Monday, January 30, 2006

Wide Open Race

I'm shocked at McKenna's decision to bow out of the Liberal leadership race, but this is certainly great news for the Liberal Party in my opinion. The prospect of a McKenna coronation was extremely unappealing to me for a wide range of reasons:

1. It would scare off a lot of prospective candidates. Now, many dark horses might be more inclined to run.

2. McKenna's association with the Martin people would have inevitably led to a "Martin candidate" and a "Chretien candidate". With McKenna (and Manley) gone, the prospect of the party uniting behind the winning candidate has been increased dramatically.

3. Reading several books and articles on McKenna leaves me with the impression that he's one of those "all things to all people" politicians, not what the party needs now as we search for a clear path and vision.

4. McKenna's baggage with the Carlyle Group, big business, and his abortion position would have been perfect fodder for an election campaign. McKenna as LPC leader was Jack Layton's ideal scenario.


I'm not sure of McKenna's reasons to pass it up and, truth be told, I'm a little suspicious that he might still enter the race at a later date. But we should remember that he declined offers to run federally in 1997, 2000, and 2004. He's also in his late 50s and the Liberal Party isn't in spectacular shape right now, desperately needing to rebuild.

Hopefully this will encourage a lot of other candidates to run, which should set us up for a wide open, fascinating race. Belinda and Volpe are the only candidates left I have apprehensions about, so I'm really liking the way this race is shaping up.

66 Comments:

  • Too good to be true?

    By Blogger Senator Catalyst, at 2:12 PM  

  • Two words:

    Stephane Dion

    By Blogger Ed Hollett, at 2:17 PM  

  • Hey CG, how about Dave Bronconnier???

    By Anonymous Happeningfish, at 2:37 PM  

  • It will be Orchard delivering the leadership to Belinda on the last ballot to stave off Scott. Kennedy can play the Jim Prentice part.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:39 PM  

  • Can Bronconnier speak French?

    By Blogger Steve, at 2:50 PM  

  • Can someone bring me up to speed on the abortion angle?

    By Anonymous Dean, at 2:52 PM  

  • As premier, Frank McKenna continually tried to block Dr. Henry Morgentaler from setting up an abortion clinic in New Brunswick.

    By Anonymous Delia, at 2:57 PM  

  • Ken Dryden, Michael Ignatieff and Brian Tobin...and maybe Stephane Dion. A Dryden, Ignatieff and Dion debate would be killer.

    By Anonymous tobias, at 3:12 PM  

  • Belinda is now THE front-runner. You can bet she's going to get much of the support that had initially lined up behind Manley and McKenna.

    By Blogger Raging Ranter, at 3:23 PM  

  • It is good news from my perspective. the last thing we need is for the Martinites to run the party into the ground again, this time through McKenna. The news just keeps getting better all of the time.

    My guess is that McKenna realized he was surrounded by pariahs like David Herle, and realized Liberals were running away from him with the pariahs on board.

    By Blogger John Murney, at 3:24 PM  

  • I tend to think Ignatieff is all but a lock now. He's perfectly bilingual (in addition to the four other languages he speaks), far more intelligent than the rest and has had this in the works for almost a year.

    The torture and pro-iraq charges are absolute BS, and anyone who has read any of his books know that's being taken way out of context.

    It's about time we were led by someone with brains. This is a great day to be a Liberal.

    By Blogger 3ML, at 3:31 PM  

  • Perhaps the Liberal minor leagues are fresh out of the brains and excitement necessary to turn the party around?

    Rather than Belinda Stronach(more bucks than brains), I'd much rather put my money on B.C.'s Cristy Clark

    What a great candidate she's make. Good Liberal and didn't put up with any union BS either....OOOPs how would that work with Buzz?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:43 PM  

  • HAHA - Belinda the Frontrunner?

    Only if you want to ensure 15 years of Tory-rule.

