Friday, January 27, 2006

Further Leadership Miscellany

Won’t be able to make the blogstravaganza in TO tonight, but did enjoy sipping a few Olands at Domus last night with the Tiger and the Barrelman in a gathering of Eastern Seaboard armchair analysts. In the course of rambling conversation, talk passed naturally to the numerous potential candidates jockeying for Martin’s position. Here are a few remembered observations:

(1) Will Ignatieff even run? Should he bother? The excessive speculation that we will aside, the Professor and his circle of advisors have shown a remarkable political naivete in the freshman campaign for office. In this time of mini-crisis, how can the party really trust such a novice.

The glowing press treatment following his address to the Liberal convention has long since worn off. He is known throughout the country more for his missteps than his insight. Most notably, given his lack of experience in (a) the House of Commons, (b) the Liberal party, (c) Canada in general, the Tiger noted that Iggy would have to be "extraordinarily arrogant" to hold any serious pretentions to lead the government-in-waiting. That’s about right. Although the Barrelman piped in, a bit sarcastically, that this could explain why he will in fact run. Heh.

(2) Putting aside the inevitability of a Belinda campaign (nice when money is never a constraint), who in the Liberal party in their right mind could actually support her for leader? How many days has she been a member of the party? Wasn’t it the “evil” Mike Harris, fodder for innumerable Liberal campaign attacks, who supported her rise to the head of the Conservative party? Wasn't it not so long ago that she took credit for unifying the Alliance and the PCs.

I, for one, found many in the Liberal party embraced Belinda’s cynical cabinet hop much too quickly, the true embodiment of desperation tactics trumping principles. Can she really be considered a serious candidate for this job among loyalists to the Liberal cause? I doubt McKenna should be overly worried. Of the possible female challengers, Jane Stewart, though mainly remembered for troubles at HRDC, could prove a far more credible alternative.

(3) The West will need in on this race. Since Emerson ruled himself out as “too old”, who does that leave? I am no huge fan of Ujjal, but he might appeal to a number of natural constituencies. Shame about his underwhelming turn at the Health Ministry.

(4) Happy to see the initial groundswell of support for Dion. It remains to be seen if he is the right man for the actual position, but the party only stands to benefit from a broader, national airing of his thoughtfully considered positions. McKenna-Dion v. Harper-Cannon (for example) would make for a truly classic electoral race.

(5) Finally, I really hope Joe Volpe runs, if only for the comic relief potential.


Blogger Barrelman said...

I think the state of the party is such that there are no serious viable candidates that will emerge from west of Toronto. Ujie would be a solid but uninspiring contender - Anne's gone - Hedy Fry - I'm not even going to bother - and anyone popping up from the provincial scene in BC or the Prarie provinces might be too unknown to have a chance in a short race. In a longer race, anything is possible - Lady MacBeth anyone? - but a short race would eliminate the West.

I grow more and more convinced that the final two contenders will be McKenna (who will inherit the machinery) and Dion (who will engage in the role of plucky underdog and ride that for as long as possible). Which will make, I think, the defining issue of the next leadership race federalism and the type of federal state we want - especially if Dion frames that debate and McKenna ends up in a reactionary position.

Also, I'm pretty sure my bar bill hit triple digits last night.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Jason Cherniak said...

Firsy, who is the Barrelman?

Second, I think we both know at least one Liberal who will support Belinda.

Third, take a look at a picture of Peter Griffin's father in the family guy and tell me he does not look exactly like Joe Volpe!

7:51 PM  
Blogger Barrelman said...

Truffles: It's me, Derek. Of the Newfoundland Caucus?

2:12 AM  

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