Frank McKenna watch

I’ve learned via sources close to Frank McKenna that he’ll be having dinner with supporter, trusted advisers and longtime friends in Fredericton tonight.  Is the former Premier of New Brunswick gathering a team to run for the Liberal leadership?

RELATED: Steve Maher of the Halifax Chronicle Herald reports this morning,

On Nov. 25, [Bill] Clinton will join Mr. McKenna in the Moncton Coliseum for a talk on the world economy. When Mr. McKenna set that up, midway through this election campaign, he would have been able to guess that Mr. Dion was in the middle of losing the election.

Current Liberal leader Stephane Dion called a press conference earlier today for Monday where he is expected to announce that he’ll be stepping down. Apparently, he has been delayed in his announcement as he has been negotiating the transfer of his debt to the Liberal Party as a condition of his cooperative departure from Stornoway.

Comments

comments

  • sor

    I thought Frank didn't speak french.

  • simon

    A quote from the grave of former PM Sir John eh?

    “Be careful how you tar your opponent lest you get the same tar on yourself”

    In reference to Mr Dion stooping to absurdly call Mr Harper a quitter in the last days of the election, for having publicly mused about the 'unchosen' most likely having to vacate their leadership role.

  • Liz J

    If they're looking to McKenna to be the Janitor hope he has a super vacuum, he'll have his work cut out for him. This will certainly put a damper on the aspirations of Rae and Ignatieff who already have leadership machinery in place, in fact it could cause further divisions in an already divided mess.

    It wasn't Dion who divided and took down the Liberal Party, it was Chretien and Martin and their decade long feud. The divisions are still there. Bringing back some old Boys of the past will serve to alienate people like Rae and Ignatieff, they may have to consider their options if leadership is their raison d'etre.

    Poor Dion didn't really have a chance. Any bets those who hoisted him up to the leadership really did it for personal reasons? Gerard Kennedy was the Kingmaker, Rae would not throw his support to Iggy and so on. Division City, is the Liberal domain. It will be along road back.
    and future opportunities. I think he was used.

  • Nancy

    He is fluently bilingual – useful as premier of officially biingual NB, where 60% of population is English and 40% French.

  • http://frank-for-pm.blogspot.com Frank4PM

    I don't think Maher has his thinking cap on. You don't get President Clinton to pop up to New Brunswick on a month's notice. It is easier, and certainly cheaper given Bubba's speaking fees, to organize a conference of European First Ministers like Harper did and Bush did these last few weeks. Clinton is booked a year in advance. Now someone like McKenna with close contacts to Clinton could probably erase a few months, but not for such obvious purposes.

  • dast

    Re McKenna's spoken french, the Maher article referenced above states “His French is said to be awful”. When his name was being floated for LPC leader in Jan 2006, CTV reported “Pundits questioned how he would be received in Quebec as McKenna has never mastered the French language.” see:
    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTV

  • Dirk Gibson

    I wouldn't think McKenna could just walk in and displace Iggy and Rae. These two have already run once for the leadership and paid off their debts. I am sure they are ready to go through that process again. They would not take kindly to McKenna just coming in and scooping them on the position considering McKenna passed on the position the last time around.

  • Gabby in QC

    I guess it depends on your definition of “fluently bilingual.”
    Despite my admiration and support of PM Harper, I would not even say he is “fluently bilingual” although his French continues to improve. Don't forget, he's had to use French on an almost daily basis, unlike McKenna

    Unless Mr. McKenna has been spending a LOT of time at a Berlitz language school, his French – as Norman Spector succintly put it – “sucks.”

