05.08.2012 06:05 AM

In today’s Sun: handicapping the Grit leadership contenders

There is an excellent chance that nobody cares, but — for fun, if nothing else — let’s handicap the rumoured candidates for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, shall we?

I know, I know. They’re in a distant third place, and have been for a year. You need a magnifying glass to locate their caucus in the House of Commons. Even against a dud like interim NDP Leader Nycole Turmel, they couldn’t improve their circumstances. Why, you not unreasonably ask, should anyone care about the Grits anymore?

Well, because politics is unpredictable, that’s why. Weird things happen.

Everyone (except Your Humble Narrator, naturally) thought Wildrose would form a big, honkin’ majority government in Alberta, and they didn’t.
Everyone (except, er, me) didn’t foresee Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty climbing back from a double-digit polling deficit to win big last fall. Everyone (except, um, you know who) failed to prognosticate the NDP becoming Her Majesty’s official opposition in last year’s general election.

And so on, and so on. Every pundit and pollster else gets it wrong, all the time. Immodestly, I think you folks should listen only to ME.

Herewith, my Grit Hit List:


  1. Deb Prothero says:

    Seeing the headline, I thought, aha the answer awaits. Imagine my disappointment. Stating the obvious is so unlike you, Warren. Until the Liberals (besides the Youth wing) make some kind of effort to engage Canadians and define what they stand for, the electorate will remain as disinterested as they are now. A leader will rise from the effort. And speaking of effort, Ralph Goodale has learned how to tweet consistently and he’s getting rather good at it.

  2. kenn2 says:

    So, basically you’re saying they won’t have it together for the next federal election, either.

  3. Matt Ellis says:

    solid article this morning in the Sun showing why the current crop of leadership hopefuls, wannabe’s and sortawannabes aren’t ready for the top job. One thing that I thought was missing from your analysis is the name of one single Liberal that might be suitable for the top job.

    Is it the Preem?

  4. james curran says:

    I would also help if Martha paid off her 2006 leadership debt….which, of course, she hasn’t. But, you’re right, she’ll run anyway.

  5. james curran says:

    OOPs, should be “it” would help.

  6. Dominic LeBlanc is fantastic. He’s bilingual and charismatic, I’m surprised he wasn’t on the list. I love Marc Garneau too! He is bright and humble and not really your typical leader but the kind of person everyone would feel they could trust. Bob outshone Turmel everyday in the House and in the press. Didn’t he win the MP of the year popularity thing? Who on earth trusts polls anymore anyway (Wildrose hello)?! Gerard and Martha would bring excitement to the leadership race and that would get them their seats back if nothing else. Justin? I have noticed that he seems to understand the big picture very well. Maybe better than anyone else. Personally, I think he is ready and capable now but he feels the timing isn’t right for him. But he will be a strong force in rebuilding the party. The leadership race is going to be fantastic, the supporters category in France seemed to turn the tide for the Labour Party there. The only people writing off the Liberals are the talking heads for the Cons and the NDP in a desperate and obvious attempt to kill the party in order to siphen their votes. Canadians aren’t so easily manipulated (I hope!)

  7. Jim Hanna says:

    I’d say LeBlanc is conspicuous by his absence on that list…but maybe the paper ran out of real estate.

    • Warren says:

      That’s exactly it! 525 words and I was way over.

      • Jordan says:

        According to CBC he’s replacing Bob Rae as interim leader. Does anyone else know anything about him possibly not running for permanent leader? Maybe he is he going to serve as interim leader for a few months to boost his profile and then resign to seek the permanent leadership?

        • Graham says:

          Well, if LeBlanc is going to replace Rae as interm leader, that would confirm Rae is running for permenant leader, despite giving his word he had no interest in the job.

  8. Anne Peterson says:

    Just as long as John Manley doesn’t get dusted off and trotted out. OR as long as he doesn’t dust himself off and trot himself out.

