Friday, October 17, 2008

The Man Who Would Be King

Ujjal Dosanjh wants to be Liberal leader

In the wake of the Liberal party's defeat in the 2008 federal election, one thing is almost certain: the Grits will be searching for a new leader.

And contenders are already lining up to -- in Jack Layton's parlance -- apply for that particular job.

Former Premier of New Brunswick and Ambassador to the United States Frank McKenna has already expressed some interest.

Now, so has Ujjal Dosanjh, the former NDP premier of British Columbia, and the man currently embroiled in a recount in his fiercely-contested riding of Vancouver South.

"I rule out nothing,” Dosanjh replied when asked if he was considering making a run at the Liberal leadership.

In political parlance, that usually means he probably will.

More interestingly still, Dosanjh wants to do so despite speaking no French.

"While I have the utmost respect for the Québécois, people of Quebec, I think that those of us that are immigrants, first-generation immigrants, are already saddled with the burden of having to learn one official language,” Dosanjh noted. “Maybe they can make an exception.”

If Dosanjh were successful in his bid he would be the first unilingual Liberal leader since Lester Pearson.

Dosanjh throwing his hat into the ring would also muddy the waters between the two individuals considered most likely to be the next Liberal leader -- Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae.

Rae, like Dosanjh, a former NDP Premier, would not only face new competition for the party's left-wing base, but would also be deprived of a key supporter. Dosanjh supported Rae, who was formerly the Premier of Ontario, for the Liberal leadership in 2006.

But the Liberal party would face more challenges with Dosanjh as a leader than merely having a non-French speaking leader. They would also have a leader unable to grasp the reasons for the Liberal party's successive electoral defeats, instead contenting himself to blame it all on his former compatriots in the NDP.

"(The) NDP's irrelevant insofar as the federal scene is concerned except insofar as they have the ability by splitting the vote to effectively elect a Conservative government, which they've done twice," Dosanjh wined to CTV.

Seemingly, Dosanjh believes that the Liberal party's failures to convince Canadians they're best suited to govern and their known corruption issues didn't play into the decision at all. This theory that there's nothing wrong with the Liberal party and instead something wrong with everyone else doesn't serve the party well. It prevents it from addressing the internal problems that are making it largely unelectable right now.

Ujjal Dosanjh's leadership would be as much a boon to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives as Dion's continuing leadership.

He can barely win his own riding. One wonders what makes him think he can win the whole country.


  1. You must be a West Coaster. Viewed from afar, with mountains in the way, I always thought Dosanjh was a pretty good guy. I guess he just has the Liberal disease of thinking they are the natural governing party.

    I also thought McKenna was a decent man. Rae, on the other hand, foooooorget it. He is just symbolic of how far to the left the Libs have drifted.

    Anyway, we live in interesting times and I hope the Liberals are down and out for a good long time. We need to give the Conservatives enough time to implement long overdue but sorely needed changes.

  2. I don't fully agree with that. I think a strong Liberal party is important. Opposition is the language of democracy, so a strong opposition is good.


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