The compromise candidate

The Liberals have selected Stephane Dion as the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

The main thing that I noticed after his selection and the initial cheering, it seemed as though the energy of the room became flat. The mood seemed more of acceptance and acknowledgement rather than excitement.

A media friend remarked the same. It seemed like the mood of the convention became anti-climactic too soon.

Delegates here either hated the idea of a Rae-led Liberal Party or one led by Michael Ignatieff. Nobody hates Stephane Dion. He actually seems like a nice guy. However, as I said previously, he’s not the type of guy to lead his troops over the hill of the electoral battlefield.

The mood of delegates seems to be “Stephane Dion? Good enough.”

Conservatives are celebrating

Dion vs. Ignatieff on the final ballot. These are two candidates that we as Conservatives can run well against in the next election. Many thought that Rae was the preferred candidate but what I gather, Rae was the Conservative’s most feared candidate. It’s argued that it’s been long enough for Ontario to forget about Rae. Also, Rae would have polarized an electoral race left vs. right and right now, at least since the CPC is a minority government (elected with about 36% of the vote), the majority of the votes lie outside of the Conservative camp.

I’m certain that Ignatieff was Conservatives’ most preferred candidate to face as what makes Iggy controversial is indistinguishable from what makes Harper controversial to some Canadians (Afghanistan and anglospheric foreign policy). Ignatieff also suffers from foot-in-mouth disease and there are plenty of gaffes that he’s made in the past and will likely make in the future. Iggy is the most conservative candidate and you might as well vote for the conservative in power. Further, the Liberals have always played the anti-American card on the Conservatives. An Ignatieff victory would have nullified this old Liberal standby.

Out of the top four, Kennedy would have been the dream candidate due to his inexperience and alienation of Quebec (his lack of french and his “nation” position). Kennedy though was a bit of a long shot.

Out of the top eight candidates Volpe would have been our favourite candidate. It’s not even necessary to explain why.

Dion is the grassroots candidate that Liberal party members have promoted to tell the party’s old guard that they will not have another leader thrust upon them.

Dion’s schtick is the environment. This isn’t as big of an issue (yet) and it’s really the main thing that he ran on. Dionistas (or Dionkeys as their opponents here call them) are waving green Dion signs to contrast against the Liberal red. Green may as well be a safe apolitical colour that Dion could use. However, Dion’s record on the environment is mostly hot air. He banged that gavel at the UNFCCC to be sure, however, GHG emissions under the Liberal government rose over 25%. Further, conservatives won’t lose any of their base to Dion because of any claim of environmental credentials.

Dion also isn’t the type of leader that can charge a base of support and lead them into battle. Stephane Dion is a quiet intellectual who would seem to shy to be sucessful in rallying the troops and the swing voter.

The final ballot results are coming in. I’ll update in a bit.

Clarification

Looks like my original buzz on Bains was right. I just spoke to the man himself and he’s supporting Dion. I’m sitting here in the main hall waiting for delegates to vote on the final ballot. They almost ran out of time with too many people waiting to vote. They’ve extended the time by 10 minutes. That’s a good thing or else there would have been a riot.

Update

Wells and I must of heard the same BS.

Now I hear that Lapierre isn’t going Dion. I asked Chantel Hebert her opinion on that rumour and she said it could never be true. Hebert again shows her remarkable wisdom on convention floor talk and media rumours.

CBC is now reporting that Kennedy Indo-Canadian organizers (including Bains) is going Ignatieff.

Rae making a deal with Ignatieff

Looks like the backroom people might win this race. The common opinion among my media friends is that Dion’s momentum is the grassroots telling the party that they will not have their leader chosen. The old money choice, of course is Rae and he would seem to be Martin and Chretien’s unity candidate. However, Dion’s momentum may show that the grassroots won’t take it.

However, I’m hearing that Rae’s people may be making a deal with Ignatieff.

Second ballot

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Ignatieff: 1481
Rae: 1132
Dion: 974
Kennedy: 884
Dryden: 219

Looks like this one’s between Dion and Rae.

It’s too bad that Dryden’s personality is so flat. He probably would have been a serious contender if he was able to emote. He’s giving his speech now.

Ignatieff is done is probably done. It’s unlikely that Kennedy’s people will overwhelmingly go Iggy.

UPDATE: Dryden has endorsed Rae. Dryden has advised his delegates to vote as they choose.

UPDATE: Who’s on the 3rd ballot? Will Kennedy drop off and be kingmaker?

Morning Update

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Now awaiting second ballot results.

I’ve heard that the Ignatieff camp is quite angry. Their delegates didn’t deliver. Iggy received just north of 29% of the vote on the first ballot. Ignatieff was expecting about 35% of the delegates and quite a few ex-officios. The delegates didn’t deliver and this may be because a few didn’t bother to show up to vote or they spoiled their ballots.

I’m also hearing is that Volpe’s people are going Ignatieff. Who would have thought that Volpe had the most disloyal delegates?

Martha Hall Findlay did much better than expected last night. It is rumoured that she received quite a few ex-officio votes so that she’d have a softer loss.