Yesterday, I blogged about rumours of an insurrection against Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff. Denials from prominent Grits notwithstanding, I’m seeing too much smoke to believe there is no fire. Today, I’m asking myself: what are the chances that a coup d’état of sorts has already occurred?
Not all successful coups end with the beheading, imprisonment or banishment of the former leader. Some simply shuffle the leader into a figurehead role, and a de facto leader takes over the reins of power.
If such a scenario had actually occurred, would the public face of the Liberal Party of Canada be any different than we see now? Consider the following:
- Peter Donolo, former communications director to Jean Chrétien is now chief of staff, and Donolo supported Rae in the leadership contest.
- Eddie Goldenberg, Chrétien’s former principal secretary, is working for the party as a some sort of “senior counsel,” and he’s known to be close to John Rae, Bob’s brother.
- On a day-to-day basis, Bob Rae is far more visible in Parliament, answering reporters’ questions and appearing on political TV shows. Rae remains vocally supportive of Ignatieff, but the latter does seem to be taking a supporting role when the reverse should be the case.
- When he is seen, Michael Ignatieff appears miserable or distant and sometimes both.
Am I being serious or just mischievous? Well, perhaps I am being a bit mischievous, but not entirely so. Chances are there has been no transfer of power within the LPC, I grant that. That doesn’t mean there has not been a significant shift in the balance of influence in Rae’s favour, and sometimes that’s all that really matters.
Ignatieff may still have the trappings of office, but I believe Bob Rae now commands the hearts and minds of a growing and powerful segment of the LPC’s caucus and its backroom movers and shakers—even a majority perhaps and he may actually be calling the political shots.
Stay tuned, it’s early days in this comedy of errors that is the LPC.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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