On The Bubble
Several candidates panned
A look at the female candidates
A look at the 19th Century candidates
Links to bios
The top 16 will make it to the next round so it might be time to quit the "bloggers for HH Stevens" campaign and start some strategic voting. Here are the standings as they sit right now:
1. Robert Stanfield
2. Preston Manning
3. Ed Broadbent
4. Tommy Douglas
5. George Etienne Cartier
6. Lloyd Axworthy
7. Roy Romanow
8. Peter Lougheed
9. John Crosbie
10. Frank McKenna
11. Stephen Lewis
12. Louise Arbour
13. Bill Davis
14. D'Arcy McGee
15. John Manley
16. Mike Harris
17. Deborah Grey
18. CD Howe
19. Mitchell Sharp
20. Paul Martin Sr.
21. Dalton Camp
Louise Arbour and above all seem safe to make it to the next round and are just jockeying for position. I've already talked about Grey and McGee so I'll give a quick run-down on the other candidates between 13 and 21 who have a chance to make it to the knock out round (no one else appears to be within striking distance).
13. Bill Davis: It's no secret that I have a soft spot for Ontario education ministers and that's where Davis first made his mark, dramatically reforming the education system in Ontario in the 60s. In 1971 he won the PC leadership and majority government. However, Davis is best remembered for the minority governments he led in the second half of the 70s. Because of the minority status and the Tories urban strength, Davis brought in many progressive reforms to health, education, bilingualism, and workers rights. He also jumped into National debates on many occasions and was a strong support of Trudeau's constitutional patriation plan. Davis briefly considered running for PC leadership in 1983, before recognizing that he'd have a tough time wooing the Western delegates.
14. D’Arcy McGee: McGee was a newspaper editor and a father of confederation (as an aside, were any fathers of confederation not newspaper editors?). Before entering politics, he spent a lot of time living in Boston, so one imagines the Tilly supporters in this contest will hit him hard on that. In the 1860s, he joined the grand coalition and was a strong advocate of Westward expansion. McGee was critical of the Irish Fenian movement and it’s widely believed that that was responsible for his downfall. In 1868, he became Canada’s first, and only, federal politician to ever be assassinated. On the bright side, it did get him a hip pub named after him.
15. John Manley: As a strong supporter of John Manley during the last "leadership race", I'm glad to see him doing well in this poll. Unlike the guy who won, Manley was always an individual willing to make unpopular decisions. This caused him some grief from the anti-American wing of the Liberal Party over the years and landed him in hot water over his insane view that Canada should have a Canadian head of state. In Foreign Affairs, he was praised for his reaction to 9/11. In Industry, he was praised for his focus on innovation. In the end, he rubbed a lot of Liberals the wrong way for having the nerve to run against the anointed one and for questioning the party's membership rules. But it definitely makes an interesting "what if" to imagine how Prime Minister Manley would have performed had he been selected Liberal leader in 2003.
16. Mike Harris: The less said about this, the better.
(in fairness, there are some good things one could say about Mike Harris, but I really don't want to be the one to say them)
18. CD Howe: D'Arcy McGee got a pub named in his honour and CD Howe got a think tank. This should tell you a bit about the kind of man CD Howe was. Howe certainly fit the mould of the Liberal Prime Ministers of his era: extremely competent, focused on business, and downright arrogant. Howe was Transport Minister prior to WWII and received heaps of praise for his role in running the war effort at home as Minister of Munitions and Supply. As Minister of everything, he was instrumental in growing Canada's infrastructure through the CNR, St.Lawrence Seaway and Air Canada. However, his "what's a million" line during the pipeline debate inevitably led to the downfall of St.Laurent's government.
19. Mitchell Sharp: I don't plan to say which 16 people I'm voting for but I will say that Mitchell Sharp is one of my all time favourite Liberals and I think he'd be a worthy pick for the group of 16.
After a career in business and trade, Sharp was elected as a Liberal MP in 1963. As Minister of Finance from 1965 to 1968, Sharp put his business background to work and helped mentor along a young MP by the name of Jean Chretien. In 1968, Sharp tossed his hat into the ring for Liberal leadership. However, when crisis hit the Canadian dollar during the campaign, Sharp abandoned his campaign to focus on his job as Finance Minister, putting the country's well being ahead of his personal ambition. Because of this, he was forced to drop out of the race. But by throwing his support behind Pierre Trudeau, he gave Trudeau the credibility with right wing and establishment Liberals necessary to win (I do realize that by giving him credit for making both Chretien and Trudeau what they were, I've probably killed any chances he had in this contest).
Throughout his career, Mitchell Sharp performed well in all Cabinet portfolios, displaying a refreshing amount of sincerity, honesty and loyalty. While he may not have had the flair of some politicians, he certainly would have made a very capable Prime Minister.
20. Paul Martin Sr.: Had this contest been run three years ago, I suspect PM1 would have been a final four contender; needless to say, the sins of the son have probably hurt the father's popularity. It's a shame too, since I was hoping to be able to write an "alternative history" where Martin's supporters rig the rules to ensure him a win at the '68 leadership convention and, upon taking office, he purges the party of Pearson loyalists and calls a judicial inquiry into the Rivard scandal.
All jokes aside, Martin was a long time Liberal Party stalwart and accomplished a lot while in government, especially in health care and foreign affairs. As a three time leadership loser, few in this contest have come closer to the top job than Martin and I'm quite surprised that he hasn't cracked the top 16.
21. Dalton Camp: Rejected endorsement: John Diefenbaker.
Despite having never been elected as an MP himself, Camp was certainly a bright individual who could handle himself in front of the cameras. He also proved himself to be a master tactician and cut-throat when he needed to be, so it's not far fetched to imagine this Red Tory as Prime Minister of Canada. OK, maybe it's far fetched, but not "Prime Minister Fry" far fetched.