Thursday, November 23, 2006

What About Bob?

Ignatieff is seeking out microphones, Dion on television, every politician, pundit and blogger commenting on Harper's bombshell. I understand the Rae strategy of play it safe, offer little substance and forever look the old sage with the charisma. The strategy has been successful, if somewhat confounding, and this fact may explain the big pass Rae took today:
Rae reluctant to enter Quebec-nation debate

OTTAWA -- Liberal leadership hopeful Bob Rae today gave a cool reception to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s bombshell motion to recognize Quebec as a nation within a united Canada.

Rae, speaking in London, Ont., said he’s unsure what impact the motion will have on the future of Canada and, as far as he’s concerned, there are other items he must focus on leading up to the leadership convention, which takes place next week in Montreal.

I agree, there are other more pressing issues at play, but this fact doesn't address the simple fact that this particular issue has exploded onto the frontpage and simply can't be ignored. The ironic part, Rae could probably do himself some favors with a substantative comment, because his eloquence on this issue is well known.

I understand politics, but it really grates me when people try to sneak through, don't rock the boat, and claim the big prize. The tactic speaks to calculation, and does a disservice to the process, which is supposed to put candidates through their paces, by offering policy and an ability to react to unscripted events. Sorry to say it Bob, but you wimped out bigtime.


Rae has some thoughts:

"It seems to me that we've been through this soap opera for long enough and if it can be brought to an end with something that has no great legal or constitutional consequence, then that's one thing. But I think we all need to reflect on what's happened and how these things can get more complicated than they really need to be."

Still, Rae said he wants to hear clearly from Harper that there are no legal or constitutional implications to the motion, especially in the wake of Quebec Premier Jean Charest's assertion that it will change the way the province's laws are interpreted by the courts and enhance the province's stature on the world stage.

"Certainly, it would seem that some people are interpreting it to mean something quite dramatic and other people are interpreting it to be much less, which is one of the reasons why these symbolic debates can be so difficult," Rae said.

Fair enough.


knb said...

I would agree with you Steve. I was warming to Bob a bit, though I've always found him light on policy.

His inability to make a substantial comment on this matter, for me, speaks volumes.

Unless something changes quickly, he's hurt himself I think.

To your title...that was a movie right? I seem to remember renting it years ago, whenever I was depressed. Silly stuff, but it made me laugh.

Steve V said...


It was actually a pretty funny Bill Murray movie.

Anyways, there is something in the way Rae is running his campaign that leaves a bad taste in mouth. Tactically, I see the logic, but Rae looks like the establishment insider, who doesn't need to offer strong policy or comment. I don't like the beauty contest approach at all. How can you take a pass, when everyone and their sister is dissecting the meaning? It looks silly.

Olaf said...


I COMPLETELY disagree with you

It was actually a pretty funny Bill Murray movie.

It was a hilarious Bill Murray movie, one of his best.

Oh... but about the Rae thing I agree completely.

Anonymous said...

Why should he rush to say something? He said it before: starting down the road to constitutional change is not a wise thing to do. Such debates have achieved little and cost a lot.

Just because the Ignatieff Pandora's Box has sucked in Harper and some willing and unwilling Tories does not mean everyone else has to leap over the cliff.

The best thing left to do is to withdraw the Quebec motion. Is Ignatieff going to do that?

bigcitylib said...

Well, it depends.

The motion has no legal force. And this will become more obvious as the hours tick by. See if all the parties but Bob (and Dion the problem solver) don't look a bit silly by Monday. Why react to some motion which is only significant because its on the front page?

Olaf said...


See if all the parties but Bob (and Dion the problem solver) don't look a bit silly by Monday.

I think Dion's official title is the "trouble fixer"...

Steve V said...



The problem is EVERYONE has offered their two cents, which makes Rae's sidestep look curious.

Winnipeg Liberal said...

Bob has given an answer, sort of.

In typically Bob fashion, he won't oppose the motion, but it's implied he won't support it, either.

Cerberus said...

What? Bob trying to have it both ways? I. Am. So. Surprised.

Also, he complains that the soap opera has been going on too long but according to Dion it was Rae who was blocking any agreement or consensus.

Also, he wants definitions and assurances... that he wasn't concerned about when he was pushing for distinct society to be included in the actual constitution with real legal effect.

Also, he worries about this leading to constitutional troubles but Chretien's distinct society motion, which went way further than this, never led nowhere.

That's what about Bob.

bigcitylib said...

Bob's position is that he'll support the resolution as long as its vacuuous. Dion agrees that Harper should give assurances to the fact that the declaration of Quebec nationhood has no legal force. He too is behind it as long asits vacuuous.

The better question is, why does Iggy still want a debate at the convention? Does he want more?