Monday, October 02, 2006

Super Weekend Thoughts

I’m still recovering from what was a very busy couple of days. Before I give my run-down on what happened, I’d like to do what the hip kids these days call a “shout out”, to a few people. First off, a big thanks to everyone I signed up who came out and voted for Gerard this weekend – it was really appreciated! To the U of C crowd – you guys rock and kicked some serious ass this weekend. And to the entire Kennedy campaign team in Alberta, congrats on a job well done.

As for my initial reactions based on the numbers as they sit this afternoon…

1. On The Race: The take home message from this weekend is that this is now a four man race. Ignatieff will be on the final ballot and it’s now just a question of whether he will be against Rae, Kennedy, or Dion. Given how close those three candidates are, the key for them all will be to get their supporters to Montreal and to work hard on the Brison, Dryden, Volpe, and Findlay delegates. I honestly have no clue which of the four frontrunners will win this thing and the performance of the candidates over the next two months and at the convention may very well decide that.

2. On the bottom four: To be honest, Brison and Dryden deserved better than what they got. Scott can at least be proud that he won his own province but this has to be a very disappointing result for two politicians who are strong enough candidates that they could have been contenders in this race. Martha Hall Findlay shouldn’t be discouraged in these results and hopefully she’ll stay in the race and get her delegates to Montreal. Martha has a well written message to her supporters on her website which sums things up nicely.

As for Volpe…what can be said that hasn’t already been said?

3. On Ignatieff: The Ignatieff campaign should be very proud of their performance this weekend – 30% in an eight person race is no small feat. However, that still means that Ignatieff will need to get close to 40% of the delegates who are released as their candidate drops out if he hopes to beat Kennedy, Rae, or Dion on the final ballot. Ignatieff needs to show that he’s learned enough over his first year in politics that he can win an election and he needs to ease fears that he’s out of line with the Liberal Party on foreign policy and the constitution question.

4. On Rae: The one drawback to all the Bob Rae hype we’ve seen in the past few months is that it may have raised expectations to unreasonably high levels. While some will try to spin Rae’s results as a negative, I can’t see this as anything but a positive for the Rae campaign. The challenge for the next two months will be to deal with the reality of a four person race since the media spin of a Rae/Ignatieff duel certainly helped his campaign immensely.

5. On Kennedy: The bottom line is that the media won’t be able to overlook Gerard as they have been doing, and that alone makes him the big winner from this weekend. Given that he was one of the last candidates to start organizing and had no national profile before this campaign started, the results are truly quite amazing. Quebec was a disaster, there’s no denying that, and the Kennedy campaign will have to focus on eliminating the false perception that he can’t win there over the coming weeks.

6. On Dion: Dion did better than I expected him to but worse than most in the media predicted. Despite a fourth place finish, he’s certainly still a contender as has as good a chance as anyone else to win this thing. I think the main challenge ahead for him will be the fact that he’s run on what amounts to an environmental platform. If Project Green gets good reviews, the Liberals lose the environment as an issue and last week’s AG’s report certainly shows his track record as Minister of the Environment is somewhat polluted.

7. On The Stupidest Argument I’ve Heard Today: Courtesy of Jeffrey Simpson:

“Mr. Dion has enough support in both Ontario and Quebec to remain credible. To put matters upside down: He didn’t win either province but he didn’t bomb, as did Mr. Rae in Ontario and Mr. Kennedy in Quebec.”

Ontario Results: Bob Rae 17% Stephane Dion 10.3%


8. On Alberta: Having worked on nothing but losing campaigns before, I must say I was very pleased to see the Alberta numbers roll in:

Kennedy 115
Ignatieff 102
Dion 74
Volpe 39
Rae 37
Brison 11
Dryden 11
Findlay 9
Undeclared 15

55 Comments:

  • Congratulations on the Kennedy performance in AB: first! A strong second in BC, ON, and PEI. More troubling would be the provinces in which Dryden equalled or bested Kennedy, since Dryden did not have a significant showing nationally.

    Best wishes with your task as you list it in your point #5.

    By Blogger Paul, at 5:16 PM  

  • I think we all have a great deal to be very proud of, great work!

    By Blogger Braeden Caley, at 5:23 PM  

  • paul - Kennedy may still win Ontario and BC with the ballots left to be counted.

    Where Dryden equalled Kennedy was due to strong pockets of organization on Dryden's part.

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 5:25 PM  

  • I've posted a bit of a blurb on what the Quebec and national results mean for Kennedy.

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 5:25 PM  

  • As I said over at Cerberus, CG, you guys may want to subtley highlight the demographics coming out of Stats Canada: BC and Alberta are now more populous than Quebec. And where did Kennedy show strongest? Ontario, Alberta and BC.

