Bob Rae is out

And good for him. Today, the interim leader of the Liberal Party, the past leadership candidate for the same, and the former NDP Premier of Ontario announced that he won’t be seeking to make his current job permanent. No, Rae will not run to be leader of the Liberal Party and carry the Grits into the next election. In the end, he kept his word that he would not run, despite the fact that the party executive was ready to bend space and time in order to allow it.

Why did he dance and skate, as he remarked, through so many scrums and interviews on his leadership intentions? Perhaps Rae recognized that despite its legacy status, Parliament’s third-place party had an uphill battle when it came to generating news coverage for its activities and positions taken in the House of Commons. If Rae were perceived to be a “lame duck” leader with no clout, the press would have just passed over him knowing that any of his pronouncements were temporary at best or lacked legitimacy at worst. By leading everyone on until now, it is certain that he was able to shine a brighter spotlight on his party.

It won’t surprise you to hear that we at the National Citizens Coalition think that Rae made the right decision. While we do wish him well in his future life, if Rae were to become Prime Minister, it would have been a nightmare scenario. During a recession in Ontario, Rae worsened the province’s standing rather than improved it. The NDP has always feared Rae because of his cross-partisanship and ability to draw socialists and centrists together. A Rae leadership would have done more to unite the parties of the left. Even this week, Rae and Mulcair were singing from the same songbook when it came to bailing out Spanish banks and the Eurozone with Canadian cash. Throwing good money after bad is a hallmark of the worst in fiscal management. As Europe seeks to discredit capitalism by rescuing bad investments, flattening risk, increasing sovereign debt while thumbing their nose to calls for spending restraint on entitlements, an amalgamated Canadian left within striking distance of power would only embolden and encourage these instincts at home squandering our hard-won advantage.

But Rae as Prime Minister, or now that he’s out, any Liberal for that matter? That is indeed projecting far into the hypothetical future. Indeed, the Liberals haven’t even found their foothold yet to rebuild their party to challenge the NDP for opposition status. But yet, that is the next task that they face. Rae’s exit will allow an open and fresh leadership race that won’t likely be haunted by any phantoms from generations-past. Granted, Justin Trudeau’s name carries a lot of baggage west of Ontario (and in Quebec) but with Rae out, we will likely see full generational change in the lineup of Liberal contenders.

This will excite some Liberal partisans because the Liberal Party will be a blank slate, without foundational policy to anchor it in any way or another. This will also be to the benefit of other parties that will easily define the Liberal Party for their purposes as well.



24 thoughts on “Bob Rae is out”

  1. This is his only option to save his credibility since he said from the outset he would not run for the leadership as per the rules of the LPC.  Lets give him credit if it stands.  The LPC should be looking for a builder rather than a saviour with a flashy personality. Justin Trudeau isn’t there yet, he himself has to build as a politician, he seems to realize that as well…so far.  The coax me a little more ploy may be tried with both Rae and Trudeau, there really isn’t anyone that stands out as filling their needs to this point, certainly no one sitting in their rump party at this time.

  2. Rae is long past his best before date, but I doubt it will register with him being the professional politician that he is.

  3. Bob Rae and the Young Dauphin are symptoms rather than causes of the decay of the Liberal Party. Silver spoon socialists or people who learned economics at the knee of their Uncle Fidel were never exposed to the marketplace (much less the marketplace of ideas) and have the luxury of being insulated from the day to day concerns of ordinary Canadians. Most of the Liberal Party executive is like this as well; high gas or food prices hardly make a dent in their paychecks and the struggle of working and keeping a job and being economically afloat isn’t a factor in any of their decisions. Government jobs and gold plated benefits are the sort of lifestyle they are advocating (we pay for).

    Since the LPC isn’t in touch with Canadians (and their last four leaders are prime exemplars of this), they will continue to flounder and be marginalized. The only bright spot for them is the NDP is unlikely to expand past their Quebec base thanks to Thomas Mulcair’s ignorant grandstanding against the Canadian energy industry, so they can continue to split the Progressive vote for several elections to come.

  4. I don’t believe for a minute that this was his decision but a polling outcome. This just isn’t the guy who will give up unless he’s seen the writing on the wall.

    Now it won’t even be Justin so what or who is it, Tommy-Tom? A socialist fusion makes sense when the Libs only seem to act speak and think like socialists. There is not much to pick from and the nepotism has run thinner and thinner. 

