The longest serving Premier in the country has decided to call it quits. He'll be missed, but I don't think it's the end of the road for his government. Certainly his personal popularity has been an important part of the NDP's success in Manitoba, but they're hardly a one man show; within his own caucus there are a number of worthy successors. Bill Blaikie, Theresa Oswald, and Greg Selinger would all be fine leaders, for instance; Blaikie is almost universally respected even by his opponents, Oswald has shown that she has the fortitude to stand up to a withering attack (as health minister she's had to fight off the Tory and Liberal attack dogs at every turn), and Selinger has done a fine job as finance minister. In this babble thread Scott Piatkowski suggests that Jennifer Howard ought to run, and he has a point; although she's a relative newcomer, she's highly intelligent and likeable. Steve Ashton is another possibility; someone calling themself Brodie, in a comment to this post at PolicyFrog's blog, claims that he's already sent out an email to his potential supporters, in fact (though this has to be treated as unconfirmed for now). Outside of caucus, some have suggested that Judy Wasylycia-Leis and/or Pat Martin might run as well, though that seems a bit less likely to me (and they'd be sorely missed at the federal level if they did).
We'll have to see how see how it goes. In any case, I think there's still plenty of life left in the provincial NDP; this should be more of a changing of the guard than the end of an era. Let's hope so, anyhow.