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 5:51 PM  

  • He may be strong in Wild Rose country during a liberal leadership race, but his support is very soft as it is unlikely that he would win a single seat in Alberta during a general election.

    The Liberal party in Alberta resembles one big rotten borough, in that, it was once a flourishing institution there with better than average numbers, but since has deteriorated, declined and been deserted during the years after the NEP [National Energy Program] was implemented.

    I think your party would be wise to bypass a candidate who showed so poorly in Quebec and so well in the Liberal wasteland better known as Alberta.

    By Blogger scott, at 5:59 PM  

  • I just don't know how Kennedy's candidacy can overcome the truly awful showing in Quebec. I don't mean to be harsh, but I think it's the reality of the situation, unless Lucien Bouchard decides to turn Liberal tomorrow and cite Kennedy as the reason why.

    It almost disqualifies him as a hopeful — at least symbolically, if not technically. Kennedy's strength has been his ground game, but he had none in a crucial province, especially for Libs. Hard to overlook this glaring hole in Kennedy's candidacy, imo.

    To make things even more absurd, I read a Globe article today where Kennedy was criticizing Rae for his performance in Ontario, and suggesting that Kennedy proved he had strength "where he was known." Whatever.

    Outside of Quebec, Kennedy's performance was most impressive. Inside of Quebec, it probably cost him the race, I'd say.

    By Blogger Dennis (Second Thoughts), at 6:07 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Peter, at 6:08 PM  

  • Scott,

    I honestly believe thet the Liberals in Alberta can win seats with the right leader and right candidates. In Edmonton and even in Calgary.

    Alberta's rapid population growth is not because Albertans are having more children, but because people are moving into Alberta from other provinces (where they are more comfortable voting for Liberals).

    By Blogger Peter, at 6:10 PM  

  • "how Kennedy's candidacy can overcome awful showing in Quebec."

    Honestly, it is truly possible to introduce Kennedy to the Quebec public. They didn't vote for him cuz they don't know who he is, not cuz they don't like him. Its is MUCH more likely that Kennedy can conquer Quebec than Rae conquering Ontario. Which province holds the most seats?

    By Blogger DivaRachel, at 6:41 PM  

  • The media is giving Stephane Dion a free ride today. HE ONLY GOT 10% IN ONTARIO, THE STRONGHOLD PROVINCE OF LIBERAL SUPPORT IN CANADA.

    Critics can say what they will about Kennedy get 2% in Quebec. Kennedy is simply NOT KNOWN in Quebec. However, only 10% by Dion in Ontario when he was well known there is a disaster.

    By Blogger jnpliberal, at 6:51 PM  

  • The Quebec situation will make it hard on the Kennedy campaign even though it is completely understandable. The Party in Quebec makes that Party in Alberta look like a virtual juggernaut.

    In fact, with the very low number of members, and the lack of organizers to get new members in Quebec, Kennedy's Quebec campaign was doomed from the start. Hopefully that doesn't doom his campaign, because of the three remaining, I am pretty convinced he is the only one who has a change of unseating Stephen Harper.

    The campaign has a couple of goals in the next little while:

    1. Convince at least 2 of the remaining also rans to stay on the ballot. If they all drop off, barring a "flora syndrome" Dion's ex-officio delegates may knock him off the first ballot.

    2. Get on the blower with every possible delegate from Quebec east. Make them understand he speaks French, and that he is the one who can bring real reform to the Liberal party.

    Start with this, and the dark horse continues to have an outside chance.

    By Blogger yyclaw, at 6:58 PM  

  • yyclaw - I agree 100%... Kennedy needs to personally call every delegate in Quebec.

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 7:00 PM  

  • Anyone have a clue about the popular vote?

    I heard the Kennedy is running 2nd nationwide, notwithstanding the low showing in Quebec.

    If true, this is something to build on.

    By Blogger yyclaw, at 7:24 PM  

  • I see the Kennedy crowd is in full denial the day after.

    He had plenty of opportunity to get "known" in Quebec for the past number of months. He even decided to live their an "learn the language."

    If it was hard for Kennedy to convince delegates before Super Weekend, how in the world is he going to convince them after what happened in Quebec?

    Candidates need to be able to put on the table concrete examples of how they can win support in various different regions. Harper did it when he ran for the leadership in 2004. How in the world does Kennedy do it now, after the chance for him doing so has really come and gone?

    I suppose he can try to woo people in Quebec to endorse him. But that would mean they'd see something in him that Quebec organizers didn't the first time around. Probably unlikely, and not even in the cards to begin with.

    Could other candidates have done better in either Ontario or Quebec? Yes. Did they stink the joint and do they carry ongoing problems with language not easy to overcome in two months? Not really, except maybe a little bit with Dion's English, which is still a factor for him somewhat.

