Thomas Walkom and the Mound of Sound both note that a leadership race has only signalled how far the federal Libs are from being a progressive party. But with Walkom and Paul Adams also questioning whether Canada's political system has seen either a convergence in the middle or a drift to the right, let's note that the Libs' leadership convention may not be this spring's most important source of answers on those points.
On the same weekend the Libs choose their new leader, the NDP will be holding its first convention since last year's leadership vote which elected Tom Mulcair. And the Montreal convention website has now been updated with the basics of the NDP's policy development process - including both the current policy book (PDF), and the guidelines for convention resolutions which will have to be approved and submitted by February 11.
That doesn't leave much time to review and discuss what changes might be made to the principles agreed upon by the NDP's membership just a few years ago - either to strengthen the language to better reflect progressive values, or to water it down if the party's leadership wants more room to maneuver.
But we should be able to tell plenty about the party's future direction by watching how a convention featuring a high proportion of the NDP's new Quebec membership handles traditional party policy and proposed amendments. And the more important test for progressive politics in Canada may play out in Montreal - rather than at the Libs' putty sculpture contest down the road.