There have been some rather cute efforts in the past 48 hours to portray Bernard Lord as a guy with limited ambition. A family man who really has no interest in federal politics and would rather spend time with ‘da wife and kids’.
First of all. Since when was ambition a bad thing and it is hogwash that you can’t be a successful politician and a good family man/woman. It requires a lot better time management than the average guy/gal but it can be done.
Second. Make no mistake. Bernard Lord is very ambitious. I have never met the man but I have read almost everything he has every said and I have had long conversations with folks that worked directly with the Premiers’ Office.
Bernard Lord was deliberately trying to enhance his national profile. I sat in a meeting a couple of years ago where a person directly involved said the Premier was ‘looking for opportunities to raise his profile in Quebec’.
In addition, the guy is engaging. Like I said, I never met the man but I was told by people on the Premier’s visit to France that he was well-liked and that Jacques Chirac himself commented on the likability of Lord. And don’t forget George W. pointing out Lord in a crown and saying ‘my dad likes that guy’. And of course the whole Brian Mulroney, et. al entourage.
Now, that has been fragmented to be sure after the 2003 near loss and the 2006 loss. And the pundits – even national ones – positioning him as the “higher you rise the harder you fall” guy in national politics.
But, many of the core elements remain. He is still ‘young’. He can still give a rip roaring speech (when his heart is in it). It is likely that any national run would see him surrounded by much better talent – a key criticism over the last seven years.
I’d put a twenty that Lord steps down as Leader of the Opposition within 12 months. He looked bored sometimes as Premier – imagine the thrills of being the Leader of the Opposition.
I’d also put money on a federal run for office. I am not so sure anymore about the ‘Ambassador to France’ thing. Regardless of all the yapping, Harper didn’t do much for Lord in the first year of his time as PM. Remember ‘Accelerating Prosperity’? I could have sworn someone said that Harper would fund this. Instead it disappeared.
Harper needs votes in Quebec. Appointing a Quebecker as ambassador would be better politics. I could be wrong. Lord and Harper may be tighter than I think right now.
My guess is on a federal run. Probably against Andy Scott. Brian Murphy had the largest margin of votes in Atlantic Canada last time.
No matter what happens, he’ll be back.