Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Sense of Country

Whether or not you support Bob Rae, you do have to acknowledge the man comes up with some great lines. I think all Liberals can get behind Rae’s vision of federalism, which stands in direct contrast to Stephen Harper. Here is the distinction:
Considered to be among the front-runners in the Liberal leadership race, Rae said he disagreed with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's writings during his time with the National Citizens Coalition about creating an economic or legislative "firewall" around Alberta.
"We should not be a country of firewalls and silos and water-tight compartments. We should be a country which is generous and recognizes the need for co-operation and integration and people working together."

Rae shows great political instinct in addressing the minefield that is Alberta’s oil and gas revenues. This is a great line:
”The job of the federal government, as I see it, is not to cut down the tall flowers," said Rae, who is the former NDP premier of Ontario.
"The job of the federal government is to make sure everyone understands that if something works to Alberta's advantage, it's not a zero sum game. It doesn't mean somebody else has been disadvantaged."

Don’t punish a province for its success, but remember the mosaic. Rae’s views on federalism might be his key asset as we move forward. I make the assumption that Rae has credibility with Quebecer’s, given his past stances. If Rae can show some understanding of western concerns, he may be able to craft a coherent vision that has sadly been lacking in our past leaders.

In my mind, the greatest danger of a long Harper reign is his narrow view of federalism. It is imperative that the Liberals have someone in place that has a good sense of how to keep the federation together, in a strong and meaningful way. With Rae, I don’t think anyone can question his ability to articulate a detailed view of how Canada should work. We need a Prime Minister with a philosophical flare, that can look beyond the immediate gratifications. I still think Rae has some hurdles to overcome, but I can’t help but be intrigued by his statesmanship. One of the great things about a leadership campaign, no matter who wins, the eventual winner has a great pool of ideas from which to draw as the party moves forward.


Ted Betts said...

"Whether or not you support Bob Rae, you do have to acknowledge the man comes up with some great lines. I think all Liberals can get behind Rae’s vision of federalism, which stands in direct contrast to Stephen Harper."

I can agree with that.

Not going to support Rae, but I'm glad he's on our team for sure.


Steve V said...


If you look at all the candidates, no matter who wins, it sure looks like an impressive cabinet to me.

Mark Dowling said...

assuming that all those who supported the eventual loser to the last person standing don't get cast into the wilderness as usual...

Steve V said...


Good point!

Anonymous said...

It has given me quiet satisfaction to watch the steadily growing awareness of many Liberal bloggers of the many assets which Bob Rae brings to the table. Day after day, week after week, more and more people are parking their kneejerk reaction (He's a Dipper who cratered Ontario as Premier) at the door, and taking another look at just who he is.

And many are coming away impressed by the depth of this man, by his vast experience relative to the rest of the leadership candidates (including Dion), by his ability to see Canada through the prism of values most Canadians ascribe to, and by his proven political abilities.

Name a field, and Bob Rae has a sensible, no-nonsense view on it, grounded in practicality, intelligently arrived at, and eloquently expressed.

And his leadership abilities – both in opposition, as premier, and since then – are equally impressive.

Even that urban myth (Ontarians won't vote for Rae) is slowly yielding to factual enquiry, and being dispelled.

Bob Rae can win power for the Liberals, in every section of Canada. No other candidate has the same chances to do so.

And, equally importantly, Bob Rae would make a Prime Minister Canadians could be proud of. About time that happened, eh?

Steve V said...


James Travers had a good quote today:

"In outperforming Ignatieff, particularly on the Middle East, Rae increases that chance. As knee-buckling as his Ontario baggage remains, Rae increasingly looks like the candidate-in-full; the only one ready now to lead a party and fight an election.

I completely agree with this statement. On simple merit, Rae is the runaway choice in mind. However, the baggage is real and demands some hesitation. I have met many people who immediately scoff at the mention of the Rae- the trick will be to engage people enough that they look beyond the hard pre-conceptions. A daunting task in my mind, but you can't argue that Rae is making good strides to date.