Saturday, October 28, 2006

Bob's Your Uncle

As Bob Rae's momentum in the Liberal leadership race grows with each new endorsement and defector from other camps, one fact of Canadian political life has become ever clearer; who Power Corporation wants is who the Liberal Party gets:

Last week, Rae won the endorsement of Don Valley West MP John Godfrey, former minister of state. Yesterday, Rae snagged the support of a prominent GTA MP, who had left the Ignatieff camp.

"Bob Rae embodies all the qualities necessary to successfully lead the Liberal party and become the next prime minister — inclusive, principled, experienced, consistent and forward looking," Thornhill MP Susan Kadis said after joining Team Rae.

Until recently, Kadis was GTA co-chair for Ignatieff, the MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. She quit, writing an angry, public letter about her disappointment in the candidate after he referred, on Quebec TV, to the summer's Israeli bombing of Qana, Lebanon, as a "war crime." (Ignatieff later stressed both Israeli and Lebanese civilians were victims of war crimes and that a ruling on Qana would come from international organizations.)

Kadis went further yesterday. "Rae is ready for the rigours of leadership. Is Michael Ignatieff not ready? My opinion is that he is not. That's why I parted ways with him," she said.


Ignatieff's people may argue that high-profile converts — MPs Maurizio Bevilacqua (Vaughan), Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's) and Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre) — couldn't bring their supporters to Rae. They point out that Ignatieff already had far more parliamentary support than his opponents.

But it's the "cumulative effect" of the steady exodus to Rae that should worry the other camps. "It gives the impression Rae has the `Big Mo,'" said MacIvor.

Meanwhile, in this season of deal-making, Ignatieff appears to have been left out. The Toronto Star revealed the existence this week of talks about a potential alliance between the Dion and Kennedy camps. The idea appears to be that whoever trails after the second ballot — the former federal environment minister from Quebec or the former Ontario education minister — would drop out.

Other camps argue Ignatieff has little room to grow and that by supporting a resolution recognizing Quebec as a nation last weekend in Montreal, he further alienated other delegates.

It looks like Power Corp rope-a-doped Ignatieff into believing his own myth of being the great philosopher king reincarnate who could do no wrong, and let him shoot his mouth off in all directions in his hubris.

And fooled everyone else into believing that the Liberal Party was actually running a genuinely competitive leadership contest.

It's all over, folks, when Paul Desmarais gives the signal.

Bob Rae will be the next leader of the Liberal Party. And Michael Ignatieff will be back in Harvard Yard, wondering what happened.

Source: Toronto Star

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