    By Blogger Dennis (Second Thoughts), at 7:42 PM  

  • live "there". Sorry.

    By Blogger Dennis (Second Thoughts), at 7:43 PM  

  • cyber menace,


    Dion and Rae have had YEARS to improve their perception to Ontario Liberals. They bombed.

    Kennedy entered the race in April and his French is improving constantly. He speaks well. He will be fluent. He is still unknown in Quebec, so he needs to keep building a profile.

    On the other hand, how are Dion and Rae going to change their records to impress Ontario Liberals?

    Answer: They can't.

    By Blogger jnpliberal, at 7:49 PM  

  • I think u have presented the most fair and balanced account of the results outa all the bloggers.

    By Blogger nacho libre, at 7:49 PM  

  • scott; The Liberal Party isn't doing much better in Quebec than Alberta these days. I don't think the party should write off Quebec by any means but they need to realize that there are more seats to be won out West than in La Belle Province. Like Cerberus said, I expect Kennedy to focus on his strength out West and the fact that the LPC needs a western breakthrough if it hopes to win a majority government.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 7:53 PM  

  • Pour Quebec, I have some thoughts on that which I'll put up tomorrow.

    Everyone here makes some good points on Quebec. As a hint of what I'll say, I'd like to add these two words - Belinda Stronach.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 7:55 PM  

  • jnp,

    In fact, Rae had just as much time as Kennedy did. Let's not forget, he only became a Liberal at the start of the race. Ontario Liberals still hate the guy, and he didn't "bomb" although he showed poorly. I'm certainly not writing a defence of Rae. But he didn't disqualify himself like Kennedy did, in my view.

    Dion? Same thing. His Ontario numbers weren't great, but they weren't like Kennedy's. No comparison.

    Just tell me what Kennedy is supposed to do now to show he can win seats in Quebec? He had his one big chance, and he has nothing to show for it. Is he going to master French and win new friends in a few weeks? Doubtful, to say the least.
    ________________________

    Regarding CG's post, while all that is well and good, even the Conservatives in 2004 were adamant about not writing off Quebec, and it's probably becoming a ground rule for them, too, so how in the world can anyone expect Liberals to start writing it off now?

    It might take a while for the reality to settle in, but Kennedy's inability to do anything in Quebec has probably killed his chances to become leader this time around.

    If he were smart, he'd use his great standing in the ROC to make a good deal for himself and his supporters. He's got three guys that want his support badly. Take advantage of that dynamic for all it's worth, if you ask me.

    By Blogger Dennis (Second Thoughts), at 8:08 PM  

  • okay, CG, while you put thoughts to paper, can you answer this one ---

    well, maybe Kinsella is better as he is non-affiliated to any campaign, but here goes:

    if you have national political aspirations and want to be PM so you join the Liberal Party --- why don't you learn french before the campaign starts and why do they wait until they decide to go in.

    it looks so rushed.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 8:37 PM  

  • Kennedy can be proud of the results - just as he came back from behind to jump ahead in Super Weekend, I hope he can do the same and win the leadership convention.

    By Blogger mezba, at 8:45 PM  

  • Cyber,

    You missed the point. Our party has to dominate in Ontario to win an election. Rae and Dion cannot do it.
    Even though Kennedy did not do well in Quebec, his support will only grow there and with the general electorate as he gets some press.
    We can win the general election with a weak performance in Quebec but not in Ontario.

    By Blogger jnpliberal, at 9:08 PM  

  • Meh, I'm not "endorsing" anyone here, but I don't believe this "Kennedy is done" talk. So he placed poorly in Quebec - big deal. He'll get the same or better votes in Quebec as Paul Martin just because he's a Liberal (and, er, not Paul Martin). And it's just silly to say, "No Liberal votes in Alberta". Give me a break - don't people ever learn anything? There's votes everywhere, for the right candidate. There used to be no Harper votes in Quebec, then there were. Same can go for Kennedy in Alberta.

    And as the Liberal brand can serve Kennedy in Quebec, so can Kennedy serve the Liberal brand in the West.

    My two cents.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:25 PM  

  • My thoughts

    1. Ignatieff - About where he wanted to be. Enough that he can still especially win, especially when you consider that once the ex-officio support is included this should rise to 35%, but not a shoe-in yet.

    2. Rae - Did well on the whole, but his poorer showing in Ontario does show there are still some misgivings about him. I would be interested to see the riding by riding breakdown since my biggest worry with him is not in the 416 which will go Liberal no matter what, but the 905 belt. Even Paul Szabo yesterday said he would probably lose his seat if Rae were chosen as leader.