    BTW, here are some results from an informal poll (combination online / phone-in) conducted by CTV Montreal:
    Talkback Montreal Poll Results

    Poll Start Date: 2008-10-17
    Who is your choice for the next Liberal leader?
    Michael Ignatieff 17.96%
    John Manley 4.24%
    Frank McKenna 13.72%
    Bob Rae 12.47%
    None of the above 51.62%

  • Kevin MacLellan

    Although I am not an active member of the conservative party, this party currently best represents my views on a lot of things. I do recognize a strong market driven policy for the environment as reasonable. However, the party would be remiss if it fails to get involved at the consumer level. This is a level of involvment that appeals to most of the young voters today and more so in the future. Frank McKenna should not pose a threat to Steven Harper and competition from him would be good for the country. You can be sure McKenna will be appealing to the middle of the road voters. Steven Harper needs to come up with an environmental action policy such as a large tax on gas guzzling SUVs at the purchase point. He may also want to be aggressive in helping homeowners develop heat loss resistance through some form of grant. This will not hurt the market forces but should help to direct the future purchases of vehicles and help implement home owner conservation of energy and a true reduction of green house gases.

    The Green Shift is just a shell game and would not help the environment at all. Rebates would be given to people with gas guzzlers so they could afford expensive gas. Conservatives can do better and still hold the middle and right political arenas and may even appeal to some left wingers. There is nothing wrong with a green conservative (Conservative).

  • Gabby in QC

    P.S. Final results of informal poll:
    Michael Ignatieff 19.03%
    John Manley 4.23%
    Frank McKenna 13.95%
    Bob Rae 14.38%
    None of the above 48.41%

  • http://therightitswhereitsat.blogspot.com/ The Right

    Mr.Taylor what are your sources telling you? Is Mr.Dion resignation going to be immediately? The reason I’m asking is if his riding is going to be free there could be an opportunity for the Conservative party to run a candidate and probably win here in the Montreal region. I think it would destabilize the liberals even further in another by-election loss.

  • Dean

    Does anyone know how much the Liberal's are in debt? This election had to cost them plenty and now they are likely to have a leadership convention in Vancouver in May, if the “experts” are correct. I assume the leadership candidates would have to cover a chunk of the convention costs but the party would be on the hook for some it. Can the Liberal's assume the majority of Dion's debt from the last leadership convention? If you are a wealthy Liberal supporter…get your cheque book out.

  • Liz J

    The LPC needs an interim caretaker while they sort things out. Maybe McKenna could fill the bill but he would have to be appointed to the Senate and who’s going to do the appointing? Looks like they’re stuck with what they have. Goodale is now being touted as a possible manager, he can’t speak French either but that’s the least of their problems. A Janitor is what they need and cleaning up isn’t always done with the tongue unless you’re a cat.

  • batb

    Great to see, via Gabby in Quebec’s sharing of the polls on LPC Leadership (sic) that Bob Rae and Ignatieff have so little support. A vote for them is a vote for Power Corp’s continued interference in Canadian politics. What is Frank McKenna’s relationship with the Desmarais? If minimal, I hope he does run for the LPC leadership. If he ever became PM at least he wouldn’t have his strings pulled by the Desmarais…

  • Observant

    Liberal Stephen LeDrew in his Saturday National Post article recommends:

    “Holding off on a leadership race for a few years will allow the dust to settle, and younger candidates to emerge in the fight for the leadership.”

    http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=889448

    In effect he is saying the current crop of potential leadership hopefuls are not adequate, and a younger generation of Liberal leaders must be nurtured to emerge in several years.

    20th century McKenna, Ignatieff, Rae, will fade away and a new and younger crop will rise … Kennedy, Martha, JustinT, others …. all not besmirched by the corrupt Liberal past and all 21st century Liberal leaders.

    The Liberal party is approaching a political bifurcation after Dion is purged from the party’s system. Which direction will it take … downwards or upwards … Left or Right … old or new …. hmmmm.

    I suspect Stephen Harper will have a hand in helping Liberals decide who they will pick for their new leader.

  • Liz J

    Jeffery Simpson has an insightful column in the Globe & Mail today, “Quebecers' Mental Bloc”. He's absolutely spot on.

  • hollinm

    This is typical of the Liberal party. They are always looking for a messiah type to lead them out of the political wilderness. Instead of trying to draft somebody let the situation unfold as it will naturally. In the meantime get to work to fix the broken party. There are so many issues they have to deal with and the leadership issue is not the top of the list.
    For the life of me I don't know why McKenna would want to give up his cushy job with TD Bank to lead the Liberals. He has all the creature comforts of life, has some money and to throw himself in, at 60 years of age, seems to be asking for a heap of trouble.
    McKenna has a record that he will need to defend. Every potential leader has good points and bad points. McKenna certainly isn't perfect. His position on abortion will be on which the Liberals will have to explain.