    Few politicians are as manufactured as her - money is her only strength and I doubt Liberals want to rebuild around someone who is:

    a) a university drop-out
    b) unilingual (and hardly eloquent)
    c not quick on her feet at all
    d) related to average Canadians about as much as Ernst Zundel

    ---------------------------

    Make Belinda your leader and ensure Harper wins a majority next time - you thought Paul Martin needed a "Board" of Advisers - Belinda will need a stadium of advisers...

    A Francophone is the best choice. (if there are any left) :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:52 PM  

  • Belinda is a terrible candidate but she's certainly a serious contender. She won't win but she'll do very well - I imagine she'll spent a couple million pre-writ and buy up any organizers who don't particularily care who they support.

    Right now, Cauchon, Ignatieff and Brison seem to be the frontrunners (and Tobin too, if he runs). But I wouldn't count out some of the other names out there - Dion, Kennedy, Rae...

    It's anybody's to win right now.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:58 PM  

  • I have been reading these tea leaves since the minute McKenna said he was stepping down from DC. Frank's has too much political baggage to be an effective leadership candidate. Despite his outstanding corporate connections, I think his 'Meech' stance would play poorly for him and the LPC as it tries to clean itself from it's recent history. I congratulate Mr. Ambassador on a well reason decision.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:02 PM  

  • Ironically, McKenna's reticence to take over the stinking Liberal carcass validates he, in fact; was the best option. The two best candidates are out: Manley and McKenna; all other candidates appeal to Liberals Metro/Atlantic base, with little room to grow.

    By Blogger DJeffery, at 4:04 PM  

  • BELINDA! BELINDA! BELINDA!

    It's a great day for conservatives!

    McKenna and Manley were more of a threat...

    BLINDA! BELINDA! BELINDA!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:06 PM  

  • As a current Tory and a one time Liberal activist and Liberal candidate in BC, I am sorry to see Mckenna drop out. He is the one person who could pull thge Red Tories into the Liberal ranks. Furthermore, his stand on abortion would draw a lot of votes as well because it reflects the Canadian majority viewpoint.

    By Blogger Doral, at 4:16 PM  

  • I wonder if rumors are true that McKenna is going to endorse long time friend another American, Ignatieff. I hope that is not true but the way things are galvanising, it looks like McKenna's supporters are going tht way. David peterson who was co -chair of Ignatieff's fundraiser is now free to support him, but apparently they say Ignatieff has not decided on the leadership, even though the Manley bloc is supporting him now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:18 PM  

  • He says that he chose not to run because of his family. That is garbage. He chose not to run for two reasons...

    1. Huge financial problems for the Liberal Party. Given the new fundraising restrictions it would take years of dedicated effort to become solvent. Not a fun job.

    2. It will take at least five years for the Liberals to regain their footing in Quebec. Without Quebec the Liberals can't win a majority. Without a majority as a viable option the Liberals will be forced to choose a second tier leader.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Belinda gets the nod. The Liberals know she has ZERO chance of winning but she is very well financed and connected. She might be the person to get the financial house in order. On the other hand, having someone who simply can't win as your leader will make it harder to get donations. Who wants to donate to a loser.

    My prediction? John Manley will reconsider now that Frank is out. It will be a Manley-Couchon show down.

    By Blogger ferrethouse, at 4:32 PM  

  • Fact: Ignatieff was pro-Iraq war. He was at least MORE pro-Iraq war than Harper was.

    Personally, I think it's a non-issue, but the Liberals MADE it an issue. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 4:32 PM  

  • If you ask me, I think the neo-cons are dead scared of Ignatieff. They've got nothing on him and he's a fresh face to the political landscape.

    By Blogger Agent Banana, at 4:33 PM  

  • The neo-cons are all in the Liberal Party. They deserve Ignatieff.

    By Blogger Doral, at 4:37 PM  

  • If Manley's people are supporting Ignatieff, and McKenna's people are going to do the same, then my math would put Iggy in the frontrunner chair, at least for now.