  9. Tyrone says:

    Surprised not to see Martin Cauchon on that list: as a progressive guy who was a great Justice Minister under Chretien, took a brave position on same-sex marriage and did a good job handling the tricky cannabis decriminalization file, etc. You can’t really hold it against him that he failed to take back Outremont last year – that NDP wave was just too strong.

    Anyway, given that you weren’t able to be unreservedly positive about any of the names on your list, it probably isn’t a bad thing you didn’t mention him, but if he runs, he’d be a great candidate – the kind you could actually support, Warren!

  10. reformatory says:

    you forgot a bunch of other possibilities.. in no particular order

    1. Dalton McGuinty after he’s done with Ontario
    2. Carol Taylor
    3. Dominic LeBlanc
    4. Mark Carney
    5. Jean Charest
    6. Christy Clark.. if she manages to hang on in BC and get a legacy going
    7. Catherine Clark
    8. Alison Redford after she’s done with Alberta

    c’mon folks the future doesn’t look that bleak.

    • Graham says:

      Why the hell would Carney leave a cushy job with the BOC to lead the third party in the HOC?

      • reformatory says:

        cause by that time he will be done with the BOC and Harper will be damaged goods and he’ll rise like most political opportunitsts do- at the right time to ride.

        and who sais the BOC is cushy? Dodge left and didn’t think it was so cushy after all. By the time the leadership is ready.. i’m sure he be ready to move from the BOC. That being said- I still don’t think he’s the right candididate. I believe Carol Taylor or Dominic LeBlance are the most ready and most able to get the job done at this point.

        • Jordan says:

          His term as governor doesn’t end till 2015, if you are not aware the Liberals are kicking off their leadership race in a few months and are selecting a leader next year in 2013.

          • reformatory says:

            ooh okay my bad…. cause term limitations have never before allowed people to resign prematurely.

            Sorry.. thanks for clearing that up for us all. I guess you won’t be managing his campaign then!

            As I said earlier.. I never said he was running- I am speculating on it’s plausability.

          • Jordan says:

            Why would he resign two or three years early from a well paying job to lead the third party, that nobody knows if he supports or not, with the hopes the Conservatives will have destroyed themselves by 2015?

            The idea of Mark Carney running for Liberal leader is stupid, I think he could probably make a good prime minister but he’s not going to start that journey in the next few months.

          • reformatory says:

            thank you Jordan Carney for clearing that all up for us

  11. reformatory says:

    Another sign the Libs are about to rebound….

    All pundits are writing them off… just like they wrote off Dalton McGuinty, just like they wrote off Alison Redford, they are also writing off the LPC. Folks the BRM is simply in hibernation. It’s time will come again.

    • Graham says:

      Rebound? Not necessarily.

      Their first quarter 2012 fundraising numbers are down more than $500,000 over the 4th quarter 2011.

      The CPC was up about $1 million and the Dippers were up about $400,000.

      • That’s because the Liberals raised an enormous amount in December and you know it.

      • Self-confessed Raelian says:

        Perhaps….. but we still out raised the NDP in the first quarter of 2012…..2.33 million Libs vs 1.99 million NDP…..still not bad for the third party…..and I wonder how the NDP will fare in this next quarter now that their leadership hoopla is over…..
        As for the CPC, word from the pulpit works miracles……

  12. James Bowie says:

    David Bertschi?

    Dalton McGuinty?

    Jim Watson?


    Rob Trewartha?

    Galen Weston Jr?

    Meghan Draper?

  13. Dan says:

    Part of the problem is the LPC can’t stop thinking about who should be leader. Not even for 5 minutes.

    There should be far more emphasis on building a grassroots coalition on real principles.

  14. reformatory says:

    @ DAN… the problem is they can’t do that.. they have never been a political party in the traditional sense. They have never been a movement. They have always had the luxury of recyling leaders top down from Power Corp. The Elites and backroom boys have had their way with them forever… things have now changed.. kinda.. it could be a redux of the Turner years, and they are one scandal and leader away from regaining their position. You know tweedle dee and tweedle dum scenario or .. not and they need to become a party and a movement really fast.

