Thursday, July 06, 2006


With yesterday's membership cut-off, the eligible voters are now set for delegate selection meetings in September (except in Newfoundland, which only serves to illustrate the need for national membership rules in this party). The campaigns will now focus on searching for delegates, phoning existing lists, and on solidifying support.

It will be a few weeks before we get an idea of where the numbers truly sit but here are some early rumours about new member sign-ups I'm hearing:

-In Alberta, Gerard Kennedy led the way in new forms sold, with Ignatieff and Rae in second and third. Brison and Volpe also appear to have done well and Martha Hall Findlay might snatch up a few rural Albertan delegates.

-In Saskatchewan, Ignatieff had a surprisingly rough go, finishing out of the top 4, with similar numbers to Maurizio Bevilacqua. Bob Rae was first in new member sign-ups.

-Public Eye online has Kennedy and Rae neck and neck in BC for new sales but I've heard a huge range of opinions on how Ignatieff and Dion did in that province so we'll have to wait and see.

-He may not have done as well as Jimmy K would lead people to believe, but Joe Volpe will have a surprisingly high total number of new members in Ontario (many of them over 14).

-The Globe is reporting that Joe Volpe leads in Quebec. Incroyable. Even an Ignatieff employee I know has conceded that Volpe will be a kingmaker in this race. The silver lining is that Volpe's new members are grouped in a few ridings, he may have trouble bringing out the vote, and he likely doesn't have great support among existing Liberals.

-The Globe story also has a few other breakdowns on numbers with Ignatieff faring well in Ontario and Quebec. They also said Rae did well in BC, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario but had trouble in Quebec and Alberta. I have some doubts about this since Rae was a respectable third in Alberta (about 1000 forms sold) but I'd heard he was having a tough time in Ontario (for obvious reasons).

-The Edmonton Sun talks about Kennedy's success out West.

This is just the early buzz; I'm sure more "official rumours" will start coming out within the next few weeks.

UPDATE: I'm not sure how many people really care about this "inside baseball" stuff, but here are the numbers via a field worker on another campaign:

Alberta: Same top 3 as above. Brison 4th, Volpe & Bevilacqua tied for 5th. No one else on the radar.
Manitoba: 1. Dryden 2. Ignatieff 3. Bevilacqua
Quebec: 1. Volpe 2. Bob 3. Ignatieff 4. Dion


  • In Manitoba the Dryden Campaign is well in the lead in terms of new forms sold. With Rae and Ignatieff making up the top 3. Kennedy, Dion and Volpe also sold enough to pick up a few delegates.

    Brison was a non factor.

    By Blogger Manitoba Liberal, at 2:05 p.m.  

  • I am not certain about the way other liberals feel, but the thought of Joe Volpe as king maker at the convention...makes me sick to my stomach. I can just imagine Harper in one corner and Layton at the other corner ...thank youliberals thank are going to third place.....sorry that is how i feel at this moment.....we need to elect someone in the middleof thespectrum that is how we win elections..i am afraid this process is shaping up to take us to the wilderness...electing kennedy ensures a harpar majority....electing rae ensures a loss of 40 seats in ontario...electing dion or ignatieff we have a chance...with volpe this is scary can someone like volpe get more delegates than someone like dryden...something stinks...

    By Blogger Skeena Liberal, at 2:16 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger polarslam, at 2:23 p.m.  

  • skeena

    As a Tory, I agree with most of what you have said.

    Volpe got more than Dryden simply because of organization... Dryden relied on his name, and although he is a decent enough individual, that only goes so far.

    I really am not trying to wear my Tory hat here,, but I honestly believe that the Liberals are in for a political wilderness no matter who gets the leadership.

    Let me explain.

    My suspicion is that after all is said and done, Ignatieff will probably emerge as the new leader. For many reasons, (some hoping he is the "new Trudeau", the best compromise candidate, etc). The trouble for the Liberals is, is that he is just such an easy target, having spent so much time outside of Canada.

    Volpe, what can we say. We all know why he is the Tories favorite candidate. I don't think he will make it though.

    Dryden... as above, nice guy, no organization.

    Rae, one word, "Ontario".

    Findaly, probably not a bad candidate, but no name recognition. A cabinet minister in a very far to the future Liberal government.

    Brison... no base beyond the Maritimes. And he rubs too many people the wrong way.

