Wednesday, October 5, 2011

McFadyen blames NDP's sowing of "Fear and Deceit" for loss? Hardly.

In 1969, after losing to Ed Schreyer, defeated PC Premier Walter Weir infamously proclaimed: "The people have spoken. And the people are wrong."  Thankfully, defeated Manitoba PC leader Hugh McFadyen didn't pull a Walter Weir last night. No, instead of pulling a Weir; in defeat McFadyen pulled "a McFadyen". After being bested by Premier Greg Selinger's NDP machine, Mr. McFadyen told his shell-shocked PC supporters they'd lost because: "in Manitoba it appears that fear and deceit have won the day." Harrumph... hardly.  Despite the negative tenor of the NDP campaign (and make no mistake, it was negative) it wasn't the NDP's sowing of "fear and deceit" that sealed Hugh McFadyen's fate last night... Hugh McFadyen did it to himself.

Now did I want Hugh McFadyen to win last night? No, absolutely not. Greg Selinger deserved to win his own mandate and, having done so, I am optimistic he will govern us ably over the next four years. That being said: Do I think Hugh McFadyen could have and should have run a better campaign? Yes, absolutely.

Had Hugh McFadyen run a better and smarter election campaign he may very well have won 24-27 seats last night.  Had he run a campaign truly based on hope and "vision" he could have damaged the NDP brand and put Selinger on the defensive for the next four years. And, had McFadyen run a quality campaign, he could have remained at the helm of a PC party ideally positioned to win power in 2015. But McFadyen didn't run a dynamic campaign with a difference; instead, he ran a reactionary campaign: one that saw him call the Premier a liar on everything from the deficit to taxes, from health to Bi-pole, from crime to employment, and beyond. Instead of providing the electors with a forward looking cohesive narrative, he instead tried to instil within the voters a deep-seated "fear" of four more years of NDP rule. He preferred to bemoan the NDP's twelve year reign rather than expound clearly and concisely upon what his PC party would do differently over the span of the next four. Finally, he absolutely failed to project an image of a man who was confident in his own abilities and at peace with his party's policy platform. In short, he failed to lead.

When a losing politician publicly voices post-vote sour grapes, it leaves the whole polity with a bad aftertaste. Hugh McFadyen did this last night. By trying to place the blame for his defeat on an NDP campaign he says was rooted in "fear and deceit" McFadyen is conveniently forgetting to admit his own complicity in the same equation. True, Manitoba votes 2011 was an ugly no holds barred political campaign. But McFadyen entered the bare knuckled melee willingly, and after having swung away only to lose - its poor form for McFadyen to look at his bruised and bloody knuckles and now complain he lost because his opponents were playing by the same rules. He took the gloves off, they took the gloves off - fair is fair. When announcing his resignation as PC leader last night Hugh McFadyen need not have stooped to blaming the NDP's campaign tactics. His failure to lead was really what had sealed the deal... and his resignation said it all. It's a pity he chose to lash out, for in the end, rightly or wrongly: "The people have spoken." 


  1. The urbanites have spoken.
    This election shows serious problems between urban and rural.
    Our infrastructure is shot; ndp don't give a crap. they have regulations on everything from pop corn to slough water. They blame agriculture for their problems.
    I say, let Seli be premier (of wpg), but we need representation in the the rural areas.

  2. @ Mark W., Apt you should mention the rural/urban issue. And I do understand your frustrations. I have a post almost ready to go on that very issue. Check back tomorrow.

  3. Well, written piece. Hugh is just a childish poor sport.

  4. Wrong.

    The NDP did wage a campaign of lies, deceit and slander. Selinger treats us all like idiots when he says he ran a positive campaign.

    Would the PCs have fared better if they addressed the lies head on? Would they have fared better if they actually ran a campaign that was different policy-wise than the NDP's?

    We'll never know.

  5. @bgilchrist -
    Both parties engaged in mud-slinging & name calling in their ads. The NDP just had more ammo & were better shots.

  6. @anon

    More ammo and better shots?

    if ammo = lies and better shots = people blindly believe than yes.

    PCs had much more ammo in the form of the NDP's track record and failures, they just didn't use it

  7. He laid a big fat turd.

    PC's are just as bad as dippers. No will to fight. No imagination and when the time comes the transfer payments are to be cut, then we will see what a shithole the Province really is and will continue to be.

    At the very least, perhaps he has a job offer somewhere, he quit.

  8. @ Mark W - first of all, it's disingenuous to claim that only the PCs speak for 'rural' areas. 30% of the NDP caucus (11/37) represent seats outside the Perimeter.

    And secondly, I get sick of hearing about folks in rural southern Manitoba crying about their lack of representation in government. If you guys want to keep voting in Tory fenceposts with 80% margins, that's your business. But don't act surprised or indignant when you find yourself excluded from the inner circle.