Do the Liberals need a new leader? -

Do the Liberals need a new leader?

Just 38 per cent of Grit supporters believe Iggy should hang on to top job


A new poll by Angus Reid, conducted for the Toronto Star, found that of those who voted Liberal in the 2008 election, just 38 per cent think Michael Ignatieff should remain party leader, while 46 per cent said the party should replace Ignatieff. The poll also revealed that if an election were to be held today, Parliament wouldn’t look much different. Conservatives would have the support of 38 per cent of voters, Liberals 26 per cent, the New Democrats 18 per cent, and the Bloc Quebecois 10 per cent.

Toronto Star

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Do the Liberals need a new leader?

  1. No.


    Self interested conservative

  2. Yes. I feel awful for the pressure that I'm implicitly placing on Justin Trudeau, but he represents a political leader young Canadians can get behind.

    Iggy? Not so much. I haven't felt too terribly important to the federal government for some time.

    • Because putting the under-qualified son of a former leader in charge worked sooo well for the US…

    • Yeah, that would help…ha, ha ,ha. just what the country needs, an unqualified empty headed, former high school drama teacher with no political experience simply because his name rhymes with "Turdo". Hilarious!!!

    • It is said a drowning man will grasp even at the blade of a sword.

      Nothing says desperation better than Justin Trudeau for leader.

    • You know Shane most Reformers I know are scared to death of Justin….If he is so underqualified and young why are the Reformers even paying attention to him….I am with you Shane…I would vote for Justin for a lot of reasons….For which I will be now roundly chastised …Like you…

    • I was a Trudeau supporter (P.E., not J.) many years ago, but to date Justin hasn't done much to distinguish himself from the rest of the Liberal backbenchers. The Trudeau name alone is not sufficient. Maybe in a few years, once he has demonstrated some politcal "chops" – but now just now.

      What's needed now is someone with both experience and charisma – and a Plan…

  3. A prominent journalist suggested to me Ken Dryden's french was terrible and with that he was disqualified as a candidate for leader. Seems to me skill with french hasn't done Iggy much good and as for the rest of what's needed, he doesn't have it.
    We (Canada) need a man's man. No more GD snobs choice. French can be learned. Leadership? You either got it or not.

    • Please take the macho stuff elsewhere.

      Speaking more than one language is a result of education and travel, not lack of a dick.

      52% of voters are female btw

      • You are amusing, Emily.

      • OK. Give me a WOMAN with leadership capability (and stuff the feminism!)

    • 52% of the voters are women.

      • Yes, but are they female women ?

        • Are you a male man, or do you just play one on TV?

    • I'd go for that!

      Certainly not Rae or Justin.

  4. Justin Trudeau is the future of the Liberal Party. He's 38 or 39 which isn't too young by any stretch of the imagination. Canadians would swoon for him.

    • LOL no he's not.

      The son is not the father.

    • Sorry Edward; Justin should have remained a drama teacher–that's where his interests lie. Of course some young folks might vote for him– but older folks expect more than a pretty face and name recognition.

      • "Young folks"….hmmmm……..if "young folks" show up to vote like they did in Calgary Justin would be a shoo-in…..Obama won in the US largely due to "young folks"….All they need is someone to get behind

        • I am sorry, but you CAN NOT compare Naheed Nenshi with Justin Trudeau at all, is not even close! Justin has potential but he is not even close to go for a leadership, he is just as inexperienced than Ignatieff he needs time about 10 years to get it! And, Mr. Nenshi is something else he is unique one in a billion!

          • I actually agree there. Justin isn't ready. He needs time.
            I saw young people go out and vote in blocks for Nenshi. All they need is someone to get behind. Having said that …Nenshi IS unique. My VERY Conservative dad voted for him. I am just tired of minority Governments and can't vote for Harper anymore………….sigh

          • Justin has potencial but he needs to really focus, he is not his own man in political land yet, and he has somehow taken Iggy as a mentor, and that's a mistake, he needs to separate from that, he needs to be in politics because it's his passion not because of his father, and so far he doesn't seem to be there for the right reason, I still like him though, perhaps because I am a big fan of both his parents, I believe he can do it!

        • not sure why young folks would want to support the son of somebody who popular 40some years ago ..Quebec nationalists and westerners surely don't support Pierre's agenda

    • Considering that Justin frames most of his statements in terms of his father's positions (which is very un-Trudeau), why not cut out the middleman and buy a ouiji board instead?

