Monday, April 17, 2006

Starting Post Scramble

The Liberal Party leadership race is about to presently resemble a multi-car pileup on the Don Valley Parkway: a terrifying sight of carnage and destruction that you just can't help but slow down and gawk at.

Everybody who shouldn't be running, from the Liberal Party's objective of finding an electable leader who can get the Natural Governing Party By Divine Right back into office, is about to jump in:

Former Ontario premier Bob Rae is planning to launch his campaign for the Liberal leadership early next week, according to campaign advisers -- but at least three other candidates are expected to jump in the race before him.

Mr. Rae, 57, has been testing the waters for more than a month, but delivered a strong hint on April 8 that he is seriously considering running for the leadership.

Now, his campaign advisers insist he is in the race and they are gearing up for an official campaign kickoff early next week.


Mr. Rae's launch is scheduled after those of a series of other candidates who plan to enter the race officially this week, while the House of Commons is shut for its extended Easter break.

MPs Maurizio Bevilacqua, 45, and Joe Volpe, 58, are expected to throw their hats in the ring in the contest to succeed Paul Martin this week, while Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison, 38, is planning a weekend launch in his home province.

The three new candidates this week will bring the number officially in the race to seven.

Carolyn Bennett, 55, the former public-health minister, is also expected to launch her campaign early next week, while advisers to MP Ken Dryden, 58, say he is gearing up for a launch soon after.

"It will be soon, but not as soon as this week," one of Mr. Dryden's senior advisers said.

Or perhaps more like the California gubernatorial recall election in 2003 that elected Arnold Schwarzenegger? All the serious contenders backed out early leaving a host of second-stringers and fringe nuts to pile on (Gary Coleman? Mary Carey?) and make a near-joke of the race.

Furthermore,the pileup of Toronto candidates will do nothing to alleviate the growing perception that the Liberal Party has ceased to be a a nationally-based party and become a Toronto-based big city bloc. Observers will recall the media's obsessive complaints about Reform/Alliance/Conservative Parties being Western-dominated, and its relative silence about the Toronto hegemony over the Liberals so far.

There will be no coronation, in any event. But this week, with the exception of Bob Rae, will bring us the also-rans.

Source: Globe and Mail

No comments: