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Liberal Party of Canada leadership election, 2013

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Liberal Party of Canada leadership election, 2013

Liberal leadership election, 2013
Date April 14, 2013
Convention Westin Hotel, Ottawa, Ontario
Resigning leader Michael Ignatieff
Won by Justin Trudeau
Ballots 1
Candidates 6
Entrance Fee $75,000 CDN
Spending limit $950,000 CDN

An election for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada was triggered by Michael Ignatieff's announcement on May 3, 2011, of his intention to resign as leader following the party's result in the 2011 federal election. On May 25, 2011, Bob Rae was selected to serve as interim leader. The party announced Justin Trudeau as its new leader on April 14, 2013, in Ottawa.[1][2]

Leadership election timing

Ignatieff in April 2011

Ignatieff declared on May 3, 2011, that he intended to resign as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, but his statement was worded so as not to be an actual resignation to avoid immediately triggering a leadership vote under party rules; he tendered a letter of resignation to the party's National Board of Directors on May 11.[3][4] Under the provisions of the party's constitution, the Board was required to set a date for a leadership vote to be held within five months thereafter.[5] However several MPs expressed their reluctance to hold a third leadership election in eight years and instead wanted to take the four years of electoral stability provided by a majority parliament as an opportunity to rebuild under an interim leader for as much as two years before selecting a permanent leader. The Board met as required on May 19 and set the election for October 28 and 29, 2011, but adopted a proposed constitutional amendment allowing this leadership election to be held between March 1 and June 30, 2013, with the exact date to be announced no sooner than five months in advance.[6] The next convention of the party adopted the amendment on June 18, 2011.[7] On June 13, 2012, the Board decided to call the leadership vote for April 2013 with a specific date to be confirmed during the summer.[8] The Board subsequently established April 14, 2013, as the date the leadership election winner is to be announced and November 14, 2012, as the official start of the race. It also set a spending limit of $950,000 and a debt limit of $75,000, both considerably lower figures than allowed in 2006.[1]

Interim leader

Bob Rae in 2007

In the case of a vacancy in the leadership, the Board is required to meet to appoint an interim leader "in consultation" with the parliamentary caucus, i.e., its 34 MPs and 46 senators.[5] Before this meeting, the Board determined it would not consider anyone unless that person has the support of a majority of MPs and of the caucus as a whole, was bilingual, and promised in writing not to seek the permanent leadership and not to discuss or negotiate significant changes to the party, which would include a merger with the New Democratic Party (NDP). This was taken as intended to exclude Bob Rae a potential leadership candidate who had significant support among Liberal senators and had talked about a merger shortly after the general election loss, as well as Ralph Goodale, who is not bilingual, and any other MP who may intend to run in the leadership campaign.[9][10] Nonetheless, after the caucus discussed the interim leadership on May 11, 2011, it met again on May 25 and voted to recommend Rae as interim leader over Marc Garneau; the Board subsequently confirmed the appointment.[11][12][13]

In June 2012, the Board was expected to release Rae from his promise and allow him to run for the party leadership provided he stepped down as interim leader when Parliament rose for the summer.[14] However, Rae announced on June 13, 2012, that he would not be running for the permanent leadership, and remained interim leader until Trudeau was announced as the new leader April 14, 2013.[15]


130,774 Liberal Party members and supporters registered to vote in the election[16] of almost 300,000 who were eligible.[17] General voting took place from April 7 to April 14, 2013, by preferential ballot online and by phone. Each electoral district was allocated 100 points with points in a district allocated in proportion to each candidate by the number of first preference votes received. All points were then aggregated nationally for a "national count". If no candidate received 15,401 points on the first count, then the candidate with the least number of points would be eliminated and his/her votes are distributed in each electoral district among the remaining leadership contestants according to the next preference indicated. This process would then continue until one candidate has more than 15,401 points.[18] Trudeau was selected on the first ballot.


