Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Manitoba Political Underdog

32 year old family University Student and former paramedic is Shane Geschiere plans to run for Federal Liberal Party leadership.
Geschiere, who has a family (he's a married father of a baby boy and a toddler daughter) and lives in Oakbank, Manitoba1, is proudly running as an outsider. He attacks the "grey haired", "middle-aged" "old boys club" Liberal Party elite as being out of touch with everyday concerns.

While inspired to run for party leadership by seeing a film on Margret Thatcher, the 32 year old is firmly in the red Liberal camp. He emphasizes issues like education, healthcare, pensions,  and a reasonable party entrance fee.

His candidacy is interesting, especially for a party in such disrepair as the Liberals. While all parties need fresh faces and ideas, there are some problems with the run.

While Geschiere celebrates the freshness inexperience entails, his knowledge of the issues and obstacles to solving them seem shallow from what I can tell. Maybe he's just "holding his powder" for the campaign trail2, but that's still a concern.

In the Uniter, for instance, he says this:

“A fresh new energy, a person who considers education, childcare and seniors as important because all of these matter to me directly. I am the complete opposite of what you always see, the same old, middle-aged politicians.”
          ("Crashing the Party". Veitch, Peyton. The Uniter. March 7, 2011.)   

 The Oakbank resident needs to polish off his messaging. It comes off as a bit too stilted and, furthermore, the age angle doesn't completely work here. Why wouldn't grey-haired, late middle aged males care about seniors (hell, they'll be in that demo shortly)? I've heard arguments that pensions get more attention than tuition because seniors vote more and are better represented demo-wise in the House3.

Geschiere could certainly make the case that affluent middle aged men4 wouldn't care about the regular Canada Pensions middle and working class seniors get. Problem is, he doesn't. Thus he gives a confusing message.

Time will tell if, in addition to coming from everyday Canada, he can champion it's interests well. I wish him the best of luck.      

1 A town 15 km east of Winnipeg with a population of over 2,000
2 I recall a quip, whose source I can't find, that says "Winning campaigns say little, losing campaigns say less."
3 The NDP wave of 2011 changed that somewhat given the in swell of then-student MPs from Quebec.
4 Many of whom are eligible for a generous MP's pension.