    Hedy Fry... two words... "Crosses burning".

    Kennedy... probably an interesting candidate who may give Iggy a run, however, too far left for mainstream Canadians (and not just from my point of view).

    Stephen Dion is another one of those who are probably decent individuals, and in my opinion, is the one Quebec Liberal who was not tarnished with the scandal. But it does hurt him being from Quebec, and he seems to have problems fund raising.

    Bennet and Bevilacqua won't make it period.

    So, why will the Liberal Party not be a force for some time? Mainly because it is focusing on personalities, and not policy. The one thing that the Conservatives did was to truly develop a party policy, one that no one could accuse them of making it up on the fly, and then living it, running on it, and now delivering it.

    For the Liberal party to have any credibility among Canadian voters, it must define what it is, and who it is , and what it stands for. Just being "against the Conservatives" will not do. At least the NDP and BQ (that goes for the Greens too) have well defined policies, and voters know exactly what they get with them. The only party that appears to blow with the wind right now is the Liberals.

    A conservatives opinion, and hopefully not viewed in any way as being inflamatory, as it is not intended to be.

    By Blogger Andy, at 2:36 p.m.  

  • hey andy

    enjoyed reading your comments to my piece and your analysis on the leadership candidates.. i have many friends who are both liberals and tories and it is appreciative when one gives an entire view of the proceedings and prevents their leanings in getting away from facts...

    i do agree that during the last election are policies were not conveyed to the voters... i give harpar credit for introducing five ideas quite simple and most of them bad policy but he did communicate them quite well.

    an example a gst cut is bad policy actually horrible policy , income tax cut would be the better policy...every economist and person knows that and the goverment's own analysis stated it..
    as for the candidates...any politician is beatable including harper...i do think that iggy, dion or dryden would give harper a run for his money...harper's policies once you pry off the cover are weak ... we did a good job in managing the economy and left harper a $17 billion surplus for his budget kind of easy when you inherit that situation....

    anyway appreciate your comments...need to return to the work thingy...

    By Blogger Skeena Liberal, at 3:27 p.m.  

  • Dhaliwal's commenting that he'll try to encourage delegates to pick Ignatieff second is probably a good indication of his support in British Colombia.

    By Blogger Dan McKenzie, at 3:32 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Hammering Jow, at 3:45 p.m.  

  • As pretty much a newcomer to the political scene, I don't understand why any kind of delegate system is still used.

    This is the age of technology! Why aren't the Liberals doing something like the Conservatives and allow each member a vote in something so big as the leadership of the party? There are many ways to do it, I think the Conservatives wieghted the vote so each riding was equal.

    Delegates just seems so....political and undemocratic. A single transferable vote (so no wheeling and dealings) by the membership is the way to go, however that is organized.

    Is this too grassroots for the Liberals? It does remind me of American methods (electoral college votes) so maybe they could spin it as a non-American thing to get it changed ;)

    I can understand the benefits of media coverage for a convention, but no reason you can't have both.

    I'm not familiar with the Liberal party's constitution, is change too difficult? or is there no interest in this from party members?

    CalgaryGrit - I enjoy your blog very much, thanks for it =)

    By Blogger Technetium, at 4:50 p.m.  

  • Hey Bart,

    I've been a little too busy helping Joe Volpe become Prime Minister of Canada to bother with your pointless Alberta ramblings all that much, but I just thought I would drop back in to remind you of what I was telling you and other Liberals back in the spring.

    Joe Volpe is the man to beat in this race! He may not have a lot of internet geeks or policy wankers on his side, but he has the most committed and most dedicated group of volunteers around the country that love Jope and want to make Joe leader of our party.

    Sorry to see flash in the pan's wannabe NDP'ers like Kennedy not even come close to mataching our membership total, but maybe if Gerard wants to get in a Volpe cabinet he might want to toss his support over our way. And Ignatieff might as well just give up, he has no future in a Volpe lead party.

    With Italy about to win the World Cup and Joe Volpe about to become leader it is a good day!

    By Blogger A Toronto Liberal, at 5:08 p.m.  

  • Toronto Liberal, While any speculation about numbers is pointless until all is said and counted you should remember that each riding can send 14 delegates making each riding pretty equal. For this reason Alberta and the west ARE important. Your stunning attitude if held by Volpe as well adds to the MANY reasons that he should not be allowed to lead our party.

