Ignatieff leadership gain of LeBlanc and the scuttling of the Liberal-NDP coalition?

News that is late-breaking tonight suggests that Liberal MP Dominic Leblanc will drop out of the Liberal leadership race and endorse Michael Ignatieff. It is rumoured that Leblanc will provide Ignatieff with an additional nine members of the Liberal caucus in what is shaping up to be a backroom leadership election by caucus. Leblanc’s move over to the Ignatieff camp should be smooth for Leblanc supporters as some senior east-coast Liberal organizers who were initially eyeing Frank McKenna for the top job of that party chose Leblanc instead. New Brunswicker Steve McKinnon, who would have backed McKenna has blazed charted the waters for martime Liberals to sail over to Ignatieff.

This late development means that Bob Rae, who is beating a path coast-to-coast promoting the coalition concept, finds himself further behind now that Ignatieff enjoys an even more comfortable lead among caucus colleagues. Somewhat ironic is the fact that the coalition deal was struck out of a sense of urgency (or opportunity) to topple the Harper government and that this sense of urgency is also driving the Liberal party to select a leader via caucus selection. Strategically, Rae should now advocate for a period of Liberal introspection, an abandonment of the push to a coalition with the Bloc and to have a real (yet delegated) full-blown leadership election. As it stands, Rae would fare worse under the urgent scenario than that which allows the Prime Minister to stay in power for now.

And why not? Some time for the Liberal party to heal might do them some good. Joining up with the NDP erodes the brand of both parties and upsets each ideological base. True, those that seek power despite principle would rather see Stephen Harper evicted from 24 Sussex tomorrow. However, for the longterm livelihood of the Liberal party they ought to take some time out to rebuild, to fundraise and to craft an original policy platform – one without the word “shift”.

If Michael Ignatieff does assume the helm of the Liberal Party through caucus selection, the January throne speech/budget combo should pass through Liberal abstention. Poll numbers are showing poor support for a Liberal-NDP coalition and Ignatieff himself has never been warm to the idea of coalition. Besides, don’t you get the sense that Iggy is the sort who plays the long game rather than leaps before he looks? A number of Liberals in caucus have privately expressed concerns over the coalition proposal and most scenarios of how a coalition would play out are unknown and therefore should be somewhat worrisome to most.

For Mr. Dion, the coalition concoction was to be his magical elixir which promised new life. Realistically, his leadership prospects have been long dead. For Mr. Rae to avoid a quick demise, he should insist upon a delegated leadership election as planned meaning that the coalition ought to be on hold for now or done like Dion.



  • Philanthropist

    Bob Rae is the natural leader of the Liberal Party, a coronation for the arrogant American would simply prove how little respect the party has for its own principles, members, or the people of Canada. And in the words of that Liberal who got away with the most crime and corruption of any PM in history, a proof is proof cuz it’s a proven proof. Sumthin’ like that. Americans are great, but if they’re going to send us somebody to run the Liberal Party of Toronto, couldn’t they send someone who is passionate about our ‘no doctor for you’ health care system? Like Michael Moore, or that other guy, you know, that guy….

  • Anonymous

    The coalition would resally be dead if Harper was fired for incompetence by his party. Your caucus should focus on why Harper is allowed to be so error prone. He has killed off any future ability to get a majority as he has seriously irked Quebeckers and other urban voters.

    Your rally for Canada efforts brought out the converted and there was no real massive protest against the coalition. The frst PR battle is the only thing that the Tories have won. They still have to produce a stimulus package in January and get it passed. Not a done deal.

    When Iggy does take over the PR advantage will SHIFT(LOL) as he has a good solid base of support in Quebec and will be the local guy in Ontario. He will also be able to call Harper’s follies,and there are plenty, into focus in a much more articulate manner that will resonate.
    So keep your arrogance in check as you’ll need some humility in the next while.

