'We can not afford to get caught up in internal wrangling' - Macleans.ca

‘We can not afford to get caught up in internal wrangling’

Bob Rae will not seek the permanent leadership of the Liberal Party.


Bob Rae has written as follows to the Liberal caucus. He has apparently told supporters that he won’t seek the permanent leadership.

Colleagues and friends,

I want to advise you that I am willing to let my name stand for the position of interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.  It is my understanding that this issue will be discussed by the caucus on May 25, 2011, and by the national board of the Liberal Party before the deadline of May 30.

After the worst election defeat in our history, it is vital that we come together as a party, and engage directly with Canadians about what matters to them. The pursuit of social justice and a sustainable prosperity in a united Canada has to remain our focus. We cannot afford to get caught up in internal wrangling.

Canadians want a progressive party that is committed to building the country. At our best we can be that party. We have to be the party that can take the country forward.

The task facing us is great, but you know I am a “glass half full” person. We have a talented and hardworking caucus in both the House and the Senate. We have much goodwill in the country. There is a strong need for a party that is not caught in the trap of ideological excess.  We need to use the talents of every member of the Liberal team right across the country.

I shall abide by any rules about the interim leadership, agreed to by the caucus and the Board. I have made it a watchword of my time in public life to practice the politics of unity and principled compromise. I shall continue to do so.

The party has to make a choice between having a leadership convention soon, and having a period of rebuilding and then a leadership 18-24 months from now. I favour the second option, and that is the context within which I would accept the appointment as Interim Leader. If this longer period is agreed to, it is my understanding that the exact timing of the leadership election will be recommended by the caucus to the national board.

I look forward to discussing these issues with you in the days ahead.

Filed under:

‘We can not afford to get caught up in internal wrangling’

  1. A smart, classy move. Rae would not have been a good choice for permanent leader, but as an interim leader, I think he is exactly what the Liberals need. I don’t think they could have asked for anyone better. He has the political smarts and experience to put some discipline in place and keep the party relevant while they rebuild.

  2. Sounds sensible to me. Just the guy for the job. 

  3. Rae is up to something. I figure there has to be some wiggle room around the ‘abiding’ of rules that Rae says he will follow.

    No way Rae joined Lib Party a few years ago so he could be interim leader for 18 months and then set off into sunset. Presumably Rae is putting himself in shop window as temp leader and that will lead to something more permanent. 

    Rae’s letter also makes it sound like there is nothing wrong with Liberal Party, brain trust is great, no problems with Brahmins of party but a new base is needed – nice way to show appreciation.

    • I agree, Rae is not good news Liberal Party, just completely ignore him.

      I used to to think highly of him, not anymore, he is bad news for the party. 

      • I’m pretty sure the Liberals know you have their best interests at heart. 

        • Believe it or not, I am not a blindly partisan and before the election I would have thought he was a good choice, but not anymore especially after PW long, long article last week, let’s put it this way, I think Ignatieff had better insights than him and I honestly mean that.

          I think the only interest that Bob Rae has is Bob Rae and I never thought or think Ignatieff had that, might have a healthy ego but I really think  he meant what he preached.

    • He’s old. He’ll be 68 at the time of the next election. Even if he won, how long could he stick around as PM? 75?

      • Rae is a snake in the grass.

    •  But by agreeing to be interim, and to not run for the leadership in 2 years, if he does decide to run at that point the party will ditch him anyhow. In the mean time, his experience and gravitas are what the party needs during a time of rebuilding. 

      •  Agreed. I don’t think he is what the party needs long-term, and I think having him possibly waiting in the wings would have been divisive, as many would have assumed he was somehow partly responsible for Iggy’s fall. Taking himself out of the hunt while leading the party in the interim gives the party the time it needs to find itself and then pick the leader that matches their new vision.

      • DerekPearce/KeithBram

        Why so much trust in a leader? Martin wrestled it away from Chretien, Dion overstayed his welcome and tried to form coalition with seperatists even tho he had already promised to quit in a few months and Iggy had himself anointed without say from base.

        Wake up Liberals! Your leaders don’t care what you think or desire, it is all about them.

        Also, Rae is very divisive and is not going to bring in a period of calm if he’s made interim leader. Ontarians, for one, think of Rae as reason why we don’t vote for NDP or socialist governments. Rae as Liberal leader talking about ‘social justice’ is going to re-enforce our dislike for the cretin.

        Galba, Otho, Vitellius ……

        •  That’s why I only want him for interim– he’ll be great at stewardship through the House, but not good for the party electorally or long term.

      • I’m guessing that he’ll frame the Apps anti-Rae rule as undemocratic and ask the membership to vote on nullifying it.  He may not be wrong about that.  Doing so would further poison the Liberal brand to Canadian voters, but that doesn’t register with Rae (or matter to him?).

  4. Thank you, Bob Rae.  You were my immediate choice as  interim leader.  However, you make it sound like the caucus and the board will determine whether to wait on a leadership convention or not.

    In fact, we are having an extaordinary convention by teleconference to decide that issue.  Liberal riding associations, through their duly elected delegates, will determine the answer to that question, although of course not the specific day.  I just think that should be mentioned.

    •  I just today rejoined the party for the first time in literally 10 years in order to get re-involved, to have a say in the rebuilding. I’d prefer 1 member 1 vote but hopefully that’ll come later. I totally agree– I very very much wanted him for interim though do not want him to run for leader later.

      • Welcome!  Look me up when you get onto en Famille.  Good news, then, in that the Leader will be decided by one member one vote.  Whenever that occurs–that is already carved in as much stone as we have these days.  I love Bob Rae, but wouldn’t vote for him for Leader either. 

  5.  Bob Rae will be the interim leader until Stephen Harper decides to appoint Rae as the next Canadian ambassador to Israel.  Rae will be gone from the LIberal Party and active politics in less than a year.