05.10.2011 02:56 PM

The anti-Rae rule (updated)

I carry no brief for the Bob Rae – see belowbut this “decision” of the Liberal Party’s functionaries is a joke.  It’s simply an anti-Rae missile dressed up as something else.

In particular, the thought control part of the diktat – that you can’t even discuss cooperation/coalition/merger with another person – is extraordinary.  Will they now ban unauthorized gatherings of more than three Liberals, too?

Anyway, it sure is a good thing we still have Alf Apps in charge.  He did such a great job in the election campaign, and he’s now doing a terrific job of bringing everyone together!

UPDATE: They’re not fooling anyone, either.  See here and here.


  1. Dan says:

    My two cents.
    Personally, I don’t want Bob Rae to be leader.
    I also understand that the grassroots has been neglected for some time, and the party needs to be built up.
    However we shouldn’t ignore that Canadian campaigns have increasingly been “leader-driven.” Having an interim leader for a period of 2 years does not help plan/ prepare for the next election four years down the line.

    • Dave Redekop says:

      This is pretty funny stuff. I did not know that so many people would be interested in who took over the Titanic as it snapped and settled to the bottom of the North Atlantic.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What the Liberals need rights now is a political mechanic, someone who breathes politics 24/7 and enjoys both retail and wholesale politics. Bob Rae is that person.

    It is a mystery to me that the National Executive, after three humiliating defeats, continues to set the terms.

    Don’t these people have any shame? How long is the Liberal party going to let low-lives like Scott Reid and Alf Apps define their destiny? How much more damage are these f***heads going to do to the party?

    • Ted says:

      All decisions get voted on by the grassroots. Why is that a problem?

      • Cath says:

        who are the grassroots of the LPOC these days Ted? More importantly does the party know where they are? I assumed that the Apps boys had given up on grass roots – do that and you end up with crab grass.

        • Ted Betts says:

          Every member gets to vote on whatever is proposed Cath. That means the grass roots decide. Even moreso than in our ancient delegated leadership races.

          • Jim says:

            You only have about 30000 grassroots members, most of them in the GTA. How is that going to add a voice to a prairie Liberal?

            Sorry Libs, too little, too late. Your party will indeed die. Once Harper cuts your subsidy and lowers everyones taxes and gives more autonomy to the provinces, people will wonder why we ever had the Liberal Party of Canada.

            The new Canada…a strong central government that is responsible for core services, managing a strong federation of semi-independent provinces who control their own destiny, for the most part. BC is not Ontario and never will be.

            Embrace smaller federal government, more provincial juridiction and lower taxes…it will feel good, trust me.

          • James Curran says:

            Sorry Ted. These rules suck. A May 20 cutoff to vote at a “special meeting” on June 18 to circumvent the constitution under stealth. What a great start for rebuilding.

          • Cath says:

            You didn’t answer my question Ted. Before you jump to procedure you have to identify your base. I don’t think you’re able to do that because your base has left your party…through no fault of their own.

  3. JamesF says:

    I don’t see it as Anti-Rae. I see it as merely ensuring a level playing field for all interested parties. If Bob Rae wants to run for leader of the Federal Liberal Party he’s more then welcome to… he just can’t be Interim Leader while he does it (just like everybody else) and he’ll have to wait a little longer (just like everybody else).

    As for the “fundamental or material change” clause… would we really want someone who isn’t the duly elected official leader of the party undertaking such a venture?

    Much ado about nothing methinks.

  4. Christian says:

    Hey Warren! Why don’t you run for party prez?

  5. Dr.J says:

    As a conservative I want to thank Mr.Apps from the bottom of my heart. Big Al’s disfunctional leadership is just a mess.

  6. If the party goes ahead with this virtual convention in June, perhaps one of the agenda items up for vote by the entire membership can be a proposal for a wholesale replacement of the executive council and president of the party.

    Don’t get mad, get even.

  7. Darrell says:

    Well, they’re not fooling anyone at the National Post, anyways.

  8. Ed says:

    My two cents.
    If we have so many caveats about Bob being interim leader (his ambition to become leader, his talk about a merger with the NDP, who don’t want one, before all the votes were even in), then Bob Rae should simply not be interim leader. As much as I don’t like the guy’s opinions, Gunter has it right. What’s the point of a shell of a leader? You cannot separate the act of rebuilding the Liberal Party with the act of representing the Liberal members in parliament. We need a leader, not a placeholder.

  9. Ottawacon says:

    I don’t see the problem in excluding the interim leader from discussing merger – by definition, they don’t have a mandate for that. The alternative is almost inconcievable, that a field of candidates trying to build support and in so doing renew the party could be undercut by a placeholder trying to bargain away the party.

    If Rae wants to run for the leadership on a platform of merger, he is in no way impeded from doing so by this.

    • Peter MacKay actively campaigned with the theme “I am not the merger candidate” throughout the last leadership selection for the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. His campaign strategists (Lashinger and co) thought it’d be a good idea to paint the primary contender, Jim Prentice, as being too cozy with conservatives who didn’t happen to belong to our party.

      Peter of course was going to rebuild the party from the ground up, and restore it to its former glory. *cough*

      Many bought it, and when David Orchard swallowed the koolaid in exchange for promises on a scrap of paper that MacKay clearly had no intention of keeping, MacKay was crowned.

      Having campaigned for