Has the Liberal leadership race started?

The news media is panicking.  They are concerned that the Liberal Party of Canada has no contenders for its upcoming leadership convention scheduled for sometime in 2013.  They figure Bob Rae is the logical winner because he is the interim leader. When Rae took on the interim leadership, he promised to not run at the upcoming convention. Do they think the Liberal Party would want someone who did not keep his word?

There is no question but Bob Rae is doing a good job as interim leader.  He is keeping the caucus focused, he is speaking out effectively for the Liberal Party and he has kept the party in a position of de facto opposition while the official NDP opposition fights its own leadership contest.  He has impressed a lot of people with his skill at the interim job.

But that is all it can be. There is a solid core within the Liberal Party who would never accept him as full-time leader.  It is not just the fact that he was NDP Premier in Ontario in the 1990s but he showed a serious lack of political sensitivity back then and it is not something that people can really learn. You have got it or you have not got it.  Bob, nice guy that he is, has not got it. He makes a great interim leader.  That is as good as he gets.

Bob Rae sees himself as a career politician. And he is. In that regard, he is very much like Bob Nixon, Leader of the Ontario Liberals back in the 1960s and 1970s. Bob Nixon was Treasurer in the Peterson Government in the 1980s. He brought the same love of the political scene to his work for the party as Bob Rae. The difference is that Bob Nixon is probably the best Premier of Ontario that we almost had.

When the media think that Bob Rae has some kind of a lock on the Liberal Party leadership, they just show how little they know about the party. Do they really think that Martha Hall Findlay is out for the count? She is one of the smartest and most determined women in Canadian politics and if she ever gets the kind of political management of her campaign that she needs, she could be almost unbeatable for the leadership.

If the media people have never heard of MP Dominic LeBlanc from New Brunswick, their research on up and coming Liberal leadership prospects is sadly lacking.  LeBlanc needs to spread his wings and get out and meet his party more often but he carries large credentials and four winning elections in his party pack.

And we have not even considered MP Justin Trudeau, who is wisely holding himself off from being a contender.  A lot can happen in the next year and many Liberals are waiting for him to answer the call.

We could keep going and come up with five or six good potential candidates.  The leadership of this party is no small prize.  It is a party Bob Rae is helping to rebuild and he will earn our approval for that—just not the leadership.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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