Bob Rae

Canada Day Quiz

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Uncategorized | 15 Comments
We all know him as "Justin Trudeau's father" today, but there was a time when Pierre was just a lowly Justice Minister, needing 4 ballots to win the party's leadership.

We all know him as “Justin Trudeau’s father” today, but there was a time when Pierre was just a lowly Justice Minister, needing 4 ballots to win the party’s leadership.

Test your political skills with this 10-question quiz about the present – and the past – of Canadian politics.

1. You may not be aware of this, but Justin Trudeau’s father was also once Liberal Party leader. For half a point each, name the runner up in the LPC leadership races that elected Pierre and Justin.

2. There have been 5 by-elections since the last federal election. In how many has the party who won the seat in 2011 held it?

3. Within 5 percentage points, what percentage of Canadians now live in a province run by a female Premier?

4. Bob Rae recently announced his retirement from politics. In what year was he first elected to the House of Commons as an MP?

5. Complete the following Stephen Harper quote, uttered in the wake of the Boston marathon bombing: “Now is not the time to commit ______

6. We heard a lot about Nigel Wright this year. Who replaced him as Stephen Harper’s chief of staff?

7. Who did FastForward readers vote as Calgary’s sexiest man earlier this year?

8. With Dalton McGuinty and Jean Charest exiting the stage, who is Canada’s longest serving Premier?

9. There was a brief flurry of excitement that the Liberals might win in Calgary Centre last fall. Sadly, this hope proved as fleeting as a Leafs’ third period lead. When was the last time the Liberals won a seat in cowtown?

10. For the very first time since he became Prime Minister, we’ve started hearing speculation about Stephen Harper retiring. Still, Harper is just 54 and could ride a divided opposition to a few more years in power. If he stays PM, in what year would Harper pass Mackenzie King as the longest serving Prime Minister in Canada’s history?

(answers to be posted shortly in the comments section)

Bob Rae Steps Down

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in by elections, Federal Politics | 12 Comments


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.

Rae’s Day

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Federal Politics | 1 Comment

LPC Convention 020

Every political commentator loves to say “timing is everything in politics”, and every Canadian political commentator loves to say that Bob Rae never had good timing. He had the misfortune of becoming Premier before he was ready to govern, and had the misfortune of governing during a recession. His “second career” is often portrayed as a string of disappointments. He fell short in ’06. Two years later, he was forced out of the leadership race by his old roommate after a series of bizarre events. When he thought about running for leader again, the Justin Trudeau phenomenon was standing in his way.

Rae echoed this sentiment in his farewell speech Saturday, ruefully admitting: “I always wanted to be leader of the Liberal Party in the worst way. And it looks like I got my wish.” But if recent history is any indication, it could have gone a lot worse.

Rae has been praised far and wide over the past two weeks, for his steady leadership during a turbulent period. Even the Sun has had nice things to say about him. Compare that to the treatment of his predecessors who are still punchlines on 22 Minutes and Twitter. At the Dion tribute in 2009, half the delegates walked out early to visit hospitality suites. Ignatieff’s tribute in 2012 was met with only polite applause, mostly out of a sense of pity.

Rae got to lead nearly as long as Dion or Ignatieff, and he will be remembered as the man who kept the Liberal Party relevant during its darkest hour. He can now transition to the role of respected elder statesman, and will always be welcome to stop by and play the piano at fundraisers. That may not have been the outcome he hoped for, but it sure beats being known as the guy who lost – or the guy who tore the party apart by running for leader after promising not to.

No doubt, Rae is confident the Liberals would have performed better under his leadership. That may be true, but anything less than victory would have been seen as a failure, and it seems unlikely he could have dethroned Harper in an election fought squarely over the economy.

When Rae did win, in 1990, he left reviled, with his name a dirty word. That alone should be evidence enough that, sometimes, you’re better off not winning. Now, two decades later, Rae exits the stage his reputation restored, primarily because he didn’t win.

In some respects, his timing was perfect.

Rae’s Play

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in --- 2013 LPC Leadership Race, Featured Posts, Federal Politics | 28 Comments

Rae has milked the interim leader title for all its worth

In perhaps the least surprising news story of the year, Bob Rae appears set to announce his candidacy for Liberal leadership for the third time in the last six years. Say what you will about the man (and I’m about to say plenty), but he has proven the haters who called him a “tourist” in the Liberal Party wrong.

