In the history of the Liberal Party there have only been three leaders who have not served as Prime Minister. George Brown lost in the first ever Canadian election to John A. MacDonald and decided not to try again. He had the satisfaction of being a Father of Confederation and a strong influence on the party in an advisory role. Edward Blake also lost to MacDonald as he lead the Liberal Party from 1880-1887. He was the bridge between Alexander Mackenzie & Wilfred Laurier. With Stepahne Dion miserable showing in Tuesday's election it looks like he will be joining this exclusive club.
Every other leader of Canada's natural governing party has been Prime Minister. Here is a list by number of days served from 24 Sussex Drive:
William Lyon Mackenzie King (7826), Pierre Trudeau (5642), Wilfred Laurier (5564), Jean Chretien (3689), Louis St. Laurent (3140), Lester Pearson (1825), Alexander Mackenzie (1796), Paul Martin (787), John Turner (79).
Since taking over the Liberal Party time and again Dion has shown poor judgement. He tried using the Mulroney/Schreiber, Maxime Brenier, Chuck Cadman scandals to attack the Conservatives character. Brenier was re-elected with more then 60% of the vote, while Cadman's wife Dona was elected under the Conservative banner.
He showed poor judgement of character. His hand picked candidate in Outremont was defeated in the by-election. The NDP managed to hold onto to the riding. He allowed Garth Turner to join the Liberal caucus. Turner was thrown out of the Conservative Party for being a trouble maker and did nothing to help the Liberals. Turner was defeated in the election. Without any reservations Dion gave the spotlight to Michael Ignatieff without any fear Ignatieffwas after his job. As Dion got into more trouble the same free reign was given to Bob Rae. When a Conservative candidate was tossed Rae made a big deal of how it reflected poorly on the party leader. A few days later a Liberal candidate was tossed from the election.
Dion was weak on developing policy. He blamed the Conservatives for some of the financial problems in the US. He attacked Harper for not doing enough to protect the Canadian solution. Dion's solution was to hold a series of meetings and come up with a plan 30 days after being elected.
Dion wanted to introduce all kinds of social spending. He was going to bring in a carbon tax (the modern version of the SIN tax) in order to pay for his programs. The Liberals lost seats in British Columbia where they already have a carbon tax. Perhaps the new tax in BC is not as popular as some politicians would like the public to believe.
Dion has shown that he is not fit to be Prime Minister. Even if he does not resign, he does not have a chance of surviving the leadership review next year. All the contestants for his job last time around now have seats in Parliament. Justin Trudeau who some believe is the saviour of the party also has a seat. Hopefully, some new leaders will step forward who can bring the Liberals back to their roots.