. Now it’s not news to many political types that the NDP doesn’t like Joe, since Joe decided to exhibit some of that independent thinking that’s not well-received in orange-and-green-town. I don’t believe that the NDP orchestrated the letter, and I doubt that many people on the Liberal side believe that, either. For one thing, it doesn’t help the NDP, but it probably doesn’t do much for the Liberals, either. I think it just makes more people stay home on Election Day, and almost as importantly, makes potential volunteers for all parties wary of getting involved in politics.

For a party that the NDP and Conservatives love to dismiss, the Liberals are certainly getting some attention. I just wish the attention was a little more productive.

I’ve been mostly absent for much of the campaign due not just to being lazy and selfish, but for other reasons involving my work and personal life. But I’m helping out as much as I can now, working to make sure that the Liberal Voice is not silenced in this province. Because if we don’t have Liberals in Manitoba, we’re left with two parties that are practically allergic to critical thinking and new ideas. I don’t think there’s anything good about that.

There is an antique store that always has “close out” signs, as though he’s trying to clear out stock because he’s shutting down. Of course, this has been going on since the last millennium. I may or may not post occasional items on this blog between now and the year 3000.

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The other day, a resident of Elmwood was saying that he was so disappointed in my candidacy that he chose to cancel his Liberal membership.  When I asked this resident about why he was so disappointed with me, he gave me several reasons.  I’d like to respond to his remarks, in case there are other people who are thinking the same things:

  1. You were bashing Elmwood while trying to save Kelvin Community Centre: I’m not sure what I said or did that could be classified as bashing, but I imagine it might be drawing attention to the issues in Elmwood that led me to believe that a local community centre is a necessity for the neighbourhood.  While I understand that some residents don’t want to talk about the negative things that are happening in Elmwood, it doesn’t change the fact that Elmwood has problems with crime, gangs, and at-risk youth.  When I talk about crime and gangs, and about children who do not have enough positive role modeling, I’m not criticizing the thousands of Elmwood residents who make a positive contribution to their community.  All I am doing is responding to problems that are very real, and saying that we require action on the part of residents and government to find positive solutions.
  2. Kelvin Community Centre should have been shut down years ago: I am well aware that there are significant numbers of Elmwood residents who believe that Kelvin was a lost cause and that our community is no worse off without it.  Some residents tell me that they have no problem driving to Bronx Park or Gateway for recreation, while others say that the people of Elmwood don’t deserve a club if they can’t be bothered to volunteer to run it.  The problem with both of these arguments is that they are leaving out the fact that the children who won’t make it out to Bronx Park or Gateway and whose parents are unable or uninterested in volunteering are the ones who are in danger of turning to crime and gangs.  Our personal feelings towards these children or their parents don’t change the fact that without alternatives to petty crime and bad influences, these children will take the wrong path in life.  And these are the children who live in our neighbourhood, so the decisions they make affect all of us.
  3. You had nothing good to say about Bronx Park before, and now you’re grabbing all the attention for it: there were a few occasions when reporters would ask me about the Bronx Park expansion, seeing if I had any criticisms for the project.  It certainly would have made a good story for there to be a dispute between Elmwood and East Kildonan about community centres, but it never did happen.  During the campaign to save Kelvin, we were in regular contact with representatives of Bronx Park and other community centres in Northeast Winnipeg.  The Bronx Park expansion project was not related to Kelvin Community Centre in any way when it was originally promised; it was only after the decision was made to close Kelvin CC that the General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres (GCWCC) started to mention Kelvin square footage being “allocated” to Bronx Park.  So there never has been a conflict between Bronx Park and Kelvin, just as there was no conflict between Kelvin and Chalmers CC.  My current duties as Vice President of Bronx Park do involve some work with the Bronx Park campus, but most of my focus is still on the Kelvin site and on programming in general.  The volunteers at Bronx Park and Good Neighbours who worked for years on the expansion project are the ones who deserve our gratitude and applause, and I am pleased to see that there was positive coverage of those volunteers in the media rather than any preoccupation with myself and Kelvin.
  4. You didn’t have a chance against Bill Blaikie, who has done far more than you ever will: when we started our campaign, there were two or three names that had been floated for the NDP candidate, all of whom we felt would be strong challengers.  When the news came in late November that Bill Blaikie was considering the position, we were definitely surprised.  However, the reputation of Bill Blaikie is no reason for me to suspend what I feel are legitimate criticisms of both the NDP government and Mr. Blaikie himself.  I won’t repost those criticisms now (I have mentioned these criticisms on this blog before), but I stand by my belief that the NDP government of Manitoba is not serving the interests of its citizens, and Mr. Blaikie’s willingness to join a government that acts counter to what he espouses to be his ideals opens him up for criticism.  His acceptance of nomination as a MLA in the NDP government means that he is now accountable for the failings of this government.  As far as the argument that Mr. Blaikie has done far more than I ever will, obviously there is no way to prove or disprove this statement as I can’t say what I’ll accomplish in my lifetime as I’ve yet to read my obituary.
  5. Continually spamming our mailboxes: there were definitely some problems with our flyer campaign, and if I could do it again I’d certainly do it quite a bit differently.  The materials and process used in printing were less environmentally friendly than they should have been, and the content of the flyers was specific in its criticisms but not specific enough in communicating my personal ideas and goals.  However, I do stand by my criticisms of the NDP and Mr. Blaikie, and I believe that the record of the NDP is evidence on its own that they do not deserve re-election.
  6. Going on and on about the Disraeli Bridge: my platform was well-rounded in my opinion, but obviously the attention was placed on the upcoming closure of the Disraeli Bridge.  Unfortunately, most voters still aren’t aware of my position on Disraeli, as it was printed in the media and stated by other candidates that all candidates support keeping the bridge open during construction.  It is not feasible to keep the bridge open for the entire construction period as a single-span bridge, as there will need to be some periods of closure.  That is why I have recommended that construction of a temporary span to twin the Louise Bridge before Disraeli construction begins.   This, along with some traffic routing changes, would relieve congestion during the periods of closure which are necessary to do the job properly.
  7. Too many phone calls: to this day, I am still not sure how many phone calls went out.  I personally recommended against the recorded messages, but because a by-election campaign is not a one-person show, I deferred to other opinions.  We chose to have one initial phone blast informing voters that the by-election had been called and a phone blast for Election Day.  A Disraeli-themed phone blast allegedly occurred during the middle of the campaign which some voters attributed to me, but which did not come from my campaign.  We also employed a professional phone bank to poll voters and to remind voters on Election Day, but there were some technical issues that resulted in multiple calls to voters even after they had voted.  In my opinion, the phoning was excessive and the errors were unacceptable.  I do know that the NDP and PC parties also conducted extensive phone campaigns, but if I could do it all over again, I would consider not using the phone at all.
  8. You went to the NDP first for the nomination and they turned you down: this rumour is not only untrue, it’s actually a reversal of the truth.  I was approached by members of two other political parties, one of which was the NDP.  Several NDP members asked me to seek the nomination, but I was never approached by any official representatives of the Doer government or the NDP constituency association in Elmwood.  I chose the Manitoba Liberal Party because I felt that it was the party which best shared my beliefs, and because Dr. Gerrard is a respected and honourable person who has always worked for all Manitobans.  I did not choose the NDP, and that is because I feel that the NDP has been irresponsible and negligent in its governance, and that Premier Doer and his cabinet should be held accountable for many wrongs over the past decade.  In hindsight, I do not know if I could have won the NDP nomination, because I don’t know when Bill Blaikie decided to run.  He didn’t contact NDP members about the possibility until long after I was already the Liberal candidate, and while I don’t know if things would have gone differently had I been seeking the NDP nomination, to presume that it would have affected his decision would be foolhardy on my part.

There were definitely things I could have done better as a Liberal candidate, and there were things that I could have done better in my work with Kelvin and Bronx Park.  We all make mistakes, and what distinguishes success from failure is whether we learn from those mistakes.  Was I the best candidate for the Liberal party in the Elmwood By-Election?  Probably not.  I’m sure there’s someone out there who is more qualified, who has campaign experience, and who has a stronger record for results.  It’s important for Liberal members to work to find that better candidate, and if that person is not available, to work with the candidate you do have to compensate for the weaknesses and amplify their good qualities.