  • May 2, 2009: Michael Ignatieff wins the leadership election to succeed Stéphane Dion.
  • May 2, 2011: Federal election reduces the Liberal Party to 34 seats in the House of Commons, third place behind the Conservative Party of Canada and the NDP.
  • May 3, 2011: Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff informs a press conference that he does not intend to continue as party leader.
  • May 9, 2011: Liberal Party National Board of Directors sets rules that the party's interim leader had to be bilingual and agree not to run as permanent leader or to pursue any merger talks with the NDP.[9]
  • May 11, 2011: Ignatieff formally tenders his resignation in a letter to the Liberal Party's National Board of Directors.
  • May 25, 2011: Liberal caucus votes to recommend Bob Rae over Marc Garneau as interim leader; Rae's election as interim leader confirmed by the National Board.
  • June 18, 2011: An extraordindary convention of the party is held via conference call in which the party's constitution is amended to allow the leadership election to be delayed from the fall of 2011 to between March 1 and June 30, 2013.
  • January 14, 2012: Liberal biennial convention adopts proposal for a new "supporter" class of non-members who will join members in the right to elect the new leader.[2][19]
  • April 21, 2012: Liberal National Board of Directors meets to discuss rules for the leadership election; most decisions are deferred until a subsequent meeting to be held in June.[20]
  • May 2, 2012: Liberal Party opens the "supporter" category of party affiliation allowing Canadians who are not paid members or members of another political party to vote for the Liberal leadership after affirming that they "support the Liberal Party of Canada".[21][22]
  • June 13, 2012: Liberal National Board met to clarify rules for the leadership election, including whether or not the interim leader is eligible to run.[14] The Board decided that the leadership election will be held April 2013 with a specific date to be confirmed during the summer.[8][23] Hours prior to the meeting, Rae announces he will not be a candidate in the leadership election.[15]
  • June 27, 2012: Deborah Coyne begins her campaign.
  • September 6, 2012: Party announces that the winner of the election will be made public on April 14, 2013, in Ottawa. Additionally, the party sets an entrance fee of $75,000 ($25,000 when the candidate registers and two further installments of $25,000)[24] and a spending limit of $950,000. Candidates may not accumulate more than $75,000 of debt.[1]
  • October 2, 2012: Justin Trudeau begins his campaign.
  • November 7, 2012: David Bertschi begins his campaign.
  • November 14, 2012:
  • November 26, 2012: Joyce Murray begins her campaign.
  • November 28, 2012: Marc Garneau begins his campaign.
  • November 29, 2012: George Takach begins his campaign.
  • December 15, 2012: Deadline for registered candidates to have paid at least $50,000 of the $75,000 entry fee.[25]
  • January 13, 2013: Martin Cauchon begins his campaign.
  • January 14, 2013: Deadline for candidates to file a nomination form signed by at least 300 members of the party, including at least 100 members from each of three different provinces or territories,[2] and to have paid the final installment of the $75,000 registration fee.[24]
  • January 20, 2013: Liberal Party of Canada Leadership Debate in Vancouver, British Columbia.[2]
  • February 2, 2013: Liberal Party of Canada Leadership Debate in Winnipeg, Manitoba.[2]
  • February 16, 2013: Liberal Party of Canada Leadership Debate in Mississauga, Ontario.[2]
  • February 25, 2013: Candidate George Takach withdraws from the race.
  • March 3, 2013:
    • Liberal Party of Canada Leadership Debate in Halifax, Nova Scotia.[2]
    • Last day to become a member or supporter of the Liberal Party to be entitled to vote for the leader.[26]
  • March 13, 2013: Candidate Marc Garneau withdraws from the race citing his ranking in a March 7 robocall poll which, on March 14, his team admitted did not comply with CRTC rules.[27]
  • March 21, 2013: Deadline for members and supporters to register to vote (extended from March 14, 2013).[28]
  • March 21, 2013: Candidate David Bertschi withdraws from the race.
  • March 23, 2013: Liberal Party of Canada Leadership Debate in Montreal, Quebec.[2]
  • April 6, 2013: Liberal Party of Canada Leadership National Showcase in Toronto, Ontario.[2] Voting begins using preferential ballot.[25]
  • April 14, 2013:
    • 3pm ET (UTC−4); Voting ends.[2]
    • 5–7pm ET; Result announcement in the Confederation Ballroom at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa.[29]


Candidates who appeared on the ballot.

