Trudeau hype keeping candidates away, Liberal MP says

Justin Trudeau in Mississauga October 4, 2012.

Credits: Dave Abel/Toronto Sun/QMI


OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau's leadership juggernaut is keeping other candidates from jumping into the race, a Liberal MP says.

Ontario MP Jim Karygiannis said Wednesday his caucus colleagues feel the chill of taking on what seems to be a runaway coronation.

"Justin is certainly the front-runner at this point in time and I'm sure he'll remain the front-runner," he said.

"I gotta tell you a lot of people are getting a little bit of cold feet. There's not much conversation in caucus about people wanting to run. I think people understand that Justin has a good handle on it and I think a lot of people will be getting in to help him."

A Forum poll published Wednesday in the National Post indicated a Trudeau-led Liberal party would win a majority if a federal election were held now, mainly through gains in former strongholds like Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

It also suggested the Tories would be bumped to second place and the NDP returned to third.

The hype surrounding the son of late prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau may have already scuppered longtime Quebec MP Denis Coderre's ambition to take a run for the leadership.

Coderre — who said he'd been eyeing both the Liberal leadership and a bid at becoming Montreal's next mayor — ruled out vying for the helm of the federal party Wednesday.

But the poll numbers buoyed interim Liberal leader Bob Rae's mood.

He said he's happy with how the leadership race is shaping up, adding that any increase in support for the Liberals is "a good thing" even in the early days of the race.

"The key thing is there's wind in the sails of the Liberal party and that's good news," he said.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said he preferred not to comment — "I'm going to let the Liberals sort themselves out" —  but added "there's an old expression that a week is an eternity in politics. There are exactly 155 eternities between now and the next election."

The Liberal race officially kicks off Nov. 14. Candidates have until mid-January to jump into the race and the winner will be crowned April 14.

There are currently three other candidates besides Trudeau in the race, including Deborah Coyne, who had a child with Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

B.C. Crown attorney Alex Burton and Ontario government economist Jonathan Mousley are also running.

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