The only way to provide an alternative to the corruption of the NDP government is to win campaigns on the ground, and that can only happen if we all work together.

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The Elmwood by-election has come and gone now, and it was certainly an interesting occasion.  We ran a strong campaign in Elmwood, where we did some things well and some things not as well.  The end results were a little embarrassing for everyone, as turnout dropped and the number of registered voters took a dive.

I haven’t been keeping up with the chatter on the blogs or in the papers, but I can guess that there are a good number of people who are relishing that the Liberal vote share did not increase as much as some people, including myself, had hoped.  I know that there is one loud individual (“fanman”) who has always had a problem with me (even though I don’t think I’ve ever met him and he refuses to ever actually discuss how I’ve wronged him) who posts on several sites about how annoying and stupid I am, and then usually makes a mention of the horrible work I did trying to save the Kelvin Community Centre.  My best guess is that he’s one of the people who let Kelvin decline due to their own petty squabbles, and doesn’t appreciate that our group of volunteers brought the community together to improve the club.  It’s funny that so many people have an opinion about politics and especially politicians, but never seem to show up when it’s time to work on real issues.

Anyway… here are the conclusions I’ve reached based on the results:

1. Turnout was an all-time low and that means quite a bit. The poor turnout was partly due to weather but was also the result of undecideds who never came up with a final decision.  Our polling indicated that the vast majority of voters were still very undecided in the last days.  In addition, the majority of our supporters never made it to the polls at all.  One of the problems with an area that has been taken for granted by politicians for so long is that most residents haven’t felt for years that their vote mattered.  We had dozens of people on election day who said that they just weren’t going to come out, because “one vote doesn’t matter”.  We’ll need to work hard to change that perception.

2. The NDP and Tories took this by-election seriously. On the one hand, it’s disappointing to have been outnumbered on election day by NDP and Tory campaign workers, but it’s nice to see people paying attention to Elmwood, if only for just a week or so.  What was interesting was the sight of NDP and Tory cabinet ministers (and Hugh McFadyen himself) walking the streets knocking on the doors of their supporters, along with scores of their legislative staff.  Apparently Mr. Doer also lent his voice to the effort.  If only those two parties had put one percent of that effort into any of the issues affecting Elmwood before the last week of the by-election.  I guess we’ll see how many of them stick around to work with the community on the issues that matter to residents.

3. Voters need more time to get to know me. I was surprised to hear that some voters didn’t know that I am raising my family in Elmwood, and even the media are apparently unsure of what I do for a living.  There’s also some talk that my work to better the community seems to indicate that I don’t like the community, which doesn’t make any sense since my wife and I choose to live in this community.  It also seems that my name is recognized in some parts of the constituency, but I’m pretty new in much of the north.  It’s going to take some time for people to learn who I am and what I stand for.

4. The messages were confusing. Only one candidate had actual step-by-step plans to deal with the major issues affecting Elmwood, but the information was lost in a flurry of half-truths and flip-flops from other campaigns.  We tried to get the message out at the door and with flyers, but it wasn’t enough this time.  We have some ideas on how to improve our communication to Elmwood voters, so we should see some strong improvements there.

We had some great successes, and we certainly had our share of challenges.  We lost a campaign team member to a personal emergency, and my basement flooded the day before Election Day.  I was called more than my share of bad names: “fat s***” (from the NDP campaign team), “traitor” (from the Greens), “a**hole” (from the president of a nearby Liberal constituency), and of course, my personal favourite was “f***ing Liberal c***sucker” (an irate voter who apparently doesn’t like Liberals).  We called for a debate in week two of the campaign, but the news media didn’t take the story until the Tories called for one two weeks later.  Of course, Mr. Blaikie refused to attend.  We scheduled a press conference for 1pm, and the NDP had one at 11am on the same topic.  We scheduled another one for 11am, and the Tories decided on 10:45am for theirs.

