Ignatieff leads in early Canadian Liberal delegate count

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Michael Ignatieff has emerged as the early leader in this weekend's delegate selection votes for the Liberal Party of Canada leadership convention. With the results of 169 of 465 Delegate Selection Meetings reported, Ignatieff leads with 563 delegates elected (32.2%) followed by two candidates vying for second place. Former Ontario Premier Bob Rae and Environment minister Stephane Dion are in a neck-in-neck battle for second place with Rae having 341 delegates (19.5%) to Dion's 331 (18.4%). Lagging behind in fourth place is Gerard Kennedy who has the support of 235 delegates (13.4%).

The rest of the candidates are below 10% support, Scott Brison has 4.9% of delegates followed by former hockey great Ken Dryden with 4.7%, Joe Volpe with 3.4% and Martha Hall Findlay with 1.1%. A further 1.9% of delegates were elected as "undeclared" meaning they will be free to vote for whomever they want on the first ballot of the convention being held in December

Press reports had suggested that Ignatieff, a former Harvard professor and current Toronto MP would be in a head to head battle with Rae who recently joined the Liberal Party after leaving the New Democratic Party. However, Rae's tenure leading an unsuccessful NDP government from 1990 to 1995 may have contributed to his worse than expected showing in Ontario where he has come in third place winning 15.1% of the province's delegates thus far.

Almost 200,000 party members are eligible to vote in the "Super Weekend" of delegate selection meetings being held across Canada until tomorrow. 4,300 delegates are being selected by riding associations this weekend. They will join approximately 850 ex-officio delegates and 100 delegates elected by other bodies in the party at the leadership convention being held in Montreal on December 2nd and 3rd.