Friday, April 7, 2006

michael ignatieff and the race begins ...

and let the races begin!

Former Harvard academic and rookie MP Michael Ignatieff has officially entered the Liberal leadership race.

Ignatieff joins growing field
Kennedy will declare soonStill waiting to hear from Brison
Apr. 7, 2006. 12:15 PM, FROM CANADIAN PRESS

Rookie Liberal MP Michael Ignatieff entered the Liberal leadership race Friday following months of speculation that the former Harvard academic would vie for the party’s top job.

“I have come here to my riding of Etobicoke Lakeshore to announce my candidacy for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada,” Ignatieff told a crowd of supporters.

“I am fighting to revive faith, not just in the Liberal party, but in politics itself. I’m a devoted Liberal, I’ve been one all my life. That’s why I’m in the fight to renew the party I love.”

Ignatieff, 58, joins a growing roster of candidates that added former cabinet minister Stephane Dion, who declared his plans to run Friday as well.

Former Ontario education minister Gerard Kennedy is expected to declare his candidacy in the coming weeks, and ex-Tory Scott Brison is said to be considering his options.

Former Ontario premier Bob Rae and former federal Liberal cabinet minister Ken Dryden are also rumoured to be considering runs.

The federal Liberals will pick their new leader in early December.

Ignatieff, the son of a distinguished diplomat who served under Lester Pearson, left a prestigious post at Harvard last year to enter Canadian politics.

The transition hasn’t been a smooth one.

On Nov. 30, dozens of people at a Liberal nomination meeting shouted and jeered at Ignatieff, questioning his ties to the riding.

Grumpy Grits accused party officials of parachuting in the noted academic, who has spent the better part of the last 30 years out of the country.

Ignatieff, who insisted he’s never been out of touch with his Canadian roots, ended up winning the nomination by acclamation.

With the election three days away, the head of the local Liberal riding association resigned and endorsed his Conservative opponent.

On election day, Ignatieff won the riding handily.

Throughout the campaign, Ignatieff bristled at suggestions he was on in the Liberal on-deck circle despite escalating chatter of a leadership bid.

A poster in his campaign office of Pierre Trudeau, whose 1968 Liberal leadership campaign Ignatieff worked for as a youth organizer, only fuelled speculation that first began last March at the party convention.

Ignatieff, a father of two, has lectured at Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, the University of California, the University of London and the London School of Economics.

He has also hosted award winning shows on BBC, worked as a journalist in Rwanda and Kosovo and won a Governor General’s Award for non-fiction.