Liberal Leadership Race to be held in April 2013

Julian Wolfe
June 17th, 2012

With recent polls showing 41% of Canadians don’t trust any of the current leaders on the Canadian political spectrum and 16% don’t know which party they want to support or don’t support any of them, one sees that Canadian politics has become bleak. The Liberals have been scrutinized by the media over their relevance and their rebuilding process but considering the obvious discontent among the electorate, they have a chance to make serious gains.

The NDP leadership has come and gone and Thomas Mulcair is enjoying a honeymoon that has put the NDP ahead in the polls for the first time in history. Nanos puts them tied with the Conservatives and a recent Forum poll presents a complete reversal in roles where the NDP would form a minority government with 133 seats and 37% of the vote (guess where the Conservatives stand).

But, despite the polls showing a decline for the Conservatives, a surge for the NDP and a tick for the Liberals,  the election isn’t set for another 3 years and the Conservatives have plenty of time to get Canadians to forget robocall, the omnibus budget bill, and many of their other shortcomings and get their attention to the things that grip. In the same time, the NDP can gain on what they have now by organizing a foot campaign and presenting themselves as the alternative to those who really can’t stand Harper and will take anything over another day of Harper’s mandate.

But if one thing is noticeable, with 41% disapproval for leaders, trust for Mulcair being in single digits outside of Quebec and 16% of Canadians being unsure which party to vote for, there is a lot of room for migration. The NDP had their chance to sway voters in large crowds to Mulcair, they had their chance to pitch their party as the hope for the future and they had their chance to decimate the remainder of the Liberals and well, given these particular numbers, they haven’t done a very good job. While people may seem to be going to them, I think the more important trend is how many are running away from all the parties and this trend isn’t new – look at voter turnout.

So the Liberals are now up at the plate and they need a pitcher to swing and with Bob Rae formally declaring he’s not in the race, there is certainly going to be a lot of room for fresh blood to enter the party leadership rankings, or wait for another known face takes the helm. Regardless what Liberals decide, they now have a chance to sway voters from the Conservatives, NDP and the undecided and they have the opportunity to do what they – and other parties – haven’t  done in a while: inspire.

When Canadians say that all parties are bad or are the same or that they don’t trust any of their leaders, it’s equally bad for all of whom who are involved. But, if the Liberals play their cards right, they can capitalize where the NDP haven’t and where the Conservatives are losing. While being third party isn’t a good thing, in Canada’s political climate, Canadians are fed up with all options and want something new and now is the time for a party to reinvent itself and propose a real alternative or for members to disband and form a new party. The NDP had their chance and they didn’t capitalize. The Liberals now have their chance – will they capitalize? That’s up to us to wait and see.

Do you think that the pundits who are noting the Canadian trend to a left-right, polarized spectrum (like in the United States) are right in their claim? Do you think the Liberals can capitalize on the current situation or has the ship sailed?

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