Are cabinet Ministers picked by throwing darts at a dartboard?

It’s no secret that I think that elected representatives should at least know how to comb their hair, button their collars and tie a tie. Dave Chomiak has been failing at this since he was elected. Case in point? Here is a picture of Chomiak taken at a federal funding announcement in 2009:

Besides that, you’re pants are too long and your shoes need a shine. If you can’t wear a tie properly, don’t wear them!

But, this post is about Premier Selinger’s ‘Acting’ Finance Minister and Conservation Minister. Selinger appointed Stan Struthers as Acting Finance Minster to add to his title of Agriculture Minister, and Chomiak as Acting Conservation Minister as well as Minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro to go with his Minister of Innovation, Energy and Mines portfolio.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Struthers-Chomiak-take-on-more-cabinet-duties-132154753.html

I have a few issues with these appointments:

Struthers:

First, I believe that both Agriculture and Finance are important enough portfolios to warrant a full minister as opposed to having one person deal with both them.

Second, I’m not sure how a career as a teacher qualifies him to be either Agriculture or Finance minister, but I guess when you only have teachers or social workers to choose from…

Chomiak:

Let’s just ignore the fact the guy can’t dress himself for a moment.

Wasn’t he relieved of more senior cabinet positions because he was burnt out? Rumor had it he may have been suffering from some mental illness issues. So why increase his cabinet load?

I can kind of understand mating Hydro with Energy, Innovation and Mines.

But Conservation?

Look at the Ministerial list. There is another minister whose portfolio screams to take on conservation.

WATER STEWARDSHIP!!!!

Why wasn’t Christine Melnick named Acting Conservation Minister? Her portfolio dovetails perfectly with Conservation. In fact an argument could be made that Hydro could mate with Water Stewardship as well.

So why Chomiak? That decision doesn’t make any sense to me when it seems crystal clear that it should be Christine Melnick

Or lets say Selinger doesn’t like Melnick. How about Altemeyer, he’s got a Masters in Natural Resource Management.

But Chomiak?

Any answers?

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A couple of quick random thoughts….

Drivers:

We all know that Winnipeg drivers are crap.

I’ve noticed a couple of creatures lately that make me laugh though.

The twitchy slow guy

The guy that comes up to stop line and ya swear he is going to blow it. Instead he slams on his brakes and creeps into the intersection so that by the time the light turns green, he is halfway into the intersection.  As soon as the light goes green, he hammers it to go ………30 km/hr below the speed limit.

Leapfrogger

You’ve all seen this one. Especially prevalent in places like Northbound Pembina near Jubilee (Where one lane exits). These aren’t the guys that blast down the lane that goes out and then cut back into traffic. Nope, these are the guys that are right behind you in bumper to bumper traffic and then pull out into the lane that exits. But instead of blowing past a whole row of cars, they only pass you. And then sometimes they do it to the next car too. Dude, If you’re in a hurry, pass everyone. If not, then really, what’s passing two cars going to accomplish?

Ross Eadie:

Remember after the civic election, I chided residents of Mynarski for electing this clown?

https://bgilchrist.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/winnipeg-election-the-good-the-bad-the-ugly/

Yeah, well your embarrassment is at it again:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/hike-trash-fees-for-rich-eadie-132035443.html

This is why people in the rest of the city point and laugh. There is NO correlation between assessed property value and the amount of garbage produced. In fact, if you examine the amount of garbage produced per capita, I think you’d find pretty quickly that the amount of garbage produced is inversely proportional to the assessed value of a person’s dwelling. Low income earners are less likely to compost or recycle because a) the facilities aren’t there b) they don’t have the time c) They don’t have the ability or financial means to make trips to Brady Road for large items.

This is a joke. Nothing more than Eadie wanting to tax the ‘rich’. Yet you also can’t correlate property values directly with earnings. My house has an assessed value higher than most on my street. Yet we compost and recycle and my family of four produces much less garbage than most houses on my street.

Ross Eadie, you’re an embarrassment. And residents of Mynarski should be embarrassed to have you as their councilor.

Matt Wiebe for Finance Minister?

So the speculation from Dan Lett and Mary Agnes Welch from the Free Press is who will be named finance minister in Selinger’s government.They are speculating on Theresa Oswald. Of course we would all agree that a teacher would be the most qualified, right?

So I looked at the NDP’s website and a few ( very few ) names came up

Matt Wiebe has an Economics degree. I guess that could be considered qualified. But then again Selinger has an economics degree and he has no clue about accounting or proper financial reporting.

