Opinion Editorial

PCs play politics with flood waters

Greg Vandermeulen

The provincial Conservatives are accusing the NDP government of dodging flood questions and issues, by not recalling the legislature. It seems the Torys think the government should use a clause in the assembly's official rules which allows the premier to recall the house at any time "because of an emergency or extraordinary circumstances".

The point they're trying to make is that the NDP won't have to face questions on their flood handling abilities until it may have faded from people's memories, perhaps after the next provincial election.

It's a weak point to be sure, and it may end up doing the PC party more harm than good. It doesn't take much to read between the lines in this one. Hugh McFadyen and his PC party want to make political hay, while the sun still shines, or in this case, while water still covers the fields. If the NDP have the summer to get their flood assistance out, the water recedes and we are back to normal, what can be accomplished politically by bringing up the flood memories?

Far better to raise the "issues" while people are still thinking with their hearts as they view the destruction, and not with their heads after they've assessed the assistance they received.

It's a blatant example of political grandstanding, of a party trying to use tragedy for votes. It's a strategy the NDP recognize because they too have been playing that card as part of every flood funding announcement this year.

But it should be easy to see if Hugh McFadyen is sincere.

Is he showing up to every provincial flood meeting he can?

Is he besieging the premier's office with requests for meetings and information?

Sadly on both cases, the answer is no.

The NDP said they offered the PC Party an opportunity to attend a briefing with Emergency Measures minister Steve Ashton. Hugh McFadyen was a notable no-show. Government spokesperson Matt Williamson admitted Ashton's office hasn't been besieged by phone calls asking for meetings. In fact, he said McFadyen had made no recent attempts to contact the premier or Ashton's office at all.

If McFadyen has better ideas, he needs to present them to the public. If he's just looking for a platform, he should not build it on the backs of flooded Manitobans, but wait for the election campaign like everyone else.