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Michael Ignatieff declared on May 3, 2011, that he intended to resign as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, but his statement was worded so as not to be an actual resignation to avoid immediately triggering a leadership vote under party rules; he tendered a letter of resignation to the party's National Board of Directors on May 11. Under the provisions of the party's constitution, the Board was required to set a date for a leadership vote to be held within five months thereafter. However several MPs expressed their reluctance to hold a third leadership election in eight years and instead wanted to take the four years of electoral stability provided by a majority parliament as an opportunity to rebuild under an interim leader for as much as two years before selecting a permanent leader.
The Board met as required on May 19 and set the election for October 28 and 29, 2011, but adopted a proposed constitutional amendment allowing this leadership election to be held between March 1 and June 30, 2013, with the exact date to be announced no sooner than five months in advance. The next convention of the party adopted the amendment on June 18, 2011. On June 13, 2012, the Board decided to call the leadership vote for April 2013 with a specific date to be confirmed during the summer. The Board subsequently established April 14, 2013, as the date the leadership election winner is to be announced and November 14, 2012, as the official start of the race. It also set a spending limit of $950,000 and a debt limit of $75,000, both considerably lower figures than allowed in 2006.
Bob Rae in 2007
In the case of a vacancy in the leadership, the Board is required to meet to appoint an interim leader "in consultation" with the parliamentary caucus, i.e., its 34 MPs and 46 senators. Before this meeting, the Board determined it would not consider anyone unless that person has the support of a majority of MPs and of the caucus as a whole, was bilingual, and promised in writing not to seek the permanent leadership and not to discuss or negotiate significant changes to the party, which would include a merger with the New Democratic Party (NDP). This was taken as intended to exclude Bob Rae a potential leadership candidate who had significant support among Liberal senators and had talked about a merger shortly after the general election loss, as well as Deputy Leader Ralph Goodale, who is not bilingual, and any other MP who may intend to run in the leadership campaign. Nonetheless, after the caucus discussed the interim leadership on May 11, 2011, it met again on May 25 and voted to recommend Rae as interim leader over Marc Garneau; the Board subsequently confirmed the appointment.
In June 2012, the Board was expected to release Rae from his promise and allow him to run for the party leadership provided he stepped down as interim leader when Parliament rose for the summer. However, Rae announced on June 13, 2012, that he would not be running for the permanent leadership and remained interim leader until Trudeau was announced as the new leader April 14, 2013.
130,774 Liberal Party members and supporters registered to vote in the election of almost 300,000 who were eligible. General voting took place from April 7 to April 14, 2013, by preferential ballot online and by phone. Each electoral district was allocated 100 points with points in a district allocated in proportion to each candidate by the number of first preference votes received. All points were then aggregated nationally for a "national count". If no candidate received 15,401 points on the first count, then the candidate with the fewest points would be eliminated and his/her votes are distributed in each electoral district among the remaining leadership contestants according to the next preference indicated. This process would then continue until one candidate has more than 15,401 points. Trudeau was selected on the first ballot.
May 2, 2011: Federal election reduces the Liberal Party to 34 seats in the House of Commons, third place behind the Conservative Party of Canada and the NDP.
May 3, 2011: Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff informs a press conference that he does not intend to continue as party leader.
May 9, 2011: Liberal Party National Board of Directors sets rules that the party's interim leader had to be bilingual and agree not to run as permanent leader or to pursue any merger talks with the NDP.
May 11, 2011: Ignatieff formally tenders his resignation in a letter to the Liberal Party's National Board of Directors.
May 25, 2011: Liberal caucus votes to recommend Bob Rae over Marc Garneau as interim leader; Rae's election as interim leader confirmed by the National Board.
June 18, 2011: An extraordinary convention of the party is held via conference call in which the party's constitution is amended to allow the leadership election to be delayed from the fall of 2011 to between March 1 and June 30, 2013.
January 14, 2012: Liberal biennial convention adopts proposal for a new "supporter" class of non-members who will join members in the right to elect the new leader.
April 21, 2012: Liberal National Board of Directors meets to discuss rules for the leadership election; most decisions are deferred until a subsequent meeting to be held in June.
May 2, 2012: Liberal Party opens the "supporter" category of party affiliation allowing Canadians who are not paid members or members of another political party to vote for the Liberal leadership after affirming that they "support the Liberal Party of Canada".
June 13, 2012: Liberal National Board met to clarify rules for the leadership election, including whether or not the interim leader is eligible to run. The Board decided that the leadership election will be held April 2013 with a specific date to be confirmed during the summer. Hours prior to the meeting, Rae announces he will not be a candidate in the leadership election.
September 6, 2012: Party announces that the winner of the election will be made public on April 14, 2013, in Ottawa, Ontario. Additionally, the party sets an entrance fee of $75,000 ($25,000 when the candidate registers and two further installments of $25,000) and a spending limit of $950,000. Candidates may not accumulate more than $75,000 of debt.
January 14, 2013: Deadline for candidates to file a nomination form signed by at least 300 members of the party, including at least 100 members from each of three different provinces or territories, and to have paid the final installment of the $75,000 registration fee.
January 20, 2013: Liberal Party of Canada Leadership Debate in Vancouver, British Columbia.
February 2, 2013: Liberal Party of Canada Leadership Debate in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
February 16, 2013: Liberal Party of Canada Leadership Debate in Mississauga, Ontario.
February 25, 2013: Candidate George Takach withdraws from the race.