      • If they're going to use the Ouija board they should try to channel MacKenzie King, not Trudeau.

    • Justin Trudeau could lead the Liberals and Ben Mulroney can lead the Conservatives. Now if you'll excuse me, I hear there's a new Wham! album out and I need to go line up at the record store.

  5. Yes, but not for "winning conditions" I think you can put lipstick on any pig. I think he should be replaced because he'll make a terrible PM.

  6. I honestly think Ignatieff will fare quite well in an election campaign against Harper. Will the party win an election under his leadership? Who knows? But I think the party would be insane to dump him without allowing him to run at least one campaign. I think he'll do quite well, having seen him at an event in Edmonton recently. Moreover, I think he'll shine in the leadership debates. It may not be enough for a full-scale Liberal resurgence, but my gut tells me that Ignatieff can regain some lost ground. A minority might not be out of reach, either. The Conservatives, given all the Liberals' problems, aren't exactly showing the healthiest numbers either.

    • Welll, they say "Hope never dies"….

  7. Not to put too fine a point on it, but any Liberal who thinks they should get rid of Ignatieff now should get their bleeping head examined. From a logistical standpoint alone, it's lunacy. Do you think Harper is going to wait for the Liberal leadership to get settled before calling an election? You might as well give Harper his majority and tell him you'll see him in an election in four years.

    I'm no Ignatieff fan, I'm certainly not sold on the guy, but who's Plan B? No one who would be hands down better than Ignatieff.

    Memo to Liberals: You've got more problems than your leader.

    • The other issue that seems not to have been discussed above is that Ignatieff has righted the financial ship of the Liberals. He deserves an opportunity to run a campaign.

      • They hire fund-raisers for that. Ignatieff doesn't do the books you know.

      • I agree is fair, but if he is dragging the party down, what other choice they have?

    • Iggy can be replaced in 5 minutes.

      Yes, they have better leaders available.

      You do know of course they said all this stuff about Harper and Cons 4 months before he was elected?

      • The guy hasn't even been given a chance to run an election campaign. In Gottabesaid's Goofy Book of Canadian Politics, ditching your leader before he's had a chance to run an election campaign, unless he's be caught doing something illegal, is unwise and counterproductive.

        Trying to pin down the Liberals' policy on anything, other than 'We're not Harper', is like trying to catch a fart in a mitt. Part of that is Ignatieff's fault, but how well would you do at crafting a half-decent election strategy if a third of your party doesn't even want to give you a chance?

        Finally, the optics of this in-fighting are horrible. HORRIBLE. How the hell can the Liberals legitimately ask Canadians to be their government when they can't even stop fighting each other. There should be circus clown music playing in the background. The Liberals aren't an alternative… right now, they're a punchline.

    • Spot on. But why tip them off

  8. Who cares? When American Iggo loses the next election, he will tuck his checkered shirt back into his underpants, or have someone do it for him, and head back to the States, or France, where he belongs. He was the wrong "American" to insert as leader of the "Liberals". Mo Strongs nephew Boob Ray will be the next inserted leader, followed by Turdo's empty headed kid, who displays the intellectual capacity of a fart. My advice for the "Liberal" cultists is to insert a gigantic turd as your leader, stick a rose in it, call it Pierre Turdo and everyones happy.

    • Checkered shirt…oooo burn! I'm glad I chose a solid colour to wear today.

      Keep practicing, kid, you'll be half as clever as Michelle Malkin someday.

      • Thanks for the advice cbumblast… and the wardrobe update. Speaking of clever… have you heard the one about where the "Liberals" stole millions of taxpayer dollars from the treasury, I believe it was called the "Sponsorship scandal", and people still voted for them? Now that's clever.

        • Yeah, it was disgusting. I have a laundry list of things I hated about Chretien. Of course, it was Manning and his Reformer who kept him in for record majorities.

          Bum blast! Nice. That is definitely at the Ann Coulter level of political discourse (remember her remarks about John Edwards being gay?). Keep on keepin' on, kid. You'll win that dinner with Mark Steyn someday.

    • Really??………This is the level of discourse at Macleans? This is just sad.

