Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Battle Of The Brains

Had the Liberal Party's centre of gravity not shifted from Quebec to Toronto, this announcement would mark the beginning of another coronation disguised as a leadership race. And it would also mark the entry of the lone Toronto candidate instead of just another one in the pack:

CTV News has learned that on Friday, two Liberal MPs will formally announce their quest to seek their party's leadership.

The two are Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff.

Dion, 51, has been in elected politics since 1996. He left his life as an academic to join the Liberal government of then-prime minister Jean Chretien, who appointed him minister of intergovernmental affairs.

In that portfolio, Dion became known as an aggressive defender of federalism.


Ignatieff, 58, is a newcomer to elected politics. He successfully ran in the Toronto-area riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, in which some of his most aggressive opponents were disaffected Liberals opposed to someone they saw as a "parachute candidate."

For most of his life, Ignatieff has been a journalist, author and academic. His last posting was at Harvard, where he headed the Carr Centre for Human Rights.

He is the associate Liberal critic for human resources and skills development in this Parliament.

It looks like the Liberals are giving their members a choice of philosopher kings, one who can potentially bring the party back from the dead in Quebec and actually understands the ways of government, versus a camera hog who wouldn't have come back to Canada for any other job except the top one.

The Liberal Party of old would have flocked to Dion over Ignatieff in a second. But this is the new Liberal Party, where Quebec is increasingly terra incognita. Ignatieff may be at odds with the party's natural drift to knee-jerk anti-Americanism, but at the end of the day, he is still a Torontonian.

Alternance is taking on a new meaning: between Toronto and non-Toronto leaders.

Source: CTV

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