It’s hard not to take some of the things that happened personally.  Egos are bruised when people shake your hand and say they’ll vote for you but then don’t end up voting at all.  But egos aren’t what matter here in Elmwood.  I’m not doing this for my ego, I’m doing this because Manitobans deserve better.  Manitobans deserve a government that doesn’t try to cover up the deaths of its own citizens due to failed policies.  They deserve a government that doesn’t hide its billion-dollar debt.  They deserve a government that doesn’t take its citizens for granted.

The Manitoba Liberal Party is gaining ground in Elmwood and in other parts of our province.  What the NDP don’t want you to know is that they lost 1500 votes from last time, even with a “star candidate”.  What the Tories don’t want you to know is that their supporters are starting to realize that the Liberals actually work to represent all Manitobans, including conservatives.

What I want you to know is that we have been building our Liberal machine over the past six months.  We have a strong team in Elmwood and in a growing number of other constituencies, and we’ll be working together over the next two and a half years to make sure that our message of working for all Manitobans is known to every voter.  We will take the lessons we’ve learned from Elmwood and we will put them to use in the rest of the province.  You will be seeing more Liberals on the streets, knocking on doors, working in our communities, and standing up for the rights of all Manitobans.  And yes, you’ll be seeing more of me (sorry, “fanman”).

The NDP and Tories pulled their votes in this by-election, and they did it well, emptying the Manitoba legislature in the process.  But in the next general election, they’ll be fighting dozens of strong Liberal campaigns.  And they’ll be fighting against a growing tide of Manitobans who realize that they haven’t been getting their money’s worth from those two parties.  It’s time for Manitoba to step out of this past life made up of bickering parties who only represent some of the people.  It’s time for all of us to demand better.

I’ll be taking the next few days off from politics.  I’ll still be working on some important issues, such as the new Kelvin facilities and the Disraeli plan, but I do hope to spend some time catching up on my personal life.  I’ve missed out on important time with my daughter, such as her first ride on her new tricycle, so I want to make sure I’m there for her first steps.

I’ve learned many things from this campaign, and I’ve received advice from hundreds of people.  So what I’ve done is cobbled together everyone’s advice from this campaign to determine my next step.  And the final message that I’m taking away from this is as follows: “There’s more work to do but there will be time to do it.  So for today, take a break and spend some time with your family, you f***ing Liberal c***sucker!”

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I found an interesting blog post from Green Party of Manitoba Leader and Elmwood By-Election Parachute Candidate James Beddome that makes a claim that “One candidate campaigns on plans to spend an untenable amount of money to keep the bridge open”, which seems to infer that this is my campaign platform.  It’s obvious to me that Mr. Beddome never bothered to actually look at my platform, and felt it was more important to make public statements which are untrue.

Of course, that is very much the opposite of what the Green movement is about.  Speaking as someone who is well-acquainted with these values, I find it absolutely appalling that Mr. Beddome would feel that it is appropriate to lie about my position on Disraeli.  It is only proper for Mr. Beddome to apologize to me for his comments.

While my campaign material and my comments at the door have been tough on the NDP, I have always made sure that my facts are accurate.  That is an important part of leadership, and an important part of being the change that you would like to see in the world.

It has been said by some people that Mr. Blaikie is running on name recognition alone.  I know that Mr. Blaikie is working hard on this campaign, so I don’t believe that he’s simply relying on his fame to win.  However, I think that the Green Party of Manitoba is running on name recognition alone, rather than on any record of results for Elmwood.  I have spoken to voters who have the impression that they need to vote for the Green Party of Manitoba simply because they have concerns about the environment.  They are often surprised when I mention that the Manitoba Liberal Party has already taken the lead on environmental policy, and that our MLAs have been working to hold the NDP government to account for its failure to lead in this area.

Good government policy comes from representatives who engage all citizens and who work each day to get results.  The Manitoba Liberal Party is bringing the people of Elmwood together to find solutions for all of the challenges we face.  We are considering opinions and ideas from all sides of the political spectrum, because we know that good ideas aren’t about who came up with them.  It’s this inclusive mentality that will bring the results we need on healthcare, public safety, infrastructure, and yes, the environment.

Now I don’t expect that Mr. Beddome will issue a public apology for his careless statements about my position on Disraeli, but I certainly hope that he will be more careful in future.  There is no room in the governance of this province for politicians who are willing to distort reality for their own personal gain.

