UPDATED: Confirmed! Gary Doer heads to DC.

Pack your bags, soon-to-be-former Ambassador Wilson!

Apparently, you’re coming home:

9:30 a.m. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper will meet with the new Ambassador-designate of Canada to the United States of America.

Office of the Prime Minister

Centre Block

Eerily sharp-eyed early riser that he is, National NewsWatch has already dubbed it “DoerWatch”, which makes ITQ feel terribly out of the loop. When did we-the-media-and-assorted-Hill-gossips peg the outgoing premier as the likely next ambassador? Was it yesterday, while she was entirely preoccupied by imminent Senate appointments and Langevinian intrigue? What happened to the David Emerson theory? Or Tom Flanagan! Wouldn’t that be fun? Anyway, I’ll post an update as soon as we’ve got confirmation of his (or her) identity. Whee!

UPDATE: Well, if it turns out to be true, the Winnipeg Free Press’s Don Lett gets to feel pretty darned smug, since he predicted it — well, gave space to the rumour, which was apparently swirling amongst the “well-heeled Lake Winnipeg martini crowd” — in a column earlier this week.

So, did anyone spot the Challenger idling on the Winnipeg airport runway late last night? Or, being a fiscally conservative Dipper, would Doer have flown the proletariat skies?

AND ANOTHER UPDATE: CJOB reports, and CBC is confirming, that Doer is, in fact,  headed to DC, and the Globe’s Jeffrey Simpson gets an ITQ Prescience Only Counts When You Say It In Public Point for suggesting, as a “pure guess,” in today’s column, that Doer would do well as “consul-general in a place such as Los Angeles or Denver or Seattle.”

TWO ITQ POCWYSIIP points for Don Martin!

Quick, everyone! Wikipedia update race!

I can’t seem to track down a transcript of Doer’s speech at the NDP convention in Halifax, but the video is available via CPAC, and might be worth rewatching (y’all did watch it the first time around, right?) in light of recent developments.

The video is available on Youtube, too!

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: So, is anyone else feeling kind of bad for Rodney MacDonald today? First he loses out on that Nova Scotia senate seat, now this. What does a former PC premier have to do to get some love from Ottawa?

Okay, ITQ is ready to make a not-remotely-bold prediction that Gary Doer’s appointment is going to be universally supported — perhaps, in some cases, through slightly gritted teeth, but still supported — by the very same opposition parties who were howling with outrage over yesterday’s Senate appointment binge. I honestly don’t see a down side for anyone. Oh, and for the record, you can also make a decent case that Harper’s previous ambassadorial pick — Michael Wilson — as a crosspartisan gesture of sorts, since he was, of course, from the Progressive Conservative wing of the party, which is still – despite what some spinny types might tell you — a distinct subculture within the CPC.

FINAL UPDATE: And it’s official: we’re sending our least terrifying theoretically socialist politician to Washington. Will he bring his Tommy Douglas poster? And will he be dragged into the health care debate?

AFTERMATHDATEColleague Wells has the official reaction from NDP HQ.

A teaser:

Just a few weeks ago, Premier Doer spoke at our National Convention in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He spoke of the balance between principle and power, saying that winning government and enacting good, progressive policies was the right thing to do. Premier Doer and his government stayed true to their principles and made lives better in every corner of Manitoba.
New Democrats feel honoured to have one of our most effective leaders chosen to play this significant role on behalf all Canadians. On behalf of our caucus in Ottawa and New Democrats across Canada, I wish my friend Gary and his wife Ginny well in this new opportunity to serve Canada.