    I suspect, however, that the situation is far more complex. I imagine that most Manley/McKenna supporters are now drifting in the winds of a very unpredictable leadership contest, and that eventually most of them will find their ways independent of Manley and/or McKenna's personal endorsements.

    My only question now is: who will Ignatieff's people support when he decides he's got better things to do?

    By Blogger Senator Catalyst, at 4:41 PM  

  • There are only three "real" candidates left, in Tobin, Ignatieff, and Dion.

    Cauchon would have had a chance except for the presence of Dion, and Stronach as leader would lose all of Quebec and likely many eastern seats.

    Ultimately, it will come down to Tobin and Ignatieff, with Captain Canada a second ballot victor.

    By Anonymous Patrick, at 4:44 PM  

  • Christy Clark? That's almost as funny as Hedy Fry running (as reported in the Vancouver Province...yes it was!!!)

    By Blogger except for one thing..., at 4:45 PM  

  • My money says a lot of McKenna people would go to Brison if he runs.

    One question about Ignatieff - does he speak French?

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 4:46 PM  

  • Christy Clark = DARKHORSE.
    And a real one at that. SHe's young and bright and has lots of appeal to voters — especially in the west, which is the new economic centre of Canada.

    By Anonymous VP, at 4:51 PM  

  • Can the party of Laurier, Pearson, please make it manditory that anyone running for leader passes a French Literacy test.

    Three candidates from Toronto West? Iggy, Rock, Gerard. Which one of the three would deliver Edmonton-Stracona? Which one of the three would help Reg Alcock get re-elected in Manitoba? Which one of the three has put in 10 solid years as a Liberal (ate more rubber chickens) fundraiser? Gerard.

    Check out

    http://www.demochoice.org/dcballot.php?poll=lib2006

    and

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerard_Kennedy

    and

    http://www.ukrweekly.com/Archive/1999/219910.shtml

    It has only been 7 days. Give the legitimate (BILINGUAL) candidates a chance to build a team.

    By Anonymous MississaugaPeter, at 5:12 PM  

  • Fantastic news. Absolutely fantastic. We may see a race yet.

    I'd love to see Christy Clark in the race..but she's going to have a hard time. Rumour here has it that Cauchon has lost the support of Power Corp., so he's falling back. I still like Ignatieff and Dion, that's a real race...

    God forbid, we may end actually deciding this thing on the basis of policy for once.

    By Blogger Fiddlers' Green, at 5:17 PM  

  • Yes the field is wide open, but many of these names are rediculous. Brison, Clark, Fry? Lets be realistic.
    A Rock-Ignatieff quare-off is looking feasible. If Dion can build some national support as well then it would be a fantastic three way race.

    By Anonymous Taylor, at 5:21 PM  

  • MissPeter; Kennedy sounds really interesting - do you know if he's running for sure? I think a lot of Liberals could get behind this guy.

    By Anonymous Chris W., at 5:51 PM  

  • "Belinda and Volpe are the only candidates left I have apprehensions about"

    Makes sense that a Calgary Grit would have apprehensions about Belinda. It would make Nancy running against Ralph look like it was mainly about policy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:52 PM  

  • With Harper at the helm and Paulie gone, no FM to worry about, I can just smell that delicious Conservative landslide in fall 2008. 170-230 seats anyone?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:53 PM  

  • We need a person with ideas, brains, vision, culture and languages... and for goodness sake, is it too much to ask for if I add charisma to that list???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:54 PM  

  • Toronto Tory:

    Ignatieff laid out the critiera which warranted humanitarian intervention in his Massey Hall Lectures in 2001 (published as "The Rights Revolution"). It was on this basis that he supported the war in Iraq.

    Very different from the reasons which led to Harper's support.

    The discussion about pro-torture is pure nonsense. It's actually a sad statement about our country and our political system that people are even talking about it. The Toronto Star already apologized for suggesting he is pro-torture. If the accusation bothers you in the slightest, I suggest you read the NYT Magazine article in full.