    I for one think this whole game of number speculation is silly, especially when some blogs are looking to the EDMONTON SUN for Kennedy numbers…Though maybe the BC Youth for Kennedy have never picked up a Sun Publication.

    At any rate, Toronto Liberal…God Help Us ALL if Volpe becomes leader…

    By Blogger YYC Liberal, at 6:07 p.m.  

  • I'm not as pessimistic as skeena liberal. There should be some interesting times ahead in the leadership race. I think Kennedy is the one to watch. He is not left wing at all-that is pure stereotype. He has the fresh ideas and political experience to bring real change to the Liberal Party.

    By Blogger renew the party 2006, at 6:21 p.m.  

  • “Polarslam” has gone well beyond the pale of reasonable debate.

    Bart Ramson (Calgary Grit) should be very careful about what comments he allows to stand on his blog.

    The law with regard to libel and blog owner’s responsibilities is very gray. You would be best to err on the side of caution.

    By Blogger OttawaGrit, at 6:39 p.m.  

  • The thing with Volpe is that his numbers aren't that spread out. I know personally that his people have been given us hell in the GTA and southern Ontario, just because they are aggressive and there are so many of them around this area.

    He'll also have a tough time getting people out to a delegate selection meeting.

    Just my thoughts....

    By Blogger Zac, at 7:08 p.m.  

  • Andy:

    Like you, I am taking off my Liberal supporter hat for a second to say your comment was interesting but, with all due respect, I could not take it seriously.

    The silliest game in politics is trying to predict the electability of a particular candidate or leader.

    Right up there with it is trying to predict the winner of a future election when that election is months away.

    First with regard to electability I would remind everyone that it was conventional wisdom, just 9-12 months ago, that Stephen Harper would not form a government and yet here we are.

    So even the likes of Joe Volpe is electable under the right circumstances, let alone the rest of the Liberal leadership candidates. Yes, yes I know with some it would be more difficult than with others but again I am brought back to Stephen Harper. Everybody said he could not relate the Canadians, he was too extreme, blah, blah, blah. However, despite this and the Liberal efforts to highlight those weaknesses we all know the result.

    With regard to predicting elections I would say the electorate is too fickle to play the game with any degree of success. We have no idea what Canadians will find important in the next election. We have no idea how the electorate will react to the events leading up to the election. We have no idea what the events leading up to the election will be. We do not know all of the variables and even the variables we do know are just too, well, variable to be reliable predictors of the future.

    So Andy although I enjoyed reading your comment I hope you will not be too offended if I do not take it too seriously. As well I hope you do not take it personally. I have the same reaction whenever I read people trying to predict events that will take place months from now based on what is happening today.

    By Blogger ottlib, at 8:18 p.m.  

  • Volpe's 35,000 plus new members (plus the existing Liberals that supported Joe) are not isolated in just a few pockets. They are all over the country and will result in Joe Volpe bringing a massive slate of delegates to the convention.

    Joe did well all over B.C, in a number of Alberta ridings, In Manitoba and Sasketwan I expect Volpe will carry 15-20% of the delegates, Volpe has massive Toronto support, and also did well in the North part of the province, in the suburbs and in other cities all over southern Ontario. And in Quebec the Volpe campaign is clearly the favorite and he will win delgates from all 75 ridings, not to mention the strong support the camapaign recieved in Newfoundland and other area's of Atlantic Canada.

    Joe Volpe connection with new Liberals and his ability to build the party will serve him well when he becomes leader and seeks to take the fight to Harper and the Tories.

    By Blogger A Toronto Liberal, at 8:42 p.m.  

  • All that aside Volpe is an embarassment.

    By Blogger Dan McKenzie, at 8:46 p.m.  

  • Volpe's strength in Quebec (and elsewhere) makes a certain amount of sense, given that he's probably got the best access to one of the most pro-Liberal constituencies in the country: recent immigrants. Looking at his caucus support, it's mostly Italian-, Greek-, and Asian-Canadian MPs, who would be very useful in getting that kind of vote out. In Quebec, in particular, Liberal support is now heavily concentrated in Anglophone areas, and those ethnic groups would be very valuable in a province that is still rather toxic to the party.

