Friday, July 08, 2011

Liberal Leadership Marathon Runners

I posted 8 Simple Rules for the Liberal Leadership Race a few weeks ago, prompting a few readers to ask for my thoughts on the candidates. The short answer to that is simply: it's too early to tell. This thing won't be decided for nearly two years, so predicting the outcome at this point is little more than wild speculation.

That said, it's the month of July and there's little else to speculate about in the new majority government reality, so let's go wild!

Consider this the first in a series of Liberal Leadership Power Rankings to be updated every couple of months, ranking the rumoured candidates based on their likelihood of winning. Be forewarned, this is based on little more than idle chatter and my own biased opinions.

1. Dominic LeBlanc: This race is likely to have more of a 2006 than a 2008 feel to it - that is to say, I'd expect a wide open field with a high possibility of a "surprise" winner. But if I had to pick a frontrunner at this point, it would likely be Dom, if for no other reason than he appears to be the only candidate almost certain to run. I thought Dominic was the best candidate last time, and he'd bring a lot to the table - a good mix of youth and experience, and he's likely the best bet to make the party relevant outside of its Toronto-base (if you can call what's left in the GTA a "base").

2. Justin Trudeau: A LeBlanc-Trudeau showdown would bring back memories of the Rae-Ignatieff "roommate races", as the Trudeau and LeBlanc kids all knew each other growing up. While many will no doubt support or oppose Justin because of his name, he's an impressive candidate in his own right, and likely the most charismatic contender at this point. The only reason he doesn't sit number 1 on the list is that he's hinted (publicly at least) he might bide his time and skip the race.

3. Bob Rae: Yes, I know he's said he won't run. And I do take Bob at his word that he has no intention of removing "interim" from his title. But consider a scenario where the Liberals are back in second place in the polls come October 2012. A few anonymous "insiders" begin murmuring to Jane Taber about the great job Bob Rae has done as interim leader, and a "draft Bob" campaign starts up online. It's certainly not science fiction and, despite his age, it would be hard to discount Rae due to his organization, political smarts, and speaking skills.

4. David McGuinty: Like Justin, McGuinty will be judged by his last name. Whether that's for better or for worse will depend on what happens this October, but McGuinty should be able to assemble a fairly strong team if he does decide to run.

5. Marc Garneau: He missed out on the interim job, but if you buy the "alternance" theory or like the idea of poaching some of those orange seats in Quebec, Garneau could make for an intriguing choice. As a bonus, it might be harder for the Tories to smear the reputation of a national hero - obviously they still would, but at least they'd have to work a bit harder at it.

6. Scott Brison: Consider this a sleeper pick of sorts, since Scott has said he's not interested. But a lot can change in 2 years. Brison is young, a gifted communicator, and embodies the "fiscally responsible, socially progressive" label most Liberals assign to themselves.

Although the above are the most talked about candidates, there's a strong change the eventual winner's name isn't on that list. Defeated candidates like Martin Cauchon, Gerard Kennedy, or Martha Hall Findlay could run. With a slew of provincial elections coming up this fall, the timing will be good for any number of provincial politicians to jump federally. Less well known caucus members could make a name for themselves in Parliament.

And heck, maybe if we're lucky we can find a University professor at Harvard with some time on his hands.



  • Denis Coderre?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:28 AM  

  • As a bonus, it might be harder for the Tories to smear the reputation of a national hero - obviously they still would, but at least they'd have to work a bit harder at it.

    I love how Liberals still assume they are important enough to be the subject of Tory smear campaigns.

    By Anonymous Art, at 9:47 AM  

  • Kevin Lamerauox will run as the "Western Candidate"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:10 AM  

  • As expected, no contenders west of Toronto (nobody west of Ottawa if we really take Bob Rae at his word), and no women make the cut.

    Ignatieff was from Toronto, so it should be time to anoint a Quebecker again.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:52 PM  

  • Siobhan Coady could be great, or Sandra Pupapelllo. There are possibly females in Manitoba, BC or Quebec who could also take the reigns.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:19 PM  

  • Art - $20 says the Tories run negative ads against the Liberals sometime between now and election day 2015.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:56 PM  

  • Anons - I'm a big Coady would be great to see her jump into the contest. There's certainly a need from a strong female candidate.

    And a strong Western one too, for that matter, as the other anon mentioned. I could see Lamoureux running a mavericky campaign. Or perhaps someone from BC, depending how their provincial election shakes out.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:58 PM  

  • Sounds like Coderre wants to run to be Mayor of Montreal, or even to replace Charest.

    I can't see him winning, but he certainly could produce a strong block of Quebec support if he decides to run federally.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:59 PM  

  • $20 says the Liberals run negative ads, too.

    But really - Justin in the number 2spot? Do Liberals have a death wish?

    - Brian from Toronto

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:00 PM  

  • I see Denis Coderre being proposed.

    Ahy, yes, Liberal's very own Israel-hater.

    If Coderre became leader, Irwin Cotler would probably quit or become an independent. (I can't see him becoming a Conservative.)

    But in any case, the Conservatives would be sure to take Mount Royal.

    - Brian from Toronto

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:06 PM  

  • "And heck, maybe if we're lucky we can find a University professor at Harvard with some time on his hands."

    God I hope not!

    By Blogger Hassan, at 4:30 PM  

  • I don't know Siobhan Coady - I need to do some googling.

    I think the franco-anglo tradition is cool and worth keeping (tho nothing says it must be Quebec), tho I'm not a red team member so I have no say... :)

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 7:24 PM  

  • How about Jane Stewart? Six guys on this list... come on.