    By Blogger 3ML, at 5:59 PM  

  • Llyod Axworthy.

    He is the only one who can win in 2008, everybody else just screams we are giving up on the next election and waiting for the one after that.

    Axworthy would kill the NDP vote and reduce them to a rump and easily win a minority government at the very least.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:06 PM  

  • Ummmm. Name me one liberal leader in the past 30 years who hasn't been all things to all people? That is not the llberal way.

    By Blogger Roger, at 6:09 PM  

  • How about Ken Dryden? A man with a proven track record of deflecting low shots from right wingers!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:12 PM  

  • 170 to 230 seats? cut back on the crack buddy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:14 PM  

  • 170 seats? Sure.

    230 Seats? Nah.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 6:22 PM  

  • "Christy Clark = DARKHORSE.
    And a real one at that. SHe's young and bright..."


    Sorry - she's as dumb as a bag of hammers; her normal approach is to yell louder than everyone else to try an cover it up. Clark is prone to take up positions without thinking and without all the relevant facts, and then becoem increasingly strident when challenged; sorry - but that quickly grates on voters. Christy's BC record in Education and McFamilies would put her well to the right of the average Liberal voter and hasten the consolidation of left-wing voters into the NDP camp - which is probably a good thing, both for the Tories and for the country; I am not sure it is a good thing for the Liberal Party of Canada.

    "...and has lots of appeal to voters..."

    Whic explains why she is not on her way to Turin to pick up the Olympic flag, I guess? Christy was a very divisive figure in provincial politics, and had a track record about like Allan Rock's: every file she was on turned into a disaster.

    By Blogger deaner, at 6:23 PM  

  • Steve: I understand he has been learning it. He has been traveling all over Canada a lot in the last two years hooking up with as many organizers as possible. I think a Bronco Harper showdown in Calgary would be fascinating. He is a Liberal he ran for MP once before, sure he lost to Rob Anders but it is Calgary West. Bronco running in Calgary centre as leader of the Liberals vs Harper running in SW wow an all Calgary final. The guy is massivly popular and can win elections. Gets things done and I think we need to start a Bronco for Leader website tomorrow. I mean compare him with the other people mentioned and he sure measures up. I think it would be great, western presence and all that. Cmon CG you live in his neighborhood don't you how about it!

    By Anonymous Happeningfish, at 6:39 PM  

  • 170? sure

    Yah I am pretty sure the Liberals will take 170 seats in the next election.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:41 PM  

  • Bronco's a good politician who will likely jump to bigger and better things one day. He's certainly ambitious.

    However, I think talking about him as LPC leader is a tad premature.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 6:41 PM  

  • I don't know that anyone wasn’t a little surprised by Mr. McKenna's choice to decline entry into the leadership race. We all thought that the rumours were just a ploy to increase support. It goes to prove that Paul Well's
    2nd Rule
    is worth keeping on the books.

    However, we are all in danger of losing sight of the fact that the leadership race isn't the point. Nothing is better at getting bloggers riled up into a frenzy than speculation and rumour. Everyone can claim to be an expert on a race that a) hasn't started and b) doesn't have any real candidates yet.

    There has been a lot of talk about the importance of party renewal in the structural and policy arenas but the persistent assumption in these discussions (and the frenetic speculation about leadership) is that a leadership race is the means to renew the party's policy and structure. This was the assumption of the Martin juggernaut and it is a dangerous idea as we move into opposition. The outcome of a leadership contest and the manner in which it is played out will be the evidence of how well we have managed to renew the party in real and lasting ways. The outcome of leadership is how we evaluate our success, not how we should hope to achieve it.