Flor Marcelino? She’s a business owner

Bidhu Jha? He’s owned a business

But that’s as close as you get. Accountants? Nope. CEOs? Nope.

But he’s got lots and lots to choose from for education minister. About half the MLAs are teachers.

It’s probably not just a NDP thing, but why wouldn’t you get credible candidates that have some experience in each of the cabinet areas? I’m thinking Doctor, Lawyer, Teacher, Accountant,Social Worker, police officer, etc.

But with all the teachers, union leaders, social workers in the ranks of NDP MLAs did they think about that? Or is being nominated for political office just payback for union involvement?

Not to dwell on the election…….

It’s over, done with, finito.

I don’t like the idea of dwelling on the results. Time to move forward

However, there is a blog entry from Mia Rabson in the freep that has prompted some discussion:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/rabson/Hypocrisy-lives-131234999.html

I made a couple of comments on the post. I intend for this to be my last post on the provincial election. What follows started out as a response to one of the comment’s on Mia Rabson’s blog but turned into a full blown blog posting. So Instead of following up on a comment there, I’ll post it here. Specifically how the NDP’s assertion that the Conservatives would cut $500M from services was a blatant lie:

Let’s look at their claim that the Conservatives introduced legislation that would have cut $500 million in services (which also seemed to be the basis for the ‘stop health care cuts’ ads)

Problem is that the conservatives never introduced any legislation of the kind. The legislation introduced ( and which Gerrard supported) was an amendment to the repeal of the balanced budget legislation. The amendment called for a suspension of the balanced budget legislation for two years.

So while the NDP was jumping at the gun to kill BB legislation ( anyone wanna bet that we’ll never see this re-introduced as long as they are in power ?) The Conservatives and Liberals said “hold on, we are in an economic downturn, but let’s not kill this altogether. Let’s make an allowance for a couple of years and then see where we sit.” Sounds prudent to me.

Not the NDP, they were looking to kill BB legislation without sparking a public outcry.

So how did this turn into “cutting $500 Million”?

Well, the legislation was for a two year exemption. The NDP presented a budget with a four year forecast.  So if the legislation was passed, the four year forecast would need to be amended to show balanced budgets in years three and four.

“See, the NDP was correct.”

Nope, not at all. The provincial government doesn’t pass four year budgets, they pass single year budgets every year. And forecasts are just that, forecasts. The expenditures in the forecasts are not set in stone and forecasts are adjusted every year anyway. Besides, they could have easily forecasted additional revenue in year three and four anticipating an upturn in the economy. Additional revenue would have offset the increased spending and yielded a balanced budget.

But what if the economy didn’t turn around?

Easy.

Amend the balanced budget legislation again. Budgets are passed annually, so that wouldn’t be a problem.

Of course, when your goal is to kill the restraint that is balanced budget legislation, it’s easier to portray the opposition as wanting to cut $500 million.

They changed their reporting so they could run deficits in the operating account and claim they had balanced the budget due to paper revenue from Hydro and MPI.

Now they have eliminated BB legislation all together.

We’ll never see that back as long as the NDP is in power

We’ll never see a balanced operating account as long as the NDP is in power.

So who won?

Well, in memory of Jack Layton and his message of hope and optimism, the provincial NDP conducted a campaign of sleaze, misinformation and lies. So much for Jack’s memory.

But did they win? Well, in number of seats and another majority , yes.

But what did we have to choose from?

An NDP campaign of lies and electoral disdain, vs. a conservative campaign of pandering and trying to be the NDP.

I could suggest that because the NDP didn’t get 50% of the popular vote, the provincial gov’t is illegitimate. But unlike those on the left that made that cry when the federal conservatives won, I won’t make that argument. I didn’t believe it then, I don’t now. That’s how our system works.

But aside from number of seats, who really won? I don’t know.

Democracy suffered in this election. Voter turnout was low; there are several responsibilities that come with the ability to vote. First and foremost is exercising that right. One responsibility that I think is almost as important is to be an informed voter. This campaign of lies and slander  is an affront to this responsibility and I believe it could be argued that it was an attempt to undermine democracy.

Did we also have a clear, credible choice? If , as many suggested, it was a two party race, then what were the differentiations? Bipole? Anything else?

I’m not sure who won, but I know who lost.

Manitobans lost in this election. No clear vision presented in this campaign on anything ( unless hiring thousands of nurses can be considered vision). No credible alternative.

We have four years. Four years for someone to step forward and provide a clear, credible vision. Four years for someone to develop positive alternatives. Four years to develop a roadmap to bring us to a have province. Four years to develop a plan to address issues like crime and poverty.

Let’s just hope someone steps forward to do it.