Monday, October 20, 2008

Things To Consider

We'll have to wait and see how all the jockeying shakes out, but I think it important to view the looming race in a strategic sense, rather than personal want. Here are a few considerations that will be key in my view, when deciding who to support:


As Hebert points out, there is a "vacuum" in Quebec, due to Harper's failure, the NDP's inability to breakthrough in any meaningful way. The Liberal Party now has the opportunity to move beyond the sponsorship stench and re-engage the Quebec electorate. As far as I'm concerned, Ontario will never be the electoral monolith for the Liberals again, the advantage of a divided or unpopular right evaporated, if we are too hold power again, then Quebec will be key. When perusing the various contenders, the person best equipped to possibly succeed in Quebec should be given priority.


Whichever contender demonstrates the capacity to raise money, without relying solely on loans, should be given due respect. A leadership race isn't viewed in isolation, those best able to mobilize supporters to give show that they have the capacity to inspire and motivate, a trait which will continue after a leader is chosen. Given the new rules, where the money moves is indicative of something beyond elitist tendencies, you need the grassroots to bankroll.

Political Spectrum

Much debate about whether we should move to the center, stay the same, or gravitate farther left, which point on the spectrum is best suited to maximize and harvest voters. This will be a personal decision for many, but my litmus test will be a leader that provides enough of a contrast with Harper to be a true philosophical alternative, but has the capacity to still be attractive to the center, they don't call it that for nothing.

The Economy

We are heading for a sustained downturn, even if the next election is three years away, it is entirely conceivable that our economy will still be challenged, our fiscal house more of an issue than this election. Baggage on the economy is important here, our leader must be credible and forward thinking. I assume the economy, how we move Canada forward within the global reality, will be the key issue in the next election, so we should consider that, and which regions we can find economic appeal. You do the math on that one.


Who has the moxy, who has the eloquence, who has the common touch. Someone that highlights Harper's lack of charisma. One thing this election reinforced again, it's a game of superficial attributes, who has soundbite appeal, who can articulate in a concise and direct manner.


Local Grit said...

Along with Quebec, the next leader need to appeal to the West. If we don't start appealing the fastest growing region in the country we will never get a majority again.

Anonymous said...

Two thoughts (for the record, I was a strong Ignatieff supporter in 2006 and now don’t really care anymore)

Economy: If that’s going the be the major issue for the next couple years, does Rae become a liability due to his record? However, at the same token, I think he would have the best one on one fight , from a selling point of view, against Harper.

Quebec: I think Ignatieff is the defacto Quebec candidate. Even before chosing someone that can have a significant impact on Quebec (ie. Ignatieff), the LPC party must first decide whether Ignatieff's vision for Quebec is the correct one. A lot of Quebecers the last time around saw the victory of Dion in the context of the LPC's views on federalism. And the seat count should indicate how they partially reacted.

At the same time, Ignatieff got roasted by staunch federalist Liberals from Ontario and the ROC media and I believe, that, above all else, led to his defeat.

It’s why I sort of wished we had a major policy convention before this last election. There are some fundamental core issues that party cannot seem to get consensus around.

Tough to be a Liberal these days, whatever that means.


Steve V said...


I hear you.

local grit

Agreed, especially B.C. and Manitoba. Alberta is a lost cause, but we can start slowly, almost a ditto for Sask. That's just the reality, whereas Quebec is more fertile ground.

Gayle said...

May I suggest that any candidate who is going to be divisive should not win.

I heard Mark Holland say that today on Newman.

JimmE said...

Good Post Steve
While I mostly agree, a couple of points:
Ontario - The provincial Liberals were able to Mop-up the province. Federally we can do that again.
Money - How is it we Liberals wrote the rules & are the one's who can't figure them out?!! For one, we need to find a way to get incremental donations. Leadership Convention should be a way to MAKE MONEY not loose money!
Western Canada, the Maritimes & the NDP - We lost seats in these regions in part due to the NDP. As you said, the centre is where the votes are, we need to convince all Canadians the Liberal party is the party of the Progressive Centre. We need policy that connects with my dipper friends that does not seem fiscally rash to my Reform/SoCred mother-in-law.
I don't care what folks say, politics is about emotion, we need thoughtful policy & a leader that connects on an emotional level.

Steve V said...


I saw Holland, and it sounds nice, but they're all divisive at this point, the main contenders I mean. Also, take it for what it's worth but Fife said the Iggy and Rae camps already have an agreement that the one with lesser support moves to the leader, so if true, the chance for someone to come up the middle isn't credible.


Someone mentioned that we should put a cap on the leadership fundraising, so we don't drain the party and have all these outstanding debts. I love that idea, especially if it looks like a battle between the old school buddies (which is VERY likely).

Gayle said...

Steve - I take everything from CTV with a grain of salt right now.

I spoke to a CBC reporter today who told me the "exclusive" CTV report that McCallum was going to be the interim leader was a false leak given to CTV as a response to the Dion interview fiasco (he also told me the actions of CTV were highly unethical, though I doubt I have to tell you that).

That said, if it were true I actually like that deal, since it minimizes the damage (unless Iggy wins of course). ;)

Steve V said...

