The first three Liberal party leaders were not chosen at a convention. Both Alexander Mackenzie (March 1873 - April 1880) and Edward Blake (May 1880 - June 1887) were appointed by caucus members. Wilfrid Laurier (June 1887 - February 1919) was also selected as party leader by caucus members; the convention of 1893, held in Ottawa, merely ratified their choice. Like Laurier, Michael Ignatieff leadership of the Liberal party was ratified at the party’s national convention in Vancouver on May 2nd 2009, after the Liberal caucus had selected him as leader. The delegates voted 97 percent in favour of his leadership.
2013 Liberal Party of Canada Leadership Election: The vote will be conducted using a preferential ballot system. The results will be weighted equally for each electoral district in Canada, in accordance with the following procedure: (a) Each electoral district is allocated 100 points. (b) On the first count: (i) for each electoral district, the first preference votes recorded in favour of the leadership contestants on the ballots cast by the supporters of the Party who live in that electoral district are counted and then the 100 point allocated to the electoral district are allocated to each leadership contestant on the basis of the ratio the number of the first preference votes received by that leadership contestants bears to the total number of votes counted; (ii) the total number of points allocated to each leadership contestant from all electoral districts in Canada are added to produce a total for the “national count”. (c) On the second count, the leadership contestant who received the least points on the first national count is eliminated and that leadership contestant’s first count ballots are distributed in each electoral district among the remaining leadership contestants according to the second preference indicated and counted according to the procedure previously explained as if they were first preference votes. (d) On each subsequent count, the leadership contestant who received the least votes in the preceding count is eliminated, and that leadership contestant’s ballots are distributed among the remaining leadership contestants according to the next preferences indicated. (e) The first leadership contestant to receive more than 50% of the points allocated on any national count is selected as the Leader.
Source: LPC Constitution, Part 4, Chapter 15 (63)
For more information: Detailed results