    3. Kennedy - His strong showing in Ontario and the West is a good asset, however his atrocious showing in Quebec is a liability. I think if he wants to show he is a serious candidate, he needs to work hard on getting Dion to throw his support behind him if Dion drops off earlier. This would eliminate this problem immediately. Still I think he has the best chance to gain seats in Rural Ontario and the West so as long as we hold what we have in Quebec, that might be enough to get a weak minority government, and then next time around do better in Quebec when he is more known there.

    4. Dion - In a tight close race. I suspect his weaker showings in English Canada was because many English Canadians falsely assume he is hated in Quebec. He is hated by the separtists who won't vote Liberal anyways, but liked by the federalists. I think he has a strong potential for growth on later ballots

    5. Dryden - Obviously disappointing, but I think too many in the Liberals wrote him off, so he really had no chance.

    6. Volpe - The fact this guy could get 4% is embarassing. However, considering here in BC his best showings were in solid conservative ridings and Alberta was his best province, I wonder how many of the Volpe supporters were Tories who signed up.

    7. Brison - Obviously disappointing, but I suspect this has more to do with the fact that more want to move the party to the left than the right. This might change should the Conservatives win a few elections and then many conservative supporters become dissatisfied. At this point Brison would be an ideal choice.

    8. Hall-Findlay - Poor showing, but she was a total darkhouse. Next time around, I think she will do much better as she becomes better known.

    By Blogger Miles Lunn, at 9:25 PM  

  • jason,

    long term Liberal votes out west, sure, but its not that helpful next election, to be sure.

    and its highly presumptive to suggest that the Liberal votes will hold from the last election.
    Paul Martin was a Quebecker and largely untainted by the sponsorship scandal itself.

    Tories have very good prospects of taking away a large cluster of votes in the west and north suburbs of Montreal, at least. That's all Liberal votes.

    Not saying that's a sure thing. But, I'm saying its very foolhardy to say Kennedy could get Paul Martin's votes automatically.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 9:32 PM  

  • And Kennedy IS tainted by the sponsorship scandal?

    I dunno, I do think Kennedy can hold Paul Martin-level (I'm talking Paul Martin's losing election, btw, not his winning one) vote percentages (more or less, not exactly) across the country. A lot of people "just vote Liberal" (which never stops amazing me).

    So he'd lose to Harper - again, what's wrong with that? A few years in Opposition would do him good, and then he'd make a good Pm. Harper's been good at being PM, I'm sure he'll still be good if he wins, and then Kennedy would be a good PM - we all win.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:47 PM  

  • Okay, there seem be some Liberals here who can't see the forest for the trees. Kennedy made a strong showing in Ontario, to be sure, but his unofficially Quebec results are worse than Volpe's. Otherwise, his "strong showing" in the West consists of Alberta - where he beat Iggy by only 12 delegates. His BC results are well behind Rae and only 9 delegates ahead of Dion, he came in fourth in Manitoba (his birthplace), and placed a fairly distant third in Sask.

    In the end, the Liberals biggest problems in the last election were in Quebec, as they posted their worst showing in the province since Confederation. Whoever becomes the next Liberal leader must spend a lot of time rebuilding the party in Quebec, something that requires fluency in French and understanding of the province's politics now, not in two months and certainly not just in time for the next election.

    As for Kennedy's support in the West, it's not nearly as impressive as it's been made out to be, especially in light of his Albertan success, coming as it does in a province that hasn't voted more than 25% Liberal once since 1968 (indeed, the Liberals haven't won a plurality in the province since 1940).

    I realise I'm sounding very down on Kennedy, but it seems that - this time, at least - he is not well positioned to succeed as leader. Next time, perhaps, and youth is on his side. Rae, Dion, and certainly Iggy would be better choices.

    And no, I have no affiliation with any campaign, nor am I a Liberal, nor even a past Liberal voter. But the party has been an invaluable mechanism for national integration and unity in the past, and I don't want to see that decay any more than it has. Kennedy will make a good addition to the team, but he's not suited to be leader - yet.

    Incidentally, one does not attain fluency in a language after only a few months. It's simply not that easy.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 10:41 PM  

  • O/T Question:

    Obviously, there will be pressure on some or all of the "bottom 4" to drop out before the convention.

    Assuming that one or more of them does just that, what happens to his/her delegates? Do they remain as delegates but become "uncommitted", or what?

    By Blogger Jason Hickman, at 10:47 PM  

  • jason; the delegates become uncomitted and free to vote as they see fit.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:08 PM  

  • if you have national political aspirations and want to be PM so you join the Liberal Party --- why don't you learn french before the campaign starts and why do they wait until they decide to go in.

    Quite frankly, I don't think Kennedy had aspirations to be PM before the election. He hasn't been plotting this for years like some of his competitors so there was really no organization in place at the start of the campaign and he was spending his time doing his job as education Minister rather than working on his French.