    That being said: Dave Bronconnier?
    Another mayor for leader.
    Go Calgary Go!

    michaelcrook.ca

    By Blogger Michael Crook, at 6:50 PM  

  • I think Ken Dryden and Stephane Dion are the only credible candidates at this juncture. Both can expound a positive, progressive vision for Canada (evidence in Dryden's defence can be found here: http://weblogs.macleans.ca/paulwells/), both can unite the party, and both seem to have little desire to lead which is a great assest after having a leader who had way too much desire. Brison is to young, Ignatieff will have to prove himself a lot, Stronach will have her chance (next time), and Tobin can't speak french.
    People like Dryden, Dion, Emerson, Dhalla, McGuinty, and Bains will help to create a new liberal image that speaks to all Canadians.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:04 PM  

  • Nobody knows who Dave Bronconnier is.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 7:20 PM  

  • Could the Billion Dollar Lawsuit against the Canadian government for political interference in the helicopter deal have had an effect on McKenna?

    Sure might on Scott B.

    TIZ

    By Blogger The Infozone, at 7:32 PM  

  • See the following link. McKenna and Manely bowing out of the Liberal race will mean the Libs are at least one future leader away from being a serious competitor to the Tories.

    Why Liberals will be in political purgatory for years

    By Blogger Andy, at 7:42 PM  

  • toronto tory and happening fish: Ignatieff is perfectly fluent in french. I heard him interviewed on radio-canada. Very elegant.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:47 PM  

  • TIZ

    Does no one go to your website? Is that why you need to spam on other blogs?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:02 PM  

  • Chris W,

    Yah, he is the real thing. Also see

    http://www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_04.30.98/news_views/hendley.html

    His inner circle is mum. So either a decision has not been made or they are mobilizing. As mentioned previously, it was only 7 days ago that the race started.

    I was at a Parent/Teacher Conference this past fall at York U. Gerard spoke. The charisma is remarkable. I saw the faces of many women - young and old - light up when they saw him. Whispers of his good looks were heard. Standing ovation like usual.

    Teachers and parents are behind him in every part of Ontario. His ground game is enless. And he has roots in the Prairies (dad ran for the federal Liberals and was mayor of the The Pas, Manitoba)

    Note: He is happily married with two photogenic, under 8, children (one boy, one girl).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:06 PM  

  • Lots of names, no policy... Remember when we had policy?

    So far Dryden is the only one out there with a policy statement...

    I have not seen Dion provide anything like that.

    Hopefully, in the days to come, some one will stand up and say, "I think..."

    And only after that will they announce a candidacy for leadership.

    By Blogger A Canadian Publius, at 8:21 PM  

  • As someone who supported the Conservatives and Harper in this election, the prospective Liberal candidate who I would least like to go up against in future elections would be Brian Tobin.

    By Anonymous Rick W, at 8:49 PM  

  • More speculation here
    http://www.vijaysappani.com/myblog/?p=150

    Looks like McKenna is going to endorse Ignatieff. That will change the dynamics of the game

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:56 PM  

  • There are a lot of conservative supporters on Coyne's sight that have said they think Dion as the Liberal leader would be a very formidable opponent (and I'm not just saying that because I support Dion if he jumps into the leadership ring).

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 9:08 PM  

  • Scott: Ah. You're actually saying it because you are a big admirer of Coyne's conservative supporters.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:15 PM  

  • Neither is dion going to run , nor does he stand a chance. It wil be Tobin, Ignatieff or one of those conies supported by the Martin gang.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:29 PM  

  • I hear that Bryan West is going to throw his hat into the ring.

    By Anonymous West for PM, at 10:09 PM  

  • The next leader of the Liberals is going to have to be either a composite insider who understands the inner workings of what the Liberals are, so as to navigate the minefields...

    Or a complete outsider who can claim therefore not to know of the messes.

    Iggy Pop, from Harvard to Parliament is coming from a little too far afield to have a lot of the understanding of Canadians.

    Should be interesting.

