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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Nelson Wiseman

CANADIAN FEDERAL ELECTION OF 2008. LIBERAL PARTY CHAPTER 2 - had appeared to be a golden opportunity for the liberals to demonstrate that they had turned the page and regroup after 2006 defeat. - instead, the party suffered one of their worst defeats ever, share of popular vote reduced to 26percent. - explanation on the surface is ran poor campaign with weak leader - but actually defeated rooted in failure to understand serious message they were sent by the voters in 2006 and their failure to implement even those changes they did recognize as necessary in runup to 2008 election. - loss in 2006 due to series of problems that caused voters to lose faith in the liberals competence and integrity. effect of gomery inquiry, this image of corruption and arrogance reinforced during RCMPs bizarre handling of possible income trust scandal in 2006. - their campaign in 2006 crap from start. poorly conceived and exectued - liberals could reasonably expected a chance of power in 2008 election as conservatives won but canadians werent ready for full reign of harper and they were shut out of 2 biggest urban cities, and had slim minority. *no huge change in canadians values - however challenge was large, would have to accomplish 4 objectives before enxt election. 1. find credible leader. 2. rebuild organization. 3.improve fundraising capacity. 4. create coherent vision for liberalism in 21stC. **FAILED ONALLACCOUNTS. - missed opportunities began with dysfunctional 2006 leadership race. - party needed to reform structures to align them with 3 major tasks of any poli party; policy dvlpmt, fundraising and campaigning. all 3 had been hampered by federal nature of the party structure, layer of representational organization that had been added in name of fairness and equality, with no regard to efficiency - hoping to raise the partys profile, they creted an ad hoc body, the liberal party of canada policy renewal commission, o work throughout the year and submit its report to the convention in december. tom axworthy chosen to lead. - commisson controversial from beginning. executive appeared to be ignoring partys own national policy committe but recommendation of commission could potentially conflict with the plicy resoultions debated at the convention . -liberals looking for another star candidate to replace paul martin. 11 candidats came forward. low entry fee to be candidate was more effective than expected, many candidates considered marginal. ignatieff and rae perceived as star candidates and frontrunners, two men also quickly portrayed by the media as representing opposing sides in martinchretien feud. internal party divisions, this race seen as continuation of internal feud
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