The controversy over Rae’s candidacy stems from his now infamous pledge to accept the interim leader title on the condition that he not be a candidate for permanent leader. At the time, I cheered on the decision to name Rae interim leader and assumed his stint as “Bob the Rebuilder” would let him transition to a role as one of the party’s most respected elder statesmen. After all, Rae himself said he wasn’t interested in the permanent job, that his wife wasn’t down with it, and that it was time for a new generation of leadership.

No doubt Rae’s leadership team has already drafted the messaging to extract him from this promise. I assume Bob will shrug and say he’s following the rules of the National Executive, even though this is a smokescreen argument – it was always Rae’s promise and his promise alone that prevented him from running. As we’ve seen too many times before, there’s no law preventing politicians from breaking promises.

With that in mind, Rae’s team will privately argue that he is far from the first politician to break his word, and that he is not alone in saying he had no intention to run before declaring. After all, every politician begins their career by denying they have aspirations of leadership (and ends it by saying they want to spend more time with their family). Team Rae will argue that Rae’s change of heart is no different than, say, Justin Trudeau’s – should Justin decide to run.

The difference with Rae’s situation should be obvious, but I feel like this is one of those obvious truths that’s going to need a lot of repeating over the next year, so here goes: Rae accepted the interim leadership on the condition that he not run for permanent leader. This is akin to a politician getting elected on a single issue campaign, then flip flopping before the ballots are counted on election night. Asking the national executive to absolve Rae of his pledge would be as silly as Harper asking Parliament to pass a motion “freeing” him from his election promises.

Faced with this, Rae’s supporters will say “what’s the harm?”.

The harm from Rae’s gambit is that the reason for delaying the Liberal leadership race was to give the interim leader two years to focus 100% of his or her efforts on rebuilding the party. Instead, we’ve seen a 24/7 sideshow of leadership speculation, culminating in the need to select yet another interim leader. By the time a new leader is named next spring, the Liberal Party will have had 8 leaders over the past decade – hardly the sign of a stable organization.

More importantly, there’s the issue of fairness. Being interim leader brings with it several tangible benefits. While I don’t believe Rae has abused his powers, the interim leader could theoretical woo potential supporters with critic portfolios, committee seats, and QP time – all the while keeping rivals out of view. More importantly, the leader’s staff and budget give him the ability to criss-cross the country on the party dime, meeting potential supporters and organizers.

The very title of “interim leader” also brings with it a soapbox to control the agenda. As an example of this, I point to Rae’s caucus speech in January extoling the virtues of Ontario’s early 90s NDP government. “Rae defends NDP record” wasn’t the headline the Liberal Party needed that day, and it’s certainly not the type of speech Bill Graham would have given back in 2006.

There’s also the reality that being interim leader makes it a lot easier for Liberals to visualize Rae in a leadership role. That’s the same reason the incumbent is usually named “Best PM” on polls (even if his party trails), and it’s the same reason companies will often keep on a contract worker when a permanent position opens up.

This is why interim leaders should not be allowed to run for the permanent position – especially when that interim leader was appointed by an ever dwindling caucus rather than the membership. It’s why Jack Layton wanted Nicole Turmel to follow him in the interim, rather than someone with leadership ambitions of their own. It’s why Bob Rae and others objected strongly when the National Executive named Michael Ignatieff Liberal interim leader in December 2008.

If Rae does decide to run, it seems likely the race will turn into a divisive bloodbath, centered around the issue of when it’s ok to break promises. While nasty leadership battles are nothing new for the Liberal Party, this is hardly the recipe for renewal. Just as Rae’s leadership ambitions have been an unecesary distraction over the past year, Rae’s broken promise risks becoming an unecessary distraction from issues of substance in the leadership race.

Regardless of what the National Executive decides on Wednesday, Rae is free to run for permanent leader.

But he shouldn’t.

Liberal Leadership Update: Trudeaumania?

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in --- 2013 LPC Leadership Race, Federal Politics | 7 Comments

The Liberal Party’s National Executive is set to meet next Wednesday to set the party’s leadership race rules. Shortly thereafter, Bob Rae will announce his intentions and, from there, the dominos will fall. With BBQ season soon upon us, it won’t take long to figure out who’s running, even if the formal declarations take a bit of time.

