Yesterday, Manitoba Progressive Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen was awarded honorary membership in the party he's unsuccessfully tried to defeat in the last two provincial elections.
At the ceremony held in front of the Grand Staircase at the Legislative Building, Manitoba Premier and New Democratic Party leader Greg Selinger presented McFadyen with a certificate bearing his name, making him an honorary member of the NDP.
Hugh McFadyen and Greg Selinger pose for the cameras.
"I'm very honored, Mr. Premier," said McFadyen. "Despite the differences between us that I’m sure exist, I'm very pleased to accept this certificate on behalf of my entire campaign team. I will never forget this gesture. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
"We were disappointed to learn that Mr. McFadyen was stepping down as the Conservative leader," said Selinger. "We decided that we should do something to honor his years of helping us stay in power. It's because of the work of Mr. McFadyen and his campaign team, not to mention the gullible Manitoba voters that we are embarking on a historic fourth straight term in office. This was the least we could do for Mr. McFadyen and we only hope he decides to reconsider, stay on as the Conservative leader, and keep his campaign team fully intact."
"I learned the hard way that trying to outspend Mr. Selinger is like trying to pray better than the Pope," added McFadyen. "I gave it my best and now it's time to step aside and let someone else take the ball and run with it."
After the ceremony, McFadyen received a warm round of applause from Selinger and his entire team of elected and appointed members. Some admitted to shedding tears upon hearing that McFadyen was stepping down.
"I owe my entire political career to him," said an emotional Erin Selby, the MLA for Southdale. "I thought that the Conservatives could run a rhinoceros as their candidate and win in Southdale. But it was Hugh who finally convinced me that I could win."
"Without Hugh and his fabulous campaign team, I'd be sweeping the floors at Global," added Selby, a former television reporter with A-Channel in Winnipeg. "Just look at me now!"
"The Premier flagrantly broke election law, our MLAs insulted flood victims this summer and McFadyen didn't say a word. We’ve been ripe for the picking for over a decade and yet here we are with a fourth term," said one senior party official. "We’ve pretty much had the province to ourselves. We can’t thank McFadyen and his team enough."
The Conservatives have yet to announce a successor to McFadyen.