Many Manitobans have serious immediate concerns.
Northern Manitobans have been devastated by announced business closures. On October 1, Manitoba’s minimum wage employees did not receive any increase. Some Federal employees have not been paid due to computer glitches.
In order to deal with these and other problems, our provincial and federal governments need to be pressured by properly functioning Opposition parties. The Opposition parties have abdicated their immediate responsibilities as they leisurely search for the person to lead them into the next election several years down the road.
Opposition parties should always have a leader; Gary Filmon, Steven Harper, and Greg Selinger were wrong to immediately give up their leadership on Election Night. If a quick leadership change is desirable, a quick Leadership Convention can be held.
In 1969 ,the Manitoba PC Government called a snap election five months before a scheduled NDP Leadership Convention. Because the NDP wanted a new leader, they organized and held a leadership convention in 16 days. With Ed Schreyer as their new leader, the NDP upset the PC’s in a Manitoba General Election 18 days after the Leadership Convention.
It is unfortunate that political parties believe in interim leaders. Interim leaders produce three unacceptable scenarios.
Some interim leaders, like Flo Marcelino (Manitoba NDP 2016) and Nycole Turmel (Federal NDP 2011 – 2012) seem totally unsuited to the job. Others, like Rona Ambrose (Federal Conservatives 2016) and Bob Rae (2011 – 2013 Federal Liberals) took on the interim leadership of their parties on the condition they would not seek the leadership. Both of these individuals may have been qualified, however the rules did not allow them to run.
A third option is letting the interim leader seek the leadership. In 1979, interim Manitoba NDP leader Howard Pawley won a four person race. Did his interim leadership give him an advantage? These problems can be solved by the incumbent leaders staying on the job until their successor is chosen.
Also, there is no need for defeated or outgoing party leaders to resign their seats in mid-term. Taxpayers simply can not afford by-elections every time an elected official does not get their desired role.
All MLA’s and MP’s including the leaders of defeated parties should find a way to contribute.
Stephane Dion and Joe Clark served in their successor’s Cabinets. After losing the leadership John Diefenbaker remained in the House of Commons for the last 12 years of his life. He held all Party Leaders especially his PC successors responsible in a clever sometimes sarcastic sort of way.
In the autumn of 1970, Tommy Douglas was preparing leave the leadership of the Federal NDP. However, he opposed the implementation the War Measures Act. His controversial position has been vindicated by time.
In conclusion, Opposition parties have a job in between elections. They should not devote all of their time to worrying about the next election campaign.
For many Canadians, the future is now.