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.
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.
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.