  5. Rae made the right decision for reasons that are obvious to any of us who follow politics.

    Now the party can focus on finding a new messiah. That is what is happening with all this talk of Justin Trudeau. What in the world has this kid born with a silver spoon in his mouth done both personally and professionally to convince anybody that he has the leadership capabilities to lead a national party who one day hopes to return to government. I would suggest nothing. Oh yes he is a pretty face with a great head of hair but beyond that he will carry the baggage of his father into the leadership race and if elected into the next election campaign.

    Having said that who in the world would want the job as leader of the third place party. None of the names suggested are inspiring and suggest a resurgence in the party’s fortunes. No failed leadership canadidate should be allowed to run for the party leadership again if they have not repaid their oustanding debts from the previous leadership campaign.

  6. Best thing about Rae waiting til now to drop out? The right-wing propaganda machine wasted time focusing on him. Now they gotta retool. Next target – the Dauphin…have fun. A year is a long time…

    Meanwhile, on Parliament Hill, it seems the war of 1812 wasn’t over, after all….

    to an article in Embassy Magazine, the Harper government is moving
    forward on several initiatives that could give U.S. FBI and DEA agents
    the ability to pursue suspects across the land border and into Canada.

    But, according to a RCMP officer, they’re doing it in “baby steps.”

    “We recognized early
    that this approach would raise concerns about sovereignty, of privacy,
    and civil liberties of Canadians,” RCMP Chief Superintendent Joe Oliver,
    the Mounties’ director general for border integrity, told the Senate
    Committee on National Security and Defence on May 14.

    “We said ‘Let’s take
    baby steps, let’s start with two agencies to test the concept, let’s
    demonstrate to Canadians and Americans that such an approach might

    Baby step 1, according
    to Embassy Magazine, has already happened in the form cross border
    pilot projects allowing Canadian and American agents in each others

    Step 2 is the
    ‘Shiprider’ program which will make it permanently legal for U.S. agents
    to be certified as police in Canadian waters.  This is on track to be passed into law by the Harper government’s omnibus budget bill, C-38.

    And step 3, is to roll out cross-border policing over land.

    Nothing to see here. Move along…  Wonder when the drones will start crossing the border?

  7. Rae was really their best hope and he has dropped out of a contest he wasn’t supposed to be in in the first place.  Now will he actually stay on to finish his fill-in tenure and be effective or is he now going to sit back as a lame duck caretaker until the real messiah comes along? The LPC might want to bump up their search and get going sooner rather than later.

    As for the Trudeau spawn, he’s no way close to being ready to get the Liberals out of their hole, he has  to grow his own  experience as an MP,  he’s not the one to build a party that has lost it’s foundation and needs to build from the ground up.

    It’s sad it has come to this, we’re LEFT with the NDP who  are not fit to govern at the best of times, we need the LPC to reinvent itself in the next two years or sooner, we all should encourage it, sit back and let them get on with it.

  8. You forgot to include this part from the Embassy Magazine article: >
    “… As a result, opposition members and academic observers raised several questions around national jurisdiction and police accountability.
    But both Public Safety Canada and the RCMP say they are sensitive to these concerns and that Canadian law will remain supreme. …” [my highlighting]

    It’s always advisable to read more than just a few snippets to draw your conclusion. The evidence given before Senate and HoC committees, for instance … 
    OTTAWA, Monday, May 14, 2012

    Richard Wex, Assistant Deputy Minister, Law Enforcement and Policing, Public Safety Canada: … Questions in the past have focused on the issue sovereignty. … all Shiprider operations will be conducted under the direction and control of law enforcement officers of what we refer to as the “host country” and they are assisted by law enforcement officers of the “visiting country.” …
    … the act reflects the importance of sovereignty and that all activities and Shiprider operations will be under the direct control and management, if you will, of the host country. …

    Mr. Zigayer [Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice Canada]: … When we did our consultations with the attorneys generals and with other interested parties, the bar associations, a number of these items came forward as being things that were of great concern to them. Respect for sovereignty was one and ensuring that American officers in Canada would be subject to Canadian law, should they engage in some kind of illegal activity and that operations would be conducted in accordance with the rule of law. …