  9. Good analysis, but I notice you don`t mention any possible credible successor to Iggy.
    For all the talk about the strong front bench of the Liberals, I just don`t see anyone who would be an improvement on Ignatieff.

    • I agree that the Liberals aren't likely to do better than Ignatieff. However, should he lose, get ousted or resign, they would have a good successor in Dominic Leblanc. Bob Rae might not be too bad in a non-recession election cycle.

      • If an election is not called for next year, Ignatieff will have to quit the leadership, he is dragging the party down, I think Bob Rae will be the new leader but will make no difference with voters, it's a combination of mistakes that are making them so unpopular!

  10. Some of the ad hominum debate is a bit tiresome. With the world passing us by in terms of scholastic achievement, we are critical of people who have gotten themselves educated ( and it takes work and perseverance,) and are critical of people who have been offered jobs elsewhere. Having a leader who has lots of experience "out there" and who surrounds himself with smart people to take care of the details is a good thing. Everyone who meets Ignatieff likes him and changes their mind about the name calling. The issue is do we want to continue on with George Bush's policies here in Canada, or do we want to get beyond that? Most people now understand that de-regulation almost collapsed the world economy, and Canada cannot continue with that policy trend without a problem. So do we want a more progressive Conservative government as opposed to a neo-liberal-reform regime, or do we want a more mainstream liberal government who will stop transferring so much taxpayers money to the private sector? That is the debate.

    • The debate seems to be whatever the media tells us to debate….I saw Ignatieff at a speech this past summer. I was surprisingly impressed . He took questions after and detailed his stance on several issues. None of this was ever seen in any paper. The ONLY thing I saw at all was the break down of the bus. I don't love any of the party leaders and am constantly lamenting the loss of the PCP but until the reformers are gone I have to park my vote somewhere.

      • "The debate seems to be whatever the media tells us to debate" – too true! And as we have gotten so used to having information NOW, the media has capitulated and completely given up on any kind of serious coverage, becoming ADHD speed freaks who can't focus beyond which headline will draw the most attention. So we get buses and opinion polls rather than policy and insight.

  11. Is it just me, or are we experiencing the "Groundhog Day" phenomena?

    • Everyday my friend, everyday…

  12. A new leader? Do they even have one in the wings? Bring on Justin T. As a Conservative supporter,I’d like
    to see him run. The PC’s would then have the reins for the next number of years. Even die hard libs don’t want to see him run. Too much like his Father and not well liked as far as I can see.

    • "The PC's"? The federal party dropped the "progressive" from their name (and their policies) when they merged with Reform (OK; an over-simplification of the process, skipping over the whole Aliance bit, but you get the picture). These days, it's more like "Regressive Conservative".

  13. Everyone is looking for instant leadership with instant results. Is it to little wonder that they're looking to burn yet another one without an election first?
    The Liberals are going through leaders faster than the Leafs go through goalies.

  14. Bob Ray would be leading a majority government today if he had been named leader , and Canada could start repairing all the damage Harper has caused

    • "Bob Ray would be leading a majority government today if he had been named leader …"

      I doubt it. You'd just have the Iggy Liberals waiting to stab Rae in the back just like the Rae Liberals are waiting to stab Iggy in the back.

      Either way…you end up with a bunch of Liberals who don't work hard to get the vote out and sit on their hands come election day. No majority there…

    • Who is this "RAY" guy? I know there's a Bob RAE…

    • Ontario has still not repaired the damage Bob Rae caused

  15. Ignatieff and the Liberals' problems are (IMHO), in no particular order:

    – Ignatieff was not an experienced politician when he got the leader's job. Unlike Harper and many of the attack dogs in the PMO, Ignatieff hasn't spent his entire life honing his political acuity.

    – Ignatieff gives the impression of being comfortable almost to the point of smugness. He has had a happy and successful life. Voters who are unhappy with their lot in life might be resentful of this, and would tend to flock to Harper, who appears to smoulder with anger and resentment.

    – The Liberals under Chretien faced a divided right and weren't losing votes to the Green Party.

    – The rise of the Bloc has taken away what used to be a Liberal stronghold.

    – Whenever the Liberals elect a new leader, the Conservatives go on an all-out attack ad blitz. The Liberals can't afford to counter, at least not when an election is happening.

