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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Liberal leadership race heating up

UPDATE: Bob Rae left this afternoon’s Liberal leadership town hall meeting in Mississauga, Ont., after objecting to the closed-door format. The meeting, hosted by the Liberal Party, gave the leadership contenders the opportunity to speak to members of the party, but apparently excluded the media. Tut, tut!

The Grits are bickering again. Liberal party leadership hopeful Bob Rae reportedly has accused fellow Toronto MP Michael Ignatieff of wanting to block the media from Sunday’s leadership debate.

bob rae The Grits plan to hold a leadership candidates’ forum with Bob Rae, Michael Ignatieff and Dominic LeBlanc in Toronto on Sunday afternoon. But Mr. Rae says he will not participate if Mr. Ignatieff’s campaign does not withdraw its opposition to the debate being open to the media.

According to the Rae campaign, the party has indicated it is prepared to open the debate to media if all campaigns agree.

"This isn't a good note on which to start this race, and I think Liberals will be disappointed." – The Rae campaign

It says in a release that Mr. LeBlanc’s campaign has agreed but Mr. Ignatieff’s, as of 8:00 p.m. Saturday, has refused. Apparently the Liberals want to avoid the media reporting public sniping between their candidates, of the kind we saw in the 2006 leadership race won by Stéphane Dion.

Not a very democratic stand by Mr. Ignatieff, but hardly a surprising one. Do everything you can in private. Why care if the grass roots who cannot attend the forum are left out, the party insiders—the movers and shakers—are all that really matter, aren’t they?

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