The Liberal Party is scattering into 11 leadership camps. But in the process, the divisions between its two warring factions are lessening.
David Collenette, one of the most prominent Jean Chrétien loyalists, who served as defence and transport minister and was one of the key Ontario organizers for Mr. Chrétien's 1990 leadership win, is joining the campaign of MP Michael Ignatieff. His former colleague in the Commons, Jim Peterson, one of Paul Martin's staunchest supporters, is co-chair.
In a race that follows a bitter internecine battle between supporters of Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Martin, the candidates are keen to attract prominent figures from both camps and to be seen doing it.
Mr. Collenette, a veteran involved in every Liberal race since 1968, said he spoke to most of the leadership candidates and decided that he liked Mr. Ignatieff's policy approach best, even though he knew many of the others better.
Mr. Collenette and Mr. Peterson have long been friendly, despite being in different camps, but Mr. Ignatieff's campaign, which has already recruited 27 of the 102 Liberal MPs, includes people who have been in conflict in the past.
Not all the divisions are past, of course -- and several Liberals admit that many personal grudges will linger.
The Chrétien-Martin war was, in many ways, a continuation of the Martin-Turner war before it, so it has deep roots lasting a generation, and that created tensions as the current crop of contenders tried to organize.
"At the beginning, people were deliberately trying to bridge the divide, to the point of forcing it, and it was quite a shaky bridge," said one former Martin supporter working on a leadership campaign.
Several of Mr. Martin's most senior advisers -- such as former campaign managers David Herle and Karl Littler -- have sat out the leadership race so far, and others have scattered to different camps. Mr. Chrétien's former forces have divided, too.
Most leadership teams are seeking out figures from both sides -- and those who were identified with one side have gone out of their way to fight the perception.
One of Gerard Kennedy's biggest boosters is Senator Terry Mercer, the Liberal national director under Mr. Chrétien, but his B.C. organizer is former Martin PMO staffer Bruce Young. Scott Brison has several former Martin organizers on his campaign, but he has also earned endorsements from former organizers for Mr. Chrétien.
Stéphane Dion, the only candidate who served a lengthy term in Mr. Chrétien's cabinet, has a campaign team managed by Mr. Martin's senior B.C. organizer, Mark Marissen.
Bob Rae's campaign is widely perceived as stacked with Chrétien loyalists. Mr. Rae's brother, John, was Mr. Chrétien's campaign manager, and Mr. Chrétien's long-time policy adviser, Eddie Goldenberg, is also onside, along with a host of others.
But Mr. Rae scored a coup in luring Mr. Martin's campaign co-chair, John Webster, and other former Martin supporters said it changed their view.
"We have people who worked for Martin, we have people who worked for Mr. Chrétien, we have people who worked for other leadership candidates," said Mr. Rae's campaign manager, Jonathan Goldbloom.
"You get immersed in your own campaign, and you become very loyal to the person that you're working with, and you become a team very quickly, because the hours are long and it takes a lot of time."