With just days to go until the formal launch of the federal Liberal leadership race, a sixth candidate has laced up his trainers, ending speculation about his plans.
Victoria resident David Merner, who resigned recently as president of the B.C. branch of the federal Liberal party, has officially announced he will run for the party's top job.
Merner joins David Bertschi, Alex Burton, Deborah Coyne, Jonathan Mousley and Justin Trudeau.
Toronto MP Martha Hall Findlay - who just finished paying off her debt from a 2006 bid for the party's leadership - is scheduled to formally launch her second attempt at the top job on Wednesday.
Retired Canadian Forces Lt.-Col. Karen McCrimmon, who ran unsuccessfully for the Liberals in an Ottawa-area riding in 2011, is expected to take the plunge later Wednesday.
Vancouver MP Joyce Murray is expected to follow suit next week, followed closely by Toronto lawyer George Takach.
Montreal MP Marc Garneau, Canada's first astronaut, is widely expected to join the race shortly as well.
Candidate registration opens on Wednesday, with the deadline for nominations set for Jan. 14.
The winner will be announced in Ottawa on April 14, 2013.
Federal Liberals have been led by interim boss Bob Rae since former leader Michael Ignatieff stepped down after the party placed behind the NDP in the May 2011 national election that restored the Conservative party to a majority government.
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