Denis Coderre resigned this morning as the Liberal Party's defence critic and Quebec lieutenant for the leader. This follows on the brouhaha over Coderre's decision to prevent Martin Cauchon from running for the Liberal nomination in the riding of Outremont, a riding Cauchon had previously represented while serving as a cabinet minister. Link
In my view allowing contested nominations with any interested candidates should be the unwavering rule, so I opposed Coderre's decision on principle. In addition it is inexcusably stupid, as Cauchon is an experienced and capable candidate who won the riding three times before deciding not to run again in 2004. Why would you turn away strength? The answer of course would seem to be advancing personal or factional interests over that of the party as a whole. As a result I think you have to view Coderre's resignation today somewhat differently than much of the media spin.
Firstly Mr. Coderre, having made a poor decision and been overruled, should have resigned and I give him credit for that. Secondly this is a victory for the Liberal party as a whole, since it indicates that the will of the membership and the election-readiness of the whole is being placed above factional interests. In my view the victory of the Outremont membership and the positive message to the party as a whole are worth far more than the a few news cycles of bad press.
Open nominations are, to my mind, one of the foundations of democracy. The Conservative refusal to allow such, especially given that my MP is the singularly useless Rob Anders, is one of my largest problems with the party right now. If you are unable to win a nomination meeting held by the membership of your own party what on earth qualifies you as the best candidate before the electorate, the vast majority of whom belong to no party at all?
Excellent Blog post on the Issue by Jeff Jadras Here