Liberal Party of Canada leadership election, 2003

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Liberal leadership election, 2003
Date November 14, 2003
Convention Air Canada Centre,
Toronto, Ontario
Resigning leader Jean Chrétien
Won by Paul Martin
Ballots 1
Candidates 2
Entrance Fee $75,000
Spending limit $4 million
Liberal leadership elections
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The 2003 Liberal Party of Canada leadership election ended on November 14, 2003, electing former Finance Minister Paul Martin as the party's new leader, replacing outgoing Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

Stakes for the race were high as the winner would go on to become Prime Minister, and the winner would take a party that was high in the polls without a significant challenger.

Paul Martin spent the entire race as the front runner, as his supporters had secured a lock on the party executives of the federal and most provincial sections of the party. Because of Martin's apparent strength, several prominent candidates, such as Allan Rock, and Brian Tobin, did not go beyond the formative stages.

Martin's sole serious challengers were John Manley and Sheila Copps, the former of whom withdrew before delegate selection began. Martin easily captured the leadership with 93.8% of the delegates.

The party would be beset by significant infighting afterwards, as he and his supporters moved to remove Chrétien supporters from cabinet and even from Parliament. Martin's initial tactics to secure the leadership were generally seen, in retrospect, as weakening his eventual tenure as prime minister.[1]


Sheila Copps[edit]


MP for Hamilton East, Ontario (1984–2004)
Deputy Prime Minister (1993–1996, 1996–1997)
Minister of the Environment (1993–1996)
Minister of the Multiculturalism and Citizenship (1996)
Minister of the Communications (1996)
Minister of Canadian Heritage (1996–2003)
Minister of Amateur Sport (1996–1999)
Copps, 50, was a candidate during the 1990 leadership election, finishing in third.

Date campaign launched: February 13, 2003

Paul Martin[edit]

Paul Martin

MP for LaSalle—Émard, Quebec (1988–2008)
Minister of Finance (1993–2002)
Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec (1993–1996)
Martin, 55, was a candidate during the 1990 leadership election, finishing in second.
Martin's loss during the 1990 leadership election result and Jean Chrétien's slim win during the 1997 election led to a period of infighting within the party, with Martin leaving cabinet in June 2002, and Chrétien, in the face of a leadership review, announcing his intention to step down February 2004.

Date campaign launched: March 7, 2003

Withdrawn candidates[edit]

John Manley[edit]

John Manley

MP for Ottawa South, Ontario (1988–2004)
Deputy Prime Minister (2002–2003)
Minister of Industry, Science and Technology (1993–1995)
Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (1993–1995)
Minister of Industry (1995–2000)
Minister of Foreign Affairs (2000–2002)
Minister of Finance (2002–2003)
Manley, 53, withdrew from the race on July 22, 2003 and endorsed Martin.

Date campaign launched: March 17, 2003
Date campaign ended: July 22, 2003

Declined to run[edit]


First Ballot
Candidate Delegate Support Percentage
Paul Martin in 2011 crop.jpg MARTIN, Paul Edgar Philippe 3,242 93.8%
COPPS, Sheila Maureen 211 6.1%
Spoiled ballots 2 0.1%
Total 3,455 100%



  • June 2 - Paul Martin resigns as Finance Minister of Canada. John Manley is named to replace him.
  • August 21 - Prime Minister Jean Chrétien tells Canadians he will step down in February 2004.


  • February 13 - Sheila Copps announces she is going to run for leadership.
  • March 7 - Martin announces he is going to run for leadership.
  • March 17 - Manley announces he is going to run for leadership.
  • July 22 - Manley drops out of the race.
  • September 21 - Paul Martin's victory becomes a certainty when he secures 92% of the party delegates from across the country.
  • November 14 - Martin officially becomes leader of the Liberal Party of Canada winning 3242 of 3455 votes against Copps.
  • November 28 - Manley announces his retirement from politics.
  • December 12 - Martin is sworn in as Canada's Prime Minister, along with his cabinet.


  1. ^ Mickleburgh, Rob (25 September 2011). "Topp's NDP campaign tactics border on bullying, professor warns". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 24 November 2011. 

External links[edit]