Former cabinet minister Martin Cauchon has decided he will not run for leadership of the federal Liberal party.


Former Liberal justice minister Martin Cauchon has decided not to enter the federal Liberal leadership race. ((Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press))

Cauchon announced his decision late Tuesday in a written statement.

"My passion for my country has never been stronger and I have been sorely tempted to enter the race," the statement from the former federal justice minister read.

"However, while my heart says yes, the realities of fundraising and organization are too daunting at this time."

In deciding not to run, Cauchon has joined the ranks of former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna, former deputy prime minister John Manley, Toronto MPs Martha Hall Findlay and Gerard Kennedy, as well as Montreal MP Denis Coderre.

In his statement, Cauchon credited the party's national executive for establishing "fair and equitable" rules for the leadership process "as it exists today."

But he said the process of choosing delegates to elect a leader at a convention is "antiquated," suggesting the process should be evolved so as to give "as many Liberals as possible a voice in choosing their leader."

"As a Quebecer who has bled Liberal red since the age of 16, I believe we need more Liberals everywhere across the country. No place should be left behind in our rebuilding process," Cauchon said.

The news further restricts competition for the top-seat in the party to Toronto MPs Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae, who both ran in the 2006 race, as well as New Brunswick MP Dominic LeBlanc.

Cauchon did not indicate Tuesday who he would support at the upcoming leadership convention, scheduled for April 30 to May 3 in Vancouver, or if he would remain netural.

Current Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion announced his intention to resign in October following the Liberal's poor showing in the election. In one of the worst results in terms of popular vote for the party in more than 100 years, the Liberals took 76 seats in the election. Going into the Oct. 14 election, the party had held 95.

With files from the Canadian Press