Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Liberal Leadership Outlook

The race - can it be called that? - to replace Paul Martin and lead the Liberal Party of Canada is well underway. There appears to be no shortage of candidates. Despite what others state, there are likely only three possible contenders - Bob Rae, Michael Ignatieff and Gerald Kennedy.

My old Political Science professor John Courtney would be happy the Liberals returned to old style leadership convention. This gathering will crown a victor on what promises to be a wild weekend. The race has no clear frontrunner, the field is crowded and national interest levels, are understate the point, mild. The following is my best guess at how each of three listed above could emerge victorious in December.

First ballot

There are only eight candidates on this ballot since many of the wanna bee’s, never were's and fiddlers who love golden showers are long gone. That means Joe Volpe, Martha Findlay, Hedy Fry and Ashley MacIssac watch this one from the floor.

The first ballot sees Carolyn Bennett and Maurizo drop since they don't have the support to carry on. Bennett endorses Ignatieff and Maurizio goes to Brison.

Ignatieff leads followed by Rae, Dion, Brison, Kennedy and Dryden.

No candidate comes close to 50% needed to win.

Second Ballot

So long KD. Dryden is toast and lends his support to Rae. Has there been a more uninspiring run at a title since the Senators annual playoff collapse.

Ignatieff leads followed by Rae, Dion, Kennedy and Brison. Nobody achieves the magic 50. The five men left standing are set for Round 3.

Third Ballot

Scott Brison is toast. He has run on fumes to get to this point. Brison has some good ideas and is a political pit-bull, but his lack of leadership and instincts deem him a "not this timer." Brison lends his support to Ignatieff.

Ignatieff leads followed by Rae, Dion and Kennedy. Nobody hits 50, but Ignatieff is closing in.

Fourth Ballot

So long Kennedy. To the amazement of many, Kennedy has managed to stick around this long. The telegenics and his *Canadiana* seduces some BUT the policy void is too large. He talks his way into some but out of too many. Kennedy endorses Rae.

Ignatieff leads followed by Rae, Dion and Kennedy. The magically 50 alludes Ignatieff. He is so close, but there is trouble on the horizon.
Ignatieff is stalled. The movement builds to stop him from leading. Rae is closing. Dion could win if Rae was a kingmaker and vice-versa.

Fifth Ballot

Rae drops. He succumbs to the pressure of the 900 pound gorilla of his past. He just isn't electable in all parts of Ontario. Rae throws his support to Dion via John Rae via Jean Chrétien.

The shocker. These transactions make no difference. Ignatieff staggers across the line. He passes the 50% mark, but not by much.

Much like my World and Stanley Cup predictions, I could be totally off-base. Let me know.

Sounds plausible to me.
Plausible scenario, but wrong result!

Rae will win; Ignatieff will lose steam way before the convention starts (already is on the defensive), and Brison will have faded way before the convention.

There are only three candidates in the running: Ignatieff (due to plateau soon then fade); Dion (will gain strength); and Rae (momentum and time is on his side).

One of those three men will rip the Liberal Party – Ignatieff's fault lines are huge and polarizing.

Two of those men can unite the Liberals.

One of those two can widen the tent and attract enough NDP votes to put the Liberals into power again.
It is funny to think of the liberal leadership race as trying to replace Martin- the race wouldn't have to get going too fast to have him beat. But what the Libs need is someone to compete with Harpers soon-to-be majority government.

While the debates have been dismal (especially when Dryden takes the podium) I think that Findlay, Dion Rae and Ignatieff (sometimes)have the best policy ideas. In the last debate Martha attacked the questions. She was thoughtful, well spoken and aggressive- too bad she is being pegged as inexperienced (even though Iggy has a similar lack).

Anyway, we will see if you are right, but if I recall the Oil wasn't your only miss- remember the GG speculation?
You are invited to make your voice heard in a DemoChoice poll:

Liberal Party Big 4 Leadership Poll - my selection of the most probable Big 4 candidates for leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada.

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on October 01, 2006. Be sure to cast your vote before then!
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