Vancouver MP Hedy Fry backs Justin Trudeau for Liberal leadership
When the nine contenders for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada go at it this weekend during their first debate, Vancouver Centre MP Hedy Fry will be cheering for one hopeful. But that person isn’t going to be Vancouver Centre MP Joyce Murray, who happens to be the only other Liberal member of Parliament from B.C.
Fry will be rooting for the person who is widely regarded as the front-runner: Quebec MP Justin Trudeau.
“It is time that we find someone whom we know can actually win and bring the Liberal party back,” Fry told the Straight in a phone interview. “And the amount of excitement and buzzing in a lot of the people in Vancouver—Liberals and non-Liberals alike—Justin has actually brought back that kind of excitement and interest in the party. I think he would bring a sense of liberalism in the party. I think he is a true liberal.”
While Fry asserted that Trudeau is generating a lot of “new energy”, a political-science professor claimed that the perceived lacklustre contest isn’t doing the party any good.
“It’s understandable why parties sometimes like to have coronations,” UBC’s Richard Johnston told the Straight by phone. “But they actually tend to produce less publicity, less in the way of signing up of members, and I think the historical record of leadership conventions indicates that prospective candidates for leadership are better off being tested by opposition, even if it makes them uncomfortable in the short run.”
Johnston, who holds the Canada Research Chair in public opinion, elections, and representation, observed that the Liberal leadership race is “very much on the back burner”.
“Now how much of that is because Justin Trudeau is the clear favourite?” Johnston asked. “A part of this is because it’s a little bit harder to make sense of where the Liberal party fits in the overall scheme of things than used to be the case. It is now the third-place party.”
The debate will be held on Sunday (January 20) starting at 1 p.m. at Vancouver’s Westin Bayshore hotel.