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The shadow of small remote controlled shark flies above the heads of delegates at the federal Liberal convention in Ottawa on Jan. 14, 2012. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
The shadow of small remote controlled shark flies above the heads of delegates at the federal Liberal convention in Ottawa on Jan. 14, 2012. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

Liberal candidates line up for final stretch of leadership race Add to ...

The slate of candidates in the Liberal Party of Canada’s leadership race is now final, with five men and four women running to take over from interim leader Bob Rae. Here are the next steps in the race:

JAN. 20: The first of five two-hour debates will be held in Vancouver. Each of the nine candidates will have an opening and a closing statement, and will answer a question in English and in French from the moderator. In addition, the candidates will break into three groups of three to answer and debate questions from the public. The subsequent debates are slated for Winnipeg (Feb. 2), the Greater Toronto Area (Feb. 16), Halifax (March 3) and Montreal (March 23).

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MARCH 3: Deadline for the nine campaigns to sign up members or supporters who will be eligible to participate in the leadership vote.

MARCH 14: Deadline for all active Liberal members and supporters to register with the party in order to obtain a PIN and vote for the next leader. As of Wednesday, the party estimated that 100,000 Canadians have signed up for a paid membership or the free supporter status.

APRIL 6: The biggest event of the campaign will be a national showcase in Toronto, in which all nine candidates will make a multimedia presentation to party faithful at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. In addition to speeches, the candidates will be able to invite other Liberals to talk about them on stage or present a video about themselves.

APRIL 7 TO APRIL 14: Voting period for all registered Liberals, either by phone or online. Voters will be asked to fill out a single preferential ballot in which they will select their favourite candidate, and then lay out their other preferences sequentially. Each of the country’s 308 ridings will be given equal weight in the final results. The process will be handled by a private firm, Dominion Voting Systems.

APRIL 14: Around 6 p.m., the winner of the race will be announced in a large ballroom at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa. The registered candidates are: MPs Marc Garneau, Joyce Murray and Justin Trudeau, ex-MPs Martin Cauchon and Martha Hall Findlay, lawyers David Bertschi, Deborah Coyne and George Takach, and retired soldier Karen McCrimmon.

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