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Liberal leadership race needs runners 0

MARK DUNN, Senior National Reporter

OTTAWA - The queue to lead the Liberal party stood empty Thursday.

The exercise that followed Bob Rae's decision the day before to stand down from taking the million-to-one shot at becoming prime minister nearly tied the sleepover silliness in the Commons for zaniness.

Justin Trudeau jumped first to say he wasn't going to run, but maybe he would run, but nope, he's decided not to pop balloons at next April's convention.

Then again, if his wife lets him run in the unofficial race he might reconsider his decision to maybe not run.

Trudeau couldn't be clearer. We think he's going to run.

"My own decision around to not go was independent of what Bob decided to do and any decision to reverse my prior decision, which is something that I have to do on reflection and in conversation with my family if indeed I'm going to go back on my previously stated 'No', will be - will be done independently of whether or not Bob was in or not," he said.

The only explanation for Trudeau's clarity must be that boxing match he won this year. His opponent did land some shots.

Then there was Marc Garneau, the former astronaut and now House leader for the Liberals. He appeared to suggest his candidacy was contingent on a magical leadership kit packed with support, money and a campaign team.

Essentially he said that if someone wants to come forward and do all the work and that if Rae supporters gravitate his way without being sold on what he stands for and how he would resuscitate the party, he's in.

"I obviously hope that it will mean that there will be some people who are ready to support me, but I don't know that yet, and if they're not, I'm not going to go into the race. On the other hand, if it works favourably for me, it will have an influence."

And yet a third MP from Quebec - Denis Coderre - also expressed an interest, but it might conflict with running for mayor of Montreal.

"You don't pull a flower to make it grow faster, right? So when the time comes, I will make a decision," he said.

The best way to sum up what's going on now that the unofficial race gun has sounded and the Rae hurdle has been removed is that potential candidates are still stretching, sizing up the runner's block and wondering if and when they should step in. Or run like hell.

Mark.Dunn@sunmedia.ca

Twitter:MarkDunnSun


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