Liberal leadership, the final stroke
Over the last week the numbers have changed but the order hasn't: Michael Ignatieff 30%, Bob Rae 20%, Gerard Kennedy 17%, Stéphane Dion 16% and Ken Dryden, Joe Volpe, Scott Brison and Martha Hall Findlay at less than 5%.
A new statistic that also came out was the second ballot numbers. They were almost in reverse from that of the first ballot, leaving out that 44% of the delegates have not made up their minds who to vote for.
The convention is underway and the Wednesday keynote speaker was Vermont Governor Howard "Big Yell" Dean, President of the Democratic Party. No he did not give his famous yell. In fact he didn't give a very rousing speech either. His secrets of campaign success were badly received, badly delivered but unfortunately true. The applause started when he started to bring up positive similarities between Democrats and Liberals.
The best speech was by interim leader Bill Graham's son Patrick, a journalist, who along with his sister Katie, introduced Bill. He explained the similarities and differences between reporters and politicians. The fine points of Bill Graham the historian also became obvious during his speech. It also was obvious when then Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Graham met then North American Ambassador for Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves after the 1998 Baltic Evening at Parliament Hill and the two exchanged academic chit-chat.
The whole purpose for some people, of this convention, from even before the whistle blew, was to find the second coming of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. The son of a Trudeau strategist Keith "Rainmaker" Davey thought he found him in Michael Ignatieff after a speech at a Liberal event. They brought him back from the US, got him a safe political riding and a professorship at the University of Toronto and expected a few year wait.
The few years became a few months and the academic, "Trudeau in Waiting" was no longer waiting. Ignatieff needed to learn not to shoot off his mouth and to smile, unfortunately he had to learn on the run. He finally learned, it might be too late. His campaign has cost a little over a $1,000,000.
The other camp, former "Chrétienites", headed by Power Corp v-p John Rae had only to look into his family for a candidate in Bob Rae, former Ontario NDP premier, who took out his Liberal membership only recently. Bob Rae had a lot of baggage left over from his premiership which has come out during this campaign. Despite that, though he has not enough time as a Liberal he has garnered fair support. Rae has $990,000, mind you $750,000 came from brother John.
Stéphane Dion was recruited from academe into politics after the last Québec referendum at the request of former PM Jean Chrétien because of his hard stand for Canadian unity. He became Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs under Chrétien, then nothing under former Prime Minister Paul Martin until later. No baggage and no slips of the tongue. A second ballot favourite.
Gerard Kennedy is one of the other after second ballot favourites. Stepped down from his position of Ontario Education Minister to run for leadership without speaking very good french. Ran the food banks in Edmonton and Toronto before getting into politics. Other than that, no gaffes. Kennedy has Justin Trudeau's endorsement - for what that may be worth.
The week also had a schedule of policy sessions and election of party president to get in the way of good hard politicking.
The voting will begin on Friday and continue until Saturday considering that there will be four ballots. Its highly unlikely there would be a first ballot decision.