Monday, December 01, 2008


There are two new leadership questions to consider in the run-up to the vote on December 8th. The first is who will lead the new coalition if and when it takes office? The second is whether or not Stephen Harper can retain control of the Conservative Party. Each in turn.

Traditionally in coalition governments, the leader of the party with the most seats becomes the leader of the coalition and therefore the government. This is true in European states when they choose governments by coalition and one would assume that this would be true here. So the question of leadership in the coalition is really a question of leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. Stephane Dion is the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. According to the
LPC constitution there are five ways a leader ceases to be a leader:
  1. The leader resigns
  2. The leader fails a leadership review
  3. The leader dies
  4. The leader is no longer recognized by the GG as leader to due to incapacity (not clear on the circumstances; maybe leader's in a coma or something)
  5. Leader is found by the national executive to not meet the minimum requirements for leadership (e.g. not a member of the party or qualified to hold office).
That's it. The only way anyone other than Stephane Dion becomes leader of the Liberal Party before the leadership convention is if Dion resigns. I doubt that would happen. The caucus does not have the power to unelect M. Dion. Thus, I think the speculation surrounding this question is fairly idle. If M. Dion were to resign, an interim leader would be chosen but that would almost certainly not be Mr. Ignatieff, Mr. Rae or Mr. LeBlanc. Whoever takes over is likely to be a historical footnote anyway with the Prime Minister people remember being the guy who takes over after the leadership convention.

On to the second question: does Harper survive at the CPC? I really don't know. I obviously don't have insider knowledge of the CPC. I don't know whether the membership blames Harper for this mess or thinks that "those damn Liberals screwed them again." I can't believe there won't be questions. Apparently there are already draft movements afoot for various cabinet members. Some of these movements seem legitimate feeler campaigns (Prentice) some of them are a little far-fetched (Baird). I have a hard time seeing Stephen Harper in opposition for two and a half years. I don't think he can be righteously indignant for that long. The plan seems to be to make this government last so long that a) the economy turns around and b) people forget they voted for the Tories in 2008. That would limit Harper's ability to copy the King model and win a majority after being turfed by a minority parliament.


Bo Green said...

I hope it's not Rae/Ignatieff/LeBlanc. The people who are suggesting them are crazy or just grasping for power for their guy - the leadership candidates should face the membership at the convention. I'd be fine with an interim leader. I suggest Ed Broadbent, but only just because.

Anonymous said...

CBC just announced that Dion selected as coalition leader

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