Parties don’t need figures like Manning, of course. The Liberals don’t have one. But Canadian Liberalism isn’t a movement; it’s just a tool for winning elections
Preston Manning’s retirement as head of the Manning Centre, which will occasion an unlikely “rebranding” exercise at the Calgary-based think tank-cum-political training school, feels less like the end of an era than the belated acknowledgment of an era’s passing. The annual Manning Centre Networking Conferences in Ottawa used to be an electromagnet for conservative leaders, would-be leaders, pundits, strategists, ambitious youngsters and rank-and-file supporters. In recent years, it very noticeably lost its pull.