My 15 Seconds of Fame
This post is adapted from my final blog on the CBC website, which you can view in its full glory. While all of those posts are now the property of the CBC, I can’t imagine they would object to my paraphrasing some of it here – I’m not Arianna Huffington just yet. There are a lot of names which will mean nothing to my non-Manitoban readers – I’ve included links where available. The important thing to know is that I’m the kind of geek who thinks the Executive Director of the local food bank is a rock star. I hope you love me anyway.
Wow. I think that one word sums up my experience of election night. I was very fortunate to be one of the invited guests in the CBC’s reaction room, where I was sporadically visible on TV throughout the evening. I am a huge fan of Marcy Markusa, so to be allowed to work with her for over three hours and watch how a live show is produced was a privilege. Alex Freedman, resplendent in a gorgeous tie, was the guy in charge of social media and did an excellent job, despite not putting up any of my son’s tweets. Terry McLeod was on the other side of the studio with a panel of commentators. I got to lean on a table with David Northcott and chat with other people I read about in the paper or hear on the radio. I met the amazing young people who participated in the tweetup with Larry Updike a while back and heard their jubilation as Kevin Chief was voted in. All in all, I was like a star struck teenager. My only regret is that I didn’t get to meet Ismaila Alfa, who is also one of my favourite radio personalities.
What to say about the election itself? We all went in expecting a neck-and-neck horse race, and instead, aside from a couple of close ridings, the whole thing was decided in forty minutes. As somebody remarked on Twitter, this looked like an extremely expensive and complicated by-election for the Interlake, where several years of severe flooding could have (but in the end, didn’t) cost the NDP the seat. Every single NDP cabinet minister who ran for re-election got in. The NDP was given an unprecedented fourth term and a huge majority. I hope they use it wisely and govern for all Manitobans, as I heard Premier Selinger promise on the radio the morning after the election. The first-past-the-post system can lead to some severe inequities – the opposition PCs got nearly half of the popular vote, but only garnered 20 seats (out of 57).
I was thrilled to see that James Beddome, leader of the local Green Party, got over 20% of the vote in Wolseley, definitely a landmark. My own Green candidate, Alon Weinberg, did not garner as much support but came in third place, more than respectable in a neighbourhood that routinely sends a Conservative to Parliament, a New Democrat to the Legislature and Ross Eadie, who defies pigeonholing, to City Council. It was only right and proper that Jon Gerrard held on to his seat, but I’m sure a leadership review is coming up as the Liberals ponder their future in Manitoba (and their financial prospects on failing to receive 10% of the abysmally low vote).
The resignation of PC leader Hugh McFadyen was swift, but not unexpected. The reaction room was shocked but most of us were not surprised. A few PC supporters said that he should have stayed on to build a strong opposition party that could do better in the next election. Others said that he should resign, but maybe not on the night. My own opinion, which I was fortunate enough to air at the 02:42:50 mark or so into the broadcast, was that he was wise to pull out before the knives came out.
If you managed to slog through all this local politics, I thank you for staying the course. This particular adventure is over (and I even got paid for it! Does that now make me an official published author?) and now I move on to the next one. Any suggestions?