Figure how many times five goes into one and you've possibly got the next Liberal nomination meeting in Toronto Centre -- one ostensibly safe Liberal seat being eyed by three former party leadership candidates and at least two other people.
The comfortable assumption in Toronto Liberal circles has been that a half-dozen good seats in the city would be available for leadership candidates Bob Rae, Gerard Kennedy and Martha Hall Findlay to get into the House of Commons.
The facts are something else.
To begin with, it's not certain Toronto Centre will be open. The sitting member, Bill Graham, the party's interim leader until Stéphane Dion's election last weekend, suggested in a speech to the Liberal leadership convention he would not be running again.
But his riding association is still expecting him to be a candidate, and a spokesman in his parliamentary office said yesterday he has made no decision on his future.
Of the other Toronto Liberal MPs rumoured not to be running again, only Jim Peterson in Willowdale, the former minister for international trade, has indicated he may step down, but he hasn't made up his mind. The rest -- John Cannis (Scarborough Centre), Roy Cullen (Etobicoke North), John Godfrey (Don Valley West), Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough-Agincourt) and Joe Volpe (Eglinton-Lawrence) -- all say they'll answer the bell at the next campaign.
Which means if Mr. Graham is hurried out of politics, there's going to be a tight squeeze in Toronto Centre.
Rumours have been rife in the city since the convention that Ms. Hall Findlay, Mr. Rae and Mr. Kennedy are interested in the riding. So is socially well-connected human-rights lawyer Meredith Cartwright and Rev. Rob Oliphant, pastor of North Toronto's St. George's United Church, who has been asked to run; both are gay and both are residents in the riding, which includes Toronto's gay community and super-wealthy Rosedale neighbourhood.
Ms. Hall Findlay, who came last in the leadership race but made a stellar impact on convention delegates, said in an interview she's looking for a Toronto seat but "nothing is decided."
She moved into the city from suburban Newmarket after the party bumped her out of the Liberal candidacy in Newmarket-Aurora riding so that Conservative rebel Belinda Stronach could run in the last election. She now lives in Mr. Godfrey's riding, but he said Thursday he will be running again.
Mr. Kennedy could run in Parkdale-High Park, the west-end Toronto riding he represented provincially when he was Ontario's education minister. It is now held by first-time-elected New Democrat Peggy Nash, who defeated her Liberal opponent by 2,000 votes. Or Mr. Kennedy could run in a seat in Manitoba, where he was born.
But the big buzz in Toronto political circles this past week is that he's ready to go toe-to-toe with Mr. Rae for the nomination in Toronto Centre.
Mr. Kennedy did not return a call asking his intentions. A spokesman for Mr. Rae said "it is still too early" for Mr. Rae to make a decision.
For Mr. Graham, it will be the second time he's been the reported target of a Liberal nudge. A little more than a year ago, supporters of leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff, then without a seat in Parliament, were exploring whether Mr. Graham would move aside.
A key Ignatieff supporter, illustrating the sour relations between Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Rae, said Toronto Centre was probably the only Toronto riding where Mr. Rae could win. Everywhere else, he said, the former Ontario NDP premier would be clobbered by wrathful New Democrats.
Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Rae, close friends for more than 40 years until they became leadership rivals, met Tuesday to explore restoring good feeling to their relationship. The meeting apparently did not go well.
Following the third leadership ballot, Mr. Dion, Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Rae were respectively in first, second and third places -- which meant Mr. Rae was dropped from the race. He possibly could have given Mr. Ignatieff victory if he had declared support for him, but he released his delegates to vote how they wanted.