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article imageCanada: Liberal party agrees to delay leadership vote for 2 years

By Andrew Ardizzi     Jun 19, 2011 in Politics
Ottawa - Canada's federal Liberal party will wait two full years before choosing its next leader in order to give the party time to rebuild and avoid extinction within the Canadian political landscape.
During a virtual conference held June 18, 2,000 delegates voted over the telephone to postpone a leadership vote until some time between March 1 and June 30, 2013, the party's latest possible option do so.
The decision to delay choosing a new leader ensures interim leader Bob Rae will be on the job for two full years, giving him time to help rebuild the party while paving the way for his successor to be ready for the 2015 general election.
"We need some time to get through these essential jobs, and I hope you will give me the support to do them. We do have some time, realizing that the next election is 1,583 days away, in October of 2015," Rae said in a Toronto Star report. "That does not mean we can put off difficult decisions, but it does mean we have to go about our task in a systematic way, in a way that will clearly establish a strong foundation for the party to move forward."
Under the party's constitution the Liberals were to choose a new leader within five months of a leader's resignation, but 89 per cent of delegates approved the amendment to the constitution during the teleconference which delays the vote for up to two years.
During the virtual convention, Rae told delegates Stephen Harper's Conservatives and Jack Layton's NDP would like to destroy the party, leaving only polarized choices of left and right wing parties for Canadians to choose from, the Globe and Mail reported.
"We need to take the time to make the right choices and to make those important strides in fundraising, organization and policy," said Rae, who believes the party needs time set itself right and rebuild from the ground up, the Globe said. "Something different happened on May 2. This has put us in a different place, we need to do things differently this time."
Although the party had a number of available alternatives, they ultimately chose the option that would delay a vote on a permanent successor to former leader Michael Ignatieff the longest, while party brass had originally wished to wait 18 to 22 months before holding the vote.
The lengthy delay was championed by another former leader in Stephane Dion, who led the party to its previous defeat in 2008 which resulted in a Conservative minority parliament, believing the party should not choose another leader until it is able to fundraise and organize itself to combat Tory attack ads, CBC News reported.
Dion also reminded delegates of the beatings both himself and Mr. Ignatieff took at the Conservative party's hands.
"The defeat has been very severe. The party has a monumental task to do. We should do it step by step," Dion said after the teleconference, CBC states. "For that we need greater organization, good fundraising, good communications in the social media and the traditional media."
More about Canadian Politics, Bob Rae, Liberal party, Leadership, Canada
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