The liberal leadership race: at the short strokes (1)
The leader is Michael Ignatieff with around 41% of delegate support, second is Bob Rae in the 30 % range, third is Stéphane Dion around 20% with Gerard Kennedy at 10% and the rest, Martha Hall Findlay, Joe Volpe, Scott Brison and Ken Dryden in the single digits according to the polls. The order has remained pretty much the same throughout the race with several having dropped off due to lack of support, money or both.
In the meantime there some interesting gaffes, by none other than the leader, Ignatieff who flip-flopped about the war in Iraq,and taking sides in the middle east.Then there have been the financial "indiscretions" of Joe Volpe, where donations of sizeable amounts were made by 12 year-olds and other fun. Yet none of these has made a difference ... on the first ballot.
That seems to be where the interesting new profession of "candidate tracking" comes in. A person gets to be a delegate by aligning with a candidate's team, they go to the nomination meeting and the candidate's team wins. The delegate is now begotten to the candidate ... for the first ballot. The trackers try to keep their delegates in line and entice those of other candidates.
Now say you are a delegate of Arab background and you heard Ignatieff make comment that "he wouldn't lose any sleep over the Israelis bombing a town in Lebanon". Nor would a Jewish delegate be very happy if he were an Ignatieff supporter and he heard "Count Iggy" do a reversal and criticize the bombing by Israel. These are both men of honour and they will vote the way they have promised, on the first ballot, but on the second ballot and those following all bets are off.
Rae on the other hand hasn't made many mistakes, this time around. His mistakes were made last time around, when he was premier of Ontario. That has been why he has not received any support in Ontario. The fact that he put Ontario into debt to the tune of $ 60 billion dollars in the middle of a recession.
Rae's other big perceived gaffe also was not implementing government auto insurance, which is sorely missed currently in Ontario with the high rates compared to say Quebec.
Rae's answer to his is that he made many mistakes then, but he is wiser now.
If I mention one more time what Rae did for the Estonian people the Editor is going to make me do lines.
Word has it that the Conservatives are most concerned that Ignatieff might win because he is closer to them than any of the others in contention and could draw off support from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The other big feature of the convention will the guest speaker of the evening before, who is Governor Howard Dean (Democrat,Vermont), who lost the nomination of the democratic party to the man who lost to George Bush. I hope there is no hidden message there, or then again maybe there is. They could at least have persuaded Belinda Stronach to ask former President Bill Clinton to speak, at least he won. I wonder if Dean will give his famous yell.
The strong rumour is that the fallout from the first ballot will be going to either Dion or Kennedy who are holding to the Liberal position of just left of centre with no black marks on them. Dion has a history of ecology while Kennedy who goes a little further left has one of education and feeding the poor. They have however further to go to get to the front of the pack.
The greatest concern is who is in cahoots with Power Corporation, the company which has pushed for great contacts with China at the cost of human rights. Rae's brother is executive vice-president of Power Corp, Ignatieff could be, the others I don't know about.
That is what is going to make the first weekend of December so much fun.