‘If this is how the game is being played, we better figure that out’


The Hill Times talks to Bob Rae.

You said on Tuesday that the Liberals have to be in a position to respond to attacks and that you can’t leave your leader exposed to artillery fire. What’s the plan for preventing that?
“Well, I don’t think it’s a matter of preventing it. I mean, the fact is the Conservatives have demonstrated a determination to do it. It shouldn’t take us two elections to figure this out—that when there are attacks that are made, they should be responded to in an effective way and that means that the party itself has to be turned into a very focused political organization. It also means that everything we do in Parliament and elsewhere sort of has to be connected to that. Financially, we need to reorient our budget so that we’re focused on building up a capacity to respond as well as obviously raising more money and spending it in a more focused way.”

Attack ads in between elections is a recent phenomenon in Canadian politics. How important are they and how does this change Canadian politics?
“I think it’s a mistake to think that you can make up for a lot of lost ground in the 35 days of an election campaign. The fact is that we’re in a mode that has to be seen as a ‘permanent campaign’ and that’s the way in which we have to structure our responses.”


‘If this is how the game is being played, we better figure that out’

  1. It’s a little late to worry about attack ads, Bob

    I’d like to see some bold moves in new directions instead of the same old, same old….

    • Too late to worry about past attack ads, true. And it’s unlikely that the CPC will waste energy and dollars on the interim Liberal leader. But once a new leader is selected, if it looks like that leader is gaining traction with the electorate, you can bet the ads will come spewing forth. It’s not a tactic that can easily work against Layton as he’s been around so long, but it’s proven effective against the Liberals and will almost certainly be used against a new leader to prevent the party’s comeback.

      New policy and a new leader are musts, and I’m sure Rae is aware of that. But they’d have to be complete fools not to prepare for the CPC to try to be the ones to, for the third time, create the image of the new leader that they want to saddle him or her with.

      • I agree, but that’s 2 years away.  And since they don’t know who the new leader will eventually be, they can’t make more than anything but generic ads at this point

        Won’t matter anyway if they don’t have some bold new policy moves for a leader to sell

        • True; there’s an awful lot that has to happen to turn their party around before they face the likelihood of more attack ads – but they still need to have a strategy in place before the next leader steps up and the attack ads start flying. It has to be part of their overall planning.

          • Well goodness knows it’s not hard to make attack ads….in the meantime if ads are needed they should point out past accomplishments….peace-keepers, medicare, the charter, the surplus….

            That way bold new proposals will be seen as the obvious outcome of all that groundwork over the years.

          • In his recent press conference did Rae take a tough stand against the sale of AECL? Seems like a big enough current issue. Or do the Libs support it?

          • @W_B:disqus 

            No idea…last time I heard anything out of the Libs about nuclear plants was when Ignatieff backed a MeMaster U plan to produce isotopes.

          • @modster99:disqus 

            Perhaps you should have read the comments after that article

          • Except many of the old Liberal policies are not seen by many as accomplishments i.e. multiculturalism, the charter, soft power foreign policy, destroying the military, broken immigration system, a starving healthcare system.

          • @hollinm:disqus 

            To be accurate…Cons don’t like them…and misrepresent them….but normal Canadians do.

      • Once again for the Liberal diehards. The ads worked because the leader through his own actions kept confirming what the ads were saying. Ignatieff had trouble saying convincingly why he had come back to Canada and why he wanted and deserved to be elected as Prime Minister. In fact the da.n party didn’t even know if they wanted him as their leader. They rejected him the first time out.
        If the Liberals do not “elect” a leader who has some political experience and can articulate a position without flip flopping they will get more of the same. As for Layton and Rae I don’t think the CPC has to do anything. Canadians already have pegged both of them. One is a socialist. The other a failed NDP premier of Ontario. Enough said.

        • Possibly because at that level, no one expected a bar brawl

          Rae is temporary….as to Layton, you’ll look really clever if you lose a Con govt to a ‘socialist’ one next time out.

          • There was no bar brawl. The Libs got some of their own medicine and couldn’t react because they were/are broke and they had a lousy leader.
            I have no worry about Layton getting near the purse strings of the Canadian treasury. Yes Jack had good results in Quebec but did not do great in the rest of the country. I think he picked up 6 seats and most of them had been previously held by the NDP. Ontarians learned big time what happens when you put an NDP into majority government. They will not repeat that mistake again. Rae Days anyone?
            Once again do you honestly believe that Rae is going to work his but off for two years and if he has success he is simply going to hand it over to some other person. Not likely.