  • Dean

    Wow. The antics of the Liberal party over the last couple weeks is pressing the patience of what is left of their grassroots support. They may infact have to form a permanent coalition with the NDP to remain a political power in Canada. They are indeed a rudderless ship being bounced around by the waves of public opinion and an international financial meltdown. While grits bounce around in the waves the PM and his Conservative government quietly go about building a budget and a plan that will guide Canada through the rapids and propel our nation into calm open waters.

  • http://maxwell-devin.blogspot.com Devin Maxwell

    You’ll have to excuse us if we don’t put too much stock into the credibility of an assessment of our party by a CPC employee…

  • David

    What happens to the validity of the coalition? The letter of intent that the three parties sent to the GG has the signature of the leader of the Liberal party of Canada (Dion) on it. Since that person would no longer be leader is it valid?

    No GG could allow a new gov’t in these circumstances, that is, without the current leader’s signature. It is my view that a new letter must be sent otherwise the coalition is dead both practically, and politically. Ignatieff will be very hesitent to sign it. Unless and until he signs it as leader then there is no validity to the new coalition.

    If Ignatieff does not sign then it could be suggested to unprorogue(!?) parliament. It is time for Ignatieff to show true leadership(jumping the gun here since he is not leader quite yet) instead of sending mixed messages to Canadians.

  • Anthony

    From the sounds of this, it sounds like you Stephen are a big Ignatieff supporter.

    Good for you. And you’re right, he’ll play things in the long run, not just about short term gains. Your dude could learn a thing or two from him.

  • Jen

    Ignatieff made appearances whenever it suited him, he like Dion test the direct of the wind before he makes an appearance. look what happened a few days ago, when the direction of the wind favouring Dion, he supported Dion. When the direction of the wind went against Dion, Ignatieff disappeared.
    The liberals are all the same- their main concern is not to repent for allowing this whole mess and fury to exist but to retake what they claim is theirs and get this straight-they will do whatever it takes to get their entitlement.

    One thing that keeps the liberals functioning and alive today is the MSM. Without the MSM the liberals are lost and we don’t want ‘lost mps, or corrupt mps running this country at a time like this. Things will only get worse.

    Stephen, the gathering of the leftwing MSM to help the liberals otherthrown the sitting government is appalling.
    We need a very good fair balance newsmedia.television station that will speak for the canadians.

  • http://vollman.blogspot.com Robert V

    “Joining up with the NDP erodes the brand of both parties and upsets each ideological base.”

    Not necessarily. For a lot of their ideological base nothing is more important that defeating conservatives (like Harper). Working to defeat Harper might be just the glue they need to keep their party together.

    Take, for example, the uniting of the right. The glue that brought (and held) the Tories together was a desire to end the Liberal dictatorship. Sure, they lost Orchards, Bachands and Brisons, but mostly survived intact. Why couldn’t the left do the same? They certainly hate Harper and crave power at least as much as the Tories/Alliance did.

  • carolbine

    I am surprised by the lack of TV coverage from the anticoalition front. I did not see much coverage of the rally on parliament hill. I saw a great deal of coverage from the Dion camp. All I see in the media seems to be the coalition campaign propaganda almost brainwashing the world that change is the only option and everyone wants change. It is scary when you see politicians telling Canadians what they think. I find this offensive. I find this very scary. Its like a well orchastrated conspiracy brainwashing Canadians. I cannot beleive how many people are falling for it. I hope more people turn out to the rallies in the future I for one think Harper has not even been given a chance. For the most part I like the job he has done so far. We cannot blame him for the global economic crisis. I cannot see the coalition doing any better than Harper. I believe we will be worse off without Harper. I see him as a couragous leader who is not afraid to do what is necessary!

  • Observant

    Coalition junta has lost it's leader Dion.

    Will new leader-apparent Ignatieff join the leftist-separatist junta or will he disavow them and make the Liberals a stand-alone party faithful to it's core values and principles?

    The Coalition Junta is obviously anti-democratic and anti-Canadian.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    You know Devin… you need to stop lying. I am not a CPC employee.

