By the time most of you read this editorial area Liberals will have finally picked a candidate to run in the federal election.
To say it’s about time is an understatement of biblical proportions. This is by far the latest the Liberals have ever taken in selecting a candidate in Orléans. Conventional wisdom would dictate that a candidate be selected months before the writ is dropped The conservatives held their nomination meeting in June and the NDP
had picked their candidate back in April.
So why have the Liberals taken so long? That’s a good question which only the mucky mucks at Liberal Party headquarters can answer.
One theory is that they did it to allow front-runner Marie-France Lalonde to make the most of her current position as the local member of provincial parliament. Her Facebook page contains over 20 posts from events she’s attended over the summer including the groundbreaking ceremony for the Orléans Health Hub and the announcement of federal funding for a French language university in Ontario, both of which are key to a successful election campaign should she win the nomination.
On the other hand, the delay has allowed Lalonde’s opponent, Khatera Akbari, the chance to register several thousand new Liberal members which has made the race a lot closer than it would have been if the nomination was held in June.
Lalonde has also been able to continue drawing a salary through the summer right up until the present time. According to election rules, a sitting member of the provincial legislature doesn’t have to relinquish their position until and after they win the nomination.
But while the delay has allowed Lalonde to continue to receive a pay cheque, it has also allowed Akbari to organize and register new members, which could come back to bite Lalonde on the behind.
As of Monday morning the two candidates had registered over 6,000 members.
Whoever ends up capturing the local Liberal nomination will come down which of the two candidates can best convince enough of those new members to come and vote.
Once the nomination meeting is over and a candidate chosen, those same new members will be needed for the push to Election
Day on Oct. 21. The Liberals are hoping the momentum generated by the nomination process will carry over to the campaign.
They will need it, because if there is one thing the campaign for Conservative nominee David Bertschi has it’s momentum.
Bertschi and his team have logged hundreds of hours and knocked on thousands of doors over the past two and a half months and they are on a roll. Whether or not all those hours will equate to an election victory is anybody’s guess, but they’ve definitely made the most of their head start.
– Fred Sherwin,