Saturday, August 29, 2009

Man. NDP plan for leadership convention

Manitoba's New Democrats are meeting Monday to plan for a leadership convention to replace outgoing Premier Gary Doer.

Doer was introduced Friday in Ottawa as Canada's next ambassador to the United States, a day after surprising many political observers by announcing he was stepping down as premier.

No one in the party is tipping their hand as to who Doer's possible successor might be. Bill Blaikie, the popular former NDP MP who is now a provincial MLA, is widely viewed as an obvious choice.

Potential candidates also include high-profile MLAs such as Finance Minister Greg Selinger, Health Minister Theresa Oswald, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Steve Ashton and federal MP Pat Martin, among others.

When Ashton called a press conference Friday afternoon, there was speculation it was to announce he was throwing his hat into the leadership ring. Instead, Ashton told reporters the day belongs to Doer and that the entire cabinet is proud of his appointment.

When pressed on whether he would take a shot at the premier's chair, Ashton was non-committal but said he expects it to be a great race because there are several strong candidates.

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