Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Liberal Candidates




Here's an interesting post at Cerebrus on the ages of the various candidates running for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. Executive summary: Age doesn't matter.

Who do I think has the best shot at the leadership? Of course it's way too early to tell- we haven't even seen any of these candidates actively campaigning for the leadership yet. But I'll unwisely stick my neck out and venture some unwarranted predictions. So here's the list:

Scott Brison
Gerard Kennedy
Maurizio Bevilacqua
Martha Hall Findlay
Stephane Dion
Carolyn Bennett
Bob Rae
Michael Ignatieff
Joe Volpe
Ken Dryden




Let me scratch off those I don't think have a prayer:

Scott Brison
Gerard Kennedy
Stephane Dion
Carolyn Bennett
Bob Rae
Michael Ignatieff
Ken Dryden


So out of these folk here's my predictions.

First of all it's far from certain who's going to win. All of the above candidates do have a legitimate shot at winning the race.

Ignatieff will be among the top three candidates come convention time. If I were a bookmaker I would probably be giving him the best odds at winning the race, maybe a 25% chance. If he's to win the leadership though he's going to have to pick up support from left and right of the party. If he can 'walk the line' and shine at the same time he'll be the one to beat. At this point I'm really not sure if he's up for it though.

I'm guessing Dion will probably be rated as the second most likely to win by most. And I'm pretty sure some pundits would rank him as the favorite in the race. Personally I think his chances are overrated. First of all, I don't think support for the Liberals' is going to pick up significantly in Quebec by the time of the next election. Why have a Quebec candidate when the party is unlikely to gain many new seats there? The last two leaders of the party, Chretien and Martin, were Quebecers and they couldn't gain support in the province- why would Stephane Dion, who is hated by nationalistic Quebecers, have any better chance of making headway in the province? If Ignatieff's campaign completely falls apart then Dion will stand a better chance. Both candidates have a similar brainy academic left-of-center appeal about them, and I only expect one to be among the couple of candidates.


Out of these three:

Ken Dryden
Scott Brison
Carolyn Bennett


Only one of these three, if any, will be among the top three or so candidates during the convention. It really depends of their performance. IMO Brison is the best politician out of the three, Dryden and Bennett are fine and respectable but bland. Bland isn't necessarily a career ending quality in Canadian politics, but even hosers aren't immune from charm and a little more personality would definitely improve their chances. Why do I clump them all together? They are all Martinite Liberals on the right of the party. I don't expect this faction to fare all that well during the convention.



And finally we have these two:

Gerard Kennedy
Bob Rae


The traditional social welfare left. Gerard Kennedy could have as easily joined the NDP as the Liberals, and of course Bob Rae is the former head of the Ontario NDP. While I haven't seen much of Kennedy myself, I've only heard good things about him. He's apparently charismatic and articulate, and has won lots of Kudos as Ontario's Education minister. Kennedy has to be everyones favorite dark horse candidate, and my guess is he'll garner more support than Rae does in the end. One of these two will have to be removed from the picture early on. My bet is Rae will step down first and will do something unexpected like throw his support behind Ignatieff or Dion, not Kennedy.

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