Monday, October 2, 2006
Michael Ignatieff has maintained his lead as voting concludes in the "Super Weekend" of delegate selection meetings for the Liberal Party of Canada's leadership convention. With 380 of 469 ridings reporting, the former Harvard professor leads with 1162 committed delegates, 30% of the total. Former Ontario premier, Bob Rae, is second with 767 delegates (19.8%), while former federal Environment minister Stephane Dion and former Ontario education minister Gerard Kennedy are battling for third place with 648 and 646 delegates respectively (16.7%). While no clear challenger to Ignatieff has emerged, analysts say that the frontrunner is vulnerable if an "Anybody but Ignatieff" movement emerges and the opposition to him coalesces around one of Rae, Dion or Kennedy on the convention floor in December.
"I feel I'm tremendously well placed," Ignatieff told CBC News on Sunday, "I think I've earned their confidence and trust, but we do have two months to go."
"It's a different kind of campaign from here on in," said Kennedy.
"The whole purpose of the exercise this weekend is to get in position where we can make a run for the prize," Rae said.
"We have not the biggest machine, but the biggest heart," Dion said of his campaign.
The results vary around the country. Rae, though a former Ontario premier, has come in third in that province with 17.3% delegate support, well behind Ignatieff and Kennedy who are neck-in-neck in Canada's largest province with 27.3% and 26.7% support respectively.
In Quebec, Kennedy has proven to be weak, winning only 10 delegates or 1% of the province's total while Ignatieff leads with 38.4% and Dion and Rae battle for second place with 29.1% and 24.2% support respectively.
Rae is the leader in Newfoundland, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island as well as in British Columbia where he is well ahead of Kennedy, Dion and Ignatieff in that order while Kennedy leads in Alberta where he has three more delegates than Ignatieff.
Ignatieff leads in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
Across the country, the other four candidates all have less than 5% support. Former hockey great Ken Dryden has 189 delegates (4.9%), Joe Volpe has 172 delegates (4.4%), Scott Brison has won his home province of Nova Scotia but has only 148 delegates across the country (3.8%) and Martha Hall Findlay has won 41 delegates (1.1%) while 104 delegates (2.7%) are uncommitted. With the exception of the uncommitted delegates, the approximately 4,300 delegates elected this weekend are locked into supporting the candidates on whose behalf they have been chosen on the first ballot of the December 2-3 convention being held in Montreal but are free to support other candidates on subsequent ballots. They will be joined by approximately 1,000 delegates who will attend either because they are Members of Parliament, Senators or former Cabinet ministers or because they've been chosen by various committees. Nevertheless, this weekend's results are expected to give a rough idea of what the first ballot results of the convention will be.
About 190,000 party members were eligible to vote in this weekend's exercise.
== Related news ==
"Ignatieff leads in early Canadian Liberal delegate count" — Wikinews, September 30, 2006
== Sources ==
John Bryden, Canadian Press. "Ignatieff ahead but not safe" — Toronto Star, October 1, 2006
"Liberal delegate voting shows Ignatieff lead holding" — CBC News, October 1, 2006
Press Release: "Super Weekend Unofficial Delgate Election Results Ticker" — Liberal Party of Canada, September 29, 2006