New Brunswick

LeBlanc eyes Liberal leadership

Dominic LeBlanc, the only Liberal Member of Parliament still standing in New Brunswick, isn't ruling out a run for the leadership after the stunning defeat of his party in Monday's election.

Dominic LeBlanc, the only Liberal Member of Parliament still standing in New Brunswick, isn't ruling out another run for the leadership after the stunning defeat of his party in Monday's election.

LeBlanc won his riding of Beauséjour with 39 per cent of the vote, beating out his Conservative rival by 2,585 votes.

The 43-year-old wouldn't say on Tuesday morning whether he wants to be the leader of the Liberal party, but he did say he sees an opportunity for himself.

"I think I can and should play a big role in the rebuilding and the renewal of our party," LeBlanc said. "I'm relatively young, I have the advantage of … being a francophone outside Quebec — which I always thought is an important ingredient in rebuilding our party."

LeBlanc said he doesn't think he'll have to make up his mind about a second run for the leadership anytime soon.

"I'll be honest, if you look at the results in New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada we have a lot of work to do locally, including in my riding so again, the fact that we have some time means no urgency to be running around at that kind of decision."

Support in N.B. for LeBlanc

Saint John Liberal candidate Stephen Chase, who lost to Conservative incumbent Rodney Weston in Monday's federal election, said voters told him Michael Ignatieff wasn't resonating with them.

Chase said Dominic LeBlanc would be a good choice for a new party leader.

"We want a leader that grabs the attention of all Canadians and this will change the course of the Liberal party," Chase said. "Next election, whenever that will be, you'll see a strong, strong, red surge across this country."

Roger Ouellette, a professor of political science at l'Université de Moncton, said whoever becomes the next Liberal Party leader will have a difficult job.

"The Liberals are really in bad shape and we should remember Stephen Harper said if his party is elected he will cut the public financing for the parties, so it will affect the Liberals, so it will be a really, really difficult task to build back this party," Ouellette explained. "So maybe it's Dominic LeBlanc … I think it's not a big secret he is looking for that."

LeBlanc was the first candidate to announce he was running for the Liberal leadership in 2008 but eventually dropped out of the race and threw his support behind rival Michael Ignatieff.