Monday, January 30, 2006

Frank McKenna is out: Who's going to be the next Liberal leader?

Well, Frank McKenna has just officially announced he won't be seeking the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. Personally, I'm somewhat pleased to hear this. While McKenna appeared to be an acceptable candidate, he isn't exactly bursting with charisma- can't see too many people being excited about making him the next PM.

Now that the front runner is gone, the leadership race is wide open. I think the most likely possibilities at present are Brian Tobin, Anne McLellan, Scott Brison, Stephan Dion, Allan Rock, and Michael Ignatieff. If I had to narrow it down even more I'd go with Brian Tobin, Scott Brison, 'Landslide Annie', and Michael Ignatieff-with Brian Tobin having the lead. Of course nobody has thrown their hats in the ring yet, so this pure speculation.

OK, what the heck, here's my wild predictions. The online pundit Calgary Grit, has offered that Dion and Graham would be good choices for interim leader. I'm guessing that Martin, if he decides to appoint an interim leader will go with Bill Graham- a good choice since he's already announced he's not interested in running. By doing this Martin will keep the race wide open, and won't be accused of trying to bias the leadership process (no Chretien-style end of term hyping of a candidate). Presuming they all run (which is far from certain at this point), I think the leadership race will eventually narrow down to Brian Tobin, Anne McLellan, and Michael Ignatieff. With the attention focused on these candidates, I think Tobin will end up winning the nomination by a large margin.

Why don't I include any Quebec candidates here? Martin and Chretien represented Quebec ridings, and it's time for a different region to have a shot at running the natural governing party. Also, I think most Liberals realize their party isn't going to do well in Quebec for some time to come- why waste the regional candidate factor on a hostile province? Why do I give Tobin the edge? He's likeable and charismatic, a well-known candidate and close to the heart of the party, intelligent yet down to earth, he's associated with national unity (the Quebec referendum rally) and national sovereignty (capturing illegal Portuguese fishing boats), it's been a long long time since an Easterner was prime-minister (Borden- PM during WWI- was the last Eastern PM), and finally he isn't tainted by the sponsorship scandal and at the same time isn't associated with Martin.

Anyone else willing to make a wild prediction on the Liberal leadership race?


Blogger Oleksa said...

So the guy who was poised to win it, drops out all of a sudden, WHY?

4:53 AM  
Blogger A. Shah said...

I think the main reason is the one he gave- he didn't have the heart to commit to the leadership of the party for the next decade or so. As he said it's a huge committment and he wasn't prepared to take it on.

I suspect what you're getting at is that the position is not prize it used to be. The ambitions of the possible contenders are naturally softened when the position of PM isn't attached to the leadership- that's true. But I take McKenna's statement at face value.
I think the state of the Liberal party was much more of a factor in Manley's decision. He said himself that position being offered now isn't the same position that he 'interviewed' for last time around :) I'm sure that will warm your heart to hear that statement coming from the former deputy PM under Chretien. Actually, there's plenty of rumours that Tobin probably won't end up running for similar reasons as McKenna- that would really leave the race wide open. Anyway, it'll definitely be interesting to watch.

12:42 PM  

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