Saturday, November 01, 2008

And Then There Were Two

Bob Rae declares candidacy for Liberal leadership

Liberal (interim) leader Stephane Dion is searching for a new Foreign Affairs critic today, as Bob Rae has resigned that post in order to pursue the Liberal leadership.

Although he and principal rival Michael Ignatieff had to settle on Dion as the compromise candidate in the 2006 Liberal leadership contest, this time around Rae intends to win.

"Our campaign will be stronger, better organized than it was last time, and we're going to win. I'm looking forward to it very much," Rae announced.

Of course, Rae will face the same questions regarding his dismal record as the NDP Premier of Ontario. "People say, 'well, Bob Rae has a history,' and I just say 'you're damn right I have a history,'" Rae admitted. "I've worked very hard in public life in this country for 30 years."

If Rae can take ownership of the Liberal left wing and find sufficient support from the soft middle, he can very much be a contender in this leadership contest. However, he may still have to contend with Ujjal Dosanjh, who was the former NDP Premier of British Columbia.

Dosanjh seemingly has yet to make a final decision about whether or not he'll make an attempt at the Liberal leadership. One has to imagine that the big factor standing in the way of that decision is the recounts he continues to face in his riding of Vancouver-South.

If Dosanjh -- whose margin of victory shrank to a mere 22 votes in a recount involving only 18 of 184 ballot boxes and rejected ballots -- loses his riding, it will be hard for his campaign to gain any traction. The prospects of the Liberal party electing a leader who would have to seek a Parliamentary seat in a by-election -- one in which the Conservative party and NDP may choose not to extend leader's courtesy in a tete a tete retaliation for Stephane Dion's ill-fated electoral deal with Elizabeth May -- should be considered especially dim for an individual who just lost his seat in a general election.

For Dominic LeBlanc, the pressure will now be on. With two candidates already in the race, more candidates can be expected to declare soon. It will only get harder for LeBlanc to draw attention to his campaign from here on out. If he doesn't act boldly, and soon, his time in the spotlight could be considered all but finished.

For now, there are only two candidates in the race. Both candidates have an opportunity to build some momentum, but each man will have to work for it.

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