    I don't know enough about Justin Trudeau to know whether he would be a good leader – though I suspect that if his name were Justin Smith, no one would be considering him. I have tremendous respect for Bob Rae, but a Liberal party with him at the helm would be absolutely unelectable in Ontario. It doesn't take too much of a stretch of the imagination to visualize the attack ads that the Conservatives would roll out in response to this – they probably have footage of Rae attacking the Liberals as a member of the NDP saved up for exactly this eventuality.

  16. Changing leaders (again) will not change the fact that Liberal support has been marginalized into three urban cores.

    Their historical Quebec stronghold is gone. They are virtually a fringe party between the borders of Ontario and BC.

    Perhaps in an era of increased specialization the once mighty Liberal strategy of being everything to everyone is now obsolete.

    • I always find it strange when people claim this type of thing. Even in Alberta the Liberals have the support of 1 in every 6 voters, and in vote rich Ontario it's 1 in 3.

      If the LPC is "marginalized" then so is every other party in parliament.

      In which case, what's your point exactly?

      Much. Ado. About. Nothing.

  17. Being an opposition leader just sucks. Look at Chretien and Harper. Both were written off before they won their first election.

    Heck, Harper was more lambasted than Iggy's been getting since he became leader.

    Then, all of a sudden, when they win an election, opinions completely change.

    I say enough hand wringing already. Call the damn election.

    Ignatief is a good debater and because the expectations are very low, he will do far better than most here seem to think.

    Mark my words.

    • My opinion of Harper changed for the worse…

    • How many times did we hear this about Dion?

      Call the election and the masses will flock to him…didn't exactly work out too well did it?

      I'm pretty sure the same will happen to Iggy. So far, the more people see him the less they like him, as evidenced by his declining numbers, failed "thinker's conference" and rather lame summer holiday tour.

  18. More importantly, 100% of Conservative supporters want to have Ignatieff stay on as leader for as long as possible.

  19. I can see possible pitfalls to him as PM. But compared to what we've experienced with Harper, I find it amazing anybody would consider the current PM the better choice.

  20. Liberals are screwed no matter who their leader is: they burned so many bridges that their only constituencies are the smug urban douchebags.

    Suburban families no longer vote Liberal, because the Liberals put interest groups before family friendly policies.

    Western Canada no longer votes Liberal, because the Liberals have been quite blunt about disliking western Canada (Chretien's famous "I like politics from this part of the country" speech).

    Catholics no longer vote Liberals, because the Liberals have made it quite clear that they think catholic beliefs are stupid.

    Immigrants no longer vote Liberal, because the Liberals have made it quite clear that the strong work ethic and family values that immigrants bring are not shared by the Liberals.

    Rural canadians dont vote Liberal, because Liberals have not cared for rural canadians for many years now.

    So the Liberal's only remaining constituency are dumb@ss half-educated morons who think that what matters is how Canada is judged by the UN and various NGOs. Liberals dont need to change their leader, they need to change their ideology.

    • "their only constituencies are the smug urban douchebags"

      "the Liberal's only remaining constituency are dumb@ss half-educated morons"

      Well, which is it? I was under the impression that smug urban douchebags were generally pretty well educated.

      Oh, by the way, the name-calling really enhances your argument. Top notch.

      • "smug urban douchebags" and "dumb@ss half-educated morons who think that what matters is how Canada is judged by the UN and various NGOs" (to quote me in full) are essentially the same set of people.

        Your impression that smug urban douchebags are well educated probably stems from your own half-education. They are in fact, only half-educated. They know some facts, but they dont know all the facts, because their education was designed to produce a non-thinking tool who will reliably vote liberal without asking too many questions.

        And nothing is more dangerous than a half-educated moron who's convinced of his own infallibility because he's got a bachelor's degree in social science. At least most ignorants are vaguely aware of their ignorance.

        If you want to observe smug urban douchebags in their natural habitat, these boards are actually a good place. Look for people who spout off unsubstantiated cliches of the kind "What happened to Canada's standing in the world, we used to be so well respected?" or people who will attempt to display their own, eh, "intelligence" by hurling vicious insults at Don Cherry or the Prime Minister, or lookout for doucheus environmentalis, a special breed, who will proclaim with utmost certainty that global warming will kill us all, but without displaying the slightest understanding of forcings, feedbacks, absorption spectrums, and the like.

        • Hurling insults at Don Cherry is an offense, but hurling insults at, oh, let's say lefty pinkos, that's fine. Ok, gotcha.

