And so the Liberal leadership tour begins

What did the three contenders do and say today?


Bob Rae, the new Liberal pitchman for the anti-Harper coalition, is off to Winnipeg for the first leg of his coast-to-coast campaign. As the Globe reported this morning, Rae is stepping over Stéphane Dion and staking his slim leadership hopes on the back of a shaky pact with the NDP and the Bloc. “The coalition is a good idea,” Rae told reporters yesterday. “What is critical is that we talk to Canadians about the economy and about our democracy because Mr. Harper has transformed our Canadian democracy. He suspended the work of Parliament and he has transformed the government into a regime.” Expect more of the same song Saturday morning at Winnipeg’s Crescentwood Community Centre. Rae takes the stage at 10:30 a.m.

His main rival, Michael Ignatieff, is in New Brunswick for a separate Liberal get-together. And if the past few days have been any indication, the frontrunner will continue to tiptoe around any talk of a coalition. It’s been widely reported that Iggy and his closest advisors want nothing to do with a socialist/separatist alliance (he was the last Liberal MP to sign a petition in favour of the plan) and if their Christmas wish comes true, the whole thing will fall apart by the time Parliament reconvenes on Jan. 26.

And Dominic LeBlanc? The Other Contender hasn’t surfaced today. Not yet, anyway. Maybe he’s working on his leadership website. It’s still under construction.


And so the Liberal leadership tour begins

  1. I must say, it’s satisfying to have an issue that Ignatieff and Rae disagree on. Now at least there’s more to think about than their personalities, their haircuts, and the 1990’s.

  2. I can understand Iggy not wanting to touch coalition with ten foot pole but trying to figure out what Rae’s up to leaves me befuddled.

    Why does Rae want to be seen carrying the can for a Coalition that is obviously not being embraced by the public? Unless he expects large numbers of people to change their minds over the next 6 weeks, he is associating himself with a policy that’s wildly unpopular with the electorate.

  3. I have a feeling that Rae believes he can unite the left.

  4. BDJ

    Good luck to Rae if he believes that because the Libs aren’t very left, at least in a Canadian context. Also, it my belief that NDP/Lib supporters hate each other the most and the chances of Rae uniting the left are slim to none.

  5. The Liberal party and its elites have lost their credentials to the NDP.

  6. Its quite clear why Rae is backing the coalition. As the article writes, he is staking his leadership hopes on it. Rae recognizes that Ignatieff is the clear front-runner at this point. Additionally, the recent uncertainties in parliament make Ignatieff an even more appealing choice. In order to overtake Ignatieff, Rae knows that he must do something dramatic; its the classic underdog strategy that any trailing politician takes. Rae views the coalition as his best/only opportunity to change his fortunes.

  7. Canada has a problem with greed. I am not too sure what makes Mr. Dion less appealing, but I am sure that his Green Shift frightened everyone who had stocks in oil companies or oil sands, and frightened everyone who had companies in industries that emit carbon (including Ontario)! The fact that he is from Quebec probably did not help also. We know how many Albertans and British Coumbians who have never travelled outside their little village would vote. It is too bad that many Canadians cannot see past their noses or is it that ad campaigns designed by oil company money from the US and Canada were successful in frightening them and not seeing the real advantage of Canada being aq leader in green technology! I feel that is why Dion is getting the shift … or the shaft, rather! It is not for any serious reasons, that’s for sure! Look how idiotic Harper has been behaving and he is still around, although there is talk about him being removed too!

    I think Canada has a problem with shallowness too! Does it really matter if a guy can be your stereotypical James Bond! Does it matter? Mr. Dion is not charismatic thanks partly to an accent that prevents him from sounding half-intelligent and a look that is less than appealing! He is, however, a brilliant and intelligent person. His Green Shift plan was the smartest move made (if you don’t think about the politics of the idea), as it would have set up probably Canadians and future generations of Canadians as experts in green technology! But, NO! Let’s keep sending the oil to the USA! What do you think Obama is going to do? Spend millions on oil or invest in green technology? The mentality of the average Canadian is so backward! Dig and export! That’s easy, hey?

    What a sad state!

    BTW, the coalition between the NDP and the Liberals IS a great idea since it IS democratic. Canada is one of the few coountries amongst developed countries of the world that does not have proportional representation. What a joke! Many European countries have also elections with 2 rounds, designed to have 2 of the best candidates or parties battling it out for the leadership. 33% of the people can elect a politician in Canada! What a joke! And for those who stated that you never voted for a coalition, my reply is that I never voted for Harper! 66% of the people did not! I would have voted for Dion OR Clayton, and I suspect many people would have. AND, BTW, why do you think Harper called an early election? Do you think that MAYBE he knew that a major recession was going to affect it (him)? There is no doubt that he knew! He knew for sure that there would be massive unemployment and a major crash! He knew and he did not do anything for the 70,000 people a month who will have to suffer. Thanks, Conservatives. Merry Xmas to you! I hope you get the shaft soon too so that you can learn what poverty is! Shame on you!

  8. Predictions:
    Bob Rae: Will not will leadership convention. Past fiscal incompetence and current coaltion involvement both bad.

    Ignatieff. Just won himself the leadership

    Dion: will be gone before January 26th

    Harper: in the event of a no-confidence vote will have an election that will very probably return him a majority government

    Layton: getting a new job soon.

  9. I agree with JWL here. Libs are Bay Street, NDP are union. No love lost there. The NDP probably have more in common with the Reform in regards to what their ideal society would look like — democratic & egalitarian — than with the Liberals, & the Liberals are (in Harper’s own words) more Tory than the PC’s were. Although I’m not sure what a post-Bay Street funding Liberal Party would look like, if it is able to get past attacking its collective navel.

    I linked this on another thread, but here it is again.


    A perspective largely lacking in the national narrative.

    Any guesses how long Harper will last? If he couldn’t win a majority in the last election, what chance does he have? Sweater vests do not a common touch make (although I make a blue sweater vest look good).

    In defense of our politicians, they’re just doing what’s always been done in Canadian politics, which is to play one group of Canadians against another. This worked when most of the population & economy was in the relatively homogenous Great Lakes region (Two Solitudes my a**. Northern Ontario & the Prairies have dozens & dozens of solitudes. Vancouver adds to the list, and Toronto & Montreal aren’t exactly two-solitudey any more. Get used to it. We’re sticking around.) The rest of Canada at most had the role of tie-breaker. No party has ever had to compose a message for the entire country. Reform couldn’t get a foothold outside the west. The PC’s & Liberals have both annoyed the heck out of the west over the years. Nobody’s ever courted the maritimes. Or the North.

    Any party that wants a majority will have to find a way to keep all these groups happy, or we’ll need to get used to minority governments.

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