Hello everyone. I'm greatly looking forward to this discussion on the--to say the least--surprising announcement by Mr. Rae that he will not be seeking the permanent leadership of the Liberal Party. There's lots to talk about. I look forward to your questions and observations.
by John Ibbitson 6/13/2012 5:00:08 PM
An interesting speculation that Rae is waiting for Libs and NDP to amalgamate. But that is, I suspect, too far down the road for him to be seen as a natural candidate to lead such a party.
by John Ibbitson 6/13/2012 5:04:21 PM
I agree that it would be foolish to write off the Liberal Party, under Bob Rae or under somebody else. But in fact, parties do die. Witness the Progressive Conservatives. The Liberals have big structural challenges--no riding organizations to speak of in about 100 ridings, for example--that they have to face above and beyond the question of leadership. Simply put: what is their base?
by John Ibbitson 6/13/2012 5:07:05 PM
The Liberals, in power, were generally fiscally conservative. A leader could try to outlank the Tories on the fiscal front. But we'd have to believe that he or she actually believed in such a policy--a flat tax, say, or a balanced budget amendment--or else it would simply look like opportunism.
by John Ibbitson 6/13/2012 5:10:06 PM
Let's focus on Bob Rae for the moment. Starting with when he first joined the party...
by Chris Hannay 6/13/2012 5:11:27 PM
Alternative history is always tempting, but dangerous. Had Rae won in 2006, would he have done better than Stephane Dion? Had he lost the election, would he have stayed on to fight again in 2011? Would the Liberals under his leadership have fallen to third place or stayed in official opposition? I can't begin to answer those questions. We have the history we have.
by John Ibbitson edited by Chris Hannay 6/13/2012 5:13:17 PM
How was his stint as interim leader?
by Chris Hannay 6/13/2012 5:14:16 PM
Rae's stint as Interim Leader has been impressive. He, at the least, halted the erosion of support for the party. He outperformed NDP interim leader Nycole Turmel. Behind the scenes, he worked on improving fundraising and bringing voter indentification software up to speed. He presided over a successful policy convention in January. He will hand over to the new leader a party that is in better shape than he found it.
by John Ibbitson 6/13/2012 5:16:52 PM
Now let's turn to what everyone has been wondering...if not Rae, then who?
by Chris Hannay 6/13/2012 5:18:56 PM
Whatever else, Mr. Rae's decision solves one big problem: Had he run, the Liberals would have been forced to find yet another Interim Leader, who would have led the party for up to a year. Many of the prime candidates would be disqualified because they were considering a run for permanent leader. At least now the party has the stability of him at the helm during the leadership fight.
by John Ibbitson 6/13/2012 5:19:33 PM
If Mr. Trudeau absolutely, positively rules himself out, then Dominic Leblanc is one strong contender. So is David McGuinty, brother of Dalton. And Marc Garneau, the former astronaut, may run as well.
by John Ibbitson 6/13/2012 5:20:54 PM
Outside caucus, there are rumours that Jean Marc Fournier, the Quebec justice minister, might be a candidate.
by John Ibbitson 6/13/2012 5:21:33 PM