Friday, February 17, 2006

Central Canada Liberal Leadership Candidates

In my mind, an Atlantic Canada, Quebec or Western leader is probably preferred to another Ontario leader, but horses from Ontario stables are odds on favorites to show.
Michael Ignatieff: 2:1 to show, 7:1 to place. Iggy certainly has the bloodlines, both his paternal grand father and great-grand father were cabinet ministers in the courts of Tzars Nicholas II and Alexandre III of Russia. His connections to the Liberal party and to Canada's elite are just as impressive, being close friends with Bob Rae and having attended all of the best schools. He also has the liberal credentials as a celebrated writer on human rights. As a well published author, his controversies are all in the open. There should be no surprises. His accademic stature is no less impressive and gives him standing and credibility in any debate situation. Academically, he is what Stephen Harper aspired to be at one time (only liberal). My doubts about Iggy stem from his lack of political experience. He is also good looking and a natural in front of a camera. He has never been in a close, hard fought campaign, he hasn't had to deal with a divided caucus. Can he handle the every day, practical business of politics and government?

Joe "silver fox" Volpe: 12:1. I have few doubts Joe be there on race day, but I think he will come up short of the winners circle. He has been an MP since 1988, and held the Citizenship and Immigration, and Human Resources and Skills Development cabinet portfolios in the Cretien and Martin governments. He is to my knowledge, neither a Martin or Cretien partisan loyalist. But he is hardly a dynamic campaigner. His cabinet portfolios have been medium to high profile, but not influential. He has never held Finance, Foreign Affairs, Health, Deputy PM, Justice and AG, Defense or Public Works which tend to be more influential on general policy. I guess he has all of the right components, but is not deep enough in any of them.

Belinda Stronach: 8:1. Belinda is a perfect candidate, but she has simply not been with the Liberal Party long enough to be a credible leader. If she runs, she will lose the Liberal leadership for the same reasons she lost the Conservative leadership - lack of experience in government. She is a moderate, Ontario liberal/red tory. She is attractive, young, a dynamic public speaker, and is well connected to the Toronto corporate empires that fund the Liberal party. However - if it takes the Liberals a year to elect a new leader, that would put her into her 3rd year as a MP and 2nd year in the Liberal party .... probably still not enough.

Martha Hall-Findlay: 400:1. She has even less experience than Stronach, but she is currently the only declared candidate. She doesn't even warrant a wikkipedia page so far. For Martha, the best she can do is to try and raise her profile a bit, and then try and get nominated by some TO area riding association so she can win a seat in the next election.

Bob Rae: 6:1. Rae is an interesting (non) candidate. He is a former NDP premier of Ontario, but his tenure as premier was marked by a prolonged recession and a very divided cabinet. He is also a former NDP federal Member of Parliament. It was his motion of non-confidence that sunk the Joe Clark Tory government. Rae is a centrist social democrat, who had previously cooperated in alliance with the Peterson Liberal government in Ontario. As a "third way" Tony Blair socialist, Rae sought to combat the recession with fiscal discipline, but his caucus pressed him towards a more Keynesian approach with much public sector spending to stimulate the economy. The result was a disasterous combination of both which allienated both the business community and the traditional labour and social democratic base of the NDP. Since his electoral defeat in Ontario, Bob Rae has tried to reinvent himself as a Liberal. In several written articles since 1996, Rae has lamblasted the NDP for outdated policies. Over the last 10 years, the federal Liberals have appointed Bob Rae to several committees and inquirys. It is also thought that he was a finalist for consideration for the appointment of Governor General of Canada, and his brother John Rae is an Ontario organizer for the federal liberals. He is also a close friend of Michael Ignatieff. Unfortunately for Rae, he is probably best remembered for his unremarkable tenure as Premier of Ontario. Had he ran as a Liberal MP in 2000, he would have been much better positioned now.

Gerard Kennedy: 5:1. Here is another interesting (non) candidate. Calgary Grit has an interesting piece on Kennedy. He has all of the right stuff. A popular member of Dalton McGuinty's cabinet, strong Liberal and liberal connections, he has won a series of important elections. He also has western connections. Born in Mannitoba, educated in Calgary, has done work for the Alberta government. He is also credited with establishing the Edmonton Food Bank. Along with Ujjal Dosanjh, he would bear the standard for the liberal wing of the liberal party.

1 comment:

CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Why Martha Findlay would make a good leader of the Liberal Party, and Prime Minister of Canada

I believe she should be seriously considered by Liberals, because she brings several distinct plusses to the table, including these:

• Findlay has made her own way in life, like most Canadians have to. If she is elected leader of the Liberal Party, she will understand more than most of her wealthy opponents what the average Canadian faces.

• She has proven – in both business, as a mother, and in politics – her ability in all those fields.

• She is untainted by scandal, and would present a fresh face to the voters.

• She is an Ontarian, source of a big whack of total seats in the House.

• Her bilingualism meets the “minimum needs” tests for any candidate for leadership of a major political party in Canada.

• She has served her time in politics, is well respected in her riding, has demonstrated the ability to pull voters from across the spectrum of voters, and is not a parachuted-in candidate into her riding or into the leadership campaign.

• She will be a uniter – of the party, of the country.

It will be interesting to see if she is able to come out of the starting blocks with a detailed, personalized platform of her own, so that Liberals can weigh her positions on major issues and assess whether she could be a credible Prime Minister.

Given the absence of a clear frontrunner (with the most likely ones – Tobin etc. – having dropped out), the likelihood is that the votes will be close, with more than one round being needed to select a leader. Ms Findlay will enter the selection process with her own block of support, but she deserves serious attention from those who might be called upon to cast their votes for someone other than their first choice.