          • Cons are always into bar brawls….it’s the level of society they’re from

            Libs weren’t broke, and there was nothing wrong with the leader….Harper is not beloved either.

            Layton did well all over Canada, and after 4 years of Harper people might well go for an NDP govt

            The NDP did badly in Ont thanks to Rae…but they’ve done alright in other provinces.

            Rae is too old to be the next Lib leader, so he’s temporary.

          • Emily I really think some of your comments are delusional. “Cons are always in bar brawls” Typical leftist bafflegab of which you are one of the experts.
            They were broke. That is why they said they did not respond to the ads. There was not enough money in the cupboard to respond with a serious ad buy.
            The difference between Harper and Ignatieff is because while Harper is not beloved Canadians believed he was the better choice. However, keep spouting this talking point if it makes you feel better.
            Tell me how Layton did better all over Canada. Yes he got more votes but not enough to get anymore than 6 NDP elected. That is not going to win him government or even a minority.
            We are not talking about other much smaller provinces. We are talking about his ability to govern the country. A whole different kettle of fish.
            Don’t underestimate Rae and his ambitious nature. Yes he will be in his late 60’s but he still feels he probably is the best the Libs have to put on offer. His ego knows no bounds.

          • @hollinm:disqus 

            Sorry dude, they haven’t ever been broke…that’s one of many Con delusions.

            And I am not, and never have been, a leftist

            Another Con delusion is that if you’re not 110% pro-Harper you are automatically ‘leftist’  LOL

            The majority of Canadians didn’t vote for Harper…so no, they didn’t think he was the ‘better choice’

            Look up the election results yourself.

            For the first time in 60 years, the NDP made OO…that means they can do it again…or even be govt

            And you know nothing about Bob Rae

        • My comments were directed at what needs to happen going forward; not about the past… or even, really, the present, as Rae is filling in while the party gets its act together.

  2. I love the  “Attack Ad”  where Iggy says HE is an American ……………. 

    • Good one. As well running off to his villa in France kind of reinforced the idea he was just visiting and an elitist. His wife didn’t even consider it important enough to become a Canadian citizen.

      • He didn’t say he personally was American…it was a collective ‘we’….and he doesn’t have a villa in France. His wife had applied for citizenship, it just hadn’t come through yet

        The election’s over boys….you can put the hokum away

        • Hey Emily you can defend him all you want  but the fact is he included himself and that means he thought himself as an American. He does have a family owned villa in La Provence France. Thats where he spent his first summer and went several times after.
          As to your contention that his wife was applying for citizenship then I need some proof because it came up and nobody said she was in the process of applying. However, I know you believe you are the answer to all questions Liberal so you will be able to provide the proof that she was in the process of applying.
          There is no hokum. The fact is your guys lost big time and the party will never be the same.

          • We are all Americans dude….and there is a collective ‘we’. Cons have trouble with simple English

            He inherited a house in France from his father….it’s not a villa,  it’s a small run-down place in fact

            Yes, it came up during the election that his wife was in the application system….the suggestion was even made Kenney was holding it up on purpose

            Since I’m not a Liberal, and since Iggy is history anyway, I have no intentions of either defending or condemning him

            I’m pointing out that disagreeing on policy is one thing, getting personal is quite another…..cuz Harp has targets painted all over him on that score.

            The Libs will be back….boy, you guys win an election and think you suddenly have ‘divine right’  LOL

          • You may be an American. I am a Canadian through and through. Quit parsing the language to suit you.
            So now you admit he has a “house” in France. Obviously you tried to mislead in your previous comment. Good socliast that you are.
            Of course Kenney held up her application. It is the Conservatives fault that the Libs are in such a mess.
            I am not getting personal but pointing out all the issues that confirmed the truth ads that Ignatieff was just visiting. That’s all. I could care less whether she was applying for citizenship.
            Trouble with people like you who keep repeating the age old criticisms of Harper. Nobody is listening.
            The Libs will be back. I agree. In what form who knows. However, unless Layton falls on his face they will not be in the running for 015 and you know it.

          • @hollinm:disqus 

            You live in North America dude…you’re an American

            Someone who lives in France or Germany is a European

            Ummm I said he had a house in France buddy…it’s not, however, a villa

            Libs are not socialists, and I’m not a Lib in any case

            Gawd I wish you people would learn English

          • It is not a villa, it is a small house his parents bought after the war.

