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article imageOp-Ed: Rae could be the solution to Liberal Party woes

By Justin Crann     May 21, 2011 in Politics
Ottawa - In the same week Liberal MP Bob Rae announced he would be seeking the party's interim leadership, Liberal Party brass are moving to delay a leadership vote.
Rae put his name forward for consideration as the party's interim leader this past Thursday, making himself only the second high-profile Liberal MP to enter into the race.
Former astronaut and sitting Liberal MP Marc Garneau announced that he would seek the post last Friday, but was reconsidering his candidacy following Rae's announcement.
Under the Liberal Party constitution, the party must nominate a leader for itself by October of this year. But only one day after Rae addressed the Liberal caucus about his candidacy for the position, the Liberal Party's board of directors decided on a plan to avoid naming a leader for another 18 to 22 months.
It's a move that has been criticized by key Liberal personnel in Quebec, where the Liberal Party was thoroughly decimated in the most recent Federal Election. According to an op-ed written by a trio of Liberal operatives, the decision to delay the naming of a leader would be a step backward in the party's attempts to rebuild itself following their most recent, dismal showing.
For all intents and purposes, the individuals behind the op-ed are correct. Delaying the naming of a new leader - even an interim one - will hamper the Liberal Party's efforts to rebuild over the long term. A party can't reform itself without the careful guidance of a skilled statesman around whom the party's vision and goals can be established and built upon.
Take, for instance, the Canadian right wing during the 90s. Following the collapse of the party at the end of the Mulroney era, the Progressive Conservative cause seemed all but lost, and the political right wing in the country quickly fractured.
It wasn't until the political right reunited as the Conservative Party of Canada in December of 2003 that they could start to build toward government, and they did so under the leadership of Stephen Harper, who has been portrayed as one of the most domineering politicians in the history of Canadian politics.
But if the party truly needs to unite under the stewardship of a single man, who should that be?
In the short term, it turns out, Bob Rae might not be such a bad choice. Certainly the Liberals will want to seek a permanent leader before the next election, given that Rae comes with a very bad reputation in Ontario, a key province for any party seeking to lead the country.
But in the meanwhile, he could help steer the party toward a clear, effective, and most importantly, cohesive vision. And thanks to new measures introduced by the Liberal Party board, it would hamstring Rae's permanent leadership ambitions in the process, thus avoiding the Ontario can of worms entirely. Two birds, meet one stone.
Former Prime Minister and prominent Liberal Jean Chretien.
Former Prime Minister and prominent Liberal Jean Chretien.
Michael Ignatieff
If nothing else, Rae seems to have a reputation as an interesting and charismatic individual, and that's to his credit as a potential interim leader. Further, he has secured the endorsement of arguably the last truly successful Liberal leader, Jean Chr├ętien, who guided the party to three consecutive majority governments.
At the end of the day, with only 34 seats in the House of Commons, what's left for the Liberals to lose?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Bob Rae, liberal party of canada, Canadian Politics, 41st Canadian Federal Election
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