Who calls the shots?

When the dust settles after the NDP leadership race, Manitobans will have many opinions on the winner and the loser.
No matter who wins the race, Sellinger or Ashton, there will be one big winner who isn’t even on the ballot.
That winner is the labour movement. The unions will decide who the next premier of Manitoba will be.
That was pre-arranged a few years ago when the NDP went away from their plan to have one – member, one – vote. They went back to the delegate system. Even though they had adopted using one – member, one – vote, they went back to the delegate system. The unions are guaranteed 400 delegates at the convention. Now most parties, provincial and federal, have used the delegate system at one time or another. The NDP planned to do so but the unions knew they could control the outcome of a leadership race much better with a delegate quota system. They can control policy conventions much better that way as well.
If another political party, such as the Conservatives, used a delegate quota system but, rather than allocating 400 delegates to the unions, decided another group would be better, what would the reaction be? If the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce or the Keystone Agricultural Producers were allocated 400 votes at a leadership convention there would be a huge outcry. The NDP would cry foul, the media would be howling too. But when the NDP have 400 union delegates at their convention, hardly anyone says a word.
The NDP system of electing a leader is effective and it will get the desired result. The winner will probably get the most union votes. Even if he doesn’t, the new premier will know that, come policy convention or election platform time, he better be union friendly. The unions are the largest controlling block of votes in Manitoba. The aboriginal vote could be very large but they rarely get activated in large groups. The unions control Manitoba politics and they know it. They don’t intend to give up control either.
The NDP system isn’t democratic; it may be effective for the unions but it’s far from democratic. With a one-member, one-vote system, everybody gets a chance to vote. It doesn’t matter whether you are old or young, whether you can travel or not, whether you can afford delegate fees or not, a member gets a vote. You can be a shut-in senior in Grandview with no chance to get to Winnipeg and you can get a say in who the leader of the party will be. It’s a very fair system.
As we get a new premier through a quota delegated system, we’ll know it wasn’t by a democratic or a fair system but we can rest assured that the unions will have had their say. They will continue to have their say, and that’s not a really good thing judging by recent history. Health care will focus on increasing salaries and job numbers. Job numbers equal union member numbers. Results in health care will come fourth to increasing salaries,  job numbers and union numbers.  Similarly in education, emphasis on salaries, job numbers and union numbers put results in fourth place on the priority list. In industry the same effects will be continuing. Labour unions only look at a company’s bottom line when they absolutely have to do so. Many don’t look at the bottom line until the company has closed down.
We will see a continuation of business stifling legislation such as the payroll tax, tax bracket creep and labour friendly legislation, some of which will simply be bureaucratic rather than helpful.
Manitoba is in for a rough couple of years. Gone is the Doer charm that kept the left-wingers somewhat at bay. The unions will be emboldened and little legislation will be passed that actually helps the economy. If the debt-spending continues at the current rate, Manitoba government debt will rise to $25 billion.
Hopefully, Manitobans will realize soon that government isn’t the answer to every problem but it looks like it will be two more years before they get to say so.

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