    Mike Cabana, Deputy Commissioner, Federal Policing, Royal Canadian Mounted Police:… Other very important components of the Shiprider model are the built-in protections and safeguards. Canada-U.S. Shiprider operations adhere to the principles of reciprocity and sovereignty, and respect the fundamental rights, freedoms and the rule of law of both countries. While Shiprider removes jurisdictional roadblocks associated with an international border, all Shiprider operations undertaken on Canadian territory have been, and will continue to be, carried out in accordance with Canadian law and policy and executed under the direction and control of a Canadian law enforcement officer. The reverse applies in U.S. waters. …

    Mr. Oliver [RCMP Chief Superintendent Joe Oliver, Director General for Border Integrity]: I think that biggest issue was the fact that we recognized early that this approach would raise concerns about the sovereignty, privacy and civil liberties of Canadians. We also recognized that we are trying to integrate training procedures, SOPs and different organizational cultures. You have the Coast Guard, which is basically a maritime law enforcement agency, and the RCMP.
    Recognizing all of those things, we said let us take baby steps. Let us start with two agencies to test the concept. Let us demonstrate to Canadians and Americans that such an approach might work. Let us evaluate it; let us improve it. Let us test it again and evaluate and approve it again. We did so to the point that both governments were confident with the approach and sat down at the negotiating table to establish the framework agreement. Here we are today with the next step, which is creating legislation to operationalize it.

  9. And to add to your reading pleasure … Standing Committee on FinanceEVIDENCETuesday, May 29, 2012Mrs. Shelly Glover [CP]: … A lot of different people have said there are sovereignty concerns …Mr. Stephen Bolton [Director, Border Law Enforcement Strategies Division, Public Safety Canada]: … in effect you are asserting your sovereignty, by dealing with threats and addressing issues of cross-border criminality at your border, protecting Canadians and protecting Canadian communities. …The bill itself does take certain precautions to ensure and safeguard Canadian sovereignty, including enshrining in the legislation the fact that if you have a U.S. law enforcement officer working in Canada, that law enforcement officer would be working under the control of a Canadian law enforcement officer, that is, under the host country, with the laws of Canada being enforced and the rules and procedures and policies of Canadian law enforcement being followed. That in itself is a way of ensuring or asserting sovereignty by maximizing those resources. …Mr. Michael Zigayer [Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice Canada]:This legislation implements a treaty that we’ve signed with the Americans, and the treaty itself contains a recognition of the importance and the principle of the sovereignty of states. That is incorporated in the statement of principles found in the bill, under clause 368. …Mr. Mark Adler [CP]:… Mr. Bolton, there have been a number of parties who claim that we’re compromising sovereignty by virtue of the integrated border law enforcement. Could you comment on that and reassure them that we won’t be compromising any sovereignty?Mr. Stephen Bolton [Director, Border Law Enforcement Strategies Division, Public Safety Canada]:… by using our resources more effectively, by coordinating with our U.S. law enforcement partners more closely, and at the same time ensuring that Canadian law, the charter, and the privacy rights of Canadians are protected…. I think it goes back to two fundamental principles of the legislation, which is that the law enforcement officials would be under the direction of the host country and, secondly, that they would be enforcing the laws of the host country. So when you think about the legislation that way, it doesn’t diminish sovereignty. In fact, I think you could argue that it asserts it, because we’ll be dealing with cross-border criminality much more effectively. …C/Supt Joe Oliver: … I think the framework agreement is very explicit in terms of respect for sovereignty …It is very clear that when operations are in Canada, Canadian officers are the lead and Canadian law applies …The other aspect is that the bill also sets out a framework through which we will be accountable to an oversight body for operations undertaken in Canada. All of those elements together certainly demonstrate that we are respecting Canadian sovereignty. …This is not about ceding sovereignty at all. It is really about exercising greater operational flexibility in a very complex environment. [my highlighting]

  10. … that Canadian law will remain supreme.

    Note that  Canadian Law is being changed to ultimately allow for the operation of US agencies on Canadian soil.

    How about NAFTA – another set of laws and agreements. Canada won a $4B judgement against the US for improper application of softwood tariffs. Has the US paid up?

    So there’s the rule of law for ya.

    Having crossed the border myself a few times by water (the Great Lakes), I don’t have a whole lotta problem with shared jurisdiction on shared inland bodies of water. It has been of clear mutual benefit especially in terms of distress response, and is a rational approach to smuggling and criminal flight by water. And it fits with maritime tradition and practicalities

    I have a huge problem with US officers operating on Canadian soil. The practicalities that make this approach reasonable on water DO NOT apply on land. Only a fool would assert that Canadian officers will operate on US soil to the same extent that Americans will operate in Canada. The frameworks already exist for officers of both countries to contribute to each others’ investigations, and the extent of extradition agreements we have is near perfect.

