A number of cabinet ministers with Manitoba's Tory government have recently announced they're retiring from politics. That doesn't come as a big surprise to an associate professor of political science at Brandon University.
Kelly Saunders says what has been happening recently isn't anything unusual. "This is something we normally see. and let's not forget a number of these politicians have been around with a government that has been in office for a number of years, these people are longtime MLAs, so whenever there's an election coming up it's a logical time for people to step back and to move on from politics."
"We can't escape the fact that if the polls hold true, and certainly there is a long time until October's election and the writing is on the wall for the sitting of government, so some MLAs could be looking at that, and saying, 'It's tough to be in opposition once you've been in government for several years,'" said Saunders.
For more than a year, opinion polls have suggested that the governing Tories trail the Opposition NDP in public support.
"This allows the party to recruit, and bring some newer and younger people to the party which can reinvigorate the PC party. Nomination races are a great way to reach out to members and possibly new members. On the other hand, voters can view it as the PC Party is a sinking ship and the writing is on the wall."
Kelly Saunders says, with about nine months to the election, it will be hard for the government to turn their fortunes around. "In a word 'healthcare' has been the government's biggest issue. There are many pressing issues, such as inflation and housing affordability, but the healthcare crisis is foremost on voters' minds."
"The pandemic pulled the lid off some deep-rooted, and systemic problems, in our healthcare system. It goes beyond our province and every jurisdiction in the country is struggling with the problems in the system. Regardless it's the PC Party in government and they have to carry a lot of the blame for the problem and there's no quick solution," said Saunders.