    Given that his wife and kids speak French, his French is probably good enough to communicate with them - now it's a matter of moving it up to "debate level".

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:10 PM  

  • josh; I don't see the logic:

    The Liberals suck in Quebec so we need to focus on Quebec. The Liberals suck in the west so we should write it off?

    That seems like an inconsistency to me. If you looked at seats where the Liberals were within 10 or 20 percent last election of winning, I'd bet you'd find more in the West than in Quebec.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:11 PM  

  • Pour Quebec, I have some thoughts on that which I'll put up tomorrow.

    Everyone here makes some good points on Quebec. As a hint of what I'll say, I'd like to add these two words - Belinda Stronach.


    Belinda faired well in the Quebec rotten boroughs during the '03 CPC leadership race, but that province did not tilt the race in her favour as Harper was able to take most of the West and Ontario convincingly. However CG, being electable in Quebec does not or did not hold the same symbolic meaning with conservatives in 2003 as it does with Liberals in 2006. In other words, Kennedy's success in Alberta and failures in Quebec is similar to Stronach's success with the rotten boroughs in Quebec and failure in the rest of the country, it did not carry the day then and definitely won't now. And let me tell you, Liberals know this.

    By Blogger scott, at 11:16 PM  

  • I agree - everyone seems to have this "we need Quebec" "screw the West, they're not voting for us anyway" perspective that confuses me.

    If the Liberals aren't very very careful, they're going to lose even more of the West, I think - and there's no reason a party can't have seats in all regions.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 11:29 PM  

  • Not at all, CG, I was pointing out merely that Kennedy's Western success is essentially about Alberta, the province which, more than any other, has shunned Liberals for about 50 years. Elsewhere in the West Kennedy did not do anywhere near as well, comparably - his main strength is Ontario, and whatever Western credentials he may have, he's an Ontario candidate.

    Look at this way: The Liberals have been doing better in BC lately, but Kennedy was behind Rae and barely ahead of Dion there. No part of the country can or should be written off, but the Liberal Party won a plurality of votes in Quebec as recently as 2000, delivering 36 seats. For fairly obvious strategic and political reasons, Liberals should be very, very concerned about rebuilding there - hopefully that's not a remote possibility, but it's not going to be more likely with Kennedy.

    As I said - next time.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 11:34 PM  

  • "I honestly believe thet the Liberals in Alberta can win seats with the right leader and right candidates."

    Yeah, but Ralph Klein isn't seeking the leadership.

    The Liberals need to work on rebuilding in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and building on their success in BC. Alberta is a Liberal wasteland and no one running for the leadership is going to change that.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 11:44 PM  

  • Let me phrase this another way:
    Does anyone here think Kennedy as leader could win Alberta against a Conservative party led by Harper? Otherwise, Kennedy did poorly elsewhere on the Prairies and worse than Rae in BC. Indeed, Rae did better than Kennedy in three of four Western provinces, so why are you not suggesting that Rae rather than Kennedy is the man to "win" the West for the Liberals? Rae's showing in Ontario is a respectable third consisting of 241 delegates, yet Kennedy has only 18 in Quebec and he failed to place in the top three in NB, NS, and NL.

    So, I fail to see how criticizing Kennedy's dismal showing in Quebec amounts to suggesting that the Liberals should write off the West - it's not as if Kennedy is clearly integral there anyway.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 11:45 PM  

  • Josh,

    You make it seem that Gerard's only strength was in Alberta.

    Outside Quebec, the delegate numbers today stand as:

    Iggy - 849 (27%)
    Gerard - 688 (22%)
    Rae - 581 (18.5%)
    Dion - 384 (12%)

    That means, outside Quebec, in the rest of Canada, the top choice of right of centre Liberals was Iggy.

    That means, outside Quebec, in the rest of Canada, the top choice of Centre-Left Liberals was Gerard.

    Gerard's poor Quebec numbers are as a result of a poor Quebec team before the July 4 membership cutoff and almost complete lack of acknowledgement of his existence by the Quebec media.

    The Quebec team since July 4 has grown considerably, and with his third place finish (as of today), he will now hopefully get some attention from the Quebec media.

    For a guy who was not even a Federal candidate in January, Gerard's ability to create a team that bettered every former Federal Liberal minister is quite an achievement! Spin that please.

    By Blogger Peter, at 1:13 AM  

  • Lots of opinions in this forum. Lots of advice to the voters of Quebec. I wonder if many of us have bothered to understand the Quebec POV. Perhaps, it’s the distance between Quebec and the west?