One name we are certain to hear a lot about, regardless of whether or not he declares, is Justin Trudeau. In 1968, his dad was a late entry to the race, announcing his candidacy just 50 days before the leadership vote. If Liberals or the media are unsatisfied with the current crop of candidates (a safe bet), we’re likely to hear noise from the Draft Trudeau machine right up until Christmas.

My feeling was always that Justin would be best to wait until “the next time” to run for leader, and I suspect that’s always been his personal preference. However, there’s a very real danger there won’t be a “next time” so there’s a case to be made for seizing the moment, for the good of the Liberal Party. The argument is that Trudeau has the star power neccesary to keep the party relevant, is able to communicate and connect with Canadians, and that despite his name, he’d put a fresh face on a tired brand.

I’m not saying I necesarily buy that argument, but I wouldn’t dismiss it outright.

Pierre's candidacy launched by knocking out Daniel Johnson at constitutional talks. Justin's? By KO of Patrick Brazeau.


Less coy about his intentions is David Bertschi, who is wisely getting his name out there early, to build profile. He’s saying the right things, though I wonder if his Bertschi2012 web url is a sign he’s fated to drop out well before the vote actually happens in 2013.

The Third Way

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Boring internal Liberal Party matters, Federal Politics, Policy, Polls | Leave a comment

The latest Ipsos poll paints a rather dreary picture of Liberal fortunes, with what was once the natural governing party languishing more than 15 points behind both the NDP and the Conservatives.

Of course, the NDP are in their post-leadership honeymoon, the Liberals don’t have a permanent leader, and a horse race poll when politics is the farthest thing from the electorate’s mind won’t tell you a lot. But I think we can safely assume the Liberals are a distant third, trailing two parties who are both intent on hugging the centre of the road, making it almost impossible to pass them. So what’s a centrist party to do?

I agree with Rae’s message of staying to the middle of the spectrum, but the days of finding sunny compromises between the NDP and Conservative extremes on every single issue are numbered. When you’re the third place party you need to give people a reason to vote for you, and a milquetoast platform topped with some language about the “extremist” positions of two very non-extremist parties isn’t going to be convincing.

Faced with this new reality, the challenge is standing out and being noticed. That likely means on occasion passing the two parties ahead of you on the right, and on occasion passing them on the left. So maybe the Liberals adopt a few “right wing” economic policies even the Conservatives dare not touch, like the abolishment of supply management. Maybe it means “out-NDPing” the NDP by proposing a national pharmacare program.

Of course, the entire concept of a left-right political spectrum is somewhat arbitrary when you think about it. Is democratic reform a right wing or a left wing issue? Either way, parties talk a lot less about it the closer they get to power, so there may be an opening there for the Liberals who are decidedly nowhere near power. There’s certainly an opening on the “Quebec question”, given the PQ may be in power a year from now, and both the Tories and NDP have spent long nights flirting with the separatists in recent years.

The other thing to consider is the dirty little secret that most voters aren’t reading through party platforms and casting their vote based on policy. Did Jack Layton leap from third to second because voters found his policies that much more compelling than Ignatieff’s? Most voters would be hard pressed to identify a single area of cleavage between the two party platforms.

Now, I’m not saying the Liberals are one leadership change away from power. As I’ve written before, there’s a lot of structural work to be done, and even if voters didn’t know the intricacies of the Liberal and NDP platforms last election, they had a clear impression of party brands, and an overall sense of party values. But a party’s leader does matter, and it’s just as important to have a leader who can differentiate himself or herself from Mulcair and Harper, as it is to have policies that can be differentiated from the NDP and CPC platforms. That doesn’t mean the Liberals should search for the anti-Mulcair or shy away from an experienced and polished politician like Harper – only that there needs to be some kind of “value add” that makes their leader stand out. The brilliance of Jack was that he always smiled and could connect with voters – that’s an ability Michael Ignatieff lacked completely, and one both Harper and Mulcair struggle with.

In the past, all the Liberals needed to do to get elected was wedge themselves squarely between the extremes. There are still many issues for which that strategy makes sense from both an ideological and political perspective. But adopting that knee-jerk approach on every issue and failing to stand out is a sure fire path to irrelevance.

