The Field Narrows
Although it’s not what first drew me to him, I think Gerard is one of the people in the Liberal Party who really “gets it”. He made “immigrant success” a key plank of his last leadership campaign, long before people realized that Jason Kenney was systematically winning over support from this traditional Liberal demographic. He was the only Liberal candidate last time who talked about party renewal and offered ideas to re-engage the base. Having been involved with Liberal politics in Alberta, he’s also one of the few MPs in the party who understands we can’t keep writing off the West…having talked with him about this a few times, I think he gets this better than a lot of western Liberals.
And while I know some will disagree with me, I think Gerard was bang on with his handling of the Afghanistan and Quebec nation grenades that were launched into the campaign last time.
I know he has his detractors inside the party and is far from a perfect politician but, despite that, he was one of only four to win new Liberal seats last election, and he didn’t even need a Danny Williams assist to do it.
Now, with all that said, I think Gerard was smart to take a pass (“know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em” yada yada yada). He’s a good candidate now and I would have supported him again if he ran, but he’ll be a better candidate in the future with some federal experience and a few more French lessons under his belt. I also think he can do a lot of good on the party renewal front from outside the race and I hope he directs his energy in that direction.