Monday, September 28, 2009

Coderre Steps Down

Denis Coderre has stepped down as Ignatieff's Quebec lieutenant.

The controversy, according to CTV's Robert Fife:

The rift between Ignatieff and Coderre broke open last week over who should be nominated as the Liberal candidate in the Montreal riding of Outremont.

Former justice minister Martin Cauchon, who left politics in 2004, has signalled his intention to return to Parliament Hill and reclaim the riding he held for 11 years.

However, Ignatieff announced last Monday that he would appoint businesswoman Nathalie Le Prohon, who was selected by Coderre, as the Liberal candidate in Outremont,

The decision seemed to end Cauchon's hopes of a political comeback, but Coderre announced later in the week that another riding would be offered to Cauchon.

Meanwhile, a number of Liberal MPs, including Bob Rae, rallied around Cauchon in his bid for Outremont.

By the end of the week, Ignatieff had reversed his own decision about Outremont to allow for an open nomination contest in the riding.

"We do know that Mr. Coderre has been very angry at Michael Ignatieff, who overruled him -- had first supported him when he said that Mr. Cauchon could not run for the Liberal party in Outremont -- and then changed his mind and then supported (Cauchon)," Fife said. "So over the weekend, Mr. Coderre...has been mulling over his plans."

According to Fife, Cauchon would likely emerge as a rival to Coderre to replace Ignatieff in a future Liberal leadership contest.

But an immediate concern, Fife said, is that should Coderre step down, the move would cause turmoil "and perhaps open warfare in the Liberal Party."

"In the long-term here, nobody in this country who wants to lead a party can win if he can't control his own party," Fife told CTV News Channel. "Voters don't elect people who can't run their own party. More important than that, this is happening in Quebec, where the Liberal Party needs to win seats if they are going to have any chance of beating the Conservatives and forming a minority government."

The riding was a onetime Liberal stronghold until New Democrat Thomas Mulcair grabbed the seat in a 2007 by-election upset victory.

During his press conference today, Coderre stated that he felt he had lost the "moral authority" to do his job. He has not resigned as MP.

If there's one thing that you can count on with the Liberal party, it's the fact that eventually the circular firing squad will go very public with the injured then licking their various wounds in front of the microphones.


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