'We need to build our team again': NDP MLAs ask rebels to sign 'declaration of solidarity'
Manitoba's NDP MLA's are being asked to sign a declaration of solidarity in an attempt to bring the party back together after a divisive leadership contest.
Greg Selinger narrowly won it, retaining his job as premier, beating out rivals and former cabinet ministers Theresa Oswald and Steve Ashton.
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The declaration of solidarity is the brainchild of backbench MLAs Dave Gaudreau and Rob Altemeyer.
They have been critical of the dissident MLAs who forced the leadership vote by calling on Selinger to step aside so the party would have a better chance of being re-elected without him after he embroiled the party in controversy by hiking the PST.
"We need to build our team again," Altemeyer said Tuesday.
He wouldn't say if the premier supported the solidarity pledge or if he intended to sign it.
Asked what Selinger said, Altemeyer compared the NDP to the movie "Fight Club," saying the first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club.
Gaudreau and Altemeyer, who were first to sign their pledge, have invited all NDP MLAs to follow suit today, including the rebel MLAs.
But the CBC's Caroline Barghout reports so far, only Flor Marcelino, minister of multiculturalism and literacy, and Christine Melnick have been spotted walking into and out of the NDP caucus room.
Melnick was kicked out of caucus after a public spat with Selinger on an immigration-related issue dating back to when she was the minister of immigration.
Melnick wouldn't say if she signed the pledge.
The pledge also asks those signing it to vow they "not be the source of any leaks or attacks on the government or caucus members."
'Never seen [the legislature] so dysfunctional'
Veteran political analyst Paul Thomas doesn't think the declaration will heal the divide within the party.
"Everything is so nervous and paranoid down in the [legislative] building downtown that someone said to me, 'In 30 years of being around government on Broadway here, I've never seen it as dysfunctional as it is currently,'" he said.
Thomas says the premier needs to patch things up privately.
"If you're Theresa Oswald or Miss [Jennifer] Howard or someone like that you may say, 'Well, what are they trying to get me to do? Grovel in order to sign this document?'" Thomas said.
Thomas says in order to bring the party together Premier Greg Selinger has to sit down privately with each of the dissident MLA's.
He says it's imperative for the party to move forward.