    I am a Fellow at the Manning Centre for Building Democracy.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Ignatieff? No way.

  • Liz J

    Mr Ignatieff can’t distance himself from the Coalition, he signed on to it as it was presented to the GG. As did all the Liberal caucus. Add to that, Dion was to be the PM in the Coalition. Now, about a week later, this man they signed on to have lead the country is no longer acceptable to lead the Liberals, they can’t give him the courtesy of staying on until a new leader is chosen.

    What kind of morals or decency do the members of the coalition have? Were they being honest when the document presented to the GG clearly said that they would support Dion as PM? Is presenting a false intention to the crown acceptable?

    It appears the problems in the Liberal Party are far deeper than poor Dion who they’ve treated badly and now won’t even allow him to bow out gracefully.

  • MikeW

    You state Iggy was not warm to the coalition. He signed on to the Liberal support along with Rae and Leblanc. He did not rise in Caucus when this was introduced and denounce it. Yes some “spokespersons” alluded to friendly MSM his lack of interest. But I am not convinced of his on/off lack of principle or integrity. Just when in this ugly mess until P.M. Harper obtained perogation from the GG and polls started to show public reaction against this cabal did Iggy publically condemn this coalition with the NDP and Bloc?

  • foobius

    From what I heard on Rutherford this morning, from ex Lib Party Pres Stephen LeDrew: By the LPC constitution, the nation executive is the only authority allowed to choose the INTERIM LEADER, after consultation with the caucus. The permanent :-) leader must be chosen by a convention by voting members, and the interim leader can’t/shouldn’t be a candidate for leader because of the unfair advantage of being interim leader.

    Thus the discussion of Ralph Goodale as interim leader, until Dion decided to give failure one more chance.

  • James

    Whats with this “stimulus package” mantra? $7B for the big 3? Why reward failed enterprise? If they give money to poor performing automakers then I want some as well. Can't see that happening. I actually pay my taxes. It will be mine and many others that will go into the bottomless pit of despair.

  • Liz J

    What we really seem to be ignoring is just how dangerous to the stability of the country these crazy for power people in Opposition are. Power trumps all and this attempt at a coup to take down the government at the worst possible time is proof. It's irresponsible , reckless and feckless.

    How can they expect us to accept as credible any one of those who signed on to this crazy overthrow plot as credible to lead anything? Ignatieff and Rae both signed on and they're damaged for it. The turmoil they caused all Canadians is not going to be simply forgotten just because the Liberals say they're ready to govern, they aren't and they can't fool anyone after this fiasco. The whole country has awakened to their games. The country have also twigged to the games being played in parts of the media, no more accepting their sin as fact.

  • Terry

    stephen, You work at the Manning center for building democracy and you support Harper…..how ironic is that?

  • Pat

    Most of the “Proceeds of Crime” organizations seem to come to this end. The NDP, fanatical left wing idealogues that they are, will have the slings and arrows of Canadian outrage bounce off their hides, just as a pal that is an entrenched Dipper of the “dine with the leader” type who said that the polls are from the “mushy middle” that know nothing and of course the Western Right will howl. They were now dismissed in his mind and on to more and futher left ideas.

    I asked whether those that opposed Mini-Marx would be sent to the Gulags. Beneath his commie soul to respond.

    Yes, threaten welfare in any form, political party sponsorship in this case, or challenge the Unions power and you’re guaranteed to light the fuse on the Dippers, Liebrals and Separatists. Oops, forgot the Greens. Yep, they’re pissed off too. But then when were they not.

  • Terry

    The problems in the Liberal party can be resolved very easily with tough leadership and Iggy promises that. He won't allow Harper to steamroll over him like Dion did.

