2006/02/11

Martin redux???

The Globe and Mail weekend edition was full of speculation about the Liberal leadership race. According to the Globe there is already a quarrel about the leadership in the Liberal ranks:

"As the estimable Mr. Graham works with a transition team to marshal his MPs for the minority Parliament, most Liberals are despairingly fixated on another challenge: What happens if the government is defeated before Mr. Martin is replaced? Some want an early leadership convention; forget the policy debates. Others, especially members of the youth wing, want to delay the convention until March of 2007 so there will be time to scrutinize the many largely unknown contenders. Key party executives are apparently leaning toward late January, before the parliamentary session would resume.

"In the meantime, party organizers can only hold their breath, because they do not want Mr. Martin to lead them into another election. If the unexpected happens — if the Conservative government topples this spring and Mr. Harper announces a five-week campaign — there would be no time for a leadership convention. That has happened before. In 1979, shortly after Pierre Trudeau resigned, the Tories were defeated in Parliament. Caught unprepared, Liberal party and caucus members asked Mr. Trudeau to lead them into the next election.

"What happens if history repeats itself and there is a snap election? Without time for a convention, the Liberals could theoretically be forced to retain Mr. Martin as leader in a spring campaign. To handle that daunting possibility, insiders say key party executives have flatly told Mr. Martin that they will not permit him to lead the party into any snap election if he insists on appointing his long-time clique of advisers to key campaign roles where he would rely on their advice. Mr. Martin has absolutely refused to abandon those advisers. In response, to block an emergency comeback by Mr. Martin with the same tired crew of counsellors, executives are examining ways to select delegates well before the convention. That way, the executives could rapidly organize an electronic leadership vote by those delegates, ensuring the party would have a new leader even if the government fell unexpectedly over the next few months. It's that bad.

"This is a party that does not have its act together. And it will have to find peace soon, if only out of a sense of responsibility to the public. The Conservatives could fall. An election could be held. And the Liberals could be caught with the same incoherent jumble of policy prescriptions that they dragged into the last campaign."

Is Paul Martin secretly hoping to return from licking his wounds and lead the Natural Governing Party to a majority if/when Harper stumbles to a defeat in the House? Does he dream of repeating Trudeau's feat? If Harper continues to make mistakes like he made in his first week, Martin may yet get such an opportunity. If he does, God help the country.

2 comments:

Naughty Boy said...

Now there's a nightmare scenario. Martin leading the Liberals into the next election??? Spare us, please. The way Harper is acting so far an early election is possible. It's quite possible he will repeat Joe Clarke's mistake.

Janine said...

i hope the liberals get their act together and pick a new leader before Harper or the Opposition parties pull the plug. Looking at the list of potential candidates it's hard to see any barn-burner of a leader. Maybe the big boys should reconsider.