Adieu Dion

Everyone knew that Stéphane Dion would be stepping down, but that he’s doing it today would seem to indicate that Ignatieff will be installed by the caucus at Wednesday’s meeting.

How soon before Bob Rae backs down?

What do you think? Will he or should he?

Update: Dion’s statement is here.

And in other news, Gerard Kennedy now seems “inclined” to back Bob Rae (I thought he’d thrown his support behind Iggy). Anyway, just in case you needed a reminder of the significance of this move, the following video seems appropriate somehow…

50 Replies to “Adieu Dion”

  1. Every time I think I’m out…you PULL me back in!

    The short of it: I think Bob Rae should step aside and let Ignatieff in. The LPC needs Ontario, and Rae can’t deliver her.

  2. Yes, Rae should step down. It is the only real mechanism for having a leader-elect take over the party, to be rubber stamped at the convention in May. The party’s constitution handcuffed them on this one. If Rae doesn’t see the writing on the wall at this point, he is too delusional to be PM in the first place.

    WILL he? Time will tell. It all depends on whether he steps down gracefully with support for Ignatieff, or if he decides to hold a grudge, take his toys and go home. The question remains how much it will affect his support (and his supporters’ support) for the new leader/caucus during the next campaign.

  3. Yes, for Ignatieff’s graceless moves, Rae should gracefully step aside… for party unity that is. Michael Ignatieff truly does believe in torture… I now have to watch the guy lead the LPC.

  4. We do not need a scenario that leads to an undemocratic choice of M.I. The party insiders, pundits and the polls all thought both John Turner and Kim Campbell would win big!
    Let the wide membership choose.

    How:
    * The two candidates could easily agree to abide by the vote of the membership,
    * followed by formal ratification in May.
    * The riding results could be weighted the same as they are for the convention.
    * Paper ballots in 308 ridings may be more practical (for the weighting) than an Internet/phone vote.

  5. What a gong show! I don’t think a caucus vote will help the elitist image of the Liberal Party. This is a step backwards.

  6. I don’t really care anymore. I just want the focus to shift back to where it belongs….on Harper.

    It’s a long way to an election, and my vote will depend on what circumstances obtain then.

    At this point, I’m seriously considering Green, although my local Liberal MP really is a great guy.

  7. Eons ago, I said that Iggy was more “winnable” than any other Liberal leader canditate. While Dion may have been the best man, he could not win.

    Now it seems that Rae is the best man, but cannot win.

    I will never support the Liberal party with Iggy as the leader – his stance on Iraq is the first of many problems….

  8. Hey I’m all for one member one vote, and I’m all for reforming the party constitution to allow more grassroots contribution.

    But I agree with Ti right now. Having Iggy walk in is not something that the CPC can bitch about – it’s not their party. The focus needs to be on Harper. Besides, if the CPC or its followers want to complain about the methods that the Libs use to elect leaders, let them waste time on that.

  9. In 2006 I was crazy about Iggy and pretty down on Rae. In the last two years, I’ve been impressed with how Rae has comported himself both in and outside parliament.

    But I think short-term survival necessitates Rae stepping down and the party installing Ignatieff immediately.

  10. I like Rae, and I don’t like Ignatieff’s mistakes on Iraq and torture. That being said, you’re right that the focus needs to be back on Harper, and Iggy’s poll numbers are the best.

  11. It’s not that Conservatives bitch about the Liberals…it’s the conceit they (or their surrogates in the media) have in thinking anyone wants to hear their advice, on the basis of knowing “what Canadians want.”

    I’ve held my nose and voted Liberal before, I can do it again. It’ll all depend on what happens in the next little while.

  12. I think most of all this is not a time for internal struggle in the Liberal party. Ignatieff is the best choice (ugh…) so the Liberal caucas and supporters must buck up and move forward. After all, the traditional mode of electing a Liberal leader gave you guys Dion. How did that work out for you again?

  13. Hmmm. I would not be too quick to criticize Kennedy’s judgment. What happens when Iggy loses the next election? Then what?
    I think the Liberal Party has completely fallen off the rocker. No renewal will ultimately mean no real results.

  14. WHEN Iggy loses the next election? Getting ahead of yourself there. And you talk about “renewal” like Bob Rae is that renewal. They are both old-guard… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is like a choice between getting kicked in the left or right testicle. Still, both options are better than having your nuts cut off by staying with Stephen Harper.

  15. Easy for you to say RT… If Ignatieff’s supporters would just give the slightiest hint that they understand that this bulldozing move of Ignatieff’s disenfranchises supporters of Rae, I would be more charible to the suggestion of crowning Ignatieff king. I see none of that though, just suck it up kids.

  16. Yes Rae will back down if Iggy becomes interim leader. It’d be pointless to stay around. Iggy will have the bully pulpit and any attack on him will be seen as an attack on the party. Personally I think its totally inappropriate for a candidate for leader to be appointed temporary leader. Ignatieff should (but wont) decline the offer.

    I, for one, won’t be supporting an Ignatieff led Liberal Party. He doesnt represent my values and I dont trust him. For the first time in my young life I’ll have to figure out someone else to vote for.

