Liberal Leadership Round-Up

Who has two thumbs, a vintage belt buckle, and might be running for Liberal leader?

The “will he or won’t he” dance of Justin Trudeau continues, with reports that Gerald Butts will be heading up his leadership team – should Justin run, of course.

Trudeau’s trip to the Stampede did little to dampen speculation, though the annual parade of politicians in cowboy hats was more notable by who didn’t appear than who did. Of the 20+ names being floated for Liberal leadership, the only candidates who did the pancake circuit this year appear to be Trudeau, Hall Findlay, Merner, and Takach.

Indeed, the Cauchons, Kennedys, and Leblancs of the world might very well sit the leadership out if Trudeau steps into the ring, not wanting to play the part of Patrick Brazeau in this story. Martha Hall Findlay seems ready for a fight regardless, though it remains to be seen how much time she’ll have to campaign if she starts the leadership race in jail.

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in --- 2013 LPC Leadership Race, Federal Politics

About CalgaryGrit

A former Calgary Liberal, now living in Toronto. My writings on politics can be found at and online at the National Post.

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17 Responses to Liberal Leadership Round-Up

  1. Jordan

    That’s it? A pretty short blog!

    • Dan

      Things have gone quiet on the LPC leadership front. That’s all the news that is the news.

  2. Jim R

    If Trudeau throws his hat in and most of the other potential contenders bow out because of that, then Liberals have a problem. What you’ll end up with for all practical purposes is a coronation without the vetting process of a proper leadership race. And, as past experience may indicate, there be dragons.

    I’d also add that although Trudeau has near rock star status among the party faithful, it’s not obvious to me at least that he enjoys that status among “ordinary Canadians”. If that’s the case, Trudeau, as party leader, would have to rely on his raw experience and talent when going up against Harper and Mulcair. So Liberals better be sure he has those qualities (and more) before crowning him.

    My 2 cents.

  3. Party of One

    I just completed an EKOS poll online that seemed to be gauging the support for Trudeau as Liberal leader more than anything else.

    My basic feeling is that he’s not politically seasoned enough, and that it would be a mistake for the Liberal Party to assume that he has much more than “star power” (reflected star power, no less!) going for him. He needs to hold a couple of significant cabinet or critic positions before he’s ready to take on either Mulcair or Harper.

    Again, the Liberal Party seems to be going for a “messiah” to lead them out of the wilderness, when actually what they should be doing is involving all Canadians in developing a policy platform and concrete initiatives that reflect our true Canadian values.

  4. Jordan

    Maybe Trudeau isn’t a Prime Minister in waiting, but maybe he’s the leader who can rebuild the party from a riding/grassroots level and then pass the leadership over to someone else in ten years? Maybe being a leader for 6 years will give him the experience to be a Prime Minister.

    As well why is Denis Coderre hated? Was it just the Ignatieff stuff or is it his lack of personality?

    • Dan

      Coderre gets a bad rap for not being a team player…plus there’s his foot-in-mouth disease habit. The Shane Doan incident comes to mind as a prime example.

    • Michael Harkov

      People need to stop being so naive. Do you think he would be interested in the job JUST to rebuild the Liberal party only to hand it over to someone else if all the hard work bears fruit? Why else would he be so coy about the whole thing?

      No, he’ll want the job to be able to become PM.

      • Jordan

        Obviously he would want to be Prime Minister, but that doesn’t mean it will happen. He should run forbPM in the next two elections, if at that time it doesn’t look like he will ever become Prime Minister then he should step down.

      • hosertohoosier

        Yes, and having a leader with starpower alters the calculus of a party about how much effort it needs to devote to rebuilding, and how much it needs to devote to campaigning. Justin Trudeau strikes me as a gambit at a quick recovery for the Liberal party.

        The question is one of what the Liberals need (and the answer is not obvious). It may be the case that the Liberals face a win-or-die situation. Amidst increasing polarization, maybe there isn’t a core for the Liberals. Without the fruits of power, moreover, the ambitious professional class that sustained the Liberals may abandon it for a party that can win.