    The problem with merging is that in their DNA they are more like the conservatives than the NDP. A far more likely merger would be to unite with the conservatives similar to what Sir John A accomplished. If that happened then a new political movement could emerge and restructure out of the NDP.

    That scenario is more likely.

    The way things are going now though– the NDP seems most content to become the liberals, the Liberals are freaking out cause they have no idea how to be an opposition nor do they know how to organize a democratic party- they have never had to do that so do we blame them? and the conservatives are running away to the BANK.

    I’ve said it many times…”It’s a beautiful world”

  15. dave says:

    Is Otto Lang’s daughter, Amanda, a Liberal? She seems to me a very competent, intelligent person, with her own style.

  16. Merrill Smith says:

    One name I rarely hear mentioned is Andrew Leslie. Maybe he wouldn’t be interested. Maybe he would be as good a politician as Michael Ignatieff. I don’t know. But he does have leadership skills and he also has great Liberal ancestry in Gen AGL MacNaughton and Brooke Claxton. It would also be tricky for the Cons to attack a top soldier, though I’m sure they’d find a way.

  17. Jordan says:

    I have had Dippers tell me that their leader must run on policies decided by the grassroots, whether the leader support the policies or not, and that basically it doesn’t matter who the leader is when it comes to policy. I don’t follow NDP politics to know how much of this is true. While I agree with having the grassroots involved in policies I think we elect (or in the Liberals case appoint) leaders and therefore they should be trusted to make policy decisions, and shouldn’t necessarily have to run on policies they don’t support. I do feel though that one major thing the Liberals need to do, and they should have probably had a major policy convention before the leadership race, is come up with some key policy that the leader must support and will be in Liberal platforms till they come to power and implement them.

    Legalizing marijuana was voted on as a Liberal policy at the January convention by 77% of delegates, and it seemed like right away Bob Rae didn’t want to support that decision by delegates. That policy should be something that is included in every Liberal platform till it’s legalized in Canada, or till the grassroots has another vote and decide against it. Every person considering a bid for the leadership of the party knows that this policy has overwhelming support and if they aren’t interested in running on this then they probably shouldn’t seek the leadership. The party needs other key policies that will define Liberal platforms in in the future and leadership candidates, and all candidates, should know what those policies are before they run.

    To me it is a little odd that a party, who is not in power, would run on two completely different platforms in elections that are only a few years apart. Was the Green Shift ever voted on by the grassroots?

  18. Eric says:

    I am not sure that I trust Marc Garneau. He doesn’t seem like can stay down to Earth all of the time. In fact, he sometimes goes over the moon with hyperbole. /lame jokes

  19. Swervin' Merv says:

    Who knew that Amanda Lang, the best thing to happen to CBC television in the last three years, was Trudeau-Liberal Otto Lang’s daughter? But she has said she has little interest in the family business, recognizing that federal and provincial elections are a “nasty game” (according to a Stockhouse blog two years ago).

    I’ve been predicting the rise of Dominic LeBlanc for the last three years, but then I still can’t believe that the Liberals thought they could win with Stephane Dion, so who can predict the next convention outcome?

    • Tiger says:

      It’s OMOV now, not a delegated convention, so a 2006-style vote breakdown (from the riding-level DSMs in ’06) would probably produce Ignatieff instead of Dion, just as the Dippers’ last produced Mulcair instead of Cullen.

      Less fun than the old way, but probably more democratic.

      No way to know how it’ll break till we know who gets scared out of the race by a Rae run.

      • james curran says:

        Actually it’s not OMOV either anymore. Now it’s whoever the hell on earth wants to distort the vote. We never got to try the OMOV approved in Vancouver that most of us fought our ass off for.

  20. Craig Spafford says:

    Warren, you missed an important one– Dominic LeBlanc. He’s smart, young, bilingual, experienced, and has no baggage except his wonderful family, replete with a former Governor General. I’d vote for him in a minute.

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