Sunday, February 19, 2006

Taking Stock of the Possible Liberal Contenders

There's only one announced candidate for the Liberal leadership - Martha Hall Findley.

But many more all mauling over a potential run. Draft Dryden looks at the potential candidates both from a positive and negative angle. Today we start with the princess of the Liberal Party.

Belinda Stronach

Pros
National organization - What remains (in the Liberal camp) of her CP leadership run. Rumor has it she has brought on some key organizers and has the resources to run a pan-Canadian campaign. When selling memberships is the name of the game, Stronach can perform.
Some experience - She knows what a national leadership is about. Has some proven ability in handling the stress, schedule and media attention the race brings.
Government experience - Ran one of the largest departments in the government, but has very little actual results to show for it.
Name recognition - Most candidates and definitely most who can be persuaded to join the party know who she is.
Money - enough said...
A woman - Canada definitely needs more women in politics and the Liberal Party has never had a female national leader.

Cons
Former association with the Conservative Party - she's definitely on the right side of the Liberal. This does not appeal to the left side of the Liberal Party and she brings a lot of baggage and past comments towards the Liberal party itself - Mike Harris' kind words towards her does not help.
Ability - her policy comprehension is questionable as is her ability to communicate a positive, progressive vision that can contrast with the Harper record.
Language - clearly not fluent in Canada's second official language (French) and this has been shown in her recent media scrum.
Negative impression - she's a floor crosser and a one year old Liberal. A tough sell for many in the party.
Electability - even if she can buy, I mean win the leadership, can she win the next election? Many believe, including yours truly, that she doesn't have what it takes to stand on the stage with Harper, Layton and Duceppe. Can she articulate a clear Liberal vision for the country? A bigger economic pie isn't enough... She would be Jack Layton's best option - a former Conservative with ties to Bay Street who would look more like Paul Martin than Pierre Trudeau.

Conclusion

Ms. Stronach will bring a lot to the leadership race. But at the end of the day, the Liberal Party needs someone who can (1) articulate a clear and contrasting message to the Conservatives and (2) can win. We here at Draft Dryden don't think she's the best choice. We're obviously looking for a progressive leader who can expand the Liberal tent, rebuild the party and re-attract progressive Canadians who were aliented by the Paul Martin Liberal government. Shes definitely running, but she's a false hope.

2 Comments:

Blogger CoteGauche said...

Nice analysis.

What do you think of Gerard Kennedy?

I have handicapped the Western and Ontario candidates on my site, but I don't know enough about the Quebec or Atlantic Canada potential candidates.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Ken Dryden for Liberal Leader said...

I think Gerard would be a great candidate and a great leader.

If Ken doesn't get in the ring, I could definitely see myself supporting someone like Gerard - progressive, young and experienced.

An agenda focused on education in the 21st century would fit him well.

4:35 PM  

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