    Let’s look at the issue of endorsements as the organizational basis of a campaign. Endorsements from established politicians add recognition and networks to your campaign. An existing network is far preferably to building one from scratch.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Party_of_Canada_leadership_convention%2C_2006#High_profile_supporters_4

    Currently, MI has 50 supporters in the federal caucus (40 MPs and 10 Senators). He’s in the lead after this weekend. Hall Findlay has none. So, she’s last. No endorsement means that there has been no meeting of the minds. A bad thing for politicians?

    Of course, an endorsement means that you have written a cheque that will be cashed at a later date. Which candidates carry the least debt?

    Currently, Rae has 18 caucus supporters, Kennedy has 19, and Dion has 14. So, the delegate election results of the chase pack are roughly in line with the endorsements. However, the endorsements for Dryden (11) and Brison (10) don’t work for them.

    Kennedy didn’t exactly start his campaign from scratch. However, hard work and a good campaign do help. Kennedy has build his western campaigns from very little, and he has been rewarded. There’s some funny business with the numbers. But, it doesn’t really matter.

    His performance in Quebec puts everything in jeopardy. No meeting of the minds? That’s much worse than a lack of language fluency.

    Credit goes to Hall Findlay’s Alberta workers. However, the nine elected delegates change nothing. She’s still last because the strategy is wrong.

    Rae has had the wisdom to keep a low profile, and let his machine do the work. While MI, typically, says too much. Unfortunately for Rae, there is a black hole in Ontario.

    On paper, Dion looks marketable. But, his campaign has been mediocre. He also has a problem in Ontario. Perhaps, the meeting of the minds problem?

    So far, all this is quite normal. Many hopefuls, and no perfect candidates. Paul Martin’s coronation in 2003 was a dangerous anomaly.

    The DEM weekend has done its task. It has separated the mere hopefuls from the campaigns of substance. The next phase will be a test of skill and courage. Coalitions have to be built, and rebuilt. This will separate the men from the boys. That’s why McGuinty is Premier, and Kennedy is not.

    Montreal will also be a test for the party. It’s not just a contest between rivals for the top job in the party. Can the Liberals create a team out of discord? This was what Paul Martin failed to do. Can the Liberals do it in 2006?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:39 AM  

  • i could consider supporting kennedy on second ballot, but excuses on the quebec media should not be made. he got no coverage there cause he signed up only 150 members in the whole province, and doesnt speak french very well. so, why would they give him lots of air time. from their perspective, he looked like he had no organization and no chance.

    By Blogger ktr, at 2:17 AM  

  • It is a lot easier to come second in the country, by deciding to ignore 25% of the population.

    To those that think Kennedy can do this - ask yourself, honestly, can this man win a referendum campaign? Because the PQ is going to win the next provincial election, and this is the exact question voters in at least Ontario are going to be asking themselves around 2008 (oh and there's all the saving the country stuff).

    I fail to see how Kennedy was just "out-organized" - he was "out-organized" BECAUSE HE SPENT NO RESOURCES IN QUEBEC. He spent no resources in Quebec because he didn't like his chances - because of his lack of bilingualism, and his unfamiliarity with the issues. His momentum elsewhere came to naught in Quebec, because with his poor French he was not talking to the French media.

    That guy on some other blog has argued that Quebec is not a Liberal power base anyway, conveniently omitting elections before 1984. Looking at those results, anyhow, it is plain to see that when the Liberal party ignores Quebec they lose seats there. Compare the performance of Trudeau and Chretien to that of Turner and Martin.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 6:00 AM  

  • Quebec is a requirement for a Federal Liberal leader.

    We have always been a national party and need a leader that can appeal to all of Canada.

    Quebec is complex with unique issues. It is going to take time and a very good understanding of those issues to be credible and effective.

    There will probably be a federal election following the budget in March and we need a leader who can compete effectively in every province.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 6:55 AM  

  • so why are you not suggesting that Rae rather than Kennedy is the man to "win" the West for the Liberals?

    Speaking for myself - why would I suggest that?

    I for one have never suggested that Kennedy is "the man" to do anything - I think that he is A man to do well, and I don't think he should be written off because of his Quebec delegates.

    I'm starting to feel a stronger like for Kennedy than the other candidates - he is starting to lead the pack in my personal mind. Not for any bullshit numbers, but because he's in it for the right reasons and has the honesty and integrity and commitment I care about, and want to see. If he lost an election that he fought right for - to me, that's all that counts.

    I don't think anyone should be written off yet, and that includes Kennedy. That's all.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 7:36 AM  

  • Hoser,

    Your attempt to smear Kennedy by implying he doesn't care about Quebec is pathetic. I guess Dion just doesn't care about Ontario with your logic.

    Kennedy did spend resources in Quebec. His wife is a francophone, his grandfather is from Quebec, of course he cares about Quebec.

