Thursday, April 21, 2016

Post-Election Hangover

Regardless of your political affiliation Election Day is a celebration of democracy.  The peaceful change of power is something to celebrate and treasure.  Yes…my team won on Tuesday night, but we didn't fair so well last October.  That is the way things go in politics.

Nicole with our newly elected
MLA for Selkirk Dr Alan Lagimodiere
In my previous post, I discussed why this election mattered to me.  As a result, I've been actively involved in our local campaign in Selkirk.  The experience has been thoroughly gratifying.  It was a great opportunity to meet and work with members of our community. It was also a lot of fun to be joined by my daughter, Nicole, who joined me on several Saturdays as we went out door knocking in the various neighbourhoods.  I think we both learned a lot and had a lot of fun.

I recall some of the first meetings I attended as part of the constituency association and discussing the upcoming campaign.  There wasn't a lot of exuberance as this constituency has never yielded to the blue team.  We knew this would be an uphill climb.  We had to reverse a 1200 vote deficit from the 2011 election.  As we got out into the community we were consistently receiving a warm reception almost everywhere we went.  The mood was certainly one of change.

We not only had the uphill climb of getting elected, we knew we would also have daunting challenges if we were fortunate enough to form government.  After all, this cannot be about just winning an election.  The reason you do this is because you believe in something and want to make positive changes.  For me this was an election about health care.  Many others on our team had other concerns.  Education, infrastructure and taxes were frequently discussed but for me health care will always strike close to home.  I recall a meeting I was fortunate enough to have with our PC Health Critic, Myrna Driedger, in the Fall of 2014.  She showed me a stack of files on her desk.  Letters she had received from Manitobans who had concerns about health care.  I assume most were negative experiences.  It was a deep file.  I asked her some pointed questions.  We had a good discussion but what struck me was her body language.  The only way I could describe it is a “stubborn but compassionate resolve.”  I got the distinct impression there isn't a lot of “quit” in her.  You don’t sit in opposition for 16 years without a great deal of stick-to-itiveness.  I am assuming she will be taking on the Health portfolio and she has a monumental task in front of her.  I wish her every success.

As I was monitoring the ballot count on Tuesday night it became apparently clear this was actually going to happen.  Yes, you read the polls and your head says you have a real good shot but when you actually see the ballots come in, the smile starts and you realize…we got this...and we a big way.

I probably should be a lot happier but I am not celebrating today.  All of the work we spent on the campaign will be a total waste of time if we can’t get things done.  For me it is all about health care.  A hill many other politicians have fallen on.  We have to do better and we have to get it right.  People’s lives are at stake.  This became abundantly clear as I was still in the polling station, on Tuesday night, when my wife, Susan, sent me a text.  Her Mom was in the ER at St Boniface Hospital.  An apparent gall bladder issue.  That will shock you into reality in a real quick hurry.  A vivid reminder that the issues we have in health care never go away.

Because my team won on Tuesday; are all of our troubles gone and is there nothing but smooth sailing?  Far from it.  The work is just beginning.  Yes the tasks seem insurmountable but I recall what everyone was saying two years ago, most said the PCs would never take Selkirk.  Having worked with this team and some of the other teams in the province I can assure you; you haven’t seen nothing yet.  We’re just getting warmed up.  

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