Thursday, October 23, 2008

T&T: Will Frank McKenna run for federal Liberals?

We are gathering steam.
Will Frank McKenna run for federal Liberals?

Premier, Metro MP, commentators weigh in

By Jesse Robichaud
Times & Transcript Staff
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

FREDERICTON - A movement to draft former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna as a federal Liberal leadership candidate appears to be gaining steam just hours after Stéphane Dion announced his plans for the future.

Indeed, the push by many insiders to encourage the former ambassador to the United States, and native of Apohaqui, to seek the party's top job began well before Dion announced he will step down once federal Liberals select a new leader next May.

It is now playing out in media reports, on online blogs and social networking groups, and in political backrooms.

In addition, due to the TD Bank deputy chairman's his financial network and acumen, many have suggested that a push is also being felt from board rooms in office towers in many parts of the country.

Yesterday, Liberal Premier Shawn Graham said McKenna would be a strong candidate who understands New Brunswick, and the needs of his government.

"If he does make a decision to run he would have a strong possibility of winning, which would only mean great news for New Brunswick because we could form a partnership that would benefit all citizens here immensely."

Graham said McKenna, whose name has been linked to the federal party's leadership many times before, has the all the political tools needed to be successful.

"Former ambassador and premier Frank McKenna is an individual who not only brings name recognition across the country, but he also has a proven track record."

Graham was at an event to honour former Liberal Prime Minister John Turner on Monday night, where many potential candidates were present.

"There were a number of leadership contenders in the room last night but none of them approached me to ask for support because yesterday was a day to honour Stéphane Dion and John Turner."

Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe MP Brian Murphy says he has heard from many Liberals about "how wonderful it would be to have Frank McKenna in these times."

Murphy said McKenna would lend instant credibility to the party at a time when the economy is weighing heavily on the mind of voters.

"Many Liberals feel we lost the election on the impression that Mr. Harper would be a better steward of the economy," said Murphy.

"Of course I feel that is false on all grounds, but McKenna would bring a certain element to that." [...]

Murphy said candidates who can set up an organization on the ground very quickly will be at an advantage.

"If he had a strong ground game immediately, I think other candidates would be concerned," said Murphy.

"On the other hand if he is still wondering, and frankly many other candidates have a ground game, that might be a fact Mr. McKenna is currently weighing."

However, Murphy said McKenna's willingness to do battle with opponents can't be underestimated.

"I think every race is gong to be hard fought. Mr. McKenna is a fighter as well. He is an Irish guy, he is going to fight."

Université de Moncton political scientist Donald Savoie thinks McKenna's candidacy would be great for New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada.

He believes there is about a 50 per cent chance that McKenna will make the jump to federal politics.

"I think Frank would do every well. I think Frank is a great politician, there is a dynamic side to him, he has a sense of the country," said Savoie.

"I think Frank brings a dynamic perspective to Canadian politics. I think people relate to his sense of economic development, his sense of promoting the Canadian economy.

Savoie said McKenna's well-documented positions on the Meech Lake Accord would not hinder his ability to rebuild the party's fortunes in Quebec.

"I think it is a generation ago. I think a lot of water flowed under that bridge, and I think it has lost a lot of its resonance," said Savoie.

"There is a whole generation of voters who weren't affected by Meech Lake."


Anonymous said...

Dear Liberal Party,
Please name an anti-abortion, unilingual, bank executive as your leader. This is the best way to accomplish the important strategic goals of (1) putting down the recent NDP uprising; (2) rebuilding your party in Quebec; and (3) allowing you to paint Stephen Harper as outside the political centre. Don't laugh. I mean it.
Supporters of Every Other Party

Frank4PM said...


Our hope is that, instead of choosing an anti-abortion, unilingual leader, which would be a mistake, the party chooses McKenna.

We mean it.

Supporters of the Liberal Party

Anonymous said...

Is Frank anti-Abortion?

Many news reports are saying this and if its true it is a huge problem.

Please respond

Frank4PM said...

Anon Oct 26:

You are right. It is an important issue.

You will notice in all of those newspaper articles or bravely anonymous commentary on blogs that no one ever quotes Frank McKenna in his own words. Hmmmm.

I think the origin of the smear is that, back when he was Premier of New Brunswick and both abortion and private health clinics were illegal, the government of New Brunswick charged Henry Morgenthaler for running a private healthcare clinic. Morgenthaler's defence was that he would do abortion's in a hospital but the province wouldn't let him. The appeal went up to the Supreme Court and Morgenthaler won and the province moved on.

This occurred at a time when Trudeau, Chretien, Turner and Martin were all "anti-choice" and none of them introduced legislation that either permitted abortion or permitted private clinics.

At the same time, these "anti-choice" Liberal leaders never once introduced any anti-abortion legislation and even funded NOW.

Rather than listen to any smear or spin you on McKenna's position on this issue, either in his favour or against, let me suggest that we wait to see if he runs and then make absolute sure he declares he won't ever criminalize abortion in any way.

I think the party would be far better off to have McKenna at least in the race up against Iggy and Rae, and then we can vet him.

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