The Liberals need another Jean Chrétien to lure votes back into the fold

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

As the Liberal Party of Canada heads into a year long leadership campaign it seems most Canadians have already written them off.

According to a new Ipsos Reid poll released Monday,  56 per cent of Canadians 'agree' or 'somewhat agree' that the Liberal Party is a party of the past, not a party of the future.

Moreover, 64 per cent of Liberal party supporters believe the party should merge with the NDP.

The numbers are bad news for the Liberals -- once dubbed Canada's natural governing party.

Their only route back to relevance seems to be a new leader; a savior if  you will.

But the current crop of prospective leadership candidates has failed to excite even the most die-hard of political junkies.

[ Related: Will Justin Trudeau run for the federal Liberal leadership? ]

Bob Rae has too much political baggage; Justin Trudeau is not ready; Marc Garneau, David McGuinty, Martha Hall-Findlay, or Gerard Kennedy just don't cut it.

What the Liberals need is the next Jean Chrétien to emerge.

Last fall, Liberal insider Warren Kinsella wrote on his  blog that Jean Chrétien "still had it."

"Swear to God: if some of us somehow persuaded him to run again, he'd kick Stephen Harper's ass. And you know I'm right," added Kinsella.

The 78 year old Chrétien is not coming back -- probably; most likely.

But where is the party's next Jean Chrétien within the Liberal party?

Where is the awkwardly charismatic, quote worthy, politically savvy, media darling, in the Liberal party today?

Yes , Chrétien had his share of scandals: Shawinigate, the sponsorship scandal and theAPEC summit pepper spray incident to name a few.

But he won three straight majorities by stamping out a party identity and rallying Liberals across Canada.

The Ipsos poll says 35 per cent of current NDP voters and 26 per cent of Conservative voters used to primarily support the  Liberals.

If the Liberal Party wants to avoid obscurity, they need a leader who can lure those votes back.

They need the second coming of Jean Chrétien.