Some potential star candidates, like astronaut Marc Garneau, aren't taking any chances and already have begun to campaign discreetly.
A website for Garneau was registered last week in the wake of the Outremont debacle, joining a campaign page on the social networking site Facebook that has been in place for some time.
His organizers appear to be getting impatient, saying Garneau will probably close the door on the Liberal Party if he doesn't get the Westmount-Ville Marie nomination.
"Personally, I would counsel him against (another riding), particularly with the situation the way it is," said Fabrice Rivault, a former Liberal Party communications official who is helping to organize for Garneau.
"Mr. Garneau cannot allow himself to put his name on the chopping block again. He is already very courageous to have done it once."
"We're preparing," he said, adding that Garneau has support among Liberals.
Rivault said Garneau is a well-known national hero who can help the Liberal Party increase its support in Quebec.
Apparently, Garneau has been advised that he will not be the candidate in Westmount-Ville Marie:
Faced with ambivalence on the part of the Liberal party and the need to support his family, former Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau said Tuesday he has closed the door on the idea of seeking the Liberal nomination in Westmount-Ville Marie or any other riding.
The news came as a surprise to a group of Liberals who had been discreetly organizing and setting up a campaign website for him, who believed up until Tuesday their star candidate was in the running. It also came as a surprise to some Liberal party officials who believed, since Garneau never officially withdrew nomination papers he had filed, that he was still interested.
Garneau, who quit his job as head of Canada's space agency to run unsuccessfully for the Liberals in the 2006 election in the riding of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, said he approached the party in January after former Outremont MP Jean Lapierre resigned, saying he was interested in running as the Liberal candidate in Outremont. However, Garneau said he was told the riding was being reserved for somebody else.
In the spring, when Liberal MP Lucienne Robillard announced she would not run again, Garneau filed nomination papers -- as did several other candidates.
"I said this is the fit for me. I live here, I work here, I know people here," said Garneau, a Westmount resident. "This is the natural place for me."
However, Garneau became discouraged when Liberal Leader Stephane Dion announced three or four days later he would handpick the Liberal candidate for the riding.
While he said some ridings were suggested to him, they were not ridings in which the Liberals had a strong likelihood of winning.
Factor in this admission, which I believe:
But the list of potential hopefuls has shrunk, insiders report, with some people seriously rethinking the idea of running under the Liberal banner at the moment.
Local Liberals asking for a open nomination process, why not? Why offer Garneau another longshot riding, particularly when he appears to have a team and brings "star" power? Garneau said he decided a month ago, but I find that hard to believe, given the quotes from people close to him in the first article. It would appear that Garneau has resigned himself to the fact that Westmount is reserved for a Dion appointment. Given the state of affairs, and the reality that some may now run away from the Liberal banner this time out, I think it silly to be so casual with someone who could be an asset.
I guess we have to wait for the other shoe to drop here, and see the person Dion has in mind, but there is something unsettling about the way Garneau has been handled, here and the previous desire for Outremont. I don't get it.