        If that is true, then a Trudeau gambit makes sense. However, I do not believe it is. The Liberals are moderates in some respects, but not others (eg. on federalism). There is an audience that can sustain the Liberals, even if they are not the natural governing party.

  5. Bastard out of Stettler

    Why is Denis Coderre hated? Ever heard about the Sponsorship scandal?

  6. Party of One

    God, this country is so provincial at times! We embrace nepotism because we seem to lack the confidence to try new ideas, or new approaches, or new people.

    Look at the people in the news, on the news, and in cultural activities and look at their family connections to previous “stars”. Mulroney(Ben and Brian). Trudeau (Justin and Pierre). Richler (Noah and Mordecai). Suzuki (Severn, Sarika, and David) Sutherland ( Kiefer and Donald) And the list goes on and on.

    Now, it’s true that often the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, and many of these offspring DO have talent…the question is, are they afforded greater opportunities than others BECAUSE of their family connections, or do the gatekeepers (editors, TV producers, the “brain-trust” of the LPC) promote the offspring in an attempt to curry favour with the progenitor, without real regard to the actual abilities involved? Yes, the offspring DO have to prove themselves, but they’re often given a much longer rope with which to eventually hang themselves.

    My MAIN concern is that we’re overlooking other talented people and innovative ideas because we’re “star-struck” by the offspring of previously successful people. Justin Trudeau may have many qualities, but it’s a mistake to ASSUME that he developed Pierre’s intellect and leadership skills by sitting at his father’s knee(frankly, I rather doubt that Pierre was all that involved in the raising of his children) The unseemingly desperate attempt by the LPC to revive their fortunes by recruiting the son of probably their best ever leader speaks volumes about the dearth of ideas and innovation and confidence currently residing in the LPC.

    • hosertohoosier

      That hardly makes Canada unique. A Bush was on every presidential ticket from 1980-2004 except 1996. A leading contender for the Democratic nomination (and basically the presidency in 2008) was the wife of a former president. It’s true in culture as well (look at the cast of HBO’s girls, for a striking example).

      In France the current President is the ex-husband of his party’s 2007 contender.

      And Britain is hardly free of nepotism either – your class and who you know matter more there than anywhere else in the Anglosphere.

      Everybody agrees that nepotism is bad. But if you were a parent, and could give your child certain advantages, you would do so. And so the cycle continues.

  7. Michael F

    Re: The jail comment.

    I guess Volpe’s not such a great fundraiser when he can’t bring in donations from the 6 year old children of Apotex executives.

  8. Brian from Toronto

    If Trudeau runs for the leadership, he’ll win. Which I guess pretty much sums up the problems the Liberal party faces.

    But Jordan’s made an insightful comment: “maybe he’s the leader who can rebuild the party from a riding/grassroots level.”

    Because it’s true Trudeau has star power among Liberals. And he can’t be any worse than Ignatief.

    My question is how will the Liberals fare when the Trudeau groupies see their hero fail to win back Official Opposition status? Will the new troops remain loyal after that or leave as quickly as they came?

    • Jordan

      He may very well win back the Official Opposition title, however Liberals should group the #### up and not look at goals like that. They need to run on policies they believe in and not just policies they think will get them to a certain level of support.

  9. Jamie Elmhirst

    Is Justin Trudeau ready to be Prime Minister tomorrow? No. Is he in any danger of becoming Prime Minister tomorrow? No.

    Liberals talk about needing someone as Leader who is in it for the long haul and willing to do the requisite work to renew the party; the need for generational change; the need for someone to connect with everyday folks. Trudeau seems to bring strong credentials in that regard.

    I want to see greater policy depth and an ability to deal with tough, complex issues on the fly, especially economic ones. No Palin-esque painfully pre-scripted responses. If Trudeau can demonstrate that ability, on top of his other obvious abilities, he will be a formidable candidate and should be treated as such.

  10. greyburr

    I hope this is just the summer doldrums.If the party depth is Justin as the One, the party is truly Kaput.

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