March 3, 2013:
Liberal Party of Canada Leadership Debate in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Last day to become a member or supporter of the Liberal Party to be entitled to vote for the leader.
March 13, 2013: Candidate Marc Garneau withdraws from the race citing his ranking in a March 7 robocall poll which, on March 14, his team admitted did not comply with CRTC rules.
March 21, 2013: Deadline for members and supporters to register to vote (extended from March 14, 2013).
March 21, 2013: Candidate David Bertschi withdraws from the race.
March 23, 2013: Liberal Party of Canada Leadership Debate in Montreal, Quebec.
April 6, 2013: Liberal Party of Canada Leadership National Showcase in Toronto, Ontario. Voting begins using preferential ballot.
Coyne released a significant number of policy ideas on her website the day she announced her bid. Among the proposal outlined on her website were; the implementation of a carbon tax, allowing a mix of public and private health care to meet national health care standards, reforming the electoral system, reassessing supply management of dairy products, eliminating tax credits to simplify the tax system, abolishing the Indian Act, and replacing sporadic first ministers meetings with a formal council of Canadian governments.
Hall Findlay, 53, was the former MP for Willowdale, Ontario (2008-2011). She was the opposition critic for transport, infrastructure and communities (2008-2009), public works (2009-2010) and international trade (2010-2011). She ran in the 2006 leadership election, where she placed last. Date campaign launched: November 14, 2012
As Executive Fellow with the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, Hall Findlay released a paper calling for the abolition of supply management in Canada's agriculture sector. With the launch of her leadership campaign she announced that she would release policy planks every few weeks. Her first policy proposal called for a national energy strategy for energy infrastructure.
Murray, 58, had been the Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra, British Columbia since 2008 and served as Opposition Critic for Small Business and Tourism, Asia -- Pacific Gateway and Western Economic Diversification (2011-present). BC Liberal MLA for New Westminster (2001-2005). BC Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection (2001-2004). BC Minister of Management Services (2004-2005)
Matthew Kalkman, author of New Liberalism; David Merner, withdrawn candidate and former president BC wing of the Liberal Party
Murray is the only candidate who supports holding "run-off" nominations with NDP and Greens in some ridings in order to choose joint candidates, for the 2015 election. Should the parties receive a plurality of the seats, they would then pass electoral reform. Green Party leader Elizabeth May praised Murray for advancing the proposal. On March 26 Murray claimed to possibly have a greater number of registered supporters than Trudeau.
Trudeau, at the age of 41, had been Parliamentarian for Papineau, since 2008, Liberal Post Secondary Education, Youth and Amateur Sport Critic (2011-2015) and son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Trudeau had ruled out a bid but reconsidered in the wake of Bob Rae's announcement that he was not running.
Trudeau has stated that he is "completely closed to any form of cooperation with the NDP."
Candidates who filed nomination papers and paid the required installments of their registration fee, but withdrew from the ballot.
Bertschi is an Ottawa lawyer and was the federal Liberal candidate in Ottawa--Orléans during the 2011 election. In 2012, he established an exploratory committee to assess his leadership prospects, and announced his candidacy on November 7, before ending his campaign on March 21, 2013 without endorsing another candidate.
Bertschi subsequently ran for the Liberal nomination in Orléans ahead of the 2015 election, though was disqualified, with the party citing Bertschi's failure to repay debts from his leadership campaign. Bertschi subsequently ran for the Conservatives in Orléans in the 2019 general election, but lost in a landslide.
MP for Westmount--Ville-Marie, Quebec (2008-present) Liberal House Leader (2011-2012) Retired astronaut Retired Captain in the Royal Canadian Navy Former President of the Canadian Space Agency (2001-2005) Garneau stood for the position of interim leadership but was passed over in favour of Bob Rae. Garneau withdrew on March 13, 2013 and endorsed Justin Trudeau after concluding that the latter's lead was insurmountable. Garneau had previously suggested that Trudeau lacked substance and was "untested".
Toronto based technology lawyer at the McCarthy Tetrault law firm. Takach declared his candidacy in November 2012, but withdrew from the race on February 25, 2013 and endorsed Justin Trudeau.
Takach was born in Toronto of Hungarian descent. He went to the University of Toronto for his BA and JD (law degree) and received his MA in International Relations from the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs Carleton University.
During the campaign he supported improvements to the country's high-tech infrastructure. He also supported the legalization of marijuana and was opposed to a merger with the NDP.
Takach is against a merger with the NDP, and against cooperation with the NDP or the Greens.
Candidates who withdrew before registering
Alex Burton, Vancouver crown prosecutor, declared but later withdrew without having registered as a candidate.
Shane Geschiere, Manitoba paramedic, declared but later withdrew without having registered as a candidate.
David Merner, former president of the British Columbia wing of the Liberal Party of Canada. Announced his candidacy but withdrew from the campaign in January 2013 without having formally registered as a candidate. Later endorsed Murray. Merner subsequently ran as the Liberal candidate in Esquimalt--Saanich--Sooke in 2015; Merner later joined the Green Party and ran as their candidate in the same riding in 2019 before seeking the party leadership in 2020.
Jonathan Mousley, senior government economist, former assistant to then-MP David Collenette, unsuccessfully ran for the Liberal nomination in Don Valley West in 2008. Declared his candidacy in June 2012 but withdrew the following January without having registered as a candidate. Mousley later endorsed Hall Findlay.
Justin Trudeau won the 2013 Liberal leadership in a landslide first-ballot victory and led the third-place party into a majority government in the 2015 federal election. The voter turnout was 82.16% of all registered voters.