Looking Back, the Road Ahead
Martha Hall Findlay
Why She Lost: Winning was never about winning. For Martha, this was about making a name for herself and raising her profile in the party. I think it's safe to say she exceeded everyone's expectations; not so much on delegate totals, but on the credibility she's earned in this party.
The future: As one of only two candidates to endorse Dion and as the only female left in the race at it's conclusion, one imagines a seat in the GTA will be opened up for her by the next election. It also stands to reason that a seat in the front benches will be opened up for her once she's elected.
Whe he lost: Let me count the ways. Volpe was never going to win, but no one really imagined that his campaign would run off the rails the way it did. In a leadership race which showed that the grass roots can beat the backrooms, Volpe's old school politics were his undoing.
The future: For the sake of party unity, it would be foolish of Dion to marginalize Volpe in the party and he's likely still in the next Liberal Cabinet if he runs again. But any hope of career advancement is as dead as his supporters.
Why he lost: The income trust story was the worst possible way imaginable to launch a leadership bid. But what really did Brison in was the general sense that he just wasn't ready for prime time.
The future: His poor showing and endorsements of, first Rae, then Iggy, certainly haven't done him any favours. Nevertheless, it's hard to deny that Brison is a rising star in this party. Still, no one wants to lose three leadership races before they turn 45 so unless Dion gets a decade as party leader (which is possible), it might be wise for Scott to sit the next one out.
Why he lost: Let's put it this way. Even Ken wouldn't have won 7 Stanley Cups if he played for the Leafs. You're only as good as the team around you and while Dryden had great people working for him, he just never recruited enough organizers to mount a serious bid. No doubt his somewhat unfounded reputation for being a boring speaker and shaky French turned a lot of people off.
The future: His leadership ambitions have come and gone, but the most respected candidate at the start of the race is even more highly thought of now. As long as he sits in the house, he'll be the conscience of the Liberal Party - our own Ed Broadbent.
Why he lost: There are two competing theories and I'm not sure which one I subscribe to. The "3 vote" theory says that had he been ahead of Dion on the first ballot, things would have played out differently. Kennedy had 17 Alberta delegates disqualified by Rae on Friday and a dozen snowed in from BC - maybe that would have made a difference. The other theory is that Dion had all the momentum and would have passed him regardless. If that's the case, then Kennedy's inability to be perceived as a serious candidate by both media and delegates was what did him in.
The future: The future looks bright. Kennedy's stature in the party has been raised immensely by this race and he's the undisputed heir apparent at this point. He's a young man who had a lot of young volunteers who will not doubt be with him whenever we do this again. In the meantime, he can work on his French, get some federal experience, and experiment with different haircuts. But for those fearing a repeat of the Martin/Chretien wars, keep in mind that Gerard stayed loyal to McGuinty after losing in '96 and crowned Dion himself this time so I'm positive he'll be a loyal Liberal soldier.
Why he lost: Rae got 6 of the 10 candidates who dropped to come his way, had 2 million dollars to spend, but just couldn't excite grass roots Liberals. Some will point to his record as Ontario Premier, but I suspect it was his newness to the party which turned many off.
Let's talk about the future: Hopefully Rae runs in the next election, although that's probably a 50/50 wager at this point.
Why he lost: It's hard not to feel a little sorry for Michael Ignatieff. Like Dion said, Iggy took his lumps as frontrunner all summer long. In the end, he just didn't have the political experience neccesary and it showed on the campaign trail.
The future: Michael Ignatieff still has a lot to offer the Canadian Parliament and the Liberal Party. Dion would be wise to use this man as much as possible.