You know that things are bad when you have to resign twice. Which was the situation that Stéphane Dion found himself in, as he gave a written resignation today that he would step aside as soon as a new leader was duly chosen. In other words, they’re not waiting until next May, and it looks like that day will be Wednesday.
Then, just a short while later, Dominic LeBlanc announced that he was pulling out of the leadership, which is a shame from the perspective that he was the youngest (and dare I say best looking) of the three contenders. LeBlanc also announced that he was throwing his support behind Michael Ignatieff, saying that he was the choice of a “consensus of Liberals” – to which Bob Rae’s supporters (who are currently in the minority of the caucus it needs to be said) disputed.
So now the question is just who is going to lead the party until there can be some means of consulting the grassroots membership as the party constitution requires. But for as much as Rae and his supporters are keen to get the membership to vote using an online and/or phone voting system, the one-member-one-vote system was explicitly rejected at the last convention when the issue came up. They decided that delegated conventions remain the way to go in order to keep insta-members from trying to influence leadership campaigns in large voting blocs (and scoff though you might, Charles McVety’s evangelists have tried this tactic with party nominations in several Ontario ridings).
The speculation is that the party will likely vote to install Ignatieff as some kind of interim leader until it can be confirmed as permanent by the membership in whatever means they decide. Others – mostly Rae supporters – think that there should be a neutral interim leader like Ralph Goodale or John McCallum (though McCallum is supporting Ignatieff). A few other names were mentioned including Scott Brison, as he has been finance critic and we are in an economic crisis, and he remains uncommitted at last count. I think that would be awesome, but then again, I secretly hoped he’d win the last leadership convention because I wanted a gay Prime Minister, so party leader and potential coalition leader (albeit temporarily) would still be one for the history books.
The party has scheduled a six-hour caucus meeting for tomorrow. Six hours! And yet, what I wouldn’t give to be a fly on that wall…