  17. ah, democracy in action – Liberal style. it’s a wonderful thing to watch.

    how long before the first Tory ad comes on talking about the unelected Leader of the Liberal Party, I wonder

  18. Blues Clair – we DO see it. But Bob Rae and his supporters are off living in fantasy land where he is an electable leader. He’s the party attack dog. You don’t put the attack dog in charge of the children. This is about the best interests of the country first, the party second, and your hurt feelings last.

  19. And yes, Backseat Blogger, we can all see the attack ads from a mile away. Liberals hate democracy blah blah blah. It worries me that Canadians are ignorant enough to fall for it. Time will tell how Ignatieff plays his hand. If he handles it properly and doesn’t sit back and take it like Dion they may have a chance to counter some of that media.

  20. And in other news, Gerard Kennedy now seems “inclined” to back Bob Rae (I thought he’d thrown his support behind Iggy). Anyway, just in case you needed a reminder of the significance of this move, the following video seems appropriate somehow…

    Funny… but I still respect Kennedy. He ran a food bank. When McGuinty beat him for the Ontario Liberal leadership, Kennedy became a strong ally of the Ontario Liberal leader and didn’t undermine him, even after McGuinty lost his first election. He ran in a tough riding in the federal riding. He may lack a political savvy gene, but we probably need more MPs like him.

  21. The CPC will attempt to make hay on whomever is put in as leader. They can make much more hay if that leader is put there without any grassroots input. Though I do think they would have an easier time making that hay with Rae in charge.

  22. This is about the best interests of the country first, the party second
    Nice to see Iggy was pushing the coalition then…

    Rae is the more “human” leader. Iggy is Harper Lite…

  23. Thanks Pearson, duly noted. Bob Rae is unelectable. I have no idea why I would consider otherwise. Thanks for correcting me. BTW, who is the most electable is not my first consideration, I vote for leadership canidates that I believe in (it would also would of been nice to see a platform and some debates). Hillary tried to trick me too.

  24. CWTF – do you have anything to add except one-line platitudes?

    Ignatieff isn’t pushing the coalition because it’s a second-best option. It works better as a threat than as an actual government. What they should do is use the “coalition” in opposition to control parliament. The budget will be laden with opposition-friendly items, Harper’s vision of an olive branch… if they don’t support it, it is a clear power grab. If they do, they can control the house and the committees with their accord agreement.

  25. Don’t be too hard on old Backseat. Bloggers like him have to troll non-Conservative blogs to take a break from the dreary cretins they attract.

  26. Also, sorry for spamming the comments, but there is so much to address… We’re talking about this like it’s a done deal. A lot of this debate is based on pure conjecture at this point. While I would love to see a leadership debate between Rae/Ignatieff, it would serve little than to fracture the party further, all for the illusion of a “democratic choice” for leader. The writing is on the wall, Ignatieff is very likely the next leader. I’ll say it again, if everyone is so in favour of having a standard leadership race, look what it got you last time… Dion.

  27. Rae is no Obama, of course Richards, but Ignatieff is my Hillary. My point is leadership races can change people’s perceptions of the candidates. I want to see some debates, and platform ideas. The Liberals are going to back Harper’s upcoming budget anyways… whats the rush?

    Anyways, are you always so condecending?

  28. Pearce, who says that the executives choosing a candidate will be much better at this?

    Rolling out an potential election platform during the leadership race could have the benefit of starting an election campaign before the other parties.

    Anyway, if a Liberal leader wants to engage with the grassroots, it means having to win the respect of people who supported the other candidate. If Ignatieff wins, he’s going to have to win Rae supporters like Blues Clair. This isn’t necessarily a good step towards doing this.

  29. sharon- that assumes people want an election anytime soon.

    Rae could go a long way towards healing the divide by stepping down and allowing Ignatieff to win by acclamation. A public show of unity would be an excellent option, but I doubt if Rae will do it. That option bypasses the leader having to be selected by the caucus, and goes a long way to debunking the “undemocratic leader” claims.

  30. Wouldn’t stepping down be undemocratic. (Too many candidates last time. Too few right now in my opinion.) To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of when Paul Martin won by acclaim.

    Hey, if Ignatieff survives a trial by Rae, he’ll be able to deal with anything the Conservatives will throw at him. Quite literally. If he can’t, he’ll be in the same position as Dion.

    But if Rae steps down, Ignatieff has to make an immediate and big show of respect towards Rae and his supporters. He needs to make Rae his deputy leader. (As the old saying in politics goes — it’s probably better to keep Rae inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.)

  31. That is a great option re: Rae as deputy leader. I still believe a heated leadership debate at this stage will do nothing but harm for the liberals, despite any “toughening up” effect it may have for Ignatieff. I also worry about the bad blood in the Liberal party over this. Ignatieff supporters stayed home during the last election because they were mad about Dion. Will Rae supporters act in kind? Is it time for a big Liberal group hug and therapy session?

