Leadership races are often an opportunity for a political party to start over with a blank slate, Liberals might not get that chance if a slightly hypocritical Dominic Leblanc gets his way.
Liberal MP Dominic Leblanc is discouraging anyone from running for leadership who only seeks to raise their profile and that members who lost their elections shouldn't run either. Now he may be right, but he is absolutely the wrong guy to say it.
Today Dominic Leblanc is speaking against others using the Liberal leadership race to raise their profiles, but in 2008 he himself used the leadership contest to boost his reputation.
The MP from New Brunswick with a short memory ran in 2008 against Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae before dropping out to support Ignatieff, but not before garnering press attention, name recognition, and building a network of supporters (In early 2009 this blog made such a observation as Leblanc's campaign failed to respond to questions yet accumulated email addresses).
In a December 2008 newsletter announcing his withdrawal from the leadership race Dominic Leblanc wrote:
"Organizations were being set up in ridings where we had a chance of electing delegates and Liberal men and women of various backgrounds, young and old, were coming together to offer generous support."But Leblanc using the leadership race to raise his profile was four years ago, now as he is one of the few better known Liberals it only makes sense that he burns the ladder he himself had used in order to prevent others from challenging his more than likely bid for Leader in, if not this race, the next.
Dominic Leblanc's dismissal of Liberals who lost their seats in the last election also reflects poorly on him as it recalls how Leblanc first became a Liberal candidate in the safest Liberal seat in Canada, through a patronage appointment.
Dominic Leblanc may be right to suggest members should not run for Leader to simply raise their profile and that defeated candidates shouldn't run at all, but having done the very thing he is advocating against and never having to actually face a fierce election for his seat, Leblanc is absolutely the worst person to take advice from on who should run for Leader.
If this leadership race is actually going to matter, the Liberal Party needs to start anew with a blank slate, not Leblanc's.