Friday, April 07, 2006

The Race for Stornoway: Ken Dryden

"Like a once-rich man desperate to be rich again, we have gotten impatient, spoiled by our own success. The relentless discipline that got us here now bores us; everything must happen fast. So we wait for a moment - one game, one play - to trigger the "roll" that will sweep us along and make the rest unnecessary. But it won't happen that way."
-Ken Dryden, "The Game'

Age: 58

Background: He won’t have a 40 year political career, but if his history is any indication, he’ll make the most of his time in politics. In a seven year NHL career, Dryden won 6 Stanley Cups and 5 Vezina Trophies. But the guy is more than an ex-Jock. His NHL career was cut short to pursue his studies and a law degree, and he has written several award winning books. He was Toronto Maple Leafs President from 1997 to 2004 before bolting for the Liberals, no doubt desiring a return to a winning organization.

Political History: Long courted by political parties, Dryden ran for the Liberals in the riding of York (which must have been like playing goal for the Habs, in that, you’d have to really mess up to lose). After the 2004 election, Dryden was named Minister of Social Development, where he helped launch what the LPC would argue is a national childcare program.

Rejected Campaign Slogan: “Anyone who saw me spend as Leafs President knows I’ve always been a Liberal”

Possible Campaign Slogan: “Stopping Right Wingers Since 1970”

Rejected Endorsement: TV Networks salivating at a Dryden-Harper debate.

In Person: Ken Dryden is not a politician. I went to a fundraiser where Ken Dryden was the guest speaker a little over a year and a half ago and instead of working the room, Dryden would stand by himself in the corner, waiting for people to come up to him. He’d then earnestly talk to them for great lengths. I don’t think I’ve ever met a more genuine politician but he's certainly not "smooth" by any means.

Pros: 1972 Summit Series alumni. Has connections to Canada’s two solitudes (Habs and Leafs fans). Universally respected and bright.

Cons: Not exactly a fountain of youthful charisma. His French is surprisingly weak.

My Take: It’s not strange that the Liberal Party has a Hall of Fame leadership candidate. The strange thing is it’s taken this long for a former hockey all-star to rise this high in politics in Canada. At a time when people are cynical about politicians and the Liberal Party in general, Dryden would be an intriguing choice – an honest, respected, humble politician. Ken Dryden is a very thoughtful individual and while he may be one of the most boring politicians in Ottawa (ever?), he can write quite eloquently and with enough coaching could at least match Harper when it comes to delivering a rousing speech.

But could he be a party leader? It’s really hard to make that leap based on 18 months in Cabinet and Dryden certainly seems like an individual lacking political instincts and skills. Unless there is some major improvements in his speaking skills over the next few months, I just find it difficult to picture him as Liberal Party leader.

Chances: His BC team is looking decent but he doesn’t have an overpowering organization nationally from the sounds of things. But I would never count out Ken Dryden. At a convention where Liberals may settle on a “consensus candidate”, Dryden stands a realistic chance of winning this thing because it is impossible to dislike Ken Dryden.


  • All of Quebec would vote for him if he sends an autographed picture to everyone. He'll definitely doubt...he doesn't need speaking skills....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:23 a.m.  

  • I think you underplayed just how boring his speaking style really

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:02 a.m.  

  • i'm hearing his BC team moved laterally to Kennedy, and took over UBC already

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:21 a.m.  

  • Ken Dryden. A Haiku.

    Eyes... drooping.

    Head... nodding... nodding.

    I am so bored I could die.

    Kill me now.

    Dryden Speaks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:53 a.m.  

  • He has a nice team forming around him Manitoba and Sask. was well. They are playing to win on a 4th or 5th ballot by casting him as not your first choice, but everyone's second choice.

    If Dalton McGuinty can win by being inoffensive over 5 ballots, than surely a hall of famer can do the same.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:29 a.m.  

  • “Stopping Right Wingers Since 1970”

    CLASSIC LINE!!! What a great way to head into the weekend!

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 10:16 a.m.  

  • Rona Ambrose turned the old goalie in to a stammering blob of gelatin in 10 seconds one Q.P. Please pick him.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:31 a.m.  

  • Great imagery with the blog entry. Do you think he'll need all that equipmenty for his leadership run? :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:47 a.m.  

  • “Stopping Right Wingers Since 1970”

    Man. You are on today.

    By Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist, at 11:02 a.m.  

  • What about Justin Trudeau?

    By Blogger Bass, at 11:08 a.m.  

  • I hear Reg Alcock has joined Team Dryden. Blessing or curse?

    By Blogger Don, at 11:22 a.m.  

  • Alcock is top flight organizer. But he also rubs a lot of people the wrong way. So he comes with a lot of pluses but also a lot of baggage. Dryden's people are best to keep Reg in the background I think.

    Did the rest of Alcock team move along with him to Dryden? Or just him?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:25 a.m.  

  • Habs suck


    Your Roommate

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:39 a.m.  

  • I really enjoyed Dion's and Iggy's speeches today for the most part.

    I thought they presented fairly good visions for the party.

    Unfortunately I also read an article off of Bourque today that said shortly before Brison left as minister, he took his staff out for dinner at a bill of almost 2 grand. Then he charged it to the department of public works.

    How stupid is he really. Doesn't he know this kind of crap gets out and makes the party look even more entitled? Seriously this guy is a joke.

    By Blogger Forward Looking Canadian, at 1:46 p.m.  

  • "His BC team is looking descent"
    Freudian much?
    For all his positives,I kinda think his chances are falling.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:06 p.m.  

  • Alot of Reg's Manitoba people have split between Dryden and Brison. A couple to Dion. One thing they seemed united on is not going Iggy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:24 p.m.  

  • Dryden has nothing, zero happening in Quebec.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:25 p.m.  

  • Nice quote. Very applicable to the Libs right now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:59 p.m.  

  • AFAIK, three members of the Hockey Hall of Fame have sat in Parliament. Dryden, of course, plus former Leaf player, coach and broadcaster Howie ("Golly Gee!") Meeker (who was a Tory). Plus Leonard "Red" Kelly, who represented York West while playing for Stanley Cup winning Leaf teams from 1963 to 1965. Lionel Conacher, Canada's Male Athlete 1900-1950, sat as the Liberal MP for Trinity 1949-1957. Not in the HHOF, but the Sports Hall of Fame.

    Dryden, BTW, is MP for York Centre, likely the safest Liberal riding anywhere.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:20 p.m.  

  • Please post on the LPCA convention ASAP, I really want some updates!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:35 p.m.  

  • One of the hockey nerds out there needs to figure out Dryden's lifetime record against shooters who were right-wing, left-wing, and centr[ist], to determine where his loyalties truly lie. :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:25 a.m.  

  • Ruby Dhalla? Aside from appearing on Mike Duffy Live, what has she done?

    By Blogger Candace, at 2:24 a.m.  

  • I actually think that Dryden would be a fairly smart choice for the Liberals. They've gotten the reputation of being the political establishment, which I think to some degree works against them. I think Dryden, while being as boring as hell, would bring some populism back to the LPC. Having a leader who's apparently less of a politician might actually do some good for the Liberals, at least in terms of public opinion.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12:14 a.m.  

  • If Dryden did win, he would have to use a team approach to Opposition and the next election. His speaking is ponderously boring (although his writing is exceptionally good), and his French is Toronto Grade 10 level. Even if he improves both, he will never compete as speaker or linguist with most of the other frontrunners for the leadership.

    A team approach could work, though. Many are sick and tired of the US-style politics of personality that has been growing in Canada. How would Canadians respond to a real team - with Dryden wearing the "C", but with strong roles for Gerard Kennedy and Stephane Dion, for example, both of whom are politically in the same place as Dryden anyway?

    This would also be a refreshing contrast to the "Everything is about me" approach of Stephen Harper.

    I think this might just work. Certainly the Liberal party would be wise to consider it carefully.

    By Blogger Silent Liberal, at 8:58 p.m.  

  • By Blogger raybanoutlet001, at 2:24 a.m.  

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