Monday, October 27, 2008

Other candidates worried about a McKenna bid

The other Liberal leadership candidates are clearly taking the possibility of a Frank McKenna leadership bid very seriously and it has them quite worried.

How else do explain the raft of attacks and criticisms over the weekend for a candidate who has not once spoken publicly about a Liberal leadership run since turning down the idea in 2006.

The Ottawa Citizen is concerned that the former New Brunswick Premier's wealth, his experience in business and industry, his success in growing businesses including his own businesses (both before politics and since) and his enormous list of contacts in the Canadian and international business and political world will be a negative for him. TD Bank, where he is Vice-Chair, is a Canadian bank punching way above its weight right now in the US with more branches in the US than even in Canada.

When did Canadians start preferring untested and unexperienced leaders to run? Harper had little to no experience in governing and certainly no successes. Last leadership round came down to a brilliant leader and public intellectual with a great vision for the country but let's face it no experience whatsoever in governing, a brilliant leader and one of the most natural born and gifted politicians ever but let's face it he'd be better off without the experience he actually had for another party and he's come from a major Bay Street law firm, and another brilliant leader and form cabinet minister who bridged a gap within the party but let's face it also had no governing experience and, well, we don't need to say any more about Dion.

Then there was David McGuinty trying to single out McKenna (and throwing in Ruby Dhalla for cover) and, as the Globe notes, "dissing" his bilingualism. Why don't we wait and see on that one shall we? Rather than cut a potential leadership candidate off at the knees before he even starts to run, let's hear his French. Certainly, it was good enough for the 40% of New Brunswickers who are Francophone. Quebecers started to embrace Stephen Harper even though he has barely passable French and had to confess he didn't even understand one of the French questions in one of the French language debates a while back, for a while at least until he showed how trully disconnected he is with Quebec culture.

No doubt McKenna's French will be a little rustier than some others for lack of use. But we haven't had a leader yet who works as hard as McKenna and will succeed in every challenge.

Add to this the push behind closed doors for a very very short and early leadership contest. Certainly, has some merits but clearly is at least partly designed to ensure a two-man race from the leading two candidates of 2006, the ones who recently announced a pact of some sort.

Unfortunately, we will see more of this effort to cut off all other pretenders to the crown. Try to cut off other leadership candidates at the knees before they even get going. In the very near future, you'll see Rae announce his leadership bid (later this week), the "supporter lists" start flying around (i.e. as Jim points out astutely here) to convince others they are already too far behind, and then a little later we will have leaks in the press about how much money Rae and Iggy have already raised (no one will wonder how they could have raised so much when the leadership race supposedly only just started or look at the dates of some of those cheques, but the point is only to emphasize that it will be a tough fight).

Frank is someone who can rise about all of that. He clearly has a lot of support from deep within the party and from across the country. He will not have any problem raising funds and would not need to borrow money like every other candidate in the last race (the two frontrunners borrowed very heavily, Rae the most).

1 comment:

burlivespipe said...

But at least this didn't drag on too long. Guess this should signal an official announcement from Iggy and Rae, too.
So what/who's next?
Re. McKenna bows out, NaPo today...

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