As the Liberal party turns

by Aaron Wherry

On his way out, soon-to-be-former Liberal party president Alf Apps apparently posits that Bob Rae could run for the party leadership.

Eight months ago, Mr. Rae may have promised to not do so. Last week, Mr. Rae may have left open the possibility. Last November, as previously noted, he seemed to completely dismiss the idea.

As for Rae’s part in becoming the new leader now that Michael Ignatieff has stepped down? “It won’t be me,” he said, to which the atmosphere in the room became heavy. “I’m not going to run for leadership.” 

Anyway. Mr. Apps throws out three precedents for the current Liberal predicament—their electoral defeats in 1930, 1958 and 1984. Each time, the Liberal party rebounded (eventually) to win government. But those defeats also probably underline just how far the Liberal party has fallen and how much further it has to go this time.

A quick comparison:

1930. The Liberals won 36.7% of the seats, 45.5% of the popular vote and finished second.
1958. The Liberals won 18.1% of the seats, 33.4% of the popular vote and finished second.
1984. The Liberals won 14.8% of the seats, 28.0% of the popular vote and finished second.
2011. The Liberals won 11.0% of the seats, 18.9% of the popular vote and finished third.




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As the Liberal party turns

  1. One important fact that Libs don’t point out is that low totals in ’30, ’58 and ’84 were each after a couple of decades of continuous Lib government. Comparing 2011 to other elections is not very useful because Canadians were tired of Lib rule way back when but Libs were not in power for 20 yrs when they clobbered a few months ago. 

    Of course Rae is going to try for leader position and the question is are other, more sensible, Libs going to let him - Rae is snake in the grass who plans to live his retirement years as Lib leader. I don’t know about elsewhere in Canada but Rae is toxic in Ontario. Other than some myopic Libs does any one really believe Rae is going to turn Lib fortunes around?

    Liberal Party hijacked by baby boomers who are raging against the dying of their light. 

    Globe/Mail ~ Legacy Of Rae’s days keeping Layton Back?

    With six days left before election day, one of the big questions of this campaign is whether the federal NDP surge in Quebec will jump the Ottawa River. So far, it hasn’t happened. All these years later, some question whether Bob Rae’s tumultuous five years as an NDP premier could be what’s holding Jack back …. 

    But others say Mr. Rae’s five years in office might be why Ontarians are reluctant to get solidly behind the federal NDP Leader.

    “I’m not sure what else could explain why the NDP numbers aren’t up in Ontario,” said pollster Nik Nanos. “I think it’s completely fair to say that part of the NDP brand in Ontario relates to the experience of the NDP provincial government.”

  2. Again some Liberals are looking for the coronation of a supposed saviour. Only this time it’s Rae of all people!

  3. That was an extremely sweet Liberal implosion in 2011.  I’m not a huge fan of the current CPC, but it was most excellent to see the party of Trudeau/Chretien/Martin, after years of painting folks like myself as “un-Canadian” and hewing to the most opportunistic positions regardless of consequence for the country, get torn to shreds. I celebrated (again) with large quantities of beer and popcorn.

    We need a strong party to oppose the CPC, but I sure as hell hope it’s some other party.  The Liberal party deserves to be disbanded.

    • yes.yes.yes.yes.yes.yes.yes.yes.yes.yes.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. They’ve just been on the diminuendo of the piece of Canadian Politics.

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