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Marc Garneau banner photo croppped from one of my snaps from the Liberal Convention 2012

March 13, 2013: A sad day for the Liberal Leadership Race and democracy.

Why am I so troubled by the news that Marc Garneau has dropped out of the race for leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada? Because apparently it is over before it is over!

Ever since Justin Trudeau threw his hat into the ring, it seems that everybody writing in newspapers or talking on radio or television has said he would win. So wasn't it just that we wanted a few other runners to generate a healthy debate on policy, and to show that Trudeau really is the only person with what it takes to be the leader?

Well, for one thing, and I am not alone in this, when Justin entered the race, I was anxiously waiting for a real leadership contender to announce their candidacy.

Justin is likeable, and, oh yes, he can attract the youth vote. But despite his notoriety, he does not instill any confidence as a man of political insight, vision and managerial experience. Furthermore he presents himself for the media more as one who is playing the part of a strong leadership candidate, rather than embodying one, and all too often overacts his part.

That is not to say he will not mature into a great leader. It seems our only hope now, is that he does so quickly.

But the increased likelihood of Justin becoming leader is not what troubles me the most. It is that Marc Garneau, dropping out from second runner position, has made our decision for us, and it was not his to make.

If Marc had other reasons for dropping out of the race, I could be sympathetic and willing to understand and accept it. If he said that he had realized, for this or that reason, that he would make a lousy leader, I might well have thanked him and respected him for his frankness and moved on.

His reason being publicized today is simply that a survey indicates that Trudeau will win.

But we should not let polls usurp the democratic rights of the community.

The power of media coverage, almost all revolving around Trudeau, and the reality-show like tendency for celebrity to trump substance in our culture is being allowed to preempt the chance for people to express their opinions in a democratic vote.

A cynical acceptance of this by a member of parliament, and especially a Member of the Liberal Party, is a disservice to the people they have chosen to serve.

Without some different good reason, nobody who entered the leadership race should withdraw before the vote.

If they run out of money or lose volunteers in their campaign, then their campaign goes quiet for a while, but their names should stay on the ballot.

As things stand now, Marc, I have nobody I really want to put first on the ballot.

In essence you have told us that WE DO NOT NEED TO VOTE. THE RESULT IS ALREADY IN. DEMOCRACY IS IRRELEVANT.

Well, if any Trudeau fans are cheering, they should not be. This is not the way a leader should win. Much better that Garneau should be defeated in a real election.