  • Terry

    hollinm, the conservatives have harper and while he won two elections he has run in three of them and not acheived a majority yet and is unlikely to do so ever. Chretien was drafted not as a saviour but as a good politician and he won three, count em, majority governments and didn't break a sweat doing so.He had the same conditions as Harper had with a deeply divided opposition.

    The Liberals will be back and will win a majority after the cons really screw up the economy. Tell us in a year or so how smart those GST cuts were.

  • J. Doug LeBlanc

    Who is the best choice for the next Liberal Leader?

    I believe that the “only logical choice” is Frank Mckenna!
    Coming from the working class in NewBrunswick, I clearly remember the years in New Brunswick prior to his arrival as Liberal Leader of the provincial party. Major changes were needed to bring the province back into the real world of balanced budgets and debt reduction. The Mckenna years began swiftly and harshly, with cuts to all sectors including public and private. BUT, Mr. Mckenna told all New Brunswickers that the measures would hurt all but once the books balanced the spending would recommence, wisely!
    With these measures and responsible government came improve financial ratings and appeal to outside investors in our Province and jobs.

    Mr. Mckenna is not one who is afraid to make difficult but sound decisions. He already has the respect of world leaders and the people of Canada.

    He has no direct affliation with any of the the troubles that past liberal leaders have had, which cannot be said about a potential leader coming from within the current caucus.
    The liberal party needs a strong leader who can hit the ground running and unite all liberals and our country.

    I strongly believe a Conservative majority would be devasting to the working class of Canada.

    Mr Mckenna needs to step in and stop the political hemorrhaging that has existed in the liberal party for years.

    Please don`t be the GREATEST PRIME MINISTER WE NEVER HAD!

  • Observant

    The Liberal party is in desperate straits both financially and organizationally …and the next leader will be swimming with an anchor around his/her neck and no hope of surfacing in the near future.

    None of the obvious old bunch of leadership candidates have the charisma to raise funds and re-establish a support base amongst Canadians as well as manage a turnaround of biblical proportions.

    McKenna is not the great saviour, because he is a Maritimer and that would really really upset the Ontario branch of the federal Liberals. Since Ontario is the last major stronghold of the Liberal party, they will want the next leader from Ontario. not New Brunswick.

    Dion to McKenna … frenchman to fishhead … too insulting for Ontario Liberals !!!!

  • CJ

    Ain't gonna be Frank. He went off the reservation on abortion. Remember how he didn't want to let Morgentaler into N.B.? You think Liberal women from T.O. would support him? No chance. Not even if he personally did an abortion in Rogers Centre with Morgentaler supervising. As for Frank''s French, it's basically nonexistent. Think John Diefenbaker. Frank is a pretty good guy by Liberal standards, but he is not going to be leader. He's probably smart enough to know it and not to want it.

  • Observant

    Frank McKenna — another Catholic Liberal lawyer following in the great Liberal lineage of Trudeau, (Mulroney), Chretien, Martin, Dion .. all from Quebec too.

    At least Frank is not from Quebec, but I doubt he would resonate in western Canada, or for that matter in rural Ontario and Quebec.

  • CJ

    Ain't gonna be Frank. He went off the reservation on abortion. Remember how he didn't want to let Morgentaler into N.B.? You think Liberal women from T.O. would support him? No chance. Not even if he personally did an abortion in Rogers Centre with Morgentaler supervising. As for Frank''s French, it's basically nonexistent. Think John Diefenbaker. Frank is a pretty good guy by Liberal standards, but he is not going to be leader. He's probably smart enough to know it and not to want it.

  • Observant

    Frank McKenna — another Catholic Liberal lawyer following in the great Liberal lineage of Trudeau, (Mulroney), Chretien, Martin, Dion .. all from Quebec too.

    At least Frank is not from Quebec, but I doubt he would resonate in western Canada, or for that matter in rural Ontario and Quebec.