An update on all the people MAYBE running for Liberal leadership

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in --- 2013 LPC Leadership Race, Featured Posts, Federal Politics | Leave a comment

The expectation is that rules for the Liberal leadership race will come down in June, setting the stage for a summer of getting to know the men and women wanting to lead Canada’s third party.

But while we won’t know the rules of the race for another month or two, that hasn’t limited speculation in the interim…or speculation about the interim leader, for that matter.

Back in January, I looked at the ten most commonly rumoured Liberal leadership candidates…and 18 fun longshots – the Naheed Nenshis and Amanda Langs of the world. Today, an update on the names that were most on the lips of delegates at the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) convention in Toronto this past weekend.

Don’t count on it

From that January list of ten “buzz” candidates, we can likely scratch off Scott Brison and Dominic Leblanc. While their names still get floated in most newspaper articles, the Liberals I know who would be first in line to support them aren’t expecting either Maritimer to toss their cap into the ring.

Which is a shame, because both represent the kind of generational change the party needs – and both are highly engaging and entertaining speakers, with pleasant demeanors that would contrast nicely with the gruff angry man personas of Harper and Mulcair.

The Big Names

While this is very much anybody’s race to win, in my mind there are three candidates who would instantly vault to frontrunner status if they ran.

Trudeau. McGuinty. Rae.

All three are political superstars with the name recognition and organizations that would make them very difficult to beat.

While Justin Trudeau has done his best Chris Christie impersonation by repeatedly denying he has any interest in running, there have been new rumblings about his potential candidacy in recent months – and they haven’t just been fueled by his TKO of Senator Brazeau, or idle media speculation.

The word on the street is that Justin is listening to the calls for him to run, though I’m still skeptical he’ll move beyond the listening stage. The man has shown remarkable restraint thus far in his political career, so the smart money is on him waiting until next time. That said, if the Liberals make the wrong choice there may not be a “next time”.

The reaction to Dalton McGuinty at January’s convention was electric, and he would enter the race with a formidable track record and political machine behind him. But given he’s fighting tooth and nail to tip the scales in Ontario to a majority, I seriously doubt he’d resign his own seat and plunge the OLP into a leadership race. There’s also the harsh reality that, for perhaps the first time since confederation, leading the Ontario Liberal Party is a more glamorous job than leading the federal Liberal Party.

Of course, if big brother isn’t interested, perhaps little brother will be. David McGuinty was one of the first candidates to openly muse about a leadership bid, but he’s never acted like someone coveting the top job. The man rarely leaves his own riding and was a no-show in Toronto this weekend.

So what about Bob? One year ago, Rae categorically ruled it out, solemnly swearing he would not seek the top job, saying it was time for “a new generation of leadership”. Now? He says a decision hasn’t been made, and he’s waiting on the rules. It’s a politician’s answer, and even his most ardent critics agree Rae may be one of the greatest politicians of his time. For this reason, many would follow him without hesitation if he runs – but others are so dead set against Rae they’d sooner back Alfonso Gagliano.

Seriously considering a run

Martha Hall Findlay sounds like the most serious of the “maybe” candidates. She’s been sending out newsletters, holding events, and getting herself in front of cameras – Findlay herself acknowledges it’s “not a secret” she’s thinking about it. While Martha was the plucky underdog the last time she ran for leader, she’s definitely in it to win it this go around.

Also from the class of 2006 is Gerard Kennedy, who has openly mused about running. Kennedy was ahead of his time with his “renewal” themed campaign, back when Liberals assumed everything could be fixed with a new leader. He has continued to beat that drum of late, holding renewal roundtables, renewal BBQs, and renewal pub nights. The real key for Kennedy will be how many renewal french lessons he’s taken in the past few years.

One of the guests at Gerard’s Political Renewal Fair a few weeks back was Kirsty Duncan. Duncan would be a great addition to the race, as an intelligent well spoken woman. If she runs, expect a strong focus on Health Care and the environment from her campaign, as she has written books on these topics.

Envisagent sérieusement de briguer le poste de chef

If you buy into the alternance theory of Liberal leadership, it’s time for a francophone leader, and there are certainly plenty of candidates from La Belle Province making noise.

The loudest has been Marc Garneau. Like Ken Dryden in 2006, Garneau has plenty of star power, but the question comes down to whether or not he has the right stuff to lead. I hope he runs, if only because I have a dozen out of this world astronaut puns that will go to waste if he takes a pass.

