Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dropping Like Flies

Another announcement, another potential candidate taking a pass, it's starting to look like a small affair for Liberal leader. I guess the question then becomes, is it better to have a few heavyweights, or do the lesser contenders add some color and depth to the campaign? The worry, this leadership race is beginning to look like a simple redo from 2006, which could present an "excitement" gap with Liberals, attracting new support, creating a buzz, a sort of been there, done that flavor. The opposing view, it's better to eliminate the pretenders straight away, so Liberals can get on with the choice at hand, everyone knows it's a Iggy/Rae battle, so let's just move to the second act now.

I admit to being conflicted. You must acknowledge the simple reality here, Ignatieff and Rae have both assembled formidable organizations, that in many respects precludes serious challenge, barring an unseen event. We can't fluff off those organizations, since they are made up of Liberals, so their strength denotes actual support. A small field allows for a focused decision, with realistic options.

On the other hand, things don't always proceed according to script, more options allow for different calculations, should something go awry with the frontrunners. Given what happened last time, it's important to remember that delegates perceived a problem and looked elsewhere. Have the dynamics, or baggage changed?

Having 11 candidates is overkill, but having 3 could be to narrow. You want different voices, representing and expressing a wider perspective. More ideas brought to the table are a positive, and if those ideas find support, then it sends another signal to the eventual winner on where we need to go. Maybe the dialogue suffers without a more diverse group, without certain subsets of the Liberal tent feeling as though they have a voice. But, maybe this isn't the time for idealistic want, let's be practical and just get on with some foregone conclusions.


Anonymous said...

Kennedy is out. Apparently going to announce on CTV Newsnet.
This leadership race will go down as the big mistake for the Liberal Party- no one wanted to make the Party better, just make a celebrity Leader. I think Liberals should get used to opposition for quite some time.

Steve V said...

Do you have a link for that?

Anonymous said...

The powers that be within the party recognize the need for MI to lead it, and can't afford to have a bunch of 2nd tier candidates jeopardizing the outcome. He is the one, every Liberal knows it. Now let's move forward.

Anonymous said...

The link:

As for Anon at 11:24, the only thing Ignatieff will do as Leader is keep us in opposition. Just who do you think he appeals to other than Quebec nationalists and backroom brass in the Liberal Party??? He has 0 street cred and no history in Canada.

liberazzi said...

Happy to see Coderre take a pass, not so happy about GK. Leblanc looks to be the one to potentially come up the middle and has a lot of youth support. I think Cauchon might take a pass now. Curious to see what Mcguinty and Dhalla do now.

bigcitylib said...

The Kennedy thing is starting to look more likely.

Anonymous said...

I hope GK will stay neutral for the time being as Martha and Justin are doing and help build the 308 movement. Those of us who are not excited about the choices need a place to go to keep our spirits up.

P.S. why can't anonymous posters be more creative and differentiate themselves a bit:


Anonymous said...

I think Kennedy has a longer plan. Think about it, he's in debt and has little children. He will have a chance to make his mark in HofC, etc.

Anon-this whole Iggy and the Canadian thing is pure BS and getting oh so tiresome.

Or, Martha - make her mark (she was ballsy running last time with absolutely no government experience) - but perhaps the first female PM (I don't count Campbell as she just filled a seat for a bit) in Canada?

And, it's about time frame....NDP saying they have enough money for another election, etc. Considering the push by the CPC and NDP to destroy the Liberals, time isn't on their side.


truth said...


The fact that Iggy spent 30+ years out of Canada and 2 years in the Liberal Party, is going to come up over and over again. Get used to it.

bigcitylib said...


You will hear it again and again but it will have less effect on people this time.

Anonymous said...

I'm used to it and over it. He may have been out of the country pursuing his career stuff-but he's been a Liberal since the 60's - you get over it.

He was BORN a Canadian - like it or lump it. Lived the first 20 plus years of his life in Canada, has been back and forth all those years. It's BS, period.
How many MP's were NOT born in Canada and have not lived here all that long, got their citizenship and entered politics?

UWHabs said...

I have a feeling that the Kennedy/Hall-Findlay/Trudeau wing of the party expect that either Iggy or Rae will win. And given their ages, neither will lead the party for more than 5-10 years. They've made names for themselves (or had names made for them in Trudeau's case...) within the party. Now it's their chance to sit back, take leading roles in parliament, and show off their parliamentary skills, to come back strong in that next leadership race 5-10 years down the road.

truth said...


NO politicians have lived outside of Canada for 30+ years, come back to Canada, enter the Liberal Party for 2 years and then ran to be PM. Ignatieff is the only one.

The Liberal Party of course, is used to his shortcomings, but they are still shortcomings and the Canadian electorate will be hearing it all mostly for the first time. He will keep the Party in opposition.

