With the demise of the megathreads, so has passed our beloved Canadian politics thread. Seems that the last Canadian related discussion we had was about Afghanistan, so I bring you a thread on the Liberal Leadership race, if anyone is so inclined.
What is all of this about?
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, since Paul Martin quit back in January with the loss of the election.
Why is it important?
Interesting fact I learned the other day â€“ ever since Wilfred Laurier was elected, it has been more than a century since a leader of the Liberal Party did not also serve as Prime Minister for at least some
period of time (Yes, even John Turner counts).
Beats the hell out of me. I joined the party right after the election but havenâ€™t been able to figure out exactly how the leader is elected. All I know is that next weekend there is a riding association meeting thatâ€™s five hours long
. Apparently Iâ€™ll be voting for the leader, or voting for people who will vote for the leader (or voting for the people who will vote for the people . . .).
As of today, there are eight candidates left â€“ my own MP Carolyn Bennett and MP Hedy Fry quit to support Bob Rae just recently.
The two front runners are Harvard professor and MP Michael Ignatieff
and former NDP
premier of Ontario Bob Rae
Apparently MP StÃ©phane Dion
is also fairly well regarded. Then there are former Conservative MP (and now Liberal MP) Scott Brison
, former Ontario MPP Gerard Kennedy
, former Hockey player MP Ken Dryden, lawyer Martha Hall Findlay and MP Joe Volpe
(whoâ€™s campaign has been a mess from the start).
Iâ€™ll just start it off by saying I donâ€™t like the idea of Bob Rae as the most likely winner. He comes from another party and for the most part people seem to still hate him for his stint as Premier of Ontario (the economy essentially tanked).
Then again, my opposition is a little hypocritical as I am somewhat warm to the candidacies of both Brison and Ignatieff â€“ both also outsiders. But Rae seems to carry a degree of arrogance about the whole thing â€“ at least Brison has served in caucus as a Liberal MP for some time now.
Iâ€™ve heard from a few people who are pegging Kennedy as the consensus winner (i.e. through endorsements by defeated candidates or through the second-choice of delegates). He seems alright to me and I agree with him in most areas â€“ I'd be delighted to see him come out of this the leader. He just doesnâ€™t seem to be doing all too well at this point.
Ignatieff of course has been in the country for less than a year now, elected for the first time back in January. He has his problems like his vocal support of the invasion of Iraq, but Iâ€™m willing to accept his explanation that his behaviour as a private citizen would of course be different than that if he were Prime Minister. Calls to open the constitution arenâ€™t all too welcome since Iâ€™ve tended to side with Trudeauâ€™s view of Quebec, but I have been impressed with his ability to look at the entire spectrum of Canadian issues and comment very intelligently on them. Like I mentioned above though, he's one of the two leaders, and has the strongest support from within the caucus (39 MPs and 8 Senators, including RomÃ©o Dallaire).
I have to admit I donâ€™t know a whole lot about StÃ©phane Dionâ€™s campaign or where he stands. However, at this point he is literally the only party â€œinsiderâ€ here. If the spot simply went to the individual with the experience he would have earned it.
Anyway, Iâ€™d like to hear what thoughts anyone else has. Naturally, Iâ€™d be interested to hear what the American posters think too â€“ especially since this is the closest thing Canada has to a primary and it would be interesting to know what the reaction would be to so many candidates from outside a party.
The Toronto Starâ€™s coverage
The Liberal Party of Canadaâ€™s own site
Naturally, I will also refer to you to what Wikipedia has to say