In selecting a leader, MHAs fully realize throwing weight behind a candidate is mostly about ambitious pursuit of self-gain. Sure, there are instances where showing support of a candidate shows conviction for his or her leadership ability, but it’s more about back-scratching transactions.
The provincial Progressive Conservative Party is in the midst of that selfish race right now as MHAs line up to support the new premier, who will be crowned in due time.
The three jockeying for support within the house include Paul Davis, Steve Kent and John Ottenheimer, one of which automatically assumes the role as the head of the province. Each of the three has collected the support of a handful of MHAs as they try to woo delegates in their favour.
What does this mean to the general public? Little really. It shows where the MHAs’ allegiances lie and may give a glimpse into how the district wil be viewed by a new premier.
The most pressing impact the process has is on the MHA and the possible leader. If the MHA carries any clout within the district, he or she will play Pied Piper and lead the delegates into the fold of the leader of choice.
More votes from the delegates, in turn, means the leadership hopefuls will have an improved chance of winning the race. And, of course, each winner wants to reward those who helped him or her climb to the top. A cabinet post is a nice trophy.
This is never etched into the rocks of policy and principle, but provides a win-win for those involved.
This is another reason the MHAs deciding not to throw their support to one of the leaders should be commended.
By staying clear of public support, they are, in effect, entrusting the delegates in their district to vote without the enticement or encouragement of the elected official. This gives the delegates more perceived control over who gets in and makes every vote truly count.
As the race gets closer, we’ll likely see more MHAs climb in bed with the frontrunner in this three-horse race. This type of self-seeking opportunism surpasses even those who aligned early in the game as it can’t be disguised as showing conviction or support and is a blatant attempt to curry favour for personal gain.
Have a chat with your MHA about it. Ask why the hat is tipped for which leader. And may the best leader win.