Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wasylycia-Leis, Wasylycia-Leis, Wasylycia-Leis

The biggest tongue twister of a name is leaving Ottawa:

Winnipeg MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis is giving up her seat in Parliament.

Effective May 1, the longtime NDP politician will resign the Winnipeg North seat she has held since 1997.

Wasylycia-Leis, 58, made the announcement Tuesday in Ottawa.

There has been speculation she intends to run for mayor of Winnipeg in the civic election this fall. However, a decision has yet to be made, she told CBC News earlier Tuesday.

Wasylycia-Leis won her seat in a walk last election, against a rather lackluster opposition:

NDP 62.2% (spent 56k)
CPC 22.4% (spent 6k)
Lib 9.2% (spent 14k)
Green 4.8% (spent 491$)

So, I wouldn't expect this seat to flip anytime soon (Pundits Guide gives the rundown on a possible by election). However, this riding may just be the perfect case study in what ails the Liberals in Western Canada. The seat was painted Liberal red in 1988 and 1993 - but watch how the Grits have fallen since then:

1993: 22,180 votes
1997: 6,755 votes
2000: 7,801 votes
2004: 9,491 votes
2006: 5,752 votes
2008: 2,075 votes

Yes, I know the boundaries have been redrawn and the "flood election" washed away thousands of Liberal votes in Winnipeg. But there's really no excuse for the Liberals to be getting less than a quarter of the support now as they got during the first Adscam election.

I'm not a wild eyed dreamer who expects the party to win in Crowfoot or Prince Albert anytime soon. But if we want to regain power and to ever have a chance at another majority government, this party needs to win seats in places like Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

Which means they need to at least be competitive in a riding like Winnipeg North.

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