Former Harvard University professor Michael Ignatieff won the support of his Liberal Party delegates at a leadership convention in May.
Stephane Dion’s wife wrote a scathing public letter about internal fighting within the party.
Dion released a policy platform called the Green Shift in the summer, giving the Conservatives months to attack it and Dion.
The plan called for an unpopular carbon tax. The Liberals were reduced to only 77 seats in the October election.
Dion resigned a week later but stayed on as interim leader, making his tenure one of the shortest in the history of the party.
Martin’s government finally fell on the third non confidence vote of the year. The sponsorship scandal damaged the party in Quebec; and Martin was generally perceived as indecisive. The Conservatives won a minority in the January 2006 election. Martin resigned as leader.
Auditor General Sheila Fraser released a scathing report on the sponsorship program, Martin claimed no knowledge of the program but the damage to the party is significant.
A public inquiry was launched and the Liberals were reduced to a minority government in the June election.
After years of backroom fighting the squabble between Chretien and Martin escalated and went public causing Martin is fired as finance minister.
Martin’s popularity soared but it is another year and a half before he finally became party leader and prime minister.
Chretien took advantage of disarray on the right and called an early election, winning 172 seats.
Despite that the LIberal Party began to split into two factions — those that support Chretien and those that wanted Finance Minister Paul Martin as leader.
Chretien and his Finance Minister Paul Martin eliminated the deficit and posted the first federal surplus in nearly 30 years.
To do so they cut program spending and reduced transfer payments to the provinces. The Liberal Party was re-elected with a smaller majority.
The “no” side barely won in the Quebec referendum on sovereignty. Chretien and the federal government were criticized for not doing enough to support the “yes” side.
In response the Government created the sponsorship program as a way to channel federal money into Quebec. Much of the funds were taken by advertising companies and other groups with ties to the Liberal Party.