Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Buckle Up, It's Iggy!

Mere days after Dion's resignation, the Liberal caucus has endorsed Michael "Iggy" Ignatieff as interim leader. As readers of this blog will know, I was a supporter of Bob Rae's leadership bid. Like Bob, I wish that the LPC had decided to engage the entire membership in the leadership process, but time and circumstances appear to have dictated otherwise. No matter. The Liberal Party has a number of difficult problems on its plate, and continued political infighting about the leadership need not be one of them. Bob Rae himself has been tremendously gracious about his withdrawal, and has unequivocally given his support to Iggy. From Bob's blog:
I offer my full and unqualified support to Michael, a friend and colleague of more than forty years standing. I call on my friends and supporters to do the same. I know Michael to be a person of wisdom and generosity. He will make a great Prime Minister.
Though I'm disappointed that Rae is out, I think it's time to move on. I still believe the OMOV system will be an important mechanism for the LPC to generate funds and interest, and to connect with grassroots supporters. But this debate is better saved for the convention. For now, it's time for Liberals to focus on the new leader. Iggy's greatest task in the coming days will be to bring the party together and devise a strategy to deal with the inevitable CPC attacks prior to and during the upcoming parliamentary session. If he is to succeed, he will require the party's full support, and he should have it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dion's Gone...Now What?

Now that Stéphane Dion has officially offered his resignation, a few thoughts on the current state of the Liberal nation.
  • Despite the rather ignominious manner of his departure, Dion should always be remembered as a man of intellect, honesty and integrity.
  • Don't rush. Although the weight of support seems to be behind Ignatieff (Dominic LeBlanc has just given a press conference in support of Iggy), the Liberals need to avoid "installing" him as leader via a backroom deal.
  • Open up the leadership process to the membership. A One Member One Vote system would serve the dual purpose of offering an inclusive and transparent process, and re-connecting with grassroots supporters.
  • Fire every single person working on the Liberal marketing team. Now. The Liberals have to understand that good ideas don't just sell themselves, especially not in the face of a vicious and ruthlessly well oiled CPC attack machine. While they search for a new leader and a new message, they need to hire PR types that are as shrewd as their Conservative counterparts to sell their vision to Canadians.
  • Keep up the pressure on Stephen Harper. Make no mistake, King Steve isn't spending even one minute navel gazing about what he could have done differently. He is sitting somewhere, seething at the the way in which he was betrayed by the opposition parties, and he is already plotting his next move. Be prepared.