Last week I listed the front-runners to replace Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer if he doesn’t win a majority government this October.
The list included Doug Ford, Jason Kenney, Erin O’Toole, Lisa Raitt, Peter MacKay and Stephen Harper. The one who by far solicited the most positive response by email and on social media was Harper.
Many readers asked for a Liberal and NDP list. Ask, and you shall receive.
In the case of a Conservative minority government, both Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh would likely want to stick around and their parties would probably support them.
If the Conservatives win a majority though, both Trudeau and Singh will be replaced as leader. Although if a blue tide sweeps across the country, some of the below candidates could lose their seats, and that would hurt their chances.
Chrystia Freeland – Freeland would be the leading contender to replace Trudeau. She is bilingual with an international pedigree. She was smart and capable of handling the NAFTA file. She’s respected in caucus. Her problem, however, may be that she is too close to the Trudeau brand and the global elites. Even her riding name – University-Rosedale – has a ring of snobbery to it. Many party members may pass the Grey Poupon – and consider her too globalist in the post-Trudeau era.
Marc Garneau – Garneau is in many ways the anti-Trudeau. He is low-key and not flashy. He is substantive. Born in Quebec, he had a successful career in the Navy and then as an astronaut. The press conference he had to handle the Boeing Max-8 issue was probably the best performance by a cabinet minister in 2019 and showed real leadership. Garneau would bring “smart” and “competence” back to the Liberal brand.
François-Philippe Champagne – Champagne is an effective communicator and energetic cabinet minister. He has been a powerful voice for Quebec issues. He won a riding previously held by both the NDP and the Bloc.
Bill Blair – The former Toronto Police Chief was initially passed over for cabinet in 2015 but was promoted for his outstanding work handling the marijuana file for the Prime Minister. Another person who would represent the anti-Trudeau swing votes, Blair is smart, media savvy and a strong voice for Canada’s largest and vote-rich city, Toronto.
Christy Clark – The former Premier of British Columbia, Clark she has a strong election record of winning in B.C. She worked in Liberal Party headquarters as a student. Although Clark is now doing very well in the private sector. An excellent communicator, she would bring a can-do attitude and Western sensibility to a party looking to rebuild.
Charlie Angus – The runner-up in the last leadership, Angus is good on his feet in the House of Commons and a tough opponent to debate. He is very substantive, but if he couldn’t win last time can he win next time? The NDP may be looking to swing back to substantive after failing with going for too much style.
Alexandre Boulerice – Young and capable, Boulerice is one of the rising stars of the NDP caucus. His biggest problem will be trying to hold on to his seat if there is the Quebec backlash to Singh that many predict.
Mike Layton – I knew his father Jack Layton very well. The former NDP leader used his time on city council to build a national profile. Mike has been doing the same. Given his track record, the family name and pedigree, he could have a real shot at becoming leader.
Rachel Notley – Notley pulled off the miracle win becoming NDP Premier in Alberta and nearly did it a second time. If the NDP were a smart political party, she would be the front-runner. That said, the NDP is not a smart political party so they won’t consider her.
A week is a month in politics. We are far away from the October election. Anything could happen. But it is interesting to see how all the political actors listed above play their scenes in the lead-up to the 2019 federal election.
Jim Warren is a Liberal strategist who has worked for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman.
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