  • http://deirdresstudio.blogspot.com Deirdre

    Hi Stephen. Lovely to find your blog. If this were a hockey game, the score would be Conservatives, 1 and pathetic, weasel coalition ZERO. When push comes to shove Canadians are on the whole pretty bright, there is no way they will continue fall for the backdoor sleazy antics of all the coalition leaders. Stephen since you are a political scientist, answer me this. How come the axis of weasels dont believe in honour, in truth, and in the earning of one's vote,? Nothing wrong with the coalition that a bag of hammers wouldnt fix. Canadians have long memories. Whoops you just caught me daydreaming , again. I look forward most earnestly to a Conservative Majority. Thankyou Stephen for all your hard work , Deirdre

  • Bruce

    Been into the Kool Aid again eh, Terry?

  • tory

    Ignatieff and other Liberals see they are caught up in a social democratic alliance, and they will try to retreat to the right and reclaim the centre. We need to head them off at the pass!

  • tory

    Ignatieff and other Liberals see they are caught up in a social democratic alliance, and they will try to retreat to the right and reclaim the centre. We need to head them off at the pass!

  • Phil Hauser

    Thanks for all the opinion of what the Conservatives need to do. Last I checked it was the Liberals who have struggled through two leaders (do I hear three? four?) since Chretien was ousted. It is fitting that when you have a party run in Bolshevik style that the grandson of a Tsar's minister of Education (who was one of few ministers not murdered) is getting a back room deal to lead.

    No, as I see it. the next one to be cut to shreds is Jack Layton (maybe with Bob Rae coming home to take over?)

    Again thanks for all the advice but we all seem pretty fine with Harper while you guys are killing yourself and are still so out of touch you think the conservatives have the trouble. To all Liberals Buy a freakin' mirror and you might see the answer to your problems.

  • Phil Hauser

    Devin it would seem you put enough stock in Stephen's opinion to drop by and comment on it.

  • Phil Hauser

    Great Irony as Stephen noted that the party who so felt it so desparately needed to nuke the PM is now choosing in an urgent fashion their next messiah.

    Also right on about the fact they really needed to do some navel gazing. EVERYONE outside the liberal party KNEW they needed to rebuild but they couldn't see it.

    Anyway, a local broadcaster commented on where the Liberals really screwed this whole thing up. Let's suppose they really did feel the conservatives were bullying things through. They could have made a deal with the Dippers and came to Harper saying that they were united and would not support a single piece of legislation until conservatives accepted demand a) b) c) etc.

    The Conservatives would have had no choice but to make one of two positions 1) seek Bloc co-operation or 2) bend to the NDP/Liberal will. That they could not see this and that they could not see that they needed to rebuild may well force them in the future to seek a merger with the NDP.

    They have screwed this up so bad and still they can't see it. Loved Chrisite Blachford article today.


  • Liz J

    If Liberals want to further anger Canadians Goodale would be a good choice for interim leader. He’s so over the top in rhetoric and fiercely abrasive. If anyone wants to talk arrogance, he’s got it.

    If Liberals are looking for Mr. Dithers number two, Iggy’s their man. The fun has already started with squabbling between the “camps” as to how the leader should be chosen. We saw an example of it last evening on MDL with Hedy Fry and Mark Holland squaring off for their different camps.

    Dream on Terry, Iggy is no match for Mr Harper. The very fact he signed on to the pact with the Separatists to run the country when they haven’t got their own mess sorted shows poor judgment and like all the rest of the Liberals, power trumps the stability of the country.

    Also, Terry, how is it Mr Harper’s fault when the overthrow plot was hatched by Layton with Duceppe before their stated reason,the party funding issue, was brought out? BTW most Canadians agree we shouldn’t be funding parties not of our own choosing,

    Problem with Liberals, Mr Harper can stick handle around people fighting among themselves very well. Keep it up.

  • glacialgal

    I want Iggy to rightfully be stained with the coalition vomit that he glommed onto. He tried to tiptoe his way out of it only AFTER he saw how public opinion was strongly anti-coalition which makes him both foolish and cowardly.

  • Jo R Hamburg

    great article!, grats for u site :)

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