The Canadian and the United States elections are over and the dedicated practitioners, also known as political junkies, are looking around for something to do in their spare time. Well the Liberals are in luck, the leadership race is on again, the decision on the new leader to be made May 19, 2009 in Vancouver at their policy conference. Leader Stéphane Dion declared his resignation after his abysmal showing in the last federal election of October 14, 2008.
The fee for candidates to contend for the leadership was doubled from last time – either because the party wants to avoid minor candidates, or because the sorely tapped Grits need to raise funds. Former Deputy Prime Minister John Manley refused to run as did former NB premier and Ambassador to the US Frank McKenna. Gerard Kennedy, who made the deal with Dion that allowed Dion to catapult ahead of the pack and win, has also declined to run. .
The first candidate for the Liberal crown was Member of Parliament Dominic LeBlanc, son of former Governor General Romeo LeBlanc, the first GG from Acadia.
The second out of the chute was Member of Parliament and former New Democratic Party Premier of Ontario Bob Rae. Rae, who is part Lithuanian, was most recently at Tartu College at a Richmond Hill Liberal fundraiser with Member of Parliament Bryon Wilfert explaining his well thought-out views on the scary direction of the new Vladimir Putin era Russia.
When asked about the discrepancy in Canada's foreign policy between the Union of South Africa and China, he replied, "Because South Africa was not changing whereas China has changed greatly. I remember when I first went there in the eighties and now, the difference is immense. This doesn't mean that we should stop talking to China about human rights. The growing middle class will also invoke certain change."
Despite the talking to China about "human rights", China is still a dictatorship, which is growing richer with real currency and is not improving its "human rights" record much if at all.
I wonder if increasing factory layoffs in Canada might cause a conflict with Rae's concept of trade with China.
There are still other leadership candidates to be heard from. Michael Ignatieff has not yet declared his intentions. And the Liberals really should have a woman candidate; this after highly regarded Martha Hall Findlay announced her decision not to run this week. Some think that the Libs, with a woman at the helm, might wrest control of Ottawa back from the Tories. And of course someone who isn't even on the screen may come out of the woodwork.
Blood sport of politics continues