2009 Liberal Party of Canada leadership election

Michael Ignatieff Stéphane Dion 2006 Liberal Party of Canada leadership election
2009 Liberal Party of Canada leadership election

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  Victoria, BC Liberal Town Hall Forum public libéral.jpg
Candidate Michael Ignatieff
Votes 1,964
Percentage 97%

Leader before election

Michael Ignatieff (interim),
previously Stéphane Dion

Elected Leader

Michael Ignatieff

2009 Liberal leadership election
DateApril 30 – May 2, 2009
ConventionVancouver Convention Centre
Vancouver, British Columbia
Resigning leaderStéphane Dion
Won byMichael Ignatieff
Entrance Fee$90,000
Spending limit$1,500,000
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The Liberal Party of Canada leadership election of 2009 was prompted by Stéphane Dion's announcement that he would not lead the Liberal Party of Canada into another election, following his party's defeat in the 2008 federal election in Canada. The Liberals, who captured just slightly over 26 per cent of the total votes, scored their lowest percentage in the party's history to that date.

The party's national executive met on November 8, 2008, to set rules for the contest, and chose a date and location for the convention. A biennial and leadership convention was held in Vancouver, British Columbia from April 30 to May 3, 2009, with the new leader being chosen on May 2.[1] Delegates to the convention were chosen from March 6–10, 2009, by those Liberal Party members who joined on or before February 6, 2009.

As a result of the 2008 Canadian parliamentary crisis, culminating in Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's successful appeal on December 4, 2008, to Governor General Michaëlle Jean to prorogue Parliament until January 26, 2009, there were calls by a number of prominent Liberals, including Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae, for the leadership election process to be accelerated, so that there would be an interim leader in place by the time that Parliament resumed. Former Deputy Prime Minister and former Finance Minister John Manley, writing in The Globe and Mail on December 6, 2008, called for Dion to resign immediately.[2] Dion issued a statement on December 8 agreeing to move up his resignation.

Rae and Ignatieff disagreed on how to accelerate the process, with Ignatieff favouring a vote by caucus on December 10, 2008, to select an interim leader who would then be confirmed as permanent leader in May 2009, and Rae calling for a One Member One Vote method involving the entire Liberal Party membership, to be conducted in January 2009.[3]

On December 8, 2008, Dominic LeBlanc withdrew from the race and threw his support to Michael Ignatieff.[4][5] That evening the party executive agreed to a compromise proposal that would widen the leadership consultation process to include riding association presidents, defeated election candidates and others but rejected Rae's OMOV proposal. On December 9, 2008, Bob Rae withdrew from the race, leaving Michael Ignatieff as the presumed victor.[6]

As well as ratifying Ignatieff's leadership with the support of 97% of delegates, the convention approved an amendment to the party's constitution to institute a One Member One Vote system for the election of future leaders.[7] A proposal to adopt a weighted system where 25% of the vote in leadership elections would be reserved for members of the party's youth wing was defeated.


Declared candidates

The following candidates declared their intention to run for the leadership:

Michael Ignatieff

Michael Ignatieff

Ignatieff, 62, was the Member of Parliament for Etobicoke—Lakeshore since 2006; former leadership front-runner in 2006 before being defeated by Stéphane Dion on the final ballot; Deputy Liberal Leader since 2006.[8]

Date campaign launched: November 13, 2008
Campaign website: michaelignatieff.ca
MPs: (46) Scott Andrews, Avalon; Larry Bagnell, Yukon; Navdeep Bains, Mississauga—Brampton South; Mauril Belanger, Ottawa—Vanier; Maurizio Bevilacqua, Vaughan; Gerry Byrne, Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte; John Cannis, Scarborough Centre; Siobhan Coady, St. John's South—Mount Pearl; Denis Coderre, Bourassa; Bonnie Crombie, Mississauga—Streetsville; Jean-Claude D'Amours, Madawaska—Restigouche; Sukh Dhaliwal, Newton—North Delta; Kirsty Duncan, Etobicoke North; Wayne Easter, Malpeque; Raymonde Folco, Laval—Les Îles; Judy Foote, Random—Burin—St. George's; Marc Garneau, Westmount—Ville-Marie; Albina Guarnieri, Mississauga East—Cooksville; Mark Holland, Ajax—Pickering; Andrew Kania, Brampton West; Jim Karygiannis, Scarborough—Agincourt; Dominic LeBlanc, Beauséjour; Derek Lee, Scarborough—Rouge River; Gurbax Malhi, Bramalea—Gore—Malton; Keith Martin, Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca; John McCallum, Markham—Unionville; David McGuinty, Ottawa South; John McKay, Scarborough—Guildwood; Dan McTeague, Pickering—Scarborough East; Maria Minna, Beaches—East York; Rob Oliphant, Don Valley West; Glen Pearson, London North Centre; Yasmin Ratansi, Don Valley East; Geoff Regan, Halifax West; Pablo Rodriguez, Honoré-Mercier; Todd Russell, Labrador; Francis Scarpaleggia, Lac-Saint-Louis; Mario Silva, Davenport; Scott Simms, Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor; Michelle Simson, Scarborough Southwest; Judy Sgro, York West; Paul Szabo, Mississauga South; Alan Tonks, York South—Weston; Frank Valeriote, Guelph; Bryon Wilfert, Richmond Hill; Lise Zarac, LaSalle—Émard[9]
Past MPs: (1) Omar Alghabra, Mississauga—Erindale
Provincial politicians: (1) Dwight Duncan ON Minister of Finance and MPP for Windsor—Tecumseh
Senators: (2) Larry Campbell,[10] David Smith
Other prominent individuals: (10) Liberal organizers Steven MacKinnon, Michael Eizenga, Mark Marissen, Warren Kinsella, and Don Guy; party executives Marc-André Blanchard, Brigitte Legault, and Ryan Ward; past candidates Tyler Banham and Penny Collenette

