I'm not calling for the ouster of Stephane Dion, but it seems likely that ousted he will be, either by his own volition or by others. So I think it's time to start thinking about how we each decide who we want to be the next leader.
First, we need a leader who is ready to lead. Please don't fight for Justin Trudeau. He just got elected for the first time. He's young. If he wants to be leader, he has plenty of time. Now is not the time. I say this because I saw a poll on TV that placed Trudeau as the second most popular leadership choice of Liberals.
This is part of a more general point: when you propose or support a candidate for leader, please be thoughtful and reasonable. Be rational. Every Liberal can influence the selection of leader, and we all need to be careful about who we support. Someone may sound good, but do your homework and think it through.
Next, we should involve the backroom players in our selection process. Once we have a slate of candidates, we should ask members of the party elite to provide their opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Let's not start out in our corners, fighting tooth and nail. Let's move forward together to select the best person for the job.
What Dion lacked with his surprise win at the convention was a mandate. Had the Liberal party been behind his green shift plan, the country would have understood it, but regular Canadian Liberals just didn't like it or understand it or want it. Dion won by a trick, and then never won us over. Maybe he was the second choice of delegates, but that would have been because the race became so bitter that they wouldn't accept their candidate's real rivals. In any event, Dion wasn't the choice of most Liberal voters. Next time, let's pick someone who everyone can get behind.
And to put my money where my mouth is, this is what I have to say about Bob Rae. I fought hard for Rae in the last leadership race, and I still think that he is by far the best choice in terms of competence, ability to communicate and inspire... and all other leadership qualities. But. He has been in the federal sphere for a few years now, and he hasn't overcome the biases against him based on his time as premier. Even though polls showed that more Ontarians supported him than supported any other leadership candidate, he hasn't been able to break the myth that he can't win in Ontario. Every time his name comes up someone says, He'll never win Ontario. Even though he did an admirable job with the economy, every time his name comes up someone says, He ruined Ontario's economy. They're ignorant, but they're voters. If Rae can't overcome that prejudice quickly, then he shouldn't be our leader.
Here are some people I heard mentioned today as possible leaders:
Update: James Bowie has a great suggestion about the next leadership vote: "The membership cutoff date should be election day [Oct 14]. If you haven't signed up as a Liberal by the time you're supposed to vote, then feel free to sign up next time, but we don't need you to choose our leader."