Steve V said...

Oh, give it a rest with the un-Canadian nonsense.

A View From The Left said...

steve, the link in your post doesn't work.

cb said...

In case the mainstream decides to distort it, below is GK's official statement:

TORONTO, Nov. 12 / "Over the past few weeks I have received
encouragement and support from hundreds of grassroots Liberals from across the
country to run again for leader of the Liberal Party.
I have come out of these discussions, and the election itself, very
energized to help take on the challenges that Liberals face.
The choice for me, however, is whether to embark on yet another
significant campaign, or to work on behalf of Canadians more directly.
In the past two and a half years, I have contested an eight month
national leadership campaign, subsequently travelled extensively to many other
ridings and won a previously unheld riding following what proved to be a very
lengthy run-up period.
On a personal level, my young family has already felt the impact of
successive challenging campaigns. And, on a practical level, this contest has
arisen quite suddenly after the election. Before and during the election, I
had put all of my energies into supporting the party and Leader, not
maintaining a leadership team.
While I greatly appreciate all of the confidence expressed in me and
believe I could have mounted a stronger campaign than last time, I will not be
a candidate in this leadership race.
Instead, I will focus on acting for Canadians and the people of
Parkdale-High Park at a time of particular need, and on working hard in my
riding and elsewhere in the country to ensure the Liberal party is renewed the
way it must be for these times.
Canadians need the Liberal Party to be a strong Opposition, inside and
outside of Parliament. I believe I can draw on my years fighting rightwing
Conservative governments in Ontario to help compel the Harper Conservatives to
confront the economic problems the country faces.
I am convinced that I can also help ensure the Liberal party will not be
vulnerable to a snap election, by joining with Liberals to rebuild beyond the
leadership race. I believe strongly that the parliamentary and membership
wings of the party must do their part to ensure we have an open, effective and
accountable modern political party ready to fully regain Canadians' trust. A
change in a leader alone is not sufficient.
There is a growing recognition of the need for real change following the
election. Each of the likely current leadership candidates have already spoken
at some length of "renewal" of the party, the main focus of my 2006 leadership
I look forward to enthusiastically playing my part in moving the Liberal
Party and Canada forward."


For further information: Amanda Alvaro, (416) 804-4712,

Anonymous said...

liberazzi :
McGuinty is out, too.

-- Anon Gurl

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the impact of Kennedy losing "key supporters" to Ignatieff was on this decision as reported by Jane Taber?
Are we talking high profile losses?
Justin and Martha are neutral so who?
I love Gerard but decided that it's a battle between Rae and Ignatieff this time.

Steve V said...


I can't believe people take Taber at here word. I know for a fact, two separate things she's reported on Kennedy in the last weeks were dead wrong, the opposite was true in fact. It's amazing to read her stuff sometimes, it's just gossip, not remotely close to actual journalism. She should get a job at ET.

Steve V said...

Thanks Miranda :)

Anonymous said...

It'll be Iggy.

So the Prime Minister of Canada and the soon-to-be Leader of the Opposition are both further to the right of the U.S. President elect.


Steve V said...


Anybody who lumps Iggy in with Harper is one, ignorant, two, sort of stupid. Seriously, I mean let's just take one stance and run with it, completely oblivious to the totality. Amazing.

liberazzi said...

Geez, I was hoping for a smaller field, but this is a bit much.

All three have good qualities, so I dont think there is a bad choice to be made. All of them are good "retail" politicians, bilingual and intelligent guys. Tough choice. I think GK was going to be my guy though and he would have been a good bookend on this thing.

I think Iggy or Rae will be transitional leaders, initially bringing us back to respectability, then maybe a shot at govt. The party can rebuild within that time period. Harper's time is probably coming to a close, so the Libs have to worry that for example a Prentice might be able to put the CPC over the top.

Leblanc will be able to position himself nicely for the next time, probably in about 5 years or so. Kennedy and Martha can push the reset button and look to the future. However, 5 years from now it will be Trudeau's to lose.

Maybe GK will take another run at the Ont Lib title. Actually, the next Ont Lib race will be the better battle. Pupatello, Smitherman, Duncan, Bryant and maybe GK. Its gonna be a beaut.

MrvnMouse said...

Is there no one else in the Liberals with leadership abilities other than Rae and Iggy? To be honest, I feel it's just a sad state of affairs, but maybe, just maybe whoever wins will prove the naysayers wrong.

I'd be highly suspicious though.

Let's see if the next 4 years is simply a repeat of the last 4.

Gayle said...

mouse - I do not think it is about who has leadership abilities. I think it is about who has the support of the caucus - and that ship sailed a long time ago.