The number of the Liberal leadership contenders has grown to eight, with another two expected to join as well and that is with one who has already dropped out. This is probably the largest crowd ever to join a leadership race. Will they all stay in the contest?
We should go through the list and note the relation/benefit they may have to Estonians.
1. Martha Hall-Finlay - The first to throw her hat in the ring. Her tenure as a Liberal is of only a few years. Hall-Finlay almost defeated Belinda Stronach in 2004 but when Stronach became a Liberal, she was asked to step down.
2. Stéphane Dion - As a former Minister of the Environment, he will need to hold the Québec/federalist flag up high.
3. Michael Ignatieff - A former Professor at Harvard, just elected on January 23 and thus returned to Toronto. He used to be an executive assistant to former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. "Count Iggy" has an impressive background in Imperial Tsarist Russia, which he details in one of his many books. A great-great-great grandfather had a role in Napoleon's defeat. A great-grandfather acquired Siberia for Russia. Hurrah! A grandfather, yet another Count, served as a minister in Nicholas II's court. He has angered the Ukrainians by referring to them as "little Russians" in one of his books. He speaks English, French and, of course, Russian.
4. Maurizio Bevilacqua - Born in Italy, reputed to be the most right wing of the slate. He held some junior ministries of no major note.
5. Dr. Carolyn Bennett - A former Minister of State for Public Health and family doctor, has been elected many times in Forest Hill area, which suits her well.
6. Scott Brison - Former Progressive Conservative leadership candidate, who lost narrowly to Peter MacKay, then became Liberal Minister of Public Works. Openly gay, only coincidentally to his political hopes.
7. Joe Volpe - As Minister of Citizenship and Immigration didn't do anything to scrap the proposed law where war criminals would be deported by order of cabinet (not the judiciary), in closed session, without cause being declared or appeal. This proposed legislation has been opposed vigorously by Liberal MP's Andrew Telegdi and Borys Wrzesnewskyj.
8. Bob Rae - Former NDP Premier of Ontario and MP who took the province over when it suffered the worst depression in decades. Rae's grandfather was Lithuanian (family took the Scottish name later) and he kept the connection by helping monitor the independent elections in Lithuania. Rae also gave $ 1.5 million (Ontario's money) to Estonia in the early years of regained independence when it was needed most.
9. Gerard Kennedy - Former head of Toronto's Daily Bread food bank for ten years, then shocked everybody by becoming a Liberal. He is, however, supported by Borys Wrzesnewskyj.
10. Ken Dryden - Parachuted into Art Eggleton's riding because of his name recognition in hockey. Former Minister of Social Development where he set up the Liberal child care system that was scrapped by the Conservatives. Dryden does not speak much French.
Other candidates that are being rumoured to join the fray are: Dr. Hedy Fry, John McCallum, Anne McLellan, Sen. Celine Hervieux-Payette, Dr. Ruby Dhalla and Maritime fiddler Ashley MacIsaac.
Any bets on running the slate up to twenty?
Liberal leadership race, phase III (2)