The Liberals suffered their worst election results in generations; the seeds of which were planted by their own lack of unity with Paul Martin and his supporters attempting to force out Mr. Chretien.
I’ve had a lot of chats about Mr. Chretien of late. No politician is perfect, but what he represented was the best of Old School politics. He was a loyal soldier who served Pierre Trudeau very well waiting for his turn to possibly lead; and when that time came; did an amazing job.
I have a hunch Mr. Chretien read more of Macbeth than Mr. Martin did. Mr. Chretien, whether you agreed with his politics or not was a strong leader who worked successfully with a lot of people and achieved success for his country.
Mostly he knew what it took to win and was always willing to pay the price. Using a hockey analogy; he wasn’t afraid to go into the corners or head to the net; take the hits, but score the goal.
In my short tenure covering politics I’ve met many politicians that wanted to be “The Guy” the candidate, but the reality is as we saw in this election, a leader has to have star quality; has to have at least the appearance of strength and have to know when to go for the kill.
The NDP may have run the cleanest campaign, but Jack Layton delivered some key blows during the debate that resonated without staining. Mr. Ignatieff may be a learned and nice gentleman, but between Mr. Layton and Mr. Harper, and even Ms May and Mr. Duceppe, really didn’t stand much of a chance on the leadership issue. He also made the fatal flaw of turning his attack to Mr. Layton instead of focusing on Mr. Harper.
The Liberals need to rekindle themselves. Mostly they need to focus; realize who the enemy really is; create a real plan and execute it. They also need to address their own ridings association, by association where local failings contributed to their disaster as they did in this riding where the last candidate was pushed out only to see his replacement pull in a lower vote total and percentage of the vote.
Mostly they need to decide on a leader who can actually tangle with Mr. Harper in the next election. They don’t need the smartest or the best. They need someone who can go toe to toe; take the attack ad hits instead of whining about them, and deliver positive blows back while focusing on the many failings of Harper government.
A tall order indeed, but when Jean Chretien suggests Bob Rae I have a hunch he has very good reasons why. And I agree with his suggestion.
Jamie Gilcig – Editor – The Cornwall Free News