Monday, December 8, 2008
Courtesy of National Post
OTTAWA - Stephane Dion quit as Liberal leader Monday as his party's MPs ramped up the debate about how to pick a permanent chief without waiting for a leadership convention next spring.
Dion resigned hours before New Brunswick MP Dominic LeBlanc quit the race to succeed him, leaving only Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae in what most Liberals now want to be a much-shortened leadership contest.
But the party is divided about the best way to find a permanent leader before Parliament resumes Jan. 26.
The new leader will have to make several key decisions very quickly, particularly whether to continue with the Liberal-NDP coalition deal that Dion brokered.
Rae has been a vocal supporter of the coalition; Ignatieff is said to be less enthusiastic.
With Dion resigning and LeBlanc quitting the race, there could now be increasing pressure on Rae to fold his tent. But while Rae concedes that it would be best to have a permanent replacement for Dion in place when Parliament returns, he was fighting any moves to short-circuit some sort of vote or consultation with the party's grassroots.