Bonus Chapter
 
   
 

The Great Liberal Party Race of '06

Bill Graham, acting leader of the Liberal Party.

On the night of January 23, 2006 Prime Minister Paul Martin conceded defeat in the 2006 Canadian Federal election. The Conservative Party of Canada, led by Stephen Harper, had managed to narrowly win control of the parliament, and in doing so had put an end to over 12 continuous years of rule by the Liberal Party.

Shortly after conceding, Martin shocked many by announcing he would resign as leader of the Liberal Party. In the weeks that followed, he made good on his promise, and former defense minister Bill Graham became acting leader of the Party.

On December 2nd the Liberal Party will formally elect a new, full leader who will in turn serve as their party's nominee for Prime Minister in the next parliamentary election (whenever that will be). The nomination period for candidates is coming to a close, and so far a fairly diverse collection of individuals have expressed an interest in the top job.

Do any of these men have what it takes to be the next Prime Minister of Canada? Here they are, more or less in order of popularity:

***UPDATE!*** On the weekend of October 1st Liberals from across the country cast their ballots and elected a bunch of delegates for the big December convention. Each delegate pledged loyalty to one particular contestant, and I have noted how many loyal delegates each person currently has. No one has a majority, so some wheeling and dealing will be necessary.

MAIN CONTENDERS

Michael Ignatieff (1,252 delegates)

Member of Parliament

PROVINCE:   

   ONTARIO

AGE:   

   59

QUIRKINESS:   

  former Harvard professor

PROS
CONS
  • Lots of money, successful fundraiser
  • Very intellectual and charismatic
  • as an outsider, has a desire to being "new" energy and ideas to a party some have accused of becoming too stagnant
  • Has lived in the U.S. for most of the last 30 years
  • may be too pro-American and conservative on foreign policy issues
  • very little political experience; has been in parliament for less than a year


Robert Rae (832 delegates)

Former Premier of Ontario

PROVINCE:   

   ONTARIO

AGE:   

   57

QUIRKINESS:   

  former member of the NDP

PROS
CONS
  • High name recognition
  • Lots of money, successful fundraiser
  • uniquely experienced, it's rare for a former premier to lead a federal political party
  • longest political career of any candidate
  • Party-switcher
  • may be too left-wing
  • was a very unpopular premier and does not have a favorable legacy in Ontario

Note: I had previously written that Rae was Jewish. This is actually a common misconception. His wife is Jewish and his children were raised as Jews, but Rae himself is from a Christian family.

Gerard Kennedy (706 delegates)

former Ontario Minister of Education

PROVINCE:   

   ONTARIO

AGE:   

   45

QUIRKINESS:   

   previous job was running food banks

PROS
CONS
  • Charismatic, comparatively young
  • Has the stated support of more incumbent Liberal MPs than any other candidate
  • unknown outside of Ontario
  • no experience in federal politics


Stephane Dion (698 delegates)

Member of Parliament, former cabinet minister

PROVINCE:   

   QUEBEC

AGE:   

   50

QUIRKINESS:   

   former professor

PROS
CONS
  • Only candidate from Quebec (the Liberal Party traditionally rotates between French and English-Canadian leaders; theoretically it is Quebec's turn)
  • intellectual, has spent a lot of time studying Quebec-Canada relations
  • Very uncharismatic, poor English skills
  • party may be moving away from Quebec

NO HOPERS, BUT POSSIBLE KINGMAKERS

Ken Dryden (194 delegates)

Member of Parliament, former cabinet minister

PROVINCE:   

   ONTARIO

AGE:   

   58

QUIRKINESS:   

   former NHL player

PROS
CONS
  • celebrity appeal
  • quite new to politics, only elected to parliament in 2004


Joe Volpe (193 delegates)

Member of Parliament, former cabinet minister

PROVINCE:   

   ONTARIO

AGE:   

   58

QUIRKINESS:   

  immigrant from Italy

PROS
CONS
  • Experienced, been in parliament since 1988
  • Low name recognition


Scott Brison (163 delegates)

Member of Parliament, former cabinet minister

PROVINCE:   

   NOVA SCOTIA

AGE:   

   39

QUIRKINESS:   

   gay, former member of the PC Party

PROS
CONS
  • Youngest man running
  • has mix of fiscally conservative and socially liberal values that many Liberals like
  • Party-switcher
  • at the center of an unresolved income trust scandal relating to his time in government
  • not from Ontario
  • is Canada ready for a gay Prime Minister?

 

 


 
   
   
   
   


 
   
 
   
   

Filibuster Cartoons version 3.0 - Design copyright 2003 Jaco Joubert - All original images copyright 2001-2003 JJ McCullough - Non-original images copyright their respective owner. News powered by Coronto