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Would Chrétien Be Winning?

You have to ask the question. And I think the answer is, "yes". If Jean Chretien were still the leader of the Liberal party, I believe they would still be talking about a Liberal majority, with a slight chance of a minority.

Why? Because...

  • He did some popular things, particularly in 2003, and Martin has walked away from that record. Martin isn't getting credit for the Clarity Act, for keeping us out of Iraq, for campaign finance reform, for Kyoto, for same-sex marriage or for pot decriminalization.
  • The former Liberal cabinet had some heavyweights. Martin forced them into retirement. Chretien would still have them in fighting mode.
  • Chretien (and/or his team) seemed to have much better political sense.
  • Chretien knew how to take a stand -- knowing it would please a lot of people, and anger some others. Paul Martin has developed a reputation for wanting to please everyone -- with little success.
  • Chretien's team represented a left-right balance; Martin has lost his left.
  • Whether or not it is a good thing, I believe that Jean Chretien could have handled the sponsorship scandal in a better way (politically speaking).

And, I don't know if it is another cause, or just an effect of the above, but Paul Martin is suddenly a lot less likeable than M. Chretien. He even looks older and less healthy.

Now, a lot of the reasons that I'm frustrated with "Team Martin" could just as easily be applied to the Liberal Party under our former prime minister. Martin's problem is that he has inherited all the negatives but abandoned all the positives.

From a personal point of view, it's too bad for Paul Martin. Like much of the rest of the country, I loved him when he was Finance Minister. (And, as a fellow native of Windsor, Ontario, I was rooting for him.)



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