Shuffle, leadership rivalry split Grits as election nears
Baker 'very unhappy' as Tobin supplants him in Cabinet
Robert Fife, Ottawa Bureau Chief
OTTAWA - Jean Chrétien is facing bitter divisions within the Liberal party over his
handling of yesterday's Cabinet mini-shuffle and a decision to bar the president of his
own party's youth wing from the election campaign plane.
Just five days before the Prime Minister dissolves Parliament for a Nov. 27 election,
the animosity in the Chrétien camp toward Paul Martin, the leader's heir apparent, is
festering and is damaging the party's effort to present a united front to voters.
Véronique de Passillé, who won a second term as Liberal youth president by a vote of
86% in March, told the National Post she has been banned from Mr. Chrétien's
campaign plane because she is a Martin supporter.
In past elections, the party youth president has travelled on the Liberal plane. Ms. de
Passillé, 25, said: "People were saying I'm in that [Martin] camp but with the election
in the air, that was all behind, that's what I thought."
But one of Mr. Baker's closest confidants had an entirely different interpretation of the
Cabinet intrigue, saying Mr. Baker is "not happy" the Prime Minister forced him out to
help Mr. Tobin's leadership ambitions.
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