Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Paul Martin: Already Yesterday

During the 1988 federal election, some senior Liberals were apparently so frightened of the prospect of finishing third behind the NDP that they were willing to force John Turner out mid-election and put Jean Chretien in his place.

Turner stayed the plotters' hands with a brilliant debate performance that temporarily boosted Liberal poll numbers, but his leadership was already doomed.

Now we're hearing similar talk about replacing Paul Martin, not mid-campaign, but almost immediately thereafter, even if he ekes out another minority government:

"If Martin leads this party into the next election you will have a Conservative majority," says a lifetime Liberal at the centre of one of the fledgling leadership efforts. "Anyone who thinks otherwise is crazy."

Those supporting new leadership worry that the powerful clique around Martin will interpret a second minority as a victory, mistaking holding 24 Sussex Dr., the Prime Minister's official residence, as the prize.

"Martin's people decided they won the last election," says a well-connected Liberal not involved in any leadership campaign. "For Liberals, winning is not a minority."

Read more analysis, including names of potential successors, in this Toronto Star article, which has all but put Frank McKenna in the lead for the undeclared leadership race.

The palace plotters might have an easier time of it, though, because the latest Strategic Counsel poll puts the Bloc so far ahead in Quebec, and in the Montreal region, that Paul Martin himself might be swept out of his seat.

If so, Martin would be well advised to quit on the spot, because no one will be willing to give up his seat to get Paul Martin back in Parliament for his tragic last days as opposition leader.


The Truth Hurts said...

I've been saying in my blog that many of the elements for a Liberal collapse are there.

Chris said...

They could have pulled Turner out all they wanted to, who cares? Chretien wouldn't have been able to beat Mulroney anyway, including in 1993. I think if Brian stuck with it he would have pulled through with a minority government. This current government speaks about their "economic record." It isn't theirs, my friends. Hence why they didn't cancel the GST and NAFTA. They saw what a great idea the whole thing was. The problem was, though, that the Liberals have doubled the GST in the last 10 years and it's raking in so much money. It wasn't originally designed to do this sort of thing. I WANT A TAX BREAK! Regardless, the Liberals need to dump Paul. This guy is a joke. I hope Harper trounces him.