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Adam Radwanski

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Are we really going to go through the motions of pretending that Denis Coderre is a huge loss to Michael Ignatieff?

You can blame the Liberal Leader for putting himself in this situation - first by placing his lot with someone who represents the very worst of old-school Quebec politics, and then by initially standing by him when he was clearly putting his own interests ahead of his party's. But it's a sign of just how facile our political culture has become that we interpret recognizing your mistakes, and correcting them, as a sign of weakness.

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It's also indicative of short memories. The last Liberal Leader to show undue loyalty, Paul Martin, paid a significant price for it. By insisting on dancing with the ones that brung him, he failed to make the tough personnel decisions expected of someone at his level. The people who are good at winning leaderships, or at least muscling competitors out of the way, are not necessarily the same people you need once you're in power or close to it.

As for the angle that Coderre is now going to make Ignatieff's life miserable, I'm sure he'll create a few headaches. But you can't bring people into your tent just because you're afraid of what they're going to do outside it. As a general rule, those are precisely the kinds of people who are going to make a mess inside the tent as well.

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Update: Lots of chatter in the comments below about who will replace Coderre. There's no question that the Liberals will have an organizational void to fill. But I'm inclined to agree with Rob Silver that this would be a good time to put the notion of "Quebec lieutenants" to rest.

Follow on Twitter: @aradwanski

 

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