    By Anonymous Liberals 4 Jane, at 12:21 AM  

  • Hedy Fry.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:25 AM  

  • Kevin Lamoureux has the backing of all Bob Rae's people and he would make a good leader, and he is learning french. I think we need a feisty leader and he has been great in the House .

    By Anonymous TorontoLib, at 11:34 AM  

  • The next municipal election in Calgary is in 2013. If Mr Nenshi could somehow be persuaded not to run for re-election, and perhaps to leave his job a few months early, a western candidate who connects with youth could be exactly what the party needs...

    By Blogger Dan F, at 12:35 PM  

  • Has anyone asked Frank McKenna what his plans are?
    (Just kidding).

    By Blogger ajbeecroft, at 4:43 PM  

  • I hope those of you promoting Kevin Lamoureux for the Liberal leadership are aware that he is anti-abortion fanatic with ties to the pro-life movement. If that is the direction you want the federal Liberal party to move in - be my guest!!

    By Blogger DL, at 6:39 PM  

  • Kevin Lamoureux .... and he is learning french.

    Unilinguals need not apply.

    Until you're speaking both languages comfortably, you're not in the running to be PM.

    Six guys on this list... come on.

    Agreed; Dan can't be blamed for the male-centric culture of the LPC tho.

    Third-Place Nobody is a fine place to make a fresh start and begin a newer, healthier culture; the LPC could have some stronger female presence in the future.

    I still think this crushing humiliation is ultimately going to be a benefit for the LPC.

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 9:40 AM  

  • What about Robert Ghiz? He is bilingual. He is from the region that contains a third of the Liberal caucus. Plus he is the only well-liked incumbent Liberal in an executive role anywhere in the country.

    I recognize Premiers have a bad track record in federal politics. However, I think the problem is that they are too closely identified with the interests of their region. For a third party that may not be such a bad thing (besides, its not like anybody has much regional antipathy toward PEI).

    By Anonymous hosertohoosier, at 10:44 PM  

  • i hope Martha runs. i watched her during the first leadership run and i've been a big fan ever since. i'd be a proud Liberal if she won.

    By Anonymous dc, at 9:25 AM  

  • Robert Ghiz would certainly be an interesting candidate. He did work in Ottawa prior to becoming Premier.

    By Blogger Bailey, at 10:39 AM  

  • Can you please elaborate on why Justin Trudeau is a credible candidate? He is very good looking and has a famous name but no real experience in government and very limited experience out of it. I am not trying to be funny I honesty want to know. I would not mind him being made a junior minister in a future Scott Brison Government (although as a red Tory I wish Mr. Brison he would cross the floor again and rejoin the conservative party) but he seems at least a 10 years (at least few of them in government) away from being a creditable candidate.

    By Blogger Steve in Toronto, at 12:45 PM  

  • I think Trudeau's just an MP like any other... to date, nothing says "PM" about this guy. Is handsome, tho! And truly bilingual.

    Although Steve, I don't think Dan's boosting Trudeau, just pointing to the reality: many Red Team Members seem to be bonkers for J.T.

    I keep thinking about Kim Campbell. I'd sure like to see her try for LPC Leader. Not a francophone, but hey, maybe it's time for another LPC tradition (ie. Not Always A Penis)

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 1:16 PM  

  • "maybe it's time for another LPC tradition (ie. Not Always A Penis)"

    Of the 17 individuals who have served as Liberal Party Leader (8 of whom are still alive today), all are men.

    In fact, the Liberal Party of Canada is the only national federal Party which has never had a woman serve as its leader.

    The Conservatives had Campbell, the Greens have May, the NDP had McLaughlin and McDonough.

    The Liberals have so far refused to even appoint a female interim leader, so we can't even blame the Liberal Leader Selection Rules for this fact. (Whatever those rules might be on any given afternoon.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:28 PM  

  • Max Khan for Liberal leader.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:23 PM  

  • I would not get too hung up on the gender thing. If there were a strong woman parliamentarian on the edge of the race I would encourage her to go for it (a contemporary equivalent of Deborah Grey, Sheila Copps or Barbara McDougall) but I don’t see anyone of that stature on the stage right now. You guys need someone who is a credible candidate and a woman not someone who is a credible candidate because she is a woman.

    By Blogger Steve in Toronto, at 7:46 AM  

  • not someone who is a credible candidate because she is a woman

    Good point, Captain Obvious.

    I haven't personally ever heard anyone suggest a candidate should be supported simply for the fact of her gender.

    Anyone who wants to see a stronger representation of females in democractic power obviously wants a qualified, credible, inspiring female presence, not "just some random chick" who's a woman.

    I would not get too hung up on the gender thing.

    I don't think a person be too hung up on hoping for equal and fair opportunity for all in democracy. Humanity requires fair and equal representation in government.

    Odds are low the next LPC leader will be a woman, for the reason you lay out.

    Still, doesn't hurt to point out as many times as necessary that people (of all genders) deserve more female representation in executive positions than we're getting, or to point out as frequently as needed that Western politics still remains an Old Boy's Club.

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 9:32 AM  

  • Shawn Atleo?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:13 PM  

  • I don't think a person be too hung up on hoping for equal and fair opportunity for all in democracy.

    But a person can definitely be too hung up on hoping for more equal outcome, which seems to be what you're promoting here.

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 11:33 PM  

  • I would love to see Robert Ghiz as the next leader, but I can't see the LPC going with someone from PEI. I do also worry that choosing Ghiz could deepen any perception that the Liberals are turning into an Atlantic rump like the PCs before the merger.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:35 PM  

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