OTTAWA (CP) - Leadership hopeful Bob Rae is warning Liberals that there is no appetite in the country for constitutional adventures or "abstract debates" over Quebec's identity.
While he wouldn't go so far as to say the Constitution should never be reopened, Rae made it clear Friday that it wouldn't happen under his watch.
There is no appetite in the country for this kind of an adventure. There simply is not that appetite there and the leadership of the country has to recognize that," he added.
"You should not raise expectations that cannot be met and we should not be engaging in an abstract debate in this country at this point in time. We should be focusing our attention on issues that really matter to people."
"I'm not somebody who is going to set this country on a constitutional adventure, whose consequences and whose outcome I'm not certain of," Rae said.
Keeping this issue at the center of the debate may not be the best thing for Liberals as a whole, but it certainly helps Rae's campaign. Rae portrays Ignatieff as an impractical dreamer, with loaded words like "adventure" and "abstract". Rae frames himself as the wise sage, that has seen it all and has the experience to realize the pitfalls. Contrasting his vision with Ignatieff is a powerful way for Rae to keep Ignatieff on the defensive, while he looks reasonable. You can argue about Rae's duplicity, but from a purely political perspective, the more he talks about the issue, the more it works in his favour.