Even though Martin Cauchon and Denis Coderre have never run for Liberal Party leadership, they’ve each spent more than a decade thinking about it. I suspect Coderre’s future lies in provincial or municipal politics, though he will undoubtedly be a major asset for whichever campaign he winds up backing this go round.

Cauchon held a hospitality suite at the national convention and attended the LPCO convention this weekend – a clear signal he’d like to take on Thomas Mulcair not just in Outremont, but on the national stage. Believe it or not, he’ll only turn 50 this summer, but in some ways going with Cauchon would feel like a throwback to the Chretien era. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I’m not sure that’s the mood of the membership.

It doesn’t take a lot to start a leadership rumour, so the fact that Mauril Belanger quit the official languages committee and then showed up in Toronto this weekend was enough to get people talking. Of course, being an Ontario MP, you’d expect him to be at an LPCO convention. And of all the things holding Mauril back from a run for Liberal leadership, I really don’t think his spot on the official languages committee was very high on the list. But such is life in politics, where a new pair of glasses is taken as a sign of leadership aspirations.

People you’ve never heard of

The candidates making the most noise about running at this point are the ones with no chance of winning. After all, given enough time, a politician can delude himself into thinking he has a chance at winning anything. Moreover, Martha Hall Findlay and Martin Singh’s longshot campaigns did wonders to raise their profiles, so it’s not even always about winning in the conventional sense.

The most credible of the “no names” appears to be defeated candidate David Bertschi, a persistent worker who ran a strong campaign in Ottawa Orleans last spring. Bertschi is assembling a team, has a website, and has launched a teaser video that tells us a lot about Canada’s potential as a country…but little about Bertschi’s potential as a candidate. Bertschi is a dynamic speaker one-on-one, and everyone who talked to him at the LPCO convention, myself include, left impressed.

Also making the rounds at the Sheraton this weekend was Toronto businessman George Takach. While he lacks elected experience, he’ll have no trouble raising money and, in the end, the amount of coin you bring in is the deciding factor in how long you can stay in the race.

Another name being floated is David Merner, the president of the BC wing of the federal Liberal Party. I’ve never met Merner, but this race needs a western voice or two, and to date Joyce Murray is the only MP west of Etobicoke making any noise about running.

The Race for Third

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in --- 2013 LPC Leadership Race, Federal Politics | Leave a comment

Back in February I asked readers of this blog who they thought would run for Liberal leader, and who they’d consider voting for. Admittedly, this is as far from a scientific poll as you’ll ever get, and I won’t pretend that the 500+ voters in this straw poll are all Liberals. But we’re not going to see anything resembling a credible Liberal leadership poll for close to a year, so let’s have a little fun with what we’ve got.

Before that, one other thing. It looks like a group of Borys Wrzesnewskyj supporters swarmed the poll late, so I’ve excluded Borys from my recap below. Mind you, the fact that he appears to be the only candidate with supporters dedicated enough to freep a web poll at this stage should likely tell you there are people out there who would like him to run. Which is more than can be said for a lot of the names I floated.

Likely to Run?
Bob Rae 52%
Dominic LeBlanc 42%
Marc Garneau 38%
David McGuinty 34%
Gerard Kennedy 24%
Martha Hall Findlay 24%
Martin Cauchon 21%
Denis Coderre 21%
Scott Brison 18%
Mark Holland 14%

Who Would Consider Supporting?
Bob Rae 31%
Dominic LeBlanc 26%
Justin Trudeau 19%
Gerard Kennedy 19%
Scott Brison 19%
Mark Carney 17%
Marc Garneau 17%
Martha Hall Findlay 16%
Dalton McGuinty 16%
Naheed Nenshi 15%

Rae is seen as the most likely to run and has the largest support base, which tells you all the talk about him being the frontrunner isn’t misplaced. My man from 2008, Dominic LeBlanc, is the only candidate within striking distance of Rae on the support poll, though 11 other names earned between 11% and 19% so there are plenty of viable candidates out there.

I’ve plotted the 16 candidates who scored at least 10% on either poll below. You can see that Trudeau, Carney, Dalton, Nenshi, Goodale, and Lang all have more people who like them than than expect them to run, leaving them as the most probable candidates for a genuine “Draft” movement.

The reverse is true for the other McGuinty, Cauchon, Garneau, and Coderre but, in fairness, I suspect that Quebecers are seriously under represented on this poll.

None of this means a heck of a lot when we don’t even have the rules yet. But it shows there’s nothing even remotely resembling a consensus on who will be running, never mind who will win.

Tomorrow, I’ll speculate a bit about who might be running, so if you’re hearing any rumours, by all means float names my way.

Happy Anniversary!

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2011 Federal Election, Federal Politics | Leave a comment

One year ago today, Stephen Harper turned an “unwanted election” into his first majority government, Jack Layton and the NDP soared to never before seen heights, and Liberals spent the evening curled up in a fetal position sobbing in the corner.

On political anniversaries, it’s tempting to give each party a thumbs up or thumbs down, but the past year has been less clear cut, as the major parties try to figure out where they fit in Canada’s new political dynamic.

The Conservatives

It feels like a “Harper majority” was hyped longer than the Phantom Menace – and the end result was just as much of a letdown. After years of being told by both the right and left that a Harper majority would mean an unrecognizable country, it turns out a Harper majority looks a lot like a Harper minority. I hardly think when people warned of his “hidden agenda”, abolishing the penny is what they had in mind.

So if the past year has proven anything, it’s that Stephen Harper has always been and always will be an incrementalist. He has made some changes – goodbye gun registry, so long Katimavik…CBC and Statscan, you can stay, but we’ll make your job a bit harder, in the hope the public begins to question your value. These are bigger changes than he made during the minority years, but the man isn’t reshaping Canada as we know it.

While none of those moves prompted a large backlash, there are storm clouds on the horizon. The F-35 fiasco could tarnish his reputation as a strong financial manager. A stagnant economy would speak directly against the ballot question he was elected on. Robocon could blow up in his face. Bev Oda is still in Cabinet, so that alone guarantees us a few hilarious screw ups.

Outlook: Harper survived year one of the majority unscathed, but he survived with Nicole Turmel as leader of the opposition. The next year will be harder than the last.


The past 13 months have been the most turbulent in this “new” party’s long history, filled with highs, lows…and voting delays.

Jack Layton’s death was tragic, but life has gone on for the Dippers. Their leadership race may not have generated the excitement they hoped it would, but they came out of it with the only leader who has a realistic shot at ever living at 24 Sussex, so that’s a point in their column.

With the exception of a few easily forgotten floor crossings, their rookie caucus hasn’t been the embarrassment we thought it would be, so that’s another point for the boys in orange.

Outlook: Mulcair is in the midst of his leadership honeymoon, but he’s been treated to the kid gloves by the Conservatives so far. That’s going to change if Harper ever decides Mulcair is a legitimate threat.

The Liberals

On March 31st, Justin Trudeau knocked out Tory Senator Patrick Brazeau. There haven’t been many highlights over the other 365 days since election night.

That’s not to say Liberal rebuilding hasn’t gone on behind the scenes. The party picked a new president with a lot of good ideas. Today, the Liberals became Canada’s most open party by letting supporters register to vote for the leader. Liberals finally get that the party needs fixing, and I’ve been surprised at the number of new faces I’ve seen at events over the past year – people who joined the party after May 2nd, because they wanted to save it.

In front of the scenes, Rae has performed well in the interim leader’s role, but the “will he or won’t he” saga around his leadership has been a distraction.

Outlook: The next year will be all about leadership, as the Liberals pick the man or woman who will either oversee the party’s death or its return to relevance. No pressure, though.

The Bloc

Can’t say I miss them.

Not Rae’s Day

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in April Fools Day, Humour | Leave a comment

After months of media speculation, Bob Rae has finally cleared the air on his leadership ambitions, announcing he will not run for permanent leader:

Rae Will Not Run For Permanent Leader

Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae says he’s fine with the “interim” label, closing the door on the growing speculation he might run for the permanent job.

“It won’t happen” said Rae in Halifax, after a photo opp with local fishermen. “I accepted the interim position on the condition I would not run for the permanent leadership, and I’m a man of my word. Under no circumstances will I be a candidate in my party’s leadership race next year.”

When pressed about what he would do if the national executive changed the rules to allow him to run, Rae was blunt: “This isn’t about non-existent rules – this is about a politician living up to his word. It wouldn’t be fair to the other candidates if I declared after having the leadership podium for a year. You guys are going to have to find someone else to ask this question to from now on.”

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