More Manitoba cabinet ministers suggest Greg Selinger step aside

More high-profile Manitoba cabinet ministers are calling on Premier Greg Selinger to consider resigning, but he responded by saying he will not step down.

Premier stands his ground, saying he will not resign as leader

Manitoba cabinet ministers Erin Selby (left to right), Andrew Swan and Theresa Oswald have added their voices to the chorus of concern in the Manitoba NDP. (Province of Manitoba)

More high-profile Manitoba cabinet ministers are calling on Premier Greg Selinger to consider resigning, but he responded by saying he will not step down.

Selinger made the remarks at a news conference held Tuesday afternoon.

 Among those who suggested that Selinger look at resigning is Justice Minister Andrew Swan, who said the premier must seriously consider his future for the sake of the party. 

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger missed a public appearance on Monday and cancelled a cabinet meeting on Tuesday as talk about his plummeting popularity continues to grow. (Jillian Coubrough/CBC)
The NDP would have a tough road going into the next election with him at the helm as there is a lot of evidence Manitobans are unhappy with him, Swan said earlier on Tuesday.

"It's become increasingly clear that it's overshadowing our ability to speak about all the good things the NDP has done over the last 15 years," Swan said.

"I'm very worried that if things remain as they are the next election will be a referendum on Greg Selinger."

Health Minister Erin Selby and Minister of Jobs and the Economy Theresa Oswald also added their concerns on Tuesday about the party's downward direction.

"This is worrisome. People are angry, they feel the premier broke their trust and he hasn't been able to mend that," said Selby.

"I think that he has a lot to think about but I think he'll do the right thing."

As the party dissension grows, Selinger appeared to be avoiding any spotlights. He was originally slated to attend the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba's 50th anniversary event at the convention centre on Monday night but was a no-show.

Then, he cancelled a cabinet meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday morning.

The public is also weighing in on the party's upheaval in the wake of comments by prominent NDP members on Monday that Selinger should consider stepping down.

"I think that he's left people wondering on a lot of issues and perhaps, you know, they're questioning his honesty,” said Judy Bell, one of a handful of people CBC News spoke to on the streets in Winnipeg.

The common feeling is that Selinger's flip-flop on the provincial sales tax hike will be his undoing.

Bell, who hasn’t made up her mind if she'll vote NDP in the next election, said the premier has done some good things for the province but the PST hike isn't good for his reputation.

Jim Stewart agreed, saying, "“I think it probably hurt him a lot. I don’t think he has as much support as he used to have and that would worry me.”

On Monday, Becky Barrett, a vice president with the NDP executive, said Selinger's decision to raise the PST from seven to eight per cent last year, despite promising in the 2011 election campaign that he wouldn't do so, has many people questioning his leadership.​

That was echoed on Tuesday by Swan.

"The skip of a curling team takes the heat for a loss. The premier takes heat for a poorly reasoned PST increase," he said.

Along with Swan, both Barrett and Stan Struthers, the minister of municipal government, said Selinger must evaluate his future as party leader and do what's best for Manitobans.

"I believe the premier will take a look at all of that and he'll make a determination. He'll reflect on all the information that he has, and I think he does have a decision to make," Struthers said on Monday.

Recent polls have put Selinger's support at all-time low.

"I'm speaking out because I think it's critically important that things change," Barrett said.


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