Bob Rae Steps Down


This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but Bob Rae is resigning as an MP.

I wrote my praises of Rae’s career and time as interim leader back in April so I won’t rehash them here. Although he never fullfilled his dream of becoming Liberal Party (permanent) leader, if there was a “Political Hall of Fame” in Canada, Rae would certainly be a first ballot inductee.

No doubt, Twitter will be rife with speculation about Rae running for Mayor of Toronto, but that seems largely idle. We’ve been hearing rumours of an Olivia Chow candidacy for over a year, and given the anonymous chatter around Rae’s “almost-bid” for permanent Liberal leader, I assume we would have heard something by now if the Mayoralty was in his sights. Rae has never shown much interest in municipal politics during his 35 years in public life, and today’s anouncement feels a lot more like a retirement than a campaign launch. If Bob still had the political itch, recent polls would surely have him dreaming of being named Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2015.

Rae’s departure will trigger a by-election in Toronto Centre, a riding the Liberals are almost guaranteed to hold. So the real intrigue will be on who they nominate. No doubt there will be much attention on high profile names like Hall Findlay, Holland, Kennedy, Takach, and Smitherman – but with the Liberals riding high in the polls, Toronto Centre may offer Trudeau a chance to bring in a star candidate from outside the political sphere.

In either event, given his leadership promise to hold open nominations in every riding, you can be sure membership forms are being sold as we speak.

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in by elections, Federal Politics

About CalgaryGrit

A former Calgary Liberal, now living in Toronto. My writings on politics can be found at and online at the National Post.

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12 Responses to Bob Rae Steps Down

  1. Marc from soccer

    Bob Rae didn’t even like the nitty gritty nature of provincial politics…he was six months away from leaving when Peterson called the election. His head is with the feds. Being mayor is not in his sights.

  2. Paul O

    He has specifically ruled out any mayoral bid.

    And why, exactly, would the NDP not be strong in that riding?

    • Sean C.

      If they didn’t take it last election, it seems rather unlikely they’ll do it now.

      • Marc from soccer

        They won’t take it, although if redistributed according to the current proposed boundaries, it does get more NDP friendly with the loss Rosedale and Mount Pleasant.

  3. Sean C.

    Not tremendously surprising, really. Canadian politicians don’t tend to fossilize in office like American ones, and he’s almost at retirement age. If he reupped at next election he’d be potentially committing himself to be working in Cabinet office at age 70.

  4. Luke

    “Toronto Centre may offer Trudeau a chance to bring in a star candidate from outside the political sphere.”

    Trudeau is not supposed to be installing star candidates into easy ridings. If I remember correctly, one of his positions is that the riding association chooses which candidate will run in an election or by-election, period.

    Not to say he couldn’t strongly court a potential candidate to give it a shot though.

    • Sean C.

      That’s noted in the post itself.

      • Luke

        Indeed! I think I somehow didn’t read the last sentences. Thanks.

  5. jared

    And here I was thinking he was going to replace John Baird in 2015.

    On the upside this could attract fresh talent to the party.

  6. Nuna D. Above

    I thought Rae would be a disaster for the Liberals if he was leader of the party during an election, but he does outshine Trudeau in ability.
    Would Glen Murray be another name as possible candidate for the riding? I think if there is a big fight for the riding, some of the loser’s supporters might sit on their hands in a by-election, allowing the NDP to take the riding. Then in 2015, they would make their move for the nomination again.

  7. Robert Schives

    Why would he be a MP when he can double dip. Just a piece of shit. Glad he’s gone!

  8. Political Outsider

    This makes the third time Bob Rae has quit in the middle of his elected term. Sarah Palin only did it once.

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