Paul Martin will formally resign as Liberal leader this weekend, snuffing out any lingering possibility of him making a comeback in the next election.
The former prime minister sent party executives a letter of resignation today declaring that he will step aside after the party sets its leadership convention date this weekend.
The three-sentence letter puts to an end speculation that Martin could be thrust into another election fight if the minority Tory government suddenly collapses.
“I wish to confirm my intention to resign as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada upon the formal call of the convention,” Martin wrote.
“I look forward to continuing to serve and contribute to the party that I have always and will always regard as my second family.”
The letter formally sets in motion the process that will see Liberals choose a new leader at a convention that must be held within a year.
Martin may not have really believed that he could repeat Pierre Trudeau's 1980 return to glory, but no doubt some die-hard members of the Board, clutching at any straw to keep their careers in the Liberal Party afloat, were trying to convince him.
But you never step into the same campaign twice.
In 1980, Trudeau could make the case that only he could lead federalist forces to victory in the upcoming Quebec sovereignty referendum.
There is no similarly important cause whose triumph depends on Paul Martin's return to champion it.
And Joe Clark was far more feckless an opponent, an accidental leader made accidental prime minister, than Stephen Harper will ever be.
The Board must now find someone who can credibly mount a challenge against what appears to be the Power Corporation/Chretien restoration under Bob Rae.
Not for the good of the country, nor even of the party, but of themselves.
Source: Toronto Star