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Politics Today: Martin Cauchon spots progressive hole in Liberal race

Justice Minister Martin Cauchon gives a sign of approval in front of Parliament Hill on May 27, 2003.

JIM YOUNG/Reuters

Politics Today* is your daily guide to some of the stories we're watching in Ottawa and across Canada, by The Globe and Mail's team of political reporters.

A crowded field

The deadline passed at midnight last night to join the race for federal Liberal leader, leaving the party with – as some feared – a very crowded field. Thanks to the addition of two late entries, former justice minister Martin Cauchon and Ottawa lawyer David Bertschi bring the final tally to nine contenders.

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Evidently there was some co-operation between the two candidates – the Toronto Star's Susan Delacourt reported an e-mail from the Bertschi campaign sought to help Mr. Cauchon collect the last few nomination signatures he needed from Manitoba.

And as the Canadian Press reported a few weeks ago, Mr. Cauchon may have seen an opening in the field for a progressive candidate. Only B.C. MP Joyce Murray has been unapologeticly left of centre.

If Mr. Cauchon does win the leadership and wants to get back into Parliament (he hasn't been an MP since 2004), he'll find it tough to take his old riding back. Outremont in Montreal, which he held for 11 years, is now represented by Thomas Mulcair.

...and a thinning field

The Ontario Liberals' delegate selection votes on the weekend provided the first clear proof that there are two leading candidates in the contest: Sandra Pupatello and Kathleen Wynne. That leaves Gerard Kennedy and Harinder Takhar, who finished in a distant third and fourth, as the potential queenmakers. As Adam Radwanski writes, Ms. Pupatello and Ms. Wynne both have strong résumés, but the biggest difference between them is the timing of the next election.

Hillary 2016

And in case you weren't watching the Golden Globes last night (I'll take a shot in the dark and guess that if you're reading this you weren't), former U.S. president Bill Clinton introduced the film Lincoln as one of the nominees for best dramatic picture. In a sign of the times, co-host Amy Poehler said after he was done: "Oh my God, what an exciting special guest: That was Hillary Clinton's husband!"

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Lincoln didn't end up winning – that honour went to Argo, the movie about the Canadian Caper.

* Political Points or Politics Today? Or something else? Since this daily morning feature started in December, we haven't settled on what to call it. If you like one of those names – or have another suggestion – let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

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