Skip to main content

With Liberals across Ontario voting this weekend to select delegates for their late-January convention, Adam Radwanski looks at some of the key things to watch

GETTING OUT THE VOTE

Nearly 45,000 Liberals are eligible to cast ballots this weekend to determine how many committed delegates each of the six leadership candidates will carry into the convention. About two-thirds were enlisted during a brief recruitment window, and nobody is sure how many will vote.

Story continues below advertisement

Whatever the total turnout, expect huge regional disparities. Sources say that some ridings have more than 2,000 members, while others have fewer than 100 – and many smaller ones are in sprawling northern constituencies that will have only a single polling station this weekend. But every riding is entitled to send 16 delegates to the convention.

THE FIGHT FOR FIRST

Seen to have the strongest on-the-ground organization, Kathleen Wynne is likely to lead fellow contender Sandra Pupatello after the weekend. But it matters by how much.

If Ms. Wynne has only a narrow lead, Ms. Pupatello's advantage among party elites who are automatically granted delegate status could counterbalance it. If Ms. Wynne looks strong enough, those elites could move to her.

There is also the matter of perception. After a week in which she scored an endorsement from former candidate Glen Murray, Ms. Wynne has raised expectations. To keep momentum going, she needs to meet them.

BEST OF THE REST

Third or even a strong fourth place heading into the convention offers a decent chance of gathering momentum there and making it to the final ballot or crowning the winner. But while Gerard Kennedy and Charles Sousa seem to be in better shape than Eric Hoskins and Harinder Takhar, the campaigns are having trouble gauging where they stand.

Story continues below advertisement

A big factor will be vote efficiency. Because of the discrepancy in the size of riding associations, it matters almost as much where the candidates get votes as how many.

THE INCUMBENCY FACTOR

It's often assumed that MPPs deliver most of their ridings' delegates to the candidates they support. That may be true of those who maintain active riding associations, but many don't, which makes how much control they have an open question.

This is a matter of particular importance to Ms. Pupatello, who has the most caucus support. It should also probably concern the MPPs, who could lose respect within their party if other Liberals out-organize them on their own turf.

LOGISTICAL NIGHTMARES?

With the entire leadership campaign a bit of a rush job because of Dalton McGuinty's surprise resignation, there's potential for all sorts of confusion in attempts to enforce the rules properly this weekend. It doesn't help that Mr. Murray dropped out just two days before voting; his name is on the ballots and supporters had registered to seek delegate spots on his behalf.

Story continues below advertisement

With half of the ridings voting on Saturday and the other half on Sunday, party officials are already predicting that results won't be available until after midnight each night. Let's hope that's not too optimistic.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter