Monday, July 12, 2010

Welcome to the Confusing Political Inclusions Pavilion

The Folklorama programs for the year, titled the "Folklorama 2010 Travel Guide", are now available in various locations all across the city.

As a two-week celebration of the diversity and understanding that unites and shapes our multicultural community, I believe it's fair to say that Folklorama represents a spirit of inclusion and a genuine effort to avoid making people feel as though they're left out.

So, for us politics nerds, the spread on pages twenty and twenty-one are particularly interesting; if we operate on the idea that everybody is important and that nobody gets left out, then apparently there are only eighteen MLAs in the Province of Manitoba and all of them are NDP.

Well, that's interesting.

Given that this list lacks all of the Conservative MLAs and the... one remaining Liberal, it stands to reason that these pages were paid for and/or laid out by the NDP. But isn't it usually considered worthwhile (or, uh, appropriate) to include the name or logo of the party somewhere on there?

There's a similar, but smaller (at half a page), section on the upper half of page forty-three that shows the names and titles of six federal Conservative MPs -- but that ad also uses blue for most of the design and identifies itself as being "from your Federal Conservative Team", so there's less room for confusion on that one. (Granted, the federal Conservatives have gotten themselves in trouble before for putting their names and logos on things they shouldn't, but I think the usage is considered acceptable here.) So it seems kind of strange that the ruling provincial party, who hold thirty-six seats, would use two pages to offer best wishes from only half of its Members.

Initially I'd wondered if they were profiling only the MLAs of ridings within the city limits -- Folklorama being, after all, a Winnipeg event -- but that line of thinking evaporated once I went over the ridings actually represented here. Brandon East and not, say, Burrows? Gimli and not, say, Point Douglas? Strange. And stranger still when you consider the relative provincial prominence of these members, especially since the two-page spread omits almost as many notables as it includes.

Ten of the eighteen slots here are filled by Cabinet Ministers, eleven counting the Premier, but that leaves another nine Cabinet Ministers off the sheet entirely. Some of the bigger names, at that; no Ashton, no Blaikie, no Robinson, no Wowchuck or Mackintosh or Marcelino. Yo, isn't Flor Marcelino the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Tourism? How did the Minister of Culture, from a Winnipeg riding, get left out of the Folklorama program entirely while the non-Cabinet MLA of Brandon East made the cut? This is so bizarre.

I also wondered, after all of that, if these are some of the ridings that the NDP is sweating; were the selections here made to shore up support in next year's toughest battlegrounds? An initially promising idea, but not too accurate unless things have changed drastically in these areas; aside from Blady's surprise win and maybe Selby's riding, none of these contests were even particularly close in the last election. Not even Caldwell's!

I must admit that this post largely originated from me looking at these pages and going "what the hell is Drew Caldwell doing there", but much deliberation later I still haven't come up with a particularly compelling explanation. What the hell is Drew Caldwell doing there? Do we have a Brandon Pavilion this year? And how does a special spread of eighteen NDP MLAs make it into a Folklorama program without the customary NDP branding? Did Selinger decide that he'd pretend to be Sam Katz and stage a "non-partisanship" charade of his own?

More questions than answers here, I'm afraid. Fortunately, since Folklorama begins on the first of August, there are just under three weeks remaining before we can all get completely plastered and yell in public and forget everything we were talking about beforehand. Hope you like gymnasiums!


Anonymous said...

"S & M", my friend,

Congratulations you have uncovered the most nefarious political plot in the herstory of mankind.

There really aren't 36 NDP MLAs, there are, in fact only 18.

Nancy Allan is actually Steve Ashton in drag; Rob Altemeyer has been doubling as Flor Marcelino; Jim Rondeau is in fact Stan Struthers; and we all know why we've never seen Christine Melnick and Bonnie Korzeniowski in the same place at the same time, etc, etc.


Or it could be that 18 MLAs can do what 18 MLAs want.

Different Brian said...

Not that hard to figure out; they all put in ads, but paid for it all from their constituency budgets so they couldn't make it partisan. Probably got a cheaper rate by putting them all together...

Interesting to see how coordinated the NDP has been on promotions like this.

Winnipeg Reasoning said...

Sharon Blady and Erin Selby... va va va voom! And it looks like they could be sisters, too.