    He was shut out in the media there due to the fact that the Quebec media had no idea that he was such a contender and he is unknown in Quebec. His French is way better than other candidate supporters make it out to be. Jean Lapierre even said so on Mike Duffy yesterday.

    Quite frankly, I hope we do go up against the PQ with Kennedy. He is a fresh face with no baggage. We need someone that has lived the Canadian experience, has political experience and can connect with ordinary Canadians in every part of the country.

    By Blogger jill, at 9:58 AM  

  • Hoser,

    Your attempt to smear Kennedy by implying he doesn't care about Quebec is pathetic. I guess Dion just doesn't care about Ontario with your logic.

    Kennedy did spend resources in Quebec. His wife is a francophone, his grandfather is from Quebec, of course he cares about Quebec.

    He was shut out in the media there due to the fact that the Quebec media had no idea that he was such a contender and he is unknown in Quebec. His French is way better than other candidate supporters make it out to be. Jean Lapierre even said so on Mike Duffy yesterday.

    Quite frankly, I hope we do go up against the PQ with Kennedy. He is a fresh face with no baggage. We need someone that has lived the Canadian experience, has political experience and can connect with ordinary Canadians in every part of the country.

    By Blogger jill, at 9:59 AM  

  • CG,

    fair points re: Kennedy.

    but what about Scott Brison? This is his second national leadership race and he still can't manage french.

    its mind boggling!

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 10:06 AM  

  • "I honestly believe thet the Liberals in Alberta can win seats with the right leader and right candidates. In Edmonton and even in Calgary.

    Alberta's rapid population growth is not because Albertans are having more children, but because people are moving into Alberta from other provinces (where they are more comfortable voting for Liberals)."

    Two things:
    1) The Liberals are not winning any seats in Calgary this decade.
    2) The people that move to Alberta tend to be more Conservative than the average of the province they're leaving behind. They're more entreprenuerial, or they're moving to find work, etc. Just because they come from Newfoundland doesn't mean they'll vote Liberal. Look at any migration pattern in Canada or the U.S. and the same trend holds true.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 11:33 AM  

  • The question is...where do the Desmarais/PowerCorp faction go.

    They had doubts about Dion's ability to be a party leader so they drafted Rae, but Dion is a viable candidate now, having responding to the "show us" challenge.

    That seems like the logical first move. After all, it was essentially John Rae and Eddie Goldenberg who recruited Dion in the first place. Ignatieff has a tin ear on Quebec, because he was MIA for thirty years, (hobnobbing with the international imperialist jetset), and thus, would repeat Mulroney's Quebec folly.

    If the Desmarais faction goes to Dion, then the logic for Kennedy to go to Dion becomes much more compelling.

    Plus ca change...

    Paul Desmarais must choose between the old Liberal Party and the new Liberal Party.

    A Liberal Party with Dion as leader with a strong reform/renewal team of Kennedy, Dryden, Hall Findlay on board would, I argue, present the most formidable opponent to Harper, and to the Quebec sovereignists.

    The is an big "I" and a little "i" in Ignatieff. There is only a little "i" in Dion.

    By Blogger godot10, at 11:40 AM  

  • Alberta is about to undergo an enormous political upheaval with Klein leaving, and the overheated oilsands boom without a plan for to manage the growth aand without impacting the quality-of-life.

    A window of opportunity is about to open in Alberta.

    I think Dion's and Kennedy's sense of country beyond Toronto is a lot deeper than Ignatieff's and Rae's.

    By Blogger godot10, at 11:58 AM  

  • Peter,
    If you remove the Ontario numbers from the equation, you end up with this:

    Iggy: 453
    Rae: 340
    Kennedy: 308
    Dion: 238

    So tell me again how Kennedy is the first choice in the West, much less the Atlantic provinces? He didn't much register out east either.

    Gerard's poor Quebec numbers are as a result of a poor Quebec team before the July 4 membership cutoff and almost complete lack of acknowledgement of his existence by the Quebec media.

    So that's why he should be elected leader? He did poorly in the Maritimes as well.

    The Quebec team since July 4 has grown considerably, and with his third place finish (as of today), he will now hopefully get some attention from the Quebec media.

    It's only partially an issue of media attention - Kennedy is not really known much at all by the general public outside Ontario, which is not surprising since he was a provincial minister. He may be familiar with the Prairies, but I see no great evidence of being in touch with other parts of the country... particularly Quebec!

    Worse, much of the attention he's likely to receive in Quebec will not so much concern his third-place status, but rather his being nearly shut out in the province.

    For a guy who was not even a Federal candidate in January, Gerard's ability to create a team that bettered every former Federal Liberal minister is quite an achievement! Spin that please.

    It is quite an achievement and he's gained a great deal of notoriety and a certain national profile in the process. But enough to become party leader? Building a leadership campaign organization is not the same as running a national government or conducting a national campaign.

