Liberal leader Jeff Lehman? Maybe.

The party "needs to take a little time to remind itself of what it has historically stood for"

Yes, he has been approached.

And yes, he is thinking about it.

“It’s nice to hear some of whom those calls have come from. Candidates, former ministers and organizers.”

But, Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, who was fewer than 300 votes from becoming an MPP in the provincial election, thinks it’s too soon for the Liberals to be thinking about a new leader. “In the Ontario Liberal Party, right now, there’s a little bit of shock, and desire to step back for a minute … not just take a break, because we’re all tired, but also sort of assess what we’re about.”

Lehman told Barrie 360 if there’s going to be a leadership race, it should be a year from now in mid-2023. The party, he feels, needs to take a little time to remind itself of what it has historically stood for, what did and didn’t resonate with people in the election, and reaffirm its principles, before talking about who’s going to lead the party.

“I think part of the problem for the Liberal Party is the tie to the past, and it needs to make a clean break. And hopefully, you break in the direction of what the traditional strength of the Liberal Party has been, and that is being equally comfortable talking with small business owners and economists as you are speaking with poverty advocates and labour organizers.

There’s also the issue of the party leader not having a seat in the legislature.

“We just had a leader who didn’t have a seat in the house, and that didn’t go so well. So, notwithstanding, if either myself or other candidates outside the caucus of eight might run, they need a by-election to win a seat in the house. And that adds complexity and difficulty.”

Lehman says he also has to look at it in terms of how his private life and political life mesh. Mayor, or MPP, is one thing, leadership is a whole new level.

But he’s considering it.

feature image: Barrie 360