Monday, December 20, 2004

Leadership Speculation - Mostly Idle Speculation from Question Period

Ctv Question Period

"New Federal Leadership"

Despite the fact that both the leaders of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party are fairly new and reasonably well entrenched pundits feel like speculating about whom will replace them. I supose if Martin were to lose the next election the knives would be out for him. If Harper loses his support would likely whane somewhat although he does not have any obvious sucessor at this point so it would be unlikely that there would be a strong movement to unseat him.


Now the Liberal party analyst on the show said that "lots of Tories" are wanting Harper to leave and for Jean Charest to take over the party? Lots of Tories? Where? Who? Name one? Taking a look around the blogsphere there is a degree of angst regarding the direction of the Conservative Party but the angst has been directed towards the party becoming too Liberal!

I haven't heard any member of the party whom I've spoken too say "the party really isn't moving far enough into the centre". Nor have I heard anyone say "You know who we really need - Jean Charest. A former PC leader, turned Liberal - why not Conservative again?" That would be something of a political karmasutra as he seems to have tacted fairly far left in Quebec in recent times.

Now I don't want my sentiment to be misunderstood. I like Jean Charest as far as politicians go. Were it 1997 I would be of the opinion that he should be leader of a unified Conservative Party. At the time I judged him to be the most eloquent and dynamic of the leaders running for Prime Minister. However, the situation in the party right now is that "moderation" is seen as "drifting too far left" and bringing in a Liberal would only seem to confirm the "Liberal lite" that some people are using to scorn Harper's current approach. For that reason I just don't think he would be credible even presuming he wanted to lead the party.

They also mentioned Peter MacKay as being a candidate for the conservative leadership. Although on this point I had to agree with the Liberal commentator. Peter is going to have credibility problems for a long time, breaking that deal with Orchard while it was the right thing to do had absolutely horrible optics. He's damaged goods as a leadership candidate. Although he is a wonderful MP and he would be an exceedingly good cabinet minister in a Conservative government, I think he's fallen into a John Reynolds type role of "always the lieutenant never the leader."

Of course they raised Belinda Stronach as a possibility. This may be the snobbery of a university student but if you can't even hold one degree why do you think your qualified to run the country? I too could be a sucessful CEO of a multi-billion dollar company if my father had one to let me run. Belinda is likable but unfortunately she doesn't strike me as being all that in touch with policy or to possess the gravitas required for a leader.

Finally they floated New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord as a candidate. Lord would be a relatively credible leader for the party. He's personable, eloquent and seems to have a good grasp on public policy. Furthermore, he does not bring any major baggage with him from prior associations. Unfortunately he looked a much better candidate when he was at the head of a commanding majority government as opposed to leading one with a razor thin majority which would likely fall should he leave. This has made him an improbable candidate and reduced his shine as a candidate as well.


Scott Brison - a likeable and energetic guy. He's bright, young and has a lot of ideas on policy. In rebuttal I give you Cicero. The greatest orator of all time had this comment "No wise man ever thought that a traitor should be trusted."

Martin Couchon - formerly Chrietien's minister of Justice and the man who brought us such things as decriminalized pot, and gay marriage. He's generally on the left wing of the Liberal party. I would love to see Couchon as Liberal leader simply because it would allow the CPC to slide into the centre and pick up scores of seats in Ontario and the Maritimes. Couchon's main selling point is "he's French and we alternate" and while Paul Martin is a Quebecer he's still an anglo.

Maurice Beliquava - apparantly he's unhappy with Paul Martin and not afraid to say so. Although I really don't know too much about the guy or if he has much of a fan club. I really don't think he's a serious contender even if he's mentioned.

Industry Minister David Emerson - apparantly he's impressing in his new role as Industry minister and he would be the perfect man to keep up the Liberal's incestous relationship with publicly funding big business.

Frank McKenna - former Premier of New Brunswick now heading up CanWest Global's operations in Toronto. He's been out of politics for a while and that's too his disadvantage, he's also from the Maritimes and I don't believe the liberals have ever had a lead whom was from any Maritime province. However, he remains a popular public figure and certainly he's considered an intellectual and an excellent public speaker. If a race did manifest he's been one of the early leaders.

John Manely - I believe Manely is working with Nortel and with a few international organizations. Among liberals he's well liked, especially on the more right wing side of the party. Hence if there was a need to change leaders soon he would be their go too man. He's keeping himself visible as a talking head on television and is remebered as Chretien's "minister of everything" who could somehow get along with the Bush people. He would be the go to guy for the right of the party if they needed to replace Paul Martin asap.

However, i think what we are seeing in the liberals is the "well Paul Martin won't be here forever campaign", and really Martin who campaigned for the job for 15 years before getting it really isn't in much of a position to condemn them.


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