The Liberal Party Launches New “Supporters” System (Along With a New Round of Leadership Speculation)

On Wednesday the Liberal Party of Canada launched its new “supporter” class. I was proud to support the constitution amendment that lead to this at the biennial convention at the beginning of this year.

With this came a number of articles in Canadian newspapers speculating as to who is going to be seeking the leadership of the Liberal Party. In the spirit of that speculating I have compiled a list of 10 possible candidate (some more realistic than others) that I would like to run for leader of my party, here are their names and why I’d like them to run:

Dominic LeBlanc (44, MP Beauséjour): LeBlanc is relatively young, he is fluently bilingual (yet not from Quebec) and he has done an excellent job as a Defense and now Foreign Affairs critic.

Scott Brison (44, MP Kings—Hants): I was able to fulfill my goal of telling Mr. Brison that I would like to see him run for the leadership at the Liberal biennial convention. He is intelligent, funny and a committed progressive. His economic experience would be instrumental in helping position the Liberal Party in relation to the Conservatives and the NDP on the economy.

Marc Garneau (63, MP Westmount—Ville-Marie): I think Garneau would be a strong leader and (currently) is being underestimated as a Liberal leadership candidate. He would be the only party leader with military experience (he served as a Naval Engineer before becoming the first Canadian to go in to space) would really change the way we debate certain issues in Canadian politics. His science background would help strength the “evidence based policy” narrative that the Liberal Party has been putting forward since the convention.

Dalton McGuinty (56, Premier of Ontario): His speech at the Liberal convention was electric. He helped clean up the mess left by now federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and has helped turn Ontario into a clean energy power house. He is strong on education and has international experience as the Premier of Canada’s largest province.

Scott Simms
(42, MP Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor): As an avid watcher of Question Period I have been impressed by Scott Simms’ performance over the months since the convention. As an East-Coast MP he is where a large party of our caucus is at the moment. He is extremely charming and would be a breath of fresh air for the party.

Siobhan Coady
(51, Former MP for St. John’s South–Mount Pearl): She is a past Chair and Governor of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and was President of the St. John’s Board of Trade in 1993. Ms. Coady was fierce in parliamentary committee (standing up to John Baird on a number of occasions.)

Justin Trudeau (40, MP Papineau.): Before you stop reading this post and rush to the comment section please hear me out. Trudeau has been fantastic in defending Katimavik since it was announced that the program would be killed in the 2012 budget. The fact the media so massively underestimates him would actually be a big advantage. He would help bring in massive numbers of young voters into the Liberal Party and I think the romanticism of the Trudeau name is a net positive. As Premier McGuinty said at the convention, we shouldn’t rush things and bring in a leader who is only good for one election. The reason I would like to see Trudeau, Brison, Simms and LeBlanc run for the Liberal leadership is that they would grow into the position and build the party over several elections.

Carole Taylor (67 Former Minister of Finance of British Columbia): Ms. Taylor’s name has been suggested to me by a number of people on multiple occasions. She would definitely be a dark-horse candidate but she has the financial credentials and governing experience. It would also be nice to have a leader to grow the party in the West-Coast.

Nathalie Normandeau (43, Former Deputy Premier of Quebec, former MNA for Bonaventure): Another dark-horse candidate. She is fluently bilingual and has governing experience. Ms. Normandeau would help us take on the NDP directly in Quebec.

Amanda Lang (42, Canadian journalist): She is perhaps my most out-of-the-box choice. Ms. Lang is articulate and knows the ins and out of the economy.

Honourable mentions: I didn’t mention Mark Holland and Glen Pearson because I am such a big fan of both of them that I am not sure if I have objectivity in either of their cases. Mark Holland is able to articulate a progressive vision of crime policy and I miss him dearly in parliament. Andrew Coyne is a name that has been put forward by a good friend of mine and he seems to dismiss the idea entirely. I would like to see Mr. Coyne run for the Liberal leadership as he would force debate on many crucial issues (he is partially responsible for me changing my position on supply management) but I emphatically disagree with Mr. Coyne on government funding of high-speed rail.

The elephant in this blog post is obviously Bob Rae. I am a huge fan of Mr. Rae. However, if he wanted to seek the Liberal leadership he shouldn’t have put his name forward for interim leader. The coronation of Michael Ignatieff that occurred after the coalition crisis prevented a real leadership race from happening and IMHO was bad for the Liberal Party. For the health of the Liberal Party as an institution we need a well contested leadership race and Bob Rae has already secured an unfair advantage for himself. Look at the wikipedia article on Liberal leadership races (here). The Liberal Party hasn’t had many hotly contested leadership races. As the third place party working to rebuild itself we have nothing to lose.

Who do you think should run for the Liberal leadership? I wrote this post to start a conversation so please feel free to comment. Don’t just leave a name, tell me why the person you want to run would be the best leader.

6 responses to “The Liberal Party Launches New “Supporters” System (Along With a New Round of Leadership Speculation)

  1. I would like to see Martha Hall Findlay run again. I’m not sure she’d be my pick, but remember how gutsy she was in declaring last time? She has some outsider appeal, she’s moderate & well-respected. Considered credible.

    Here’s my out-of-the-box idea: Robert Ghiz. Has won huge majorities in PEI & he’s only 38. He’s a Maritimer but remember, people wanted McKenna & Tobin in the past. Being from the east is fine.

    Speaking of credible female candidates… Alexandra Mendès. I don’t think we realized until the convention how smart, warm, & energetic she is. I agree with the thesis that she would have won the presidency if we’d used a ranked ballot because she was everyone’s second choice.

    You didn’t mention David Bertschi because we didn’t know who he was until the AGM, but I do hope he runs. He’s certainly caught my attention & I say the more, the merrier.

    • I have been underwhelmed by Martha Hall Findlay, which is weird because we seem like ideological soulmates.

      I think Robert Ghiz would make a great candidate. A good number of our MPs are on the East Coast (and he could take back the one seat in PEI we don’t have.) I like the idea of a young candidate growing into the job (which is why I am looking at Trudeau, LeBlanc or Brison.)

      Alexandra Mendès would be awesome. She was great in all of the all-candidates debates during the presidential race. She is great on policy and is proficient at putting policy in humane language.

      I didn’t get to meet David Bertschi at the LPC(O) AGM but the buzz about him was palpable and his videos show me that he is serious about his run. I was able to meet with George Takach and he seemed like a nice guy, I am obviously biased to a candidate who has embraced facebook/twitter like he has.

      This calls for a follow up blog.

  2. I’m with Brian. I think Martha HF would be an interesting choice but highly doubt she would have my vote.

    I see LeBlanc as a forerunner although with Rae in the mix, things do get heavily favoured towards the latter. Already in his mid-sixties, I do not think Rae is what this party needs moving forward, not to mention breaking his promise would not sit well with me.

    My out-of-the-box: Taleeb Noormohamed. I had a chance to meet and speak with him at the Biennial and was thoroughly impressed. He lacks the in-House experience (although he’s worked under Chretien & Martin if I’m not mistaken) and is mid-thirties but hits home in every other category. Would make it interesting, especially being of a visible minority.

    Agree about Mendes. I absolutely loved her at the Biennial and would love to see her name in the mix. Her warmth was what made her my 2nd place (too bad strategically voting had to come into play).

    It’s good to see Bertschi run, although his ad didn’t impress me.

  3. Pingback: Leadership Speculation Time | The Cohen Constitution

  4. I added some of my own speculation. Most bold idea (don’t club me!), Alison Redford.

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