Martin Cauchon

Martin Cauchon

Martin Cauchon is the former member of Parliament for the riding of Outremont in Montreal, Quebec. He served as an MP from 1993 to 2004 and served in the cabinet of Jean Chrétien, his most prominent post was as Minister of Justice. Cauchon was the Liberal candidate in Outremont in the 2011 federal election but was defeated by the New Democrat Thomas Mulcair.

Date campaign launched: January 13, 2013[30]
Campaign website: .ca.martincauchonwww
Other information

Deborah Coyne

Deborah Coyne

Deborah Coyne is a Toronto lawyer, professor and author who ran for the Liberals in the riding of Toronto—Danforth in the 2006 federal election. She worked in the Prime Minister's Office in 1980s and between 1989 and 1991 she was constitutional adviser to Newfoundland Premier Clyde Wells.

Date campaign launched: June 27, 2012[33]
Campaign website: .ca.deborahcoynewww
Other information
  • Coyne released a significant number of policy ideas on her website the day she announced her bid. Among the proposal outlined on her website were; the implementation of a carbon tax, allowing a mix of public and private health care to meet national health care standards, reforming the electoral system, reassessing supply management of dairy products, eliminating tax credits to simplify the tax system, abolishing the Indian Act, and replacing sporadic first ministers meetings with a formal council of Canadian governments.[34][35]

Martha Hall Findlay

Martha Hall Findlay

Former MP for Willowdale, Ontario (2008–2011)
Candidate for the Liberal leadership in 2006
Official Opposition Critic Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (2008–2009)
Official Opposition Critic for Public Works (2009–2010)
Official Opposition Critic for International Trade (2010–2011)

Date campaign launched: November 14, 2012[36]
Campaign website: .ca.marthahallfindlaywww
Other information
  • As Executive Fellow with the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, Hall Findlay released a paper calling for the abolition of supply management in Canada's agriculture sector.[40][41] With the launch of her leadership campaign she announced that she would release policy planks every few weeks. Her first policy proposal called for a national energy strategy for energy infrastructure.[42]

Karen McCrimmon

Karen McCrimmon

McCrimmon is a retired Canadian Forces Lieutenant colonel who was the first woman to command a Royal Canadian Air Force squadron (429 Transport Squadron). She was the Liberal candidate in Carleton—Mississippi Mills during the 2011 election. McCrimmon served in the Gulf War, with NATO forces during the Yugoslav Wars, and the War in Afghanistan, and in 1995 was admitted to the Order of Military Merit in the rank of Officer.[43]

Date campaign launched: November 14, 2012
Campaign website: .cakarenmccrimmon
  • MPs:
  • Senators:
  • Provincial politicians:
  • Other prominent individuals:
Other information

Joyce Murray

Joyce Murray

Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra, British Columbia since 2008. Liberal Critic for Small Business and Tourism, Asia — Pacific Gateway and Western Economic Diversification (2011–present). BC Liberal MLA for New Westminster (2001-2005). BC Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection (2001-2004). BC Minister of Management Services (2004-2005)[44]

Date campaign launched: November 26, 2012
Campaign website: .cajoycemurray

Other information

  • Murray is the only candidate who supports holding "run-off" nominations with NDP and Greens in some ridings in order to choose joint candidates, for the 2015 election. Should the parties receive a plurality of the seats, they would then pass electoral reform.[60] Green Party leader Elizabeth May praised Murray for advancing the proposal.[61] On March 26 Murray claimed to possibly have a greater number of registered supporters than Trudeau.[62]

Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau

Member of Parliament for Papineau, since 2008. Liberal Post Secondary Education, Youth and Amateur Sport Critic (2011–present) and son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Trudeau had ruled out a bid but reconsidered in the wake of Bob Rae's announcement that he was not running.[63][64]

Date campaign launched: October 2, 2012[65]
Campaign website: .ca.justinwww
Other information

Withdrawn candidates

Candidates who filed nomination papers and paid the required installments of their registration fee,[28] but withdrew from the ballot.

David Bertschi

David Bertschi

Bertschi is an Ottawa lawyer and was the federal Liberal candidate in Ottawa—Orléans during the 2011 election. In 2012, he established an exploratory committee to assess his leadership prospects, and announced his candidacy on November 7,[107][108] before ending his campaign on March 21, 2013 without endorsing another candidate.[109]

Date campaign launched: November 7, 2012[108]
Date campaign ended: March 21, 2013[109]
Campaign website: .cadavidbertschi

Marc Garneau

Marc Garneau

MP for Westmount—Ville-Marie, Quebec (2008–present)
Liberal House Leader (2011–2012)
Retired astronaut
Retired Captain in the Royal Canadian Navy
Former President of the Canadian Space Agency (2001-2005)
Garneau stood for the position of interim leadership but was passed over in favour of Bob Rae.[36]
Garneau withdrew on March 13, 2013 and endorsed Justin Trudeau after concluding that the latter's lead was insurmountable.[112] Garneau had previously suggested that Trudeau lacked substance and was "untested".[113]

Date campaign launched: November 28, 2012[114]
Date campaign ended: March 13, 2013[113][115]
Campaign website: .camarcgarneau

George Takach

George Takach

Toronto based technology lawyer. Takach declared his candidacy in November 2012, but withdrew from the race on February 25, 2013 and endorsed Justin Trudeau.[119]

Takach was born in Toronto of Hungarian descent. He went to the University of Toronto for his BA and received his MA in International Relations from Carleton University.

During the campaign he supported improvements to the country's high-tech infrastructure. He also supported the legalization of marijuana and was opposed to a merger with the NDP.[120][121][122]

Date campaign launched: November 29, 2012[123]
Date campaign ended: February 25, 2013[119]
Campaign website: .cageorgetakach
Other information
  • Takach is against a merger with the NDP, and against cooperation with the NDP or the Greens.[122]

Candidates who withdrew before registering

  • Alex Burton, Vancouver crown prosecutor, declared but later withdrew without having registered as a candidate.[127]
  • Shane Geschiere, Manitoba paramedic, declared but later withdrew without having registered as a candidate.[128]
  • David Merner, former president of the British Columbia wing of the Liberal Party of Canada. Announced his candidacy but withdrew from the campaign in January 2013 without having formally registered as a candidate.[129] Later endorsed Murray[130]
  • Jonathan Mousley, senior government economist, former assistant to then-MP David Collenette, unsuccessfully ran for the Liberal nomination in Don Valley West in 2008.[131] Declared his candidacy in June 2012 but withdrew the following January without having registered as a candidate. Mousley later endorsed Hall Findlay.[132]

Declined to run

Newspaper endorsements

Newspaper Candidate Endorsed Reference
The Prince Arthur Herald Martha Hall Findlay [150]
Toronto Star Justin Trudeau [151]


The voter turnout was 82.16% of all registered voters.[152][153]

     = Winner
First Ballot
Votes cast % Points allocated %
Justin Trudeau 81,389 78.76% 24,668.71 80.09%
Joyce Murray 12,148 11.76% 3,130.76 10.16%
Martha Hall Findlay 6,585 6.37% 1,760.43 5.72%
Martin Cauchon 1,630 1.58% 815.86 2.65%
Deborah Coyne 833 0.81% 214.14 0.70%
Karen McCrimmon 757 0.73% 210.08 0.68%
Rejected Ballots 1,210
Total 104,552 100.00 30,800 100.00

