Cold Hard Wonk

No sentiment but politics

Godfrey, Good Night, and Good Luck

Posted by JJ in Strategic Planning, Hats Off, Gentlemen (Wednesday April 12, 2006 at 11:44 pm)

As you may have heard by now, John Godfrey, an early declarant for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, has decided to back out of the race, citing medical concerns.

Godfrey had proposed a new path for the Liberal party, one combining a dedication to environmentalism with the fiscal prudence which has been the standard for governments since the early 1990s. But being first-to-market isn’t necessarily an advantage. It can give others a chance to make those minor adjustments which can turn a good position into a great one.

Whatever his reasons, it was clear that Godfrey would have had a difficult go of things. Stephane Dion, a fellow former Minister with a higher profile in and outside of Quebec, declared his own candidacy on much the same platform — a combination of economic growth and environmental sustainability.

Hot ground, apparently. But between another former Minister entering the fray, a crowded slate of Toronto candidates (Ignatieff, Kennedy, and possibly Bob Rae), and his personal concerns, Godfrey’s chances of winning the leadership were slim; and for a man of his age and experience, it wasn’t about putting his name out.

It’s always a shame to see a race cool off, as it must when a shoot-out participant gets shot out; but if he has half the political smarts of a man of his experience, he’ll wind up well ahead in the future leader’s eyes and possible Cabinet. Briefly a runner, but stronger for having done so.

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