Monday, October 27, 2008

"Chretien Loyalist" Dominic LeBlanc Announces Leadership Campaign

Yesterday on October 27 Dominic LeBlanc became the first to announce his run to be Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Though this young candidate is often seen as a potential well for Liberal renewal and new direction for Canada, he has a long history with the organization, in particular in having strong ties to Jean Chretien.

Dominic's roots in the Liberal Party began with his father Romeo LeBlanc who was first elected as a Liberal MP in 1972. He served as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and then Minister of Public works until 1984 when he was appointed to the Senate. In 1995 Romeo LeBlanc was appointed Governor General by Jean Chretien in light of an extremely heated opposition that claimed it was blatant patronage.

The Liberal immersion for Dominic extended beyond his father's influence, and was reinforced by his employment in the Prime Minister's Office of Jean Chretien in 1993. After years of working under Chretien, Dominic left and became the Liberal candidate for the riding of Beauséjour-Petitcodiac. A riding that was regarded as the safest Liberal seat in Canada, which coincidentally only became vacant because of Dominic's old boss Jean Chretien's appointment of the previous Liberal MP Fernand Robichaud to the Senate.

In addition to handing him the safe riding in New Brunswick, Chretien continued not to hide his affection for Dominic. During the 2000 election Chretien gave Dominic's region special attention with various campaign visits. This attention and other factors led Hugh Winsor of the Globe and Mail to suggest LeBlanc was treated by Chretien as if he was his son.

After his election, with internal divisions raging within the Liberal Party, Dominic LeBlanc gained a reputation as a "staunch Chretien loyalist." Often acting to defend his former PMO boss and to shore up support. After it was clear Chretien was leaving, Dominic moved to support Paul Martin.

In 2008, in this Liberal Leadership race, Dominic LeBlanc was the first to declare his candidacy. However after considering his close relationship with Jean Chretien, from his working underneath Chretien in the PMO's office, to receiving special treatment which included receiving the safest Liberal seat; he is not, as the media or other Liberals may suggest, the freshest face or for that matter, one that would bring the guaranteed renewal the Party needs.

This is not a rebuke or an attack on Dominic LeBlanc, but an attempt to present the reality of him. He could most certainly offer change and renewal, I only suggest if he did, it would be from a position that had previously been at the very least acquainted with old party politics.


me dere robert said...

This is not a rebuke or an attack on Dominic LeBlanc...

The tone of your post sure sounds like it..

whopitulia said...

At least you were nicer to him than Frank Magazine. :)

Anonymous said...

LeBlanc has the support of a former Martin Chief of Staff, as well as a former Chretien Chief of Staff. I think if anyone can heal the divisions in the party it would be someone like him.

Anonymous said...

Yuck, Tim Murphy is on his team. How does that guy keep gettin' work?

Regardless I'll give Mr. LeBlanc a close look as he seems like a decent candidate on paper. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

me dere robert: Tone is vague. I could say by your tone you think I'm evil.

My post was only an attempt to show LeBlanc isn't that fresh of a face, which he is being touted as.

So it's more of a post against those who misrepresented him.


In_The_Centre said...

I wish his team and campaign the best of luck. I’ve met the guy in person and I believe he definitely has the potential to lead the party and his greatest asset might be that he doesn’t have any baggage. Maybe some other day :)


Anonymous said...

ITC: Oh don't get me wrong, I wish him the best of luck as well. My position is he is not as "new" as some may think.

Should stress I still may support him.


me dere robert said...

Come on, your post is an attack on Leblanc and/or you just enjoy stirring up the Chretien/Martin war soap opera.

Your point that he was loyal to Chretien is obviously being portrayed as negative.

Why don't you update your post with some history of Leblanc during the Martin era.

Anonymous said...

Me dere robert: If someone is portrayed as a fresh face and one of renewal, yes being a Chretien loyalist is something that would challenge that.

I'm not attacking LeBlanc, I'm challenging the fact he's entirely new and would implicitly bring renewal.

As I've said I may support LeBlanc. This post was to counter the false image of LeBlanc perpetuated by Liberals and the media.

But you simplify things and suggest I'm attacking him because .... I don't know your motivations, but I've made mine clear.


Anonymous said...

LeBlanc earned a B.A. degree in political science from the University of Toronto (Trinity College), a LL.B. degree from the University of New Brunswick, and then attended Harvard Law School, where he obtained his LL.M. degree. Prior to entering Parliament LeBlanc was a lawyer and notary.

....he's no slouch.

Anonymous said...

Anon: I don't understand your comment, no one even hinted that LeBlanc was a slouch.


MississaugaPeter said...

He may not be a slouch but he goes and says he is leadership material without 1 elected MP on his side.

According to the G & M, his only declared support are remnants of the past, henchmen: "Mr. LeBlanc is supported by the former chiefs of staff of Canada's last two Liberal prime ministers: Percy Downe, who headed Jean Chrétien's office and Paul Martin's top staffer, Tim Murphy."

I agree with Scott's assessment that he is not the fresh face that some, I guess the henchmen, are trying to portray LeBlanc.

The Beav said...

I think LeBlanc won't heal the Liberal Party. As your post describes, he is a staunch Chretien backer.

The party needs to move beyond Chretien vs Martin. Its been 15 long years of division.

The Liberal Party needs to choose unity over division.

Anonymous said...

Beav: I don't think there's that much healing that needs to take place. I only wrote this post to show how deep his roots were, because I had come to the opinion he was fairly new and would be a rejuvenating force.

I'm not saying he won't, I'm just saying he doesn't obviously appear to.

Antonio said...

His strong support among key Ontario organizers for Kennedy hints that maybe Le Gerard is not gonna run, or that Kennedy has a new crew in Ontario

Anonymous said...

I don't see the similarity between Kennedy and LeBlanc other then age and (English) oratory ability.

I don't view it as a necessary plus for anyone to have old Kennedy or Dion organizers supporting them.


Mushroom said...

If David McGuinty runs then Gerard's supporters will go between Dom and the Prem's bro.

The key is where will Bruce Young take his people. He can't go to both Iggy and Rae.

Patrick Ross said...

I recall LeBlanc whining about Stephen Harper "bullying" Stephane Dion because he had the nerve to show up to the same public festival as Dion.

For a mewling partisan whiner, he doesn't strike me as so bad.

DonSr said...

Dominic sure appears head and shoulders above Bobby or Iggy.I don't know how anybody can forget the Ray years or Iggy's offshore years.As a senior from Pearson's era I recognize Dominic as the 1st CANDITATE of quality in these rounds. My extended family and I will be supporting him!!