    You need to consider long and hard why such an allowance is worth trading away some sovereignty, and who will ultimately benefit from it. Or where it’s leading. (Hints – we sell oil to the US for less than market rates, we agree to buy over-priced ATTACK fighters without a competitive bid process, unenforced NAFTA decision…) What’s next – economic union and a common dollar?

    I like Americans and work with them alot. But we’re Canadian, and our sovereignty is important and worth preserving.

    (nice use of CP softball questions, btw. Really made your case. Yup)

  11. “How about NAFTA …”
    Why the red herring? You raise the spectre of Canada surrendering its sovereignty with the Shiprider operations, impugning not only the Harper government’s motives — which is standard for you — but also those of RCMP Chief Superintendent Joe Oliver, but then you go off on the tangent of NAFTA and the softwood lumber agreement. Can’t you stay on topic?

    And no, I didn’t cherry-pick leading questions. What I cited from committee meetings was to provide context to your quoting Chief Oliver’s “baby steps” which you apparently concluded to mean a sinister plot by the Harper government to slowly but surely cede Canadian sovereignty to the US, which is clearly not the case, given Chief Oliver’s and other witnesses’ testimony.

    “Having crossed the border myself a few times by water …”
    Hey! That answers the question you posed in your previous post about drones crossing the border.

  12. The example of the NAFTA dispute was in response to your naive faith that in a future dispute with the US, “Canadian law will remain supreme.”

    Re Harper – I am a firm believer in “never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity”, so no I don’t think he’s got some plot to merge the countries. I just think he’s short-sighted on this subject.

    In your usual fashion, you blindly trust what the CPC has fed you, and while having no argument that even faintly describes how armed foreign officers in Canada will be a good thing, nor will you engage my points, other then blowing smoke.

    Really – just tell me one thing that will be accomplished by letting US officers loose in Canada that we cannot achieve now, with the current working arrangements.

  13. “In your usual fashion, you blindly trust what the CPC has fed you …”
    No, actually it’s simply a case of my trusting the people actively involved in this issue, like Public Safety Canada and the RCMP, rather than believing the phobic musings of an armchair critic like yourself. If that makes me naive, so be it.

    “never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity”
    Well then, since you’re so brilliant, unlike those people who are actually dealing with cross-border crime, you should be able to figure out what the Shiprider operations will or won’t accomplish. You surely don’t need little naive me to point that out.

  14. A reply to Kenn2 I posted here late last night / early morning of June19 has disappeared. I also notice two of my earlier replies to Kenn2 are not in the right chronological order.

    I’m sorry to be critical about the format again, but the comment box shows only two lines at a time, which is quite annoying to have to scroll back and forth.

    I’m going to re-post last night’s final reply to Kenn2 separately, to see whether it remains published.

  15. My reply to Kenn2’s comment ending with “… the current working arrangements.”
    “In your usual fashion, you blindly trust what the CPC has fed you …” 

    No, actually it’s simply a case of my trusting the people actively involved in this issue, like Public Safety Canada and the RCMP, rather than believing the phobic musings of an armchair critic like yourself. If that makes me naive, so be it.

    “never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity”
Well then, since you’re so brilliant, unlike those people who are actually dealing with cross-border crime, you should be able to figure out what the Shiprider operations will or won’t accomplish. You surely don’t need little naive me to point that out.

  16. I’m mystified. I used no profanity, no foul language in my reply to Kenn2’s comment, but it was not published. The only word that could possibly be construed as “offensive” by a rather puritanical filter is stew-pidity (intended typo). But that word made it through in Kenn2’s comment, and I was quoting him.

    OK, forget it, it’s not worth wasting my time crossing the Ts and dotting the Is on this. Next!

  17. The new settings can detect when you’re avoiding the point and simply going after me.

    Seriously, I want the opportunity to actually discuss these points, and I admit it’s too easy to snark, if only cos folks now expect it from me… but if a post or comment is deliberate spin, ignorant or naive, I gotta call it.

  18. “but if a post or comment is deliberate spin, ignorant or naive, I gotta call it.” Of course that means if someone doesn’t agree with you then you “have to call it” right?

  19. Ah. Since that pointless, combative comment still came through, I guess I was wrong about the “ad hominem” filter.

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