Remember the Liberal Party of Canada? The House of Commons third-place party has had the luxury of waiting in order to replace Michael Ignatieff with a permanent leader. Former Ontario NDP Premier Bob Rae has stepped in to fill the void in the interim, however, his critics suggest that his plan is to use the office of the Liberal leader to promote and entrench himself to give himself advantage in an eventual leadership contest.
Details are starting to emerge from various Liberal camps upset with this very real scenario. The newly elected Liberal President Michael Crawley was backed by a younger generation of Liberals who have influence behind the scenes of the party in Ottawa. The nightmare scenario for many of these Liberals would have been to present a “renewed” party with Sheila Copps as their President and Bob Rae as their leader. These Liberals have been moving Crawley to define the upcoming leadership race.
I’ve learned that Crawley and Rae will likely agree that the latter must hand over his “interim” title at the end of this spring sitting of Parliament as the House rises for summer.
Also, the projected date of the Liberal leadership race, according to my sources, will put the leadership election date in March or May of 2013. Rae will likely want a shorter race and I’ve heard that March 2013 would be his preferred date. This may indeed be the concession reached, despite the protestation of the other candidates.
As for these other candidates for Liberal leadership, I’ve heard the names David Bertschi, Martha Hall-Findley, Marc Garneau and David Merner.