'If this is how the game is being played, we better figure that out' - Macleans.ca

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

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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.”