Justin Trudeau won the most points in all but 5 of the 308 ridings, with the remaining 5 (British Columbia Southern Interior, Vancouver East, Vancouver Island North, Vancouver Kingsway, and Vancouver Quadra) all being won by Joyce Murray.[152]

Opinion polling

All Canadians

Poll source Date 1st 2nd 3rd Other
Forum Research
Sample size: 1,626
January 17, 2013 Justin Trudeau
Marc Garneau
Martin Cauchon
Don't know 42%
Forum Research
Sample size: 1,529
June 15, 2012 Justin Trudeau
John Manley
David McGuinty
Gerard Kennedy 5%, Scott Brison 4%, Martha Hall Findlay 4%, Marc Garneau 4%, Dominic LeBlanc 4%, Don't know 44%
Forum Research
Sample size: 1,744
April 26, 2012 Bob Rae
Justin Trudeau
Ken Dryden
Gerard Kennedy 5%, Mark Carney 4%, Marc Garneau 3%, David McGuinty 3%, Dominic LeBlanc 2%, Don't know 42%
Forum Research
Sample size: 736
February 6, 2012 Bob Rae
Justin Trudeau
Ken Dryden
Gerard Kennedy 7%, Marc Garneau 6%, David McGuinty 6%, Mark Carney 5%, Dominic LeBlanc 4%
Forum Research
Sample size: 1,211
January 13, 2012 Bob Rae
Ken Dryden
Gerard Kennedy
Mark Carney 4%, Marc Garneau 4%, Dalton McGuinty 4%, Naheed Nenshi 4%, Dominic LeBlanc 3%, Don't know 46%

Liberal supporters only

Poll source Date 1st 2nd 3rd Other
Forum Research
Sample size: 367
January 17, 2013 Justin Trudeau
Marc Garneau
Martha Hall Findlay
Deborah Coyne 1%, None of these 4%, Don't know 16%
Forum Research
Sample size: 337
December 18, 2012 Justin Trudeau
Marc Garneau
Martha Hall Findlay
Deborah Coyne 1%, George Takach 1%, David Bertschi 1%, Joyce Murray 1%, Don't know 11%, None of these 3%
Léger Marketing
Sample size: 248
December 3–6, 2012 Justin Trudeau
Marc Garneau
Martha Hall Findlay
Deborah Coyne 1%, David Merner 1%, Joyce Murray 0%, David Bertschi 0%, Alex Burton 0%, Jonathan Mousley 0%, David McGuinty
John Manley
Scott Brison 6%, Marc Garneau 6%, Gerard Kennedy 5%, Martha Hall Findlay 4%, Dominic LeBlanc 4%, Don't know 26%
Forum Research
Sample size: 365
April 26, 2012 Bob Rae
Justin Trudeau
Gerard Kennedy
Ken Dryden 7%, Mark Carney 4%, Marc Garneau 2%, David McGuinty 2%, Dominic LeBlanc 1%, Don't know 21%
Forum Research
Sample size: 221
February 6, 2012 Bob Rae
Justin Trudeau
David McGuinty
Ken Dryden 5%, Gerard Kennedy 5%, Mark Carney 4%, Marc Garneau 3%, Dominic LeBlanc 3%,
Forum Research
Sample size: 223
January 13, 2012 Bob Rae
Mark Carney
Ken Dryden
Marc Garneau 8%, Dalton McGuinty 8%, Gerard Kennedy 7%, Dominic LeBlanc 6%, Naheed Nenshi 3%
Léger Marketing
Sample size: 243
September 12–15, 2011 Justin Trudeau
Bob Rae
Jean Charest
Gerard Kennedy 5%, Dominic LeBlanc 4%, Denis Coderre 3%

See also

External links

  • Results
  • Official site


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