They speculate on leadership races to come. Its a harmless past-time though, generally speaking, a sign that nothing much is really going to happen in Ottawa over the course of the next few days.
And L Ian MacDonald does get about 3/4 of the conventional wisdom right: Jack Layton, Gilles Duceppe, and Stephen Harper--barring an increasingly unlikely Harper majority-will be gone after the next election. What I think he gets quite wrong is:
For Michael Ignatieff, who'll be 64 next year, his first campaign as Liberal leader will be his only kick at the can. The Liberal party will not give him a second chance, and the best he can hope for is to form a minority government.
This is asserted, not argued for, and since I'm feeling a bit lazy this morning, I'll just use MacD's own words to argue against him:
The problem for the Liberals in any leadership scenario is the thinness of the field. Bob Rae would be there for one last try. For Justin Trudeau, it's way too soon, as he would be the first to acknowledge. Dominic Leblanc? Yeah, right. Denis Coderre? Yikes.
The Liberals have another problem, other than a paucity of talent and new blood on the front bench, and that's money. It has taken candidates from the 2006 leadership four years to pay off their debts. The party itself is perpetually broke, and would be hard-pressed to raise the money to stage a three-day leadership convention.
Exactly, and that's why--barring an increasingly unlikely Harper Majority--the Federal Libs will keep Iggy around for at least one more cycle. There are other reasons, too.
Assuming another minority, where an election can come at any time, swapping leaders is a perilous course. Who wants to be stuck between when the writ is dropped? This is the same unfortunate logic that originally got Iggy into the post without a contested leadership race, and like it or not, it still applies.
More importantly, dumping leaders after every unsatisfactory election result tends to suggest that, at its core, the party is merely opportunistic--we'll try some of this and, heck, if this doesn't work, we'll try some of that. Successful parties typically make an investment in their leader that extends beyond one cycle. Think Dalton McGuinty in Ontario.
So, Iggy it is, for as far as it is possible to see. Better improve the flawed leader currently in place than start all over again.