Oh, and Mr Beddome: I received an unjust speeding ticket on Lagimodiere Blvd (usually maximum 80 kph) by driving 76 kph in an unmarked construction zone where there were not only no workers present, but no construction equipment on the roadway.  My position is that construction zones must be properly marked and that there should be signage to clearly indicate when workers are present, as this improves safety.  Perhaps in future if you would like clarification you should contact me personally before resorting to these types of attacks.

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This is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while, when I’m not out campaigning or working on other specific issues.

For some reason, the NDP’s complete failure to fix healthcare has been a difficult issue to communicate.  I imagine it’s because healthcare is such a complex issue, affecting every Manitoban in a different way.  But no matter what your experiences have been, there are some universal problems with our healthcare under the NDP, and I’m going to list them now:

The Big Six Failures of NDP Health Care

1. Hallway Medicine: Patients are still left in the hallways of our hospitals with no privacy, and with no improvement in sight.

2. Exploding Bureaucracy: While doctors and nurses leave Manitoba for better work conditions, the WRHA bureaucracy has TRIPLED in size since 1999.  The WRHA is building two new office buildings to make sure they have room to hire even more managers.

3. No Accountability: The preventable death of Brian Sinclair led to a bungled internal investigation, a health minister who said she was too busy to comment, and a Premier who tried his best to hide from reporters.  No one is being held accountable.

4. Patient’s Rights: The NDP continually refuse to support Dr. Gerrard in his work to guarantee the rights of patients for timely treatment and access to their own health information.

5. Urgent Care: The NDP refuse to consider the creation of new Urgent Care clinics to reduce the strain on Winnipeg’s ERs.

6. Health Care Funding: The NDP way of funding healthcare funnels money to bureaucrats instead of supporting the work of nurses and doctors.  The NDP refuse to introduce a more efficient and accountable funding system based on the delivery of services.

Not Enough Talk About Health

A good number of people have been asking me why we haven’t been hitting harder on health care during this by-election.  The truth is, too many people I’ve met have given up on the idea of improvements in health care.  Having lived through decades of failed health policies, many voters have started to believe the NDP government’s idea that what we have is the best we can do.

But this notion that we can’t have something better is going to stop.  We are hitting hard on health care this week, making sure that every voter in Elmwood is aware of just how the NDP is failing in healthcare, and how the Liberal party and our leader, world-renowned physician Dr. Jon Gerrard, will continue our fight to reform healthcare for all Manitobans.

And how do we reform?

Fixing Health Care: Eight Steps to a Better System

Step 1: Change to funding per service instead of universal funding.  Every patient examination, every treatment and every surgery is billed to the province, reflecting a realistic cost.  Instead of capping funding for each hospital, funding is paid out as needed with no quotas or maximums.

Step 2: Legislate a Patient’s Bill of Rights, guaranteeing both timely access to treatment and timely access for a patient to personal health information.  A Medical Standards Quality Council would be created to establish provincial standards for wait times based on medical and scientific considerations rather than political ones.

Step 3: Revisit urgent care clinics as a way of reducing pressure on emergency wards.  These clinics can be run by the government or by other groups, as long as they are universal and all billing is paid by the province and not by the patients.

Step 4: Establishment of an independent enforcement office to send patients for immediate care when their right to timely access has been compromised, whether that care is within Manitoba or elsewhere in Canada.

Step 5: Build more long-term care spaces to move patients with chronic care needs out of hospital sooner.

Step 6: Implement an electronic health system to standardize health records in Manitoba.  This will allow both for proper reporting on wait times and for better access for a patient to their personal health records in accordance with the Patient’s Bill of Rights.

Step 7: Establish a blame-free reporting system and a Medical Procedure Improvement team to prevent medical errors from re-occurring.

Step 8: Bring improvements to both aboriginal health care (emphasizing prevention through better access to overlooked necessities) and mental health care with a community-based focus.

It’s time to take the first step.  With support of the people of Elmwood, I hope to work along with Dr. Gerrard and Mr. Lamoureux to bring these improvements forward in the legislature.  I also intend to bring these solutions forward to Manitobans as a whole, so that we can all expect and demand that this work begin immediately.

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