Well, well well.
Our Next Face candidate Ken Dryden "working the crowd" in Halifax. We like it. We like it.
And lookie here... Michael Ignatieff giving this thing "serious consideration"? Wow.
That makes us 2 for 2.
But wait. What's this? David McGuinty is considering it too? Is he daft? Does he know what his brother's reputation in Ontario could do to his chances? Surely he jests.
Potential Liberal leadership candidates test support at N.S. meeting
Last Updated Sat, 04 Mar 2006 18:35:26 EST
An annual gathering of Nova Scotia Liberals has turned into an unofficial kickoff for the federal Liberal leadership race, with potential candidates such as Belinda Stronach, Scott Brison and Ken Dryden working the crowd.
The race is still unofficial, although the executive of the federal Liberal Party is expected to set a date for a leadership convention within weeks.
But a number of high-profile Liberals have already said they will not run, leaving no clear frontrunner at the provincial Liberals' annual strategy session in Halifax.
Among those testing the waters was Stronach, who ran unsuccessfully for the leadership of the federal Conservative Party two years ago and then crossed the floor to become a Liberal cabinet minister.
One of her former cabinet colleagues, Reg Alcock, said on the weekend that he was trying to pull together a "Team Belinda," but Stronach said she was still considering whether to enter the race.
"I'm here to meet people and deepen some of the friendships and relationships we have and share ideas how we can bring about a renewed and more open, more democratic Liberal Party," the Ontario MP said.
Brison, another failed Conservative leadership contender who also became a cabinet minister in Paul Martin's Liberal government, was also trying to gauge whether he has enough support to run for the party's top job.
The Nova Scotian MP wasn't shy about taking time from a question-and-answer session to test out what sounded like a line from a campaign speech.
"Canadians don't trust the NDP with their money and Canadians don't trust the Conservatives with their rights," Brison said.
Toronto lawyer is only declared candidate
The only declared candidate so far is Toronto lawyer Martha Hall Findlay.
She said she put her name forward early because she isn't as well known or well connected as some of her potential rivals.
"For me, there is an element of who is Martha Hall Findlay and it's been wonderful right from the beginning, the opportunity to actually explain that and who I am and what I hope to achieve."
Hall Findlay said she hopes the coming leadership race will be about more than who is the most popular and who can mount the biggest and most expensive campaign.
Dryden: 'Some day you just know, and before that you don't'
Name and face recognition will not be a problem for Ken Dryden, if the Montreal Canadiens hockey legend decides to run.
The Ontario MP said on Saturday that he hasn't made up his mind.
"Some day you just know, and before that you don't. This is a great opportunity, events like this, to listen to people."
Toronto-area MP Michael Ignatieff was at the meeting in Halifax. A newcomer to federal politics, he said he was in "big-time listening mode."
"I'm giving it serious consideration. ...But there are financial challenges, there are organizational challenges. ...There's questions of who will support you in caucus."
Liberal MP David McGuinty considers bid
Nova Scotia wasn't the only place buzzing about possible Liberal contenders on the weekend.
Liberal MP David McGuinty, brother of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, confirmed that he is considering a leadership bid.
Leadership speculation also arose over Gerard Kennedy, Ontario's education minister, who says he hasn't yet made a decision.
The executive of the federal Liberal Party is considered likely to schedule the leadership convention for November or for February 2007.
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