I wonder if Coderre jumps in, that could hurt Iggy in Quebec, otherwise he will be in a powerful position. Is it 1/3 of the total delegates?

Anonymous said...

The problem we ran into last time was that although Ignatieff swept Quebec, there were still not enough Liberals to fill those delegate spots when it mattered. You know, actual bodies on the convention floor. That’s how bad the situation is in that province.

I also wouldn’t count Ignatieff as an automatic Quebec shoe in favorite. A lot of Quebec Liberals were just as mad at him for not being able to win as they were at the LPC in general for not supporting the nation stuff.

If I were a betting man, I would say Rae has a 70/30 shot to win. His surrogates have been organizing for a while. Dont be surprised that when the leadership contest really kicks off, he will have a commanding lead in terms of money and a slight lead in terms of caucus endorsements.

I also like LeBlanc and think he is an up and comer, but his staunch federalist views may hurt him in Quebec. I hope he decides not to run at this point.



Steve V said...


I'll take that bet :)

Jeff said...

I have a question. Is there any possibility at all of Dion running for the leadership in May?

After all, he believes that he was right about where the party and the country should be heading. And lots of people respected his integrity.

The fact that he didn't step down suggests to me that he wants to keep fighting for his vision. And if he does a good job in challenging the Conservatives and promoting his vision, then wouldn't he want to try again?

Is there anything in the rules or in what he said that rules out this as a possibility?

JimmE said...

I think Dion was asked this question & said no to him contesting the leadership.

Jerry Prager said...

The fact that there is a Liberal gov in Toronto may be one of the reasons there is a Con one in Ottawa. Historically, during the long reign of the Cons in Toronto, Ottawa was Lib, something about a balance of power. The federal Libs will take Ont again, after McGuinty is gone.

liberazzi said...

I think the points that have been made over the past few days that a new leader is only a bandaid are valid. (This doesn't mean I am changing my opinion of Dion). Perhaps an Iggy or a Rae can, I dare say fluke out a win the next go round. I hope the reports that one will support the other depending on the circumstances are true. My belief is that we need to make incremental improvements seat wise and party wise. If we can regain out seat total of around 100 seats next time, then that would be a victory in a sense. Then work our way to minority status, then a majority. We could be on the outside for about 4 to 5 years. If we can keep the CPC to a minority in that time period then we hopefully can minimize the damage they may create. It's a four point rebuilding process, leader/team, policy, finances, local organization. If we only change the leader, then we have failed. My hope is a McKenna or Manley stay out of it, as they will be viewed as saviours. Ideally, a Rae, Iggy or Kennedy can be caretakers/rebuilders who can then leave the party in good hands for the next generation. In the meantime, they can clease the party of some of the deadwood i.e. then "insiders" and those MPs just hanging around growing their pensions. Finally, I would be surprised if Coderre would run against his buddy Iggy. I have zero respect for Coderre and I wish he would just go away.

Steve V said...

I still can't figure out what the point of Coderre running would be. There is no appetite for another francophone, and his appeal outside of Quebec would be miniscule to say the least. Given his known affinity with Iggy, I don't see how a run increases his profile. Outside of a vanity exercise, a run lacks any practicality, that I can see.

Koby said...

I have serious reservations about both Rae and Ignatieff. That said, both have obvious strengthens and I would be happy with either at this point. Both are excellent communicators and both speak better French than Harper.

As to the question as to what the Liberals can hope for the next time out, I do not think a weak minority is out of the question given the economic times we live in. In order for that to happen though a few things will have to happen. The Liberals will have to rebound and more in suburban Vancouver, recover in Winnipeg, take 50 seats in Ontario and fill the void in Quebec.

Miles Lunn said...

I think we need to focus on every region. Certainly I agree that Quebec is fertile ground, however we need to focus on areas off the island of Montreal, where I think we have potential, but it will require work. As for Ontario, we won't sweep it again anytime soon, but surely we can do better than winning only six seats outside the GTA. Ideally we should win the overwhelming majority of ridings in the GTA and about half outside of the GTA. Even if we cannot win in rural Eastern Ontario, there is absolutely no reason we cannot win in smaller centres like Kitchener, Barrie, St. Catharines, London, Brantford, Sarnia, and Peterborough.

Also we cannot keep on writing off Western Canada. This worked for Trudeau since he could sweep Quebec and worked for Chretien since he swept Ontario. As long as the Bloc Quebecois exists, we won't sweep Quebec again either, so we need to win some seats in the West. I agree Alberta is mostly a lost cause, but I think British Columbia and Manitoba are fertile grounds. I also think Saskatchewan might be more favourable after the next boundary re-distribution. If they got rid of the split urban-rural ridings and instead had all ridings either entirely urban or entirely rural, then we might be able to win some of the urban ones.

Steve V said...


I don't think we should write off British Columbia, but when you look at where our membership has really fallen apart, it's Quebec. It's about time we weren't so passive about it, and did start thinking outside of the fortress ridings, this is the first real opportunity post-sponsorship. I agree on Ontario, we can flip many seats back, just not the sweep scenarios that used to mask other problems.