    What if the PQ wins the next Quebec election and decides to hold a referendum? Kennedy's French will probably be better, but he would hardly be in any position to "campaign for Canada" so to speak. Not that I'd feel particularly comfortable with Iggy in charge, at least not at this point, but there is no question of his fluency.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 2:07 PM  

  • Josh Gould,

    You say:

    'So tell me again how Kennedy is the first choice in the West, much less the Atlantic provinces? He didn't much register out east either.

    I say:

    When did I imply Gerard was the first choice in the West or the Atlantic provinces? The numbers quoted and referred to were those outside Quebec.

    You say:

    Worse, much of the attention he's likely to receive in Quebec will not so much concern his third-place status, but rather his being nearly shut out in the province.

    I say:

    The Quebec media did not know he existed. With the third place finish (as it stands today), when Gerard calls them to offer an interview, they will know who he is.

    It is the Ontario media who knew of Gerard that may focus on this for awhile. Then they will start considering other more important issues such as: Iggy voted with Harper on Afghanistan (note: Iggy got a handshake from Harper for that), while the majority of the Liberal caucus did not.

    You say:

    It is quite an achievement and he's gained a great deal of notoriety and a certain national profile in the process. But enough to become party leader? Building a leadership campaign organization is not the same as running a national government or conducting a national campaign.

    I say:

    That Gerard's way. To create a team around him and tirelessly do what others have never done before. Be it feeding 150,000 families/month (without government assistance) or getting unprecedented 4 year contract agreements from ALL of Ontario's teachers' unions (2,000,000+ children thank him, unfortunately most of them can't vote, although some will be able to in the next Federal election). Or come from nowhere and beat every former Federal Liberal minister.

    I look forward to seeing Gerard's teams first, Renew and Reinvigorate the Liberal Party, second, Renew and Reinvigorate the PMO.

    MississaugaPeter

    By Blogger Peter, at 2:54 PM  

  • I think I'm going to side with the "forest for the trees" argument here about Kennedy.

    I don't buy the "organization" excuse or the "late start" excuse or even the "media" excuse (although I agree he probably was written off by the Quebec media a long time ago).

    He got less than 2%! That is not organ

    The same national campaign team that did well in Alberta and Ontario and respectable in many other provinces was the same team responsible for making sure Quebec got organized.

    If the campaign had made the decision that they'd start organizing out west and then maybe start organizing in Quebec after a while, well then that would have been such a huge campaign blunder that Kennedy should fire his whole team. But that's not what happened of course.

    Kennedy did decently everywhere, he raised a lot of money, he had grassroots support rise up without any organizers trying to organize them... but not in Quebec.

    Think about that. Kennedy is supposed to be the grassroots candidate but he failed in Quebec because he didn't have the organization in place?

    No, I think people have to face a little bit of reality here: Kennedy did not connect with Quebecers. I'm not saying anyone else did or did not connect with Quebecers. With less than 2%, Kennedy simply did not. And that is not just a language barrier, though that certaily is part of it.

    I am not supporting Kennedy obviously, but I do like the young energy he has brought to the campaign. And he has definitely has had grassroots support across the country. But there's the rub as they say. If he is a grassroots candidate, what does it say about a region that doesn't support him? It says he doesn't connect with the grassroots in Quebec.

    Does that mean he's out? I'm not the one to say and everyone has their opinion. But in the brief time before the convention, he's going to have to convince enough people that he is the future, enough that we decide to take a chance with him, enough that we ignore that he is not connecting with Quebecers.

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 5:26 PM  

  • Cerberus,

    Wow. You have demoted yourself to join the blog smear network. Fairly risky when your fella is going to need more support from other camps.

    Kennedy did put the same effort into organization for Quebec as he did elsewhere despite what your smear junk writing implies.

    He couldn't get the establishment organizers behind him since the media and the Liberal establishment chose to ignore all the other candidates except Rae, Ignatieff and Dion.

    Let's talk about what the Quebec vote really means. How many Quebec voters actually came out to vote?? There are ridings where no one came out to vote and where 14 delegates spots were won on 6 votes! The fact is Quebec had the worst voter turnout in the country!

    I would not be bragging about results in Quebec when your candidate had plenty of machinery behind him and yet, Quebecers are still not engaged with the Liberal Party despite all the press he, Rae and Dion received.

    If Kennedy had received equal press, we would at least have given Quebecers a fresh face and present a real change and renewal option.

    By Blogger jnpliberal, at 6:19 PM  

  • If you don't mind losing the right, vote Rae.

    If you don't mind losing the left, vote Ignatieff.

    If you value ideas over experience, vote Kennedy.

    If you can't make up your mind, vote here to join the U.S.A.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 2:05 AM  

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