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Another horserace?

The Globe and Mail’s Lawrence Martin seems to think so, judging by its article on Dominic Leblanc titled Will Dominic Leblanc be the Liberal’s Kingmaker? as highlighted by James Morton’s blogpiece:

For an unheralded candidate, he’s off to a good start. He has an impressive base of support in the Maritimes; will attract many younger delegates; has strong ties, being an Acadian, to francophones; and is building up support in British Columbia. A first-ballot haul of 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the delegates is well possible. From there, he could navigate the outcome, choosing to move to Bob Rae or Michael Ignatieff on the second ballot.

If Lawrence is correct that Leblanc has the potential to win 10-20% of the delegates at the Liberal leadership Convention and could be the person who ends up deciding who is Liberal leader, much as Gerard Kennedy did in 2006, that would imply more then one ballot is needed to choose the Liberal leader. That’s a good thing – the last time the Liberals had a coronation for Liberal leader, it didn’t work out so great. Of course, the counter-view that will be brought up by some people is that a multiple ballot didn’t work out so good for the Liberals in 2006 either, so perhaps 2 ballots this time around is a good compromise. (Of course, Leblanc will not be having any of that talk of being the kingmaker at this point; he’s in the race to win, of course).

My point has been and will continue to be that it will take more then a fresh face at the Liberals helm to turn the LPC’s fortunes around. I’m encouraged that all 3 candidates seem to recognize that, and are making public statements about a Liberal 308 riding strategy, and trying to re-connect to the Liberal grassroots in their own party, but actions will tell the tale for the new Liberal leader and his team, a) to carry out those reforms, and b) if he does try to implement said reforms, whether he has the ability to persuade or cajole the Liberal backroom establishment, who might not be so crazy about said reforms, to go along with them and not end up being more “discontented anonymous Liberal” fodder for Jane Taber and company to crow about.

PS: My point is that I believe that more then one ballot to pick the new Liberal leader is a good thing. The 3rd place contender – whoever that may end up being – has a chance to use his leverage to extract out of the other remaining 2 candidates a concrete promise to follow through on reforms to the Liberal Party – whereas in a 1 ballot coronation, the winner may feel less compelled to follow thru on those promises.


2 comments to Another horserace?

  • Steve:

    My point was based on the presumption that all candidates seem to be in favour of it. Presuming thats the case, then the 3rd place finisher can use that leverage to make the winner give concrete promises they won’t forget about that once they’re party leader.

    Of course, all or some of these candidates could just be mouthing platitudes about party reform and renewal, and not really meaning it. We’ll hopefully see through the course of this campaign whether that’s true or not.

  • Scott

    Rhetoric aside, why do you just assume that a 3rd place candidate is more committed to renewal? And, Kennedy moved to Dion primarily because he saw him as the best alternative for party renewal, and we all know that went no where.

    I just want to get this out there, and it isn’t a criticism necessarily of Dominic. Just because somebody is younger than their opponents, and they weren’t part of the last leadership, doesn’t give them a inside track on the idea of renewal, particularly when said candidate understands the backroom machinations as well as anybody. All these candidates will speak to renewal, and I won’t judge believability based on superficial assumptions.

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