    Volpe gets a good slate of urban delegates to take to the convention, and he can probably count on a high degree of loyalty from them. If things don't resolve in a few ballots, might reach out to him and take the slings and arrows from the press over it. But I certainly can't see him gaining many new delegates after the first ballot.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 8:50 p.m.  

  • not to mention the strong support the camapaign recieved in Newfoundland and other area's of Atlantic Canada.

    This Charlottetonian hasn't seen much evidence of that.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 8:51 p.m.  

  • No offense, but I don't think the 4 seats and tiny amount of delgates in PEI is something any of the camapigns are really going to be waging war over, when Atlantic Canada has bigger area's to concentrate on.

    By Blogger A Toronto Liberal, at 8:58 p.m.  

  • Our four ridings will have as many delegates as any four of the Toronto ridings that Mr. Volpe is strong in.

    I haven't seen the numbers for here, but I suspect Ignatieff will have a big lead. He has 50% of the federal delegation (Joe McGuire and Wayne Easter), as well as half of the provincial Liberal caucus (Carolyn Bertram and Ronnie MacKinley); because of this, I expect big support in rural PEI, and he's got the kind of cosmopolitan appeal that Charlottetown will like too. Lawrence MacAulay's support will probably lend Bob Rae some credit in Cardigan.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 9:04 p.m.  

  • I also expect the Egmont area to be fairly well organized for Kennedy, since his wife is from there.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 9:16 p.m.  

  • It looks like we are going to have a good fight for the Liberal leader's chair and that can only be good news for Liberals if we can debate new ideas and directions for our party.

    By Blogger mezba, at 9:43 p.m.  

  • I can only hope Volpe is as strong as Toronto Liberal claims. The numbers with him leading in Quebec are also very encouraging. Volpe makes Stockwell Day look like Julius Caesar.

    By Blogger Chris, at 10:14 p.m.  

  • Hey CG,

    Rae is trailing badly in Quebec, selling less forms than Volpe, Iggy, and Dion, and only a few hundred ahead of Kennedy and Brison.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11:48 p.m.  

  • Volpe
    Who cares, I mean really buy as many memberships for minorities as you want, claim you sold the most, go ahead.
    No way they show up to vote.
    No way any of them go to Montreal.
    Plus even his numbers are stupid, I mean Suhk Dhaliwall probably sold 25% of his total before he left.
    That 25% will be solidly in Iggys corner come DSM day.
    Godfather Joe and Jimmy the K need to grasp some reality. The next scandle to come will be when some reporter finds that Volpes team bought memberships for dead people and dogs, who does not think that happened!?!?!
    Thanks Joe for making the Party look even worse again!!!!

    By Blogger Aristo, at 1:50 p.m.  

  • So Liberals,

    I was just wondering if Joe Volpe becomes leader do we start a new party or do we just take over the NDP and purge it of the wack job lefties?

    By Blogger Manitoba Liberal, at 2:05 p.m.  

  • If these numbers are true, Dion isn't doing as well as I would have expected him to (especially in Quebec!)

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 2:30 p.m.  

  • Huh. Well, this is a surprise. Volpe's gone from "why is he still in the race" to "good God, he led Quebec"?

    Might I suggest that no matter what happens, the other candidates give serious thought to scooping up whoever the hell is responsible for that? Considering the incredibly bad press, somebody in the Volpe camp must be a wizard at signing people up.

    (Assuming it isn't the guy who approved those cheques.)

    Anyway, RYC, the delegate system probably exists for a simple reason: because candidates in other systems (like yours) can and do run up big numbers of people based on ideological, rather than geographical divisions. Half the reason why Harper is so distrusted by progressives is because they're fully aware that social conservatives and the religious right propelled him there. That would have been impossible under a delegate system; they're simply not geographically dispersed enough.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 1:45 p.m.  

  • Aristo: immigrant communities are enormously loyal. I'd say almost any candidate BUT Volpe is more likely to bleed support at DSM meetings.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 1:50 p.m.  

  • Demosthenes, did you sleep through the Conservative leadership? Each riding had equal weighting (100 points each), just like in the Liberal leadership (14 delegates each).

    Furthermore, it was not the "social conservatives and the religious right" who won Harper the leadership; in fact, he beat out the guy who they were backing (Stockwell Day).

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 4:08 a.m.  

  • Volpe and Bevilacqua are probably cleaning up in the Italian community... so I can see how they could post solid membership sales figures.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 6:45 p.m.  

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