Withdrawn candidates

Dominic LeBlanc

Dominic LeBlanc

LeBlanc, 41, was the Member of Parliament for Beauséjour since 2000, fluently bilingual Acadian with deep roots in the party. His father, Roméo, was press secretary to Pierre Trudeau, later an MP and cabinet minister, and eventually became Governor General.[11] On October 27, LeBlanc became the first candidate to declare his candidacy for the Liberal Party leadership.[12] On December 8, 2008, LeBlanc withdrew from the leadership race and endorsed Michael Ignatieff.

Date campaign launched: October 27, 2008
Date campaign ended: December 8, 2008
Senators: (1) Percy Downe[10]
Provincial politicians: (4) Victor Boudreau NB Minister of Finance and MLA for Shediac-Cap-Pelé; Greg Byrne NB Minister of Business New Brunswick and MLA for Fredericton-Lincoln; Shawn Graham NB Premier and MLA for Kent; Doug Tyler NB former Deputy Premier and former MLA for Grand Lake
Other prominent individuals: (5) party advisers and organizers Scott Reid, Tim Murphy, Steven Hogue, Mark Watton, and Janice Nicholson

Bob Rae

Bob Rae

Rae, 60, had been the Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre since 2008; former Ontario New Democratic Party Premier of Ontario (1990-1995), NDP MP for Broadview-Greenwood (1979–1982); former federal Liberal leadership contender placing third in 2003. Rae had been under increasing pressure to bow out of the leadership contest. On December 9, 2008, Bob Rae officially withdrew from the race, leaving Michael Ignatieff the winner by default.[13]

Date campaign launched: October 31, 2008
Date campaign ended: December 9, 2008
MPs: (10) Hedy Fry, Vancouver Centre; Lawrence MacAulay, Cardigan; Shawn Murphy, Charlottetown; Michael Savage, Dartmouth—Cole Harbour; Alexandra Mendes, Brossard—La Prairie; Gerard Kennedy, Parkdale—High Park; Anita Neville, Winnipeg North Centre; Irwin Cotler, Mount Royal; Joe Volpe, Eglinton—Lawrence; Carolyn Bennett, St. Paul's
Past MPs: (6) Reg Alcock, Winnipeg South;[14] Chris Axworthy, Saskatoon—Clark's Crossing; Lloyd Axworthy, Winnipeg North Centre;[14] Raymond Chan, Richmond; Diane Marleau, Sudbury; Anne McLellan, Edmonton Centre[14]
Senators: (15) Sharon Carstairs,[15] Mobina Jaffer, Gerard Phalen, Joan Cook, William Rompkey, Peter Stollery, Mac Harb, Lorna Milne, Pierre De Bane, Serge Joyal, Michel Biron, Yoine Goldstein, Robert Peterson, Pierrette Ringuette-Maltais, Raymond Setlakwe
Past Senators: (1) Jack Austin
Provincial politicians: (4) Gulzar Singh Cheema MB former MLA for Kildonan and BC former Minister of State for Immigration and Multicultural Services and former MLA for Surrey-Panorama Ridge; Kevin Lamoureux MB MLA for Inkster; George Smitherman ON Deputy Premier, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, and MPP for Toronto Centre; Greg Sorbara ON former Minister of Finance and MPP for Vaughan;[16]
Other prominent individuals: (12) Jonathan Goldbloom, Montreal communications consultant; Karl Littler, former senior Paul Martin strategist; John Duffy, Martin strategist, political author, and consultant;[17] Power Corporation executive and former Chrétien advisor John A. Rae; former Young Liberals of Canada President Richard Diamond, Nick Taylor, Colin MacDonald, Roy Bluehorn, Monica Lysak, Walter Noel, Ronald St.-Onge Lynch, Jake Gray.

Potential candidates who did not run


First ballot
Candidate Delegate count Percentage
Victoria, BC Liberal Town Hall Forum public libéral.jpg Michael Ignatieff 1,964 97%
Spoiled ballots 59 3%
Total 2,023 100%
Delegate count
Spoilt ballots


  1. ^ "Federal Liberals to pick new leader May 2 in Vancouver". Vancouver Province. 2008-11-08. Archived from the original on 2012-02-14. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  2. ^ The Globe and Mail, December 6, 2008, p. A25.
  3. ^ Canada (2008-12-08). "Ignatieff makes his move". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
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