Marc Garneau quits bid to lead federal Liberals

Trudeau’s lead is too large, says Garneau

(Chris Young/CP)

OTTAWA – MP Marc Garneau, despite running a “solid second” in the federal Liberal leadership race, has ended his campaign and thrown his support behind front-runner Justin Trudeau.

Garneau made the decision after internal polling made it clear to him that despite his second-place status, winning would be impossible given Trudeau’s lead.

“I entered this race with the intention of winning,” Garneau told a news conference Wednesday in Ottawa. “I have done my numbers. I cannot mathematically — and I’m a person who believes in math — I cannot mathematically win.

“I have made the decision that I will desist at this point.”

He says he’ll stick with the party and its new leader

“I will be a loyal Liberal and I will work for the party and for the new leader in whatever capacity they choose.”

Garneau’s departure leaves seven candidates in the running.

Garneau, an MP since 2008, kicked off his campaign last November, stressing the economy as his key issue.

Lately, though, he aimed pointed criticism at Trudeau, saying he was short on policy. He also complained that the party has looked to untested high flyers in the past, only to see them crash and burn.

Garneau said he sees no contradiction between those criticisms and his endorsement of Trudeau.

“I felt that within a race, even within a political party, one can go through a very vigorous race and be criticized,” he said.

Trudeau, Garneau added, “has risen to the occasion.”

Voting for the Liberal leadership will be conducted online and by phone early next month, with the winner to be announced on April 14.




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Marc Garneau quits bid to lead federal Liberals

  1. Um…..this is not a good time to quit!

  2. Marc Garneau is a great Canadian; I met him when he was still deciding if he should run or not, and was a little surprised but very pleased that he did. He will be a terrific cabinet minister, should things go as I hope. He was personable but dull in person; at this time, we have enough dull in power. Liberals may as well come out looking different than the other parties; time to shake things up a bit.

  3. Marc Garneau is my MP, and when I was leaning conservative met me personally and got my vote. But — I tend to agree with him in dropping out if he can’t catch up, the only thing that killed the Liberals before was infighting — I like Paul Martin, but his Martinites (who basically engineered a coup agaist Chretien AND started the sponsorship scandal) should be drawn and quartered. Also: look how the Republican Convention with 8 months of endless dirty laundry and infighting to pick a leader totally made the eventual leader unelectable. Or, to use an example from the left, no one wants Garneau to be our Ralph Nader.

    Garneau supporting Trudeau (and *hopefully* advising him too!!!) will make the present a united front.

    • You’re assuming Garneau’s early departure will mean there will be no infighting. That’s not necessarily so. Having heard what Garneau thinks about Trudeau on the ‘campaign trail’, I’m not so sure he would want to work with the guy (despite what his statement says).

      • Garneau also said last week that if JT won, he would be a “good soldier.” And I think he will be: this is a guy who knows how important team work is. Joyce Murray’s campaign guy is already upset that Garneau released his research numbers that showed he was a distant second — and that Murray has less than 8 per cent.

        • You’re probably right… still, it’s not unheard-of to see self-avowed ‘good soldiers’ move on to other things after a failed leadership bid.

  4. Too bad…Garneau was the best candidate the Libs had. It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that this would be a coronation for Justin…don’t know why all the others wasted all that money for a non-race.

    • So that people like you wouldn’t say there was no race? Damned if they do and damned if they don’t, eh mavri? Just damned?

      • JT’s problem right now seems to be that of his 165,000 supporters, 100,000 left no email address and have not registered to vote…it was bad timing for Garneau to step down…he just might have had a chance to win…it makes his stepping down at this point a little suspect. For the past 6 months it’s been JT, all the time, with the media barely mentioning any other candidate.

    • If it’s a coronation, it’s one that’s being done by the public at large. Remember the new rules Liberals put in place where they’ve opened up their leadership vote.

      And if our elections continue to revolve around the most popular party leader, rather than the policy stances of them, that’s something that should make Mr. Harper and Mr. Mulcair very nervous.

      The more I think about it, the more I come to realize that opening their party leadership vote up is actually a brilliant move simply because of our tendency these days to focus on who’s leading the party rather than on policies or individual MPs. It’s explicitly acknowledging that tendency as the means to power and getting “buy-in” early.

  5. In spite of Marc Garneau’s claim that his ideas, and his alone, had any real substance to them, he was as inarticulate as any of the other cadidates vying for the Liberal leadership. He was comfortably boring. Vague. Bland. A snoozefest. And now he’s kissing up to Justin Trudeau? Hoping to catch some crumbs from the masters table? Good riddance.

  6. I’m shocked and rather sad to see him go. IMHO, he was definitely neck and neck with Mr. Trudeau and a very worthy Liberal leader candidate. Of course, we can hope that the Liberals defeat Harper and reverse the Canadian decline the Harper regime’s responsible for, and in that scenario, Mr. Garneau will be a major component of the leader’s cabinet (indeed, Deputy Prime Minister would be apropos).

    • I admire Garneau, but his reason for dropping out is because nobody is “neck and neck” with Trudeau — he says he did a large sampling of research and that JT is at 70 per cent, Garneau second at 15 per cent (sorry, that’s not neck and neck), and he pegs Murray at 7 per cent, MHF at 5. Garneau took a measured approach to getting into the race at the start, and now he’s taking a measured approach to leave the race. I like the guy, but he wasn’t the one to take risks to try and bring the party back. He will make a great cabinet minister (I hope).

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