          • Ok so it is not a villa but a house. How many ordinary Canadians have a house (villa) in France. It smacks of elitism and reinforces the story the CPC was telling about him.

          • hollinm
            elitism? I don’t think that word means what you think it does.
            how many of the troy anti-elitists have done anything other than suck at the public teat? Harper, Baird etc.

  3. Is this a correct translation:

    We have figured out that we are not the natural governing party of Canada. We think that if we can build a political party, that has support of Canadians, we can defend against the CPC. We will need these supporters to donate to our party as well.

    It sounds like they have just figured out how politics works in Canada.

    • No, it’s not a correct translation.

      The correct translation is: We have to start being ready to clear off the mud and crap the CPC throws on us, since Canadians have shown they mostly don’t care about whether a policy or budget holds any water, but rather what the appearance of the leader is.

      • I see. The LPC was//is fine.

        So what you are saying is: the reason that the Liberal party didn’t win, even though they are the Natural Governing Party, is that the people of Canada are too stupid to realize it. Canadian’s are too stupid to think about policy. They only think in sound bites, and are led around by the nose by ‘attack ads’. The stupid Canadian’s bought the CPC lies – hook, line, and sinker. I love hearing elitist crap like this – it confirms that you folks don’t have your finger on the pulse of the nation.

        You do realize that your type of thinking is why the LPC is in the position that it is in right now? I am happy that you feel/think this way. I means that there may be people in the LPC who feel the same way as well, and the party will stay the same. That will mean no worries in the next election. :)

        • It’s got nothing to do with Natural Governing Party, it’s got do with what people say they want vs what they are willing to vote for. However, since I seem to be clueless, please tell me, what IS the pulse of the nation? Is it balanced budgets? CPC hasn’t been able to balance a budget without billions of dollars in suprlus being handed to them since Borden, and during the election published a budget that conjured 11 billion out of thin air with no contingencies in case anything didn’t work out perfectly. So is the pulse of the nation that we want to be in debt?

          What is the pulse of the nation? That Canadians enjoy the government keeping information from them at every opportunity?

          What is the pulse of the nation? That Canadians want to be lied to about the intent and capability of legislation (such as fixed election)?

          I hear a bunch of you guys bleating about how Liberal folks obviously don’t know what the nation is thinking, but I haven’t seen any thinking from you folks that acknowledges what the facts have been and are. Just a lot of wishful thinking about what you think the CPC might be (despite the evidence) and what you think the Liberals are (despite the evidence)

          So unless you’re saying the pulse of the nation is that we want to shove our heads in the sand and have sunshine blown up our rear-ends, I’m really at a loss. So why don’t you tell me? I mean, I know the wishful thinking part, but tell me what you think the pulse of the nation is that has any relation to what the facts are as opposed to to the CPC spin.

          Is the LPC fine? No, because they’ve been assuming that most Canadians are like them, that is, people who are concerned about the leadership of their country and want honest, evidence based decision making. Probably because that’s what most people say they want. Unfortunately, when push comes to shove at the voting ballot, we see that most people simply don’t have the inclination to ensure that’s the type of government they’re getting, and they’d rather believe the CPC’s admitted attempts to lie and confuse/muddy-the-waters-for the public.

          • I hear you. We are all stupid because we didn’t vote for the LPC.

            This will get tired after a while. . .

          • Yes, especially if you refuse to actually address the question. Tell me, what exactly IS the pulse of the nation? I mean, supposedly you know what it is because you know the Liberals are missing it, so go ahead.

            Prove you know something

  4. Bob Rae sounds like a whiney old man spouting the old Liberal bromides. Trouble is Canadians have caught on and really don’t care what he or any other Liberal has to say these days. Go away Bob. Rebuild the party so that it is a democratic party and has policies which ordinary Canadians are interested in. The grassroots have probably told the party and the backroom boys what the problem is for years but they do not want to hear about it. So they think by running around the country pretending they are rebuilding that will be enough. The problem with the Liberal party is not the Conservative party. It is the moribund Liberal party. Full stop.

    • Translation – Bob Rae scares the crap out of the Cons. 

      • The fact that you say that seriously (it appears) is hilarious!  Bob Rae?!!!  C’mon!  

        • You guys need to learn how to feign indifference. You always give yourself away.  Some of us find it hilarious. 

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