Friday, July 29, 2011

Exciting Race Brewing for LPC Presidency

Given the challenges facing the Liberal Party, January's national executive elections could very well be the most important in the party's history. And the way it’s going, it looks like there will be more star power in the race for LPC president than in the race for LPC leader.

Party veterans vie for Liberal presidency
By Jeff Davis, Postmedia News

OTTAWA β€” Former deputy prime minister Sheila Copps and recently defeated Liberal politicians Mark Holland and Siobhan Coady are all gearing up to challenge for the presidency of the Liberal Party of Canada.

While many would be loath to lead such a gravely wounded party, loyalists are rallying around a Liberal banner they believe can rise again.

Copps says the crushing electoral defeat Liberals suffered got her β€” and many other Liberals β€” thinking of a return to active politics.

"When we came out of last election and we were reduced to third party status, I think it was a wake up call for a lot of who have been on the sidelines," she told Postmedia News Wednesday.

The duties of a federal party president are onerous, including party organization, fundraising, expanding membership and liasing with local riding associations.

The article mentions a lot of names who I'm very happy to see mentioned. Sheila Copps' exit in 2004 remains one of the saddest chapters in recent Liberal history, so seeing her back in the fold is outstanding news. Liberals need to let old grievances die and work together, or else the party won't be around in 10 years.

I'm a big fan of Siobhan Coady, and her name would likely be floating around in leadership discussions if she hadn't lost her seat on May 2nd. I'm also a fan of Mark Holland, who gave a barn burner speech on party renewal at this spring's Alberta Liberal convention.

The article also mentions Kingston and the Islands riding president Ron Hartling as a possible candidate. While I don't know Ron personally, there's something to be said for looking past the star power and picking a hard worker who will spend his or her time rebuilding the party, rather than doing panel shows. I've also heard of several other candidates kicking the tires.

So for me it will all come down to who has the best ideas and the clearest roadmap for rebuilding the party. I'm sure we'll hear a lot of talk about "renewal", "engaging members", and "the post-subsidy fundraising world" from all the candidates - but we need more than buzzwords at this point. It's going to take concrete ideas and a dogged determination to implement them.

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