Rae vows not to become Liberals’ ‘crazy Uncle Bob’ as he wraps term as interim leader
By Canadian Press in National Post, March 27, 2013
OTTAWA — As federal MPs prepare to go back to their ridings for two weeks, interim Liberal leader Bob Rae is packing up his office.
Wednesday marked Rae’s final meeting with the Liberal caucus as the party’s caretaker boss; by the time the House of Commons resumes in mid-April, someone else will have the job of Liberal leader and the office that goes with it.
But the man chosen by the Liberals to lead the party after it was decimated in the 2011 election says while he’ll have new digs off the Hill and a new seat in the Commons, he has no intention of disappearing.
“I’m not going to be crazy uncle Bob coming down from the attic every once in a while to make a speech to the kids,” Rae told a news conference, his wife and children watching nearby.
“It’s not my intention to do that.”
In the two years since the Liberals were reduced to third-party status, recent polls suggest the party is clawing its way back to respectability, thanks in part to the high-profile leadership bid of presumptive front-runner Justin Trudeau.
The Liberals are scheduled to announce the results of their leadership contest April 14.
Rae said he intends to stay in the caucus until the next federal election in 2015, but won’t commit to sticking around after that. Meanwhile, he said he looks forward to speaking with his successor about his future role.
“There are times when you are on the stage and there are times when you’re doing something else, and I’ve had my moments and the new leader will make the decisions,” Rae said.
“I’ll be doing whatever that new leader wants me to do.”
Always the gentleman, always the diplomat, always the insightful, incisive and intellectually astute political leader whose career has spanned terms in both federal and provincial politics, as well as stints in international development leadership and national investigative commissions (Air India disaster), Bob Rae leaves the federal Liberal party's interim leadership to the thanks and praise of his parliamentary colleagues on all sides of the House of Commons.
And well they might heap well-deserved praise and thanks!
Rae's stewardship of the beleagured party, merely a rump since the last federal election, has been nothing short of inspiring. And it will be all the more inspiring given the predictable results of the coronation of M. Trudeau on April 14.
Never mind the next leader's inexperience, policy vacuity, charm and showmanship; he will be attempting to fill shoes that a man or woman twice as seasoned would have trouble filling.
And the only leadership candidates to even approximate that seasoning are three women: Martha Hall Findlay, Joyce Murray and Debra Coyne and not one of them apparently has a ghost of a chance to replace Mr. Rae as leader.
While is it a small and isolated voice in the wilderness of national political life, this voice still calls for the people who have taken the time and trouble to "vote" in this absurd political theatre called the election of the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, to think long and hard about the future of their party, and to resist what amounts to a media wave of nostalgic charm of the angel dust of former glory, still falling from the clouds blowing past the Great One's grave. This country and this party deserve more than the knock-off younger Trudeau is offering (can offer?) and the future of the party is in their hands.