    TIZ

    By Blogger The Infozone, at 10:49 PM  

  • Don't sell Ken Dryden short on this one. He can appeal to both the everyman and the intellectual in a way that a lot of our potential choices can't. I've heard a lot of criticism of his speaking ability, but read the posted items at kendryden.ca -- they've very good and they demonstrate a strong vision.

    Ignatieff is a brilliant man, and I hope he plays an important part in the party's future, but I fear that a lot of people are going to be resentful of his years away from Canada and his academic background.

    By Blogger Haligoon, at 11:13 PM  

  • No captain wants a sunk ship.

    Belinda joined the Titanic but clawed aboard a lifeboat and that may not make it.

    Brian Toban is in the mix.

    Renewal of the Liberal Party?

    First, the question of facing the courts. A minimum of 10 $billion of our money has been syphoned off. Liberals should pay fair penalties for that.

    Starving health care and education to create a surplus does not imply the right to stuff your pockets with some of that budget surplus.

    If our justice system were not stuffed with Liberal shills, I may have had hopes for fair justice. 34$million in debt and who knows how much in penalties and fines that may also become due.

    Another way to penalize and minimize Libranos is to throw support to the Greens.

    20 seats for the Green party in the next election at Liberal and NDP expense would be very good for Canada.

    Message to Liberals: You are infested with crooks. Those crooks must be seen to walk the plank, otherwise you can not expect to regain Canadian voter respect.

    Liberal popularity is still spiraling downward and that will continue as the public learns of the full list of crimes.

    List of 218 *Low Points*, Toronto Sun by Linda Williams
    January 22nd

    Different list of 200+
    BendGovernment

    Canadians were aware of Adscam and a scam here and there. Wait for the backlash when they learn about the much wider scope of fraud these lists represent.

    When the MSM*s fear Harper trick is better understood, there should be a backlash there also.

    Rocky roads ahead for Liberals. TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 12:55 AM  

  • despite the overboard jump by Msr. Manley and McKenna (2 bad on Frank, he'd have done a good job, boyo), plenty of solid candidates and more than a few that have receive little or no notice yet.
    Kennedy has the fire, heard him talk at UofWO; certainly interested in rolling up the sleeves and wrestling policy wise and chicken sandwich wise.
    Dryden very cool, has that Canadian Idol factor and hockey hall of fame demeanor; also scores points on being slightly policy wonkish.
    Dion definitely a great compromise candidate; strong federalist may just what the doctor ordered in 2 years time, also the rebuilding in Quebec cannot be underestimated.
    Axworthy is under the radar but if he wants it, he can bring gravis, experience and ethics to the party and an international left-wing vision. Gotta think Jack's cringing in his moustache at this (and that brother Tommy is playing point-man, working on the party's CSI-Ottawa report on the election implosion, is a sign of possible interest)
    One name that hasn't been mentioned, well I won't mention it but SHE was a reasonably popular MP from Quebec who could bring a whole new level of discussion to the race. Think Sheila but smarter, cuter and more loyal... And french.

    By Anonymous daninvancouver, at 3:10 AM  

  • Some people may not know who Dave Bronconnier is but lets be Honest.
    Glen Murray???!!?
    HE was the mayor of a mid size canadian city and failed federal candidate and you are suggesting him?
    Bronconnier is the mayor of one of the most important and richest cities in Canada he had something like 80% of the vote in the last election.
    How can you posit Glen Murray and ignore Bronco?
    We need a strong candidate from the west and Clark is a joke. Anne Mclennan wil probably run but does not have a hope (I think it will be great if she runs but...)
    We really really need someone from the west and Bronconnier is a great chioce.
    I guess I stand alone as the Bronco for PM guy, but lets at least be honest he has way more credability then Clark or Murray or Stronach or Brison.

    By Anonymous Happeningfish, at 10:55 AM  

  • Great stuff you have here! I have a subliminal messages site I think you might enjoy.

    By Blogger vkk1_hypno, at 10:45 AM  

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