Statement by Gerard Kennedy, MP Parkdale High Park on Liberal leadershipRecommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers
Source: Canada NewsWire
Nov 12, 2008 13:58
News release via Canada NewsWire, Toronto 416-863-9350
Attention News Editors
TORONTO, Nov. 12 /CNW/ - "Over the past few weeks I have received encouragement and support from hundreds of grassroots Liberals from across the country to run again for leader of the Liberal Party.
I have come out of these discussions, and the election itself, very energized to help take on the challenges that Liberals face.
The choice for me, however, is whether to embark on yet another significant campaign, or to work on behalf of Canadians more directly.
In the past two and a half years, I have contested an eight month national leadership campaign, subsequently travelled extensively to many other ridings and won a previously unheld riding following what proved to be a very lengthy run-up period.
On a personal level, my young family has already felt the impact of successive challenging campaigns. And, on a practical level, this contest has arisen quite suddenly after the election. Before and during the election, I had put all of my energies into supporting the party and Leader, not maintaining a leadership team.
While I greatly appreciate all of the confidence expressed in me and believe I could have mounted a stronger campaign than last time, I will not be a candidate in this leadership race.
Instead, I will focus on acting for Canadians and the people of Parkdale-High Park at a time of particular need, and on working hard in my riding and elsewhere in the country to ensure the Liberal party is renewed the way it must be for these times.
Canadians need the Liberal Party to be a strong Opposition, inside and outside of Parliament. I believe I can draw on my years fighting rightwing Conservative governments in Ontario to help compel the Harper Conservatives to confront the economic problems the country faces.
I am convinced that I can also help ensure the Liberal party will not be vulnerable to a snap election, by joining with Liberals to rebuild beyond the leadership race. I believe strongly that the parliamentary and membership wings of the party must do their part to ensure we have an open, effective and accountable modern political party ready to fully regain Canadians' trust. A change in a leader alone is not sufficient.
There is a growing recognition of the need for real change following the election. Each of the likely current leadership candidates have already spoken at some length of "renewal" of the party, the main focus of my 2006 leadership campaign.
I look forward to enthusiastically playing my part in moving the Liberal Party and Canada forward."
Gerard Kennedy is the Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park in west downtown Toronto. Born and raised in The Pas, Manitoba, he lived for eight years in Edmonton before moving to Toronto.
At age 22, Gerard was the first executive director of Canada's first food bank in Edmonton and developed the Toronto food bank into the country's largest in conjunction with the food industry and public support. Elected three times to the Ontario provincial legislature he served as opposition critic for consumer relations, housing, health and education. As Minister of the $18 billion Education ministry from 2003 to 2006 he was credited with a turnaround in publicly funded education following a period of crisis.
As leadership contestant in 2006, Gerard elected the third highest number of delegates, brought in the largest number of new members, won the most delegates in Alberta and close second totals in Ontario and BC, before coming fourth at the actual convention. Just over 10 per cent of costs of that campaign remain outstanding.