Iheard this morning that the federal Grits are faring better in at least one poll, and at the expense of the New Democrats. The survey by Abacus Data is interesting in that the NDP has a relatively new leader while the Liberals’ long-term leadership is very much in question. (Dr. David Coletto explains the poll results here.) And, by the way, Stephen Harper’s Tories were relatively safely ahead (+ 7%) in that poll.
The survey comes a day before the Liberals officially launch their latest leadership race and desperately attempt to regain relevancy on the national political scene.
On Wednesday, candidates for the Grits’ top job can file paperwork with the party and Elections Canada, as well as ponying up a $25,000 cheque for their first of three instalments covering the $75,000 leadership race fee. This will set in motion—officially at least—a five-month campaign that some insist is crucial to the long-term health of the national version of the Liberal party, and yet one more attempt at “renewal”, whatever that means this time around.
Since September 2003, the federal Grits have renewed under Paul Martin, then in 2006 they renewed under Stéphane Dion, only to renew once more under Michael Ignatieff in 2009. Now after 17 months or so under interim leader Bob Rae, the Grits are again talking renewal.
Folks, that’s sure a hell of a lot of renewal.
Here are the likely candidates, based on what I have gathered from media speculation:
Several candidates have already indicated their intention to run. We have, of course, Justin Trudeau and Deborah Coyne, who were joined recently by Ottawa lawyer David Bertschi—they have officially announced their intentions.
Then there is Martha Hall Findlay who is also expected to enter the contest with her announcement scheduled for Wednesday in Calgary. Earlier this year, the former MP finally paid off debt from her 2006 leadership bid, so has removed that impediment to another try at the top job.
To that group we might be able to add Montreal MP Marc Garneau and Vancouver MP Joyce Murray who have, apparently, said they’re still making up their minds. And, according to a Toronto Sun report, other candidates are Alex Burton, David Merner and Jonathan Mousley. How serious they are is anybody’s guess at this point.
This race is important to all Canadians and especially to conservatives. For, at some point in the future, the Stephen Harper government will falter and Canadians will seek a change in Ottawa. When that time comes, the Grits will be all that stands to block a full-blown socialist government that’ll set our country back socially and fiscally a decade or more, and cost us our hard-earned place on the world stage.
Unfortunately we need a strong Liberal party—just not too strong.