Greg Selinger was 'kicked pretty hard' during career, colleague says

A former colleague says despite Greg Selinger's accomplishments, the former premier will likely be remembered for his part in a tumultuous time for Manitoba politics — at least for now.

Former MLA Gord Mackintosh praises former premier's determination, sacrifice

Greg Selinger announced his departure from politics on Tuesday, despite saying last week he would not resign. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

A former colleague says despite Greg Selinger's accomplishments, the former premier will likely be remembered for his part in a tumultuous time for Manitoba politics — at least for now.

"Greg Selinger has a difficult legacy because the party became so fractured," said Gord Mackintosh, who spent 23 years in the Manitoba Legislature and was a cabinet minister from 1999 to 2016.

"But at the same time, we have to remember that here was a guy, no matter what you say about Greg Selinger and all of the mistakes, there's also a person there with great determination."

Selinger announced his resignation from politics on Tuesday, bringing an end to what Mackintosh called a "rather tortuous career."

His resignation came a week after NDP Leader Wab Kinew asked him to step down following news of seven women's allegations of inappropriate touching by former MLA Stan Struthers, while Selinger was leader of the party.

It also came a week after Selinger called a news conference to say he would not resign from his position. He told reporters Tuesday he hadn't been ready at first because he needed to consult his constituency, community and family.

Former Manitoba premier Greg Selinger announced Tuesday he is stepping down as member of the legislature for St. Boniface next month. It comes a week after NDP Leader Wab Kinew asked Selinger to resign in the wake of inappropriate touching allegations against former MLA Stan Struthers. 7:13

Mackintosh, who sat next to Selinger in the legislature for a decade, said the former leader established himself as someone who didn't take other people's advice.

Paul Thomas, a political studies professor at the University of Manitoba, also mentioned that flaw.

"Greg Selinger had some notable leadership qualities, like intelligence, focus, and a hard-working guy, but he didn't have a strong sense of the requirements of harmony within organizations and good interpersonal skills to make people feel like they belonged and they had a contribution to make."

It's unfortunate the events of the past week have tainted the end of Selinger's career, Thomas said, referring to the "public spectacle" of a new leader calling upon a former premier to quit.

"There's a lot of sacrifice involved in serving public office," he said. "I think you have to have some gratitude for what he contributed to the community."

For Mackintosh, Selinger's notable contributions include "significant and long-lasting investments" in the community, including sports facilities, roads and CentrePort as well as the province's health care and Manitoba Hydro.

It's time to give some respect to those that maybe have been kicked pretty hard but have really given it their all.- Gord  Mackintosh

"Quite frankly, I think most people on hearing this are going to be thinking, like, 'Wow, that political career has been really tough on someone's family," he said. "And I think it's important to think about that."

Mackintosh said it's unfortunate Selinger's long career didn't end on his own terms.

"He was asked as a leader to move on, to resign, and now he was asked by his leader to move on and resign," Mackintosh said. 

"It's time to give some respect to those that maybe have been kicked pretty hard but have really given it their all."

With files from Darren Bernhardt and Kristin Annable

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