Liberals have plenty of reasons to be excited and worried

Tease the day: Will a polling boost and popular presumptive leader actually benefit the party?

John Woods/CP

Tomorrow, Liberals will gather in Toronto and hear from the six people who hope to lead the party. Yesterday, a couple of polls showed that Liberals are in a good position to fight an election, and that they’d do exceedingly well if Justin Trudeau led the party into the expected 2015 campaign. Today, Liberals must be wondering how much of this is for real.

The polls aren’t surprising. Way back in January, Aaron Wherry predicted an “inevitable post-leadership bump in the polls” that, evidently, came a couple of weeks early. As the National Post‘s John Ivison writes today, such a numbers boost is largely thanks to Trudeau’s status as “a giant blank screen” that allows voters to “project their own image of what a Trudeau government would mean.” Whether those polling numbers last is, as usual, an open question.

We also learn that ticket sales for this weekend’s Liberal showcase are dismal, and even if all the seats are filled, the party won’t exactly be turning people away at the door.

Boosted polling, dismal interest. Presumptive winner, blank screen. For these Liberals, nothing is yet certain.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the feds’ planned cuts to aboriginal affairs and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The National Post fronts North Korea’s latest attempts to intimidate South Korea and the United States. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with a pair of Ontarians victimized by diluted chemotherapy treatments. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the rising costs of a new Department of National Defence campus in Ottawa’s west end. iPolitics fronts Canada’s limited diplomatic sway in leads with a Canadian offshore company’s role in a dramatic Russian heist that disbursed millions of dollars among a number of shell corporations. National Newswatch showcases the Liberal Party’s “mini-convention” in Toronto that features six remaining leadership candidates.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Disability settlement. Veterans with disabilities who had pensions clawed back, some for decades, won an $887-million settlement that federal court officially approved yesterday. 2. NDP budget. Nova Scotia’s NDP yesterday tabled a balanced budget—with a surplus of $16.4 million—in the same year the party will fight to win re-election for the first time ever.
3. Female executives. Arlene Dickinson, a successful entrepreneur and long-time member of CBC’s Dragons Den, will advise the government about how to get more women in boardrooms. 4. Neglected diseases. A new report suggests Canadian universities commit less than three per cent of research funding to so-called “neglected diseases” that afflict a billion people worldwide.

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