          I'm not so deeply partisan as you… I can recognize that good ideas can come from different parts of the political spectrum. If you think that the only good ideas are Conservative ideas, and everybody else is stupid and half-educated… well, that's quite an outlook you've got. Good luck with that.

          • Im sorry I should have been more clear. You have misinterpreted me. When Don Cherry insults leftwingers, he's not displaying great intellectual prowess. Neither am I when I pepper my posts with insults. Neither are those who insult Cherry or Harper or Palin or Bush or whoever else. The point on which I failed to elaborate in my last post was that Cherry's "speech" while certainly newsworthy was not worth the outrage on display, and that said outrage was more a vehicle for "politically correcter than thou" mentality than actual outrage.

            I also dont believe that everybody but conservatives are stupid and half-educated. But the certainty with so many leftists, not only believe their own dogma, but also believe that their opponents are evil, is disconcerting. This attitude is most prevalent amongst the university educated – obviously a generalization to be taken with a grain of salt, but the general idea should not really be in contention – many Liberals try to pass this off as evidence of their own superiority. And to come back to the original point – these are the Liberal's core constituency: half-educated urbanites, And speaking as a 2/3 educated urbanite, Im not saying this out of spite, Im saying this to highlight that today's Liberal party is an empty shell whose support is predicated not on a coherent worldview, but on a feeling of smug superiority and personal ambition.

            Their current troubles reflect that, as they have no platform (not even a vague one), and their unpopular leader only excels at mouthing platitudes.

          • Great response.

            Two things:

            "The certainty with so many leftists, not only believe their own dogma, but also believe that their opponents are evil, is disconcerting."

            That's a characteristic of any hardcore partisan. I can easily find Conservatives that fit the same description. When you believe your party can do no wrong, you check your common sense at the door… not a good situation.

            "Today's Liberal party is an empty shell whose support is predicated not on a coherent worldview, but on a feeling of smug superiority and personal ambition."

            The Liberal Party should take that to heart. I can't disagree at all.

          • Yes I know many right-wingers do think their opponents are motivated by evil. That's very unfortunate. Thanks for reminding me, I often can caught up in over the top partisanship myself.

  21. Well said h2h. Ignatieff is not what's wrong with the Liberals.

  22. This is a terrific analysis. Well done, hosiertohoosier!

  23. For generations people voted Liberal because…well…just because they always voted Liberal.

    It was a good enough reason for my parent's generation…kind of like "I always buy Ford cars." That mentality is pretty much dead today…much to the detriment of the LPC.

  24. As a past Lib supporter I say that Iggy has to go. But the problem is that there is no real candidate in the present party that I would support. The best thing for the Liberals is to start grooming a new candidate, leave the C.R.A.P. alone (they will hang themselves) and work on a party platform that will benefit all Canadians, not the few like we are seeing now. Harper has moved Canada from the front of the world stage and Iggy could never put us back there and he might even put us deeper into the back pocket of the U.S. and foreign interests.

  25. Mr. Trudeau is needed…

    • Like a hemorrhoid….

  26. A new leader is definitely needed but Harper is just waiting for a liberal leadership review to call the election. Timing for Harper is everything. He has never respected his fixed date election promise. He will drop the writ when the liberals are see to be in disarray.
    Damned if do and damned if we don't. Solution is a coalition to at least try to start repairing the damage the Reform Party has done to Canada and then go to the people with a new leader in four years.

  27. People are so shallow in their analysis.

    Pretty much every opposition leader from time immemorial has been dissed in the same way. In the early 1990s, Chretien was Yesterday's Man. In the mid-2000s, Harper had Best PM numbers in the single digits.

    People have unrealistic expectations. By any objective measure, Michael Ignatieff is a phenomenal choice for Prime Minister. He is one of the world's most accomplished writers and researchers and documentary producers. He has shown the willingness to buck the crowd and take stands unpopular with fellow liberal academics. He has relentlessly scrutinized the government on the issues of the day. Yet by the standards of Canada's superficial couch potatoes, he just isn't good enough.

    It's like politics is just another episode of Jersey Shore or Desperate Housewives. It is not enough for politicians to be brilliant and accomplished. They also have to entertain us. They have to be charismatic and telegenic. As if we were electing the next Top Model, as opposed to the next Prime Minister.