Marc Garneau for next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I see there's a bit of a discussion going on now over whether Stephane Dion should step down (which he probably will) and who should replace him. Luckily I already have the answer: Marc Garneau.

Marc Garneau just won his seat tonight and will now be in Parliament. He's the former head of the Canadian Space Agency, was a commander in the navy, and as an astronaut has been to space, for almost 678 hours. Here's what Wikipedia has on his biography:

In 1984 he was seconded to the new Canadian Astronaut Program (CAP), one of six chosen from 4,000 applicants. He flew on the shuttle Challenger, STS-41-G from October 5 to 13, 1984 as payload specialist. He was promoted to captain in 1986 and left the Navy in 1989 to become deputy director of the CAP. In 1992-93 he underwent further training to become a mission specialist. He worked as CAPCOM for a number of shuttle flights and was on two further flights himself - STS-77 (May 19 to 29, 1996) and STS-97 (to the ISS, November 30 to December 11, 2000). He has logged almost 678 hours in space and is now retired as an astronaut. He was also the president of the Canadian Space Agency.
In February 2001 he was appointed executive vice-president of the Canadian Space Agency, and became its president in November of the same year. In August 2003, Captain Garneau was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honour. He is also honoured with a high school named after him, Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Toronto and É.S.P. Marc-Garneau in Trenton, Ontario. Captain Garneau is also the Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets. In addition, no 599 Royal Canadian Air Cadets squadron is named in his honour.

Marc Garneau seems to be the only candidate in the Liberal Party that I could see actually generating some excitement. I'm pleased with the poor showing of the Liberal Party today so I don't speak as a Liberal voter, but I was a big fan of Jean Chretien and Canadian politics is dreadfully boring at the moment, and Rae or Ignatieff probably won't do it. Justin Trudeau has the poor luck (and yes, also good luck) of being the son of the former prime minister, which means he's still treated as a baby at times in spite of already approaching 40 (and yet nobody blinks an eye when candidates in their 20s are elected). Marc Garneau is the only candidate that has all these qualities:

1) Has a ton of experience,

2) Hasn't run for leadership of the party before,

3) Doesn't have any real albatrosses around his neck,

4) Has been to space.

So there you go. Liberal party members should consider Marc Garneau as the next leader if they want to generate some serious excitement over the next few years. I don't know what his policies would be as prime ministerial candidate, but as a serious supporter of space I would probably end up voting Liberal for the first time if he were the leader.

Here he is in English:

et en français:


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