The provincial Liberal Party convention looks for all the world like the first big sign of a political party on the come-back trail.
A relatively large turnout – upwards of 200 people – and the election of a raft of new faces on the party executive suggest that interest in the party is rebounding after a few years of the doldrums.
Lawyer Judy Morrow replaced Danny Dumaresque as president. For all the concerns expressed around these parts about Dumaresque’s leadership intentions and the deferred leadership convention, the fact is the Danny and the old executive managed to keep the party alive and out of financial ruin. That was no small feat over the past four years. The old crew have passed on a pretty good foundation on which the new crew can start rebuilding.
One of the big tasks will be fund-raising and to handle that the party elected a new treasurer - John Hogan - to replace the septuagenarian senator Joan Cook.
One of the surest signs of revival is the speculation about Dean Macdonald as potential leader. Dean would normally not [inserted the word "not" which was left out of the first draft] be considered leadership material but the fact that some people are pushing him and the fact he’s been flitting about again over the past couple of weeks are a sign that the opportunists are sensing a potential vehicle for their own agendas.
Oddly enough, Macdonald told a Young Liberal breakfast meeting why he wouldn’t be a good leader. Differentiate yourselves from the other guys was his good but hardly novel advice. Coming from a guy who has already publicly stated his support for the other guys and for continued Dannyism, it’s pretty much impossible to differentiate yourself when all you offer is more of the same.
A new leader will turn up; he or she just won’t be one of the names that have cropped up already. In the meantime, politics in the province may get back to some sort of health if the Liberals can continue rebuilding and start offering a competitive challenge to the current set of policies from the Provincial Conservatives. Politics doesn’t work when one side dominates the agenda so completely.