Wednesday, June 1, 2011

WikiLeaks reveals Liberal tension between Ignatieff, Rae

OTTAWA—Leadership tension within the federal Liberal party has been on Washington's radar for the past few years, according to a new batch of U.S. embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.

Long before the Liberals' disastrous showing in the May 2 election and the resignation of leader Michael Ignatieff, U.S. embassy officials were getting some revealing, inside glimpses of a fractious political family.

Notably, one of those glimpses was a first-hand look at the tension between Ignatieff and Bob Rae, the Toronto Centre MP and former Ontario premier who has now been named interim leader.

Rae and Ignatieff were guests at a lunch with U.S. ambassador David Jacobson in October 2009, the cables show.

"The dynamics between onetime friends and later rivals Ignatieff and Rae remain clearly tense, with Rae arriving late and then immediately dominating the conversation, while Ignatieff sat back almost meekly," says the report of the lunch, dated Oct. 23, 2009.

"Rae was by far the more forceful and eloquent of the two and showed little deference to his party chief, without at any time displaying any rudeness or personal animosity. He came across as better read and more substantive than Ignatieff, who stuck mostly to pleasantries and generalities."

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