  32. The biggest problem with the Liberals right now is the perception that they’re falling apart. A bitter leadership contest will do nothing to fix that as both candidates are dragged through the mud while the CPC sits back and laughs, loading up the ammo that the two campaigns will happily provide. If the public’s reaction to the coalition is anything to go by, Rae’s relationship with the NDP (not to mention his history in Ontario) will give Harper his majority. A coalition as a leadership issue wouldn’t help things either.

    Every Liberal that says they’re going to look elsewhere represents a riding that goes to the Cons (I refuse to call them tories) and Harper’s 2009 majority government. This is politics, get over your hurt feelings and punch Harper in the gut.

  33. I can’t see that a “debate” will serve any constructive purpose whatsoever. It’s not like we don’t all know these guys quite well — both their strengths and weaknesses. As for promises of reform, and rebuilding the fundraising operation, engaging more people to become members, etc., it’s not like they wouldn’t be saying basically the same things as far as all that goes.

  34. That is a great option re: Rae as deputy leader. I still believe a heated leadership debate at this stage will do nothing but harm for the liberals, despite any “toughening up” effect it may have for Ignatieff. I also worry about the bad blood in the Liberal party over this. Ignatieff supporters stayed home during the last election because they were mad about Dion. Will Rae supporters act in kind? Is it time for a big Liberal group hug and therapy session?

    Dion made Ignatieff his deputy PM… hmm, what brought the Democratic party together after Obama decided not to pick Clinton as his VP?… Palin… Okay, Ignatieff and Rae have to be shown immediately walking down Yonge Street holding hands or playing touch football on the grounds of the University of Toronto. After this is over, they will have to show real leadership on this matter, and even if it kills them, if they don’t want a split in the party, they will have to find a way to make peace with each other and make it so public we’ll be yelling at them to get a room.

    As for the toughening effect of a debate… hey, if we hear it early, it’ll have less of an effect later on election night (see Obama). As for a split… there’s already a bit of one anyway.

  35. After this is over, they will have to show real leadership on this matter, and even if it kills them, if they don’t want a split in the party, they will have to find a way to make peace with each other and make it so public we’ll be yelling at them to get a room.

    I’ll support whichever guy has this as his general policy.

  36. I agree that we should put the focus back on Harper, but honestly, how can we when the Liberals are going to provide the Conbots with a thousand hexalitres of rocket fuel by simply annointing Iggy?

    From what I am seeing, there is no way that Rae is simply going to step aside. It goes against all of his political history. So perhaps the best thing would be to arrange some mechanism whereby the membership can quickly vote on a leadership question.

  37. I was hoping that Ignatieff and Rae would both drop out – LeBlanc gets my vote, or would if I had one – I think he looks like Superman (Chris Reeves).

  38. Actually, I thought LeBlanc looked very priministerial today …. future leader of the party if you ask me.

    He hasn’t gone around whining and moaning which seems to be all that Rae does…right from start. He had to make an issue of the first debate with no media – whine, moan, lurk around the halls and get attention.

    I live in rural Ontario in a small bedroom town – lots of older folks. Now, they do tend to vote Conservative and I believe they think they’re voting for the old PC party – they absolutely would not vote for Rae and some are so mad at Harper they could swing over if there was a “more middle of the road” candidate as my neighbour said (meaning centre, I guess).

    And face it, it people that are older that make sure they exercise their right to vote.

    I’m tired of it all actually, backroom deal gets Dion in (democracy?), then an interim and then the new leader? Enough!

  39. I forgot your original question – Dion was a hero during the referendum, he’s got honesty and integrity and I think he’ll shine again some day in some other capacity. I think of Joe Clark – now he’s so respected.

    Wouldn’t hurt, I guess, if people emailed Dion acknowledging their respect for him. He’s been beaten up pretty badly – mostly by the CPC and the MSM and mostly unfairly.

  40. He hasn’t gone around whining and moaning which seems to be all that Rae does…right from start. He had to make an issue of the first debate with no media – whine, moan, lurk around the halls and get attention..

    You know, Ignatieff practically has the keys to the car… don’t you think you should ease up on the attacks on the other guy? It’s more understandable when the battle still on going, but Ignatieff has a lock on the leadership, and right now it’s like grinding your heel on the second place finisher — a finisher who is in the same party as the person you support (hopefully). It’s time for grace right now, not round infinity + one of this never ending leadership race.

  41. (hopefully)

    That hopefully was part of another point about the other guy working hard (hopefully) for the party that your candidate will lead.

    😛 on me.

  42. It only took 5 wks for a federal election. A mail-in vote from the members existing from before the last federal election could be done easily within a shorter period. I imagine that’s probably what they’re trying to put together, or something similar.

    Failing some kind of middle east crisis that shows him to be a complete fool, Bupkis will win anyway.

  43. I think of Joe Clark – now he’s so respected.

    By whom? I saw him living in a cardboard box outside the Eaton’s Centre.

  44. Sorry folks, I just wanted to hit the magic 50 mark on the commenter patrol.

    Keep up the valiant work RT and you’ll richly deserve HuffPo commenter numbers.

    Obama/Rae. Hope for N.A.

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