“There are some who will tell you that the last election was simply an accident, never to be repeated again. According to them we only need a new Leader and a new slogan and Canadians will embrace Liberal government again. Or they say an election is right around the corner so we don’t have time to get it right.
“For so many of you who, like me, campaigned on behalf of Liberal candidates last winter, who looked into the eyes of our good neighbours who said ‘no,’ you know in your heart that’s not true. I am here tonight to say it may not be an easier way but there is a way for us to win. We have to win the next election in the right way, and for the right reasons. It requires to us to renew our party. It requires us to present a long-term practical vision for the direction of this country. My friends, Mr. Harper is vulnerable but he is not going to defeat himself. We will defeat him by becoming the Liberal Party that we need to be, no matter when the election is called.”
—Some guy whose name escapes, Dec. 2006
So the Liberals are going to pick a new leader. Let’s say that happens, as expected, next May. The House will probably adjourn a month or so later, giving the new leader a summer to get settled. Then maybe we get an election next fall or early in 2010.
Let’s say—despite Bob Rae’s political genius or Michael Ignatieff’s genius genius or Justin Trudeau’s hair—the Liberals lose that election. Do the Liberals then give their newish leader another chance?
(And, as a follow-up, if the Liberals can’t pick a leader in May that they’re willing to stick with for at least two elections, what’s the point?)