Friday, November 14, 2008

Michael Ignatieff Formally Joins the Fray

Liberal leadership campaign shaping up to be Ignatieff/Rae rematch

After nearly three weeks of waiting, it seems that the Liberal party finally has a leadership contest on its hands.

Michael Ignatieff -- long expected to join the leadership fray -- finally formally declared his candidacy yesterday. Now, the real business of choosing a Liberal leader can begin.

Ignatieff has an interesting strategy for becoming Liberal leader: instead of running against his opponents, he'll simply run against Stephen Harper.

"Now I'm going to be in competition with some fine fellow Liberals but I'm not running against any of them, I'm running against Stephen Harper and the Conservative government," Ignatieff insisted. "My target is not my friends and my Liberal colleagues, it is the disappointing record of the Harper government."

Of course, Harper won't actually be running for the leadership of the Liberal party, but one digresses.

Not to mention that when Ignatieff last had the opportunity to run against Harper and the Conservatives, he instead spent the better part of the 2008 federal election being largely invisible.

Ignatieff has his vision for the renewal of the Liberal party. Namely, "throwing open the doors of this party to the next generation, to the best and brightest our society has to offer."

Not that Ignatieff, 61, is feeling his age. "The youngest ideas aren't always from the youngest candidates. I think age is not a biological fact. It's a habit of spirit and mind."

This comes in response to Dominic LeBlanc's insistence that the party needs a generational shift. Which it very well might, but LeBlanc, 41, may not be the best individual to rally the youth wing of the party. Justin Trudeau (who, once again, isn't running for the Liberal leadership) would be much better.

Ignatiefff's candidacy certainly must relieve some deep worries at Liberal HQ, as they finally have two solid leadership candidates for Liberals to choose between.

The Liberal leadership campaign is finally on.

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