Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Kennedy Inches Closer

Increasingly, it looks very likely that Gerard Kennedy will enter the Liberal leadership race:
Ontario Education Minister Gerard Kennedy is expected to officially enter the federal Liberal leadership contest next month, sources say...

The Nova Scotia Liberal senator leading the draft-Kennedy movement said he is certain the bilingual education minister, who once headed food banks in Edmonton and Toronto, will run.

"I'm not a guy who likes to waste his time and I'm still making calls" to potential supporters across the country, Terry Mercer said from Ottawa.

"I haven't been this excited about politics in a long, long time."

If Kennedy does enter the fray, he seems to have a great handle of the stakes:
"I have had approaches on the federal front before, but I guess the sense that there needs to be a fundamental reform of the federal Liberal party is what has me interested to the extent that I am considering it," he said, although he admitted he's a "dark-horse candidate without even a seat (in Ottawa)."

He said he's been buoyed by the strength of support from people who say he has "a unique contribution to make" to a party badly in need of rebuilding.

"They have at least convinced me that these kind of reforms are quite essential for the progressive, practical outlook that I believe in.

"These renewals don't happen on anybody's timetable, they happen as a result of a larger circumstance.

"I guess that's why these are probably once-in-a-generation chances, particularly this particular circumstance where there is a period of confusion about direction (of the party)," he said.

What is interesting, and refreshing for that matter, is that all the potential candidates seem to recognize that fundamental reform is required. Kennedy is an unabashed progressive who can attract the soft NDP support(myself included), which should allow for a real debate on direction, with tons of policy contrast.

Before the election, I argued that a Liberal defeat may be the best thing for progressives in the longterm, as defeat would require reform. I must say, this race is shaping up to be a meaty, philosophical affair and may well be a watershed moment moving forward. Instead of stopping Conservatives, we might actually find something to get behind.

1 comment:

Mark Dowling said...

I wonder what Peggy Nash thinks about this - she just got Sam Bulte out and now has to worry about Kennedy next time, who has given the teachers unions a lot of what they want post-Tories.