Liberal leadership hopeful looks for support.

Montreal Liberal MP Marc Garneau has the various stages of a leadership campaign a bit confused. He is currently looking for the ideal team to run a campaign for him that will win him the leadership of the Liberal party of Canada. Maybe if he can find this ‘dream team,’ he will get around to telling us why he should run.

And it is probably a good story. We just need to hear it first. All we really know about him now is his time as an astronaut. As a naval engineer, he represented Canada while taking part in the U.S.’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) programs. While elected twice in a safe Liberal seat, he has yet to make his mark in the House of Commons. He lost to Bob Rae in the selection of an interim leader when Michael Ignatieff resigned. (It was probably because Rae had much more experience.)

Garneau’s political persona to-date comes across as a bit bland. Not that this is necessarily a problem in taking on Stephen Harper, king of the bland. The good news is that the MP has no difficulty in proving he is smart. What he has to do is show some political smarts. At 63, he has no time for on-the-job training.

But who in the Liberal Party with the expertise he needs for his team is going to buy a pig in a poke? If he does not already have a senior bagman out beating the bushes to see what the fund-raising expectations are, Garneau is wasting his time. And the leader of the team has to be someone, he personally knows and trusts. This person is not going to appear by magic and say, ‘Here I am.,’

Everyone loves to discuss the various strategies but most of the effort needed from a leadership team is the hard work on the telephones. While we all pay lip service to the new electronic media opportunities, the reality is that you build your initial workers at the national and regional levels through networking. And there you have to have personal contact. Politics is still built on IOUs and in a leadership contest you have to call on many of those IOUs and you earn more.

What this leadership contest has to say is that the Liberal Party is the party of Canada’s future. It is the party that can see the future and believe in it. Our new leader has to know where we are going.


Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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