Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Glass Ceiling Breakage Deferred

No women in Liberal leadership race as Martha Hall Findlay demurs

In what's emerging as the latest in an amusing trend that should be very distressing to many Liberals, yet another potential contender has bowed out of the impending Liberal leadership campaign, set to conclude in April.

Martha Hall Findlay will not run to replace Stephane Dion, making it more likely that there may be no women in the Liberal leadership race.

Ironically, it was Dion himself who had pledged to improve the prominence of women in the party by nominating more of them for elected office. In his wake, however, it seems that women are no more prominent within the party than before. Considered it merely yet another one of Dion's unaccomplished goals.

The party has clearly not come very far since the days when Sheila Copps stayed in the Jean Chretien/Paul Martin leadership contest just for the sake of keeping a woman in the race.

While Ruby Dhalla may still run, one has to consider that the hiked entry fee for the contest -- up to $90,000 from $50,000 in 2006 -- may keep dark horse candidates such as Dhalla out.

While the lack of women in the race will almost certainly prove to be distressing to many Liberals, the lack of candidates in general should only more so. So far, Justin Trudeau, Frank McKenna and John Manley have all decided not to seek the leadership.

While Michael Ignatieff will almost certainly do so again, only two candidates -- Dominic LeBlanc and Bob Rae -- have formally declared. One has to imagine that many Liberals are becoming concerned with the lack of real options that will be open to them come April.

Update - Gerard Kennedy has officially announced that he won't be seeking the Liberal leadership. Nor will Denis Coderre.
That now places the tally at two confirmed candidates, and six declining candidates.

Things must be getting very tense at Liberal Party HQ.

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