Liberal party rebuild shifts gears 0
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae talks to members of his caucus on the anniversary the last Federal election, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 2, 2012. (Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency)
The Liberals are partway through the repairs to their jalopy of a party.
But while the Conservatives and the NDP were doing a victory lap Wednesday on the anniversary of their historic gains in the last general election, the Liberals are still looking for the track.
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae acknowledged his party has a lot of work to do but he offered Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair some advice.
"I'd say to both Mr. Mulcair and Mr. Harper - please don't inhale too much. I've seen polls go up and down," he said.
"If the other two want to create music by tooting their own horn for the next few days, fine let them do it."
The third-place party is facing a plunge in polling numbers in the wake of Mulcair's win in March, suggesting the New Democrats are chewing away at the Grit share of Canada's progressive vote.
The Liberals are shifting gears to the second phase of a rebuilding process that starts with the launch of a "supporter category" that gives non-members a vote in the upcoming Liberal leadership race.
The main party policy-makers will also be meeting in early June to clarify whether Rae can run for permanent leadership and to pin down a date for the contest.
It's currently scheduled for somewhere between March and June of 2013.
Since voters stuck a stick in their spokes last election, the Liberals have been casting around for fresh ways to sign new members and fill party coffers.
Party president Mike Crawley said he is satisfied the party raised more money in the first quarter of 2012 than the NDP - $2.4 million vs. $2 million - even though the Conservatives outstripped the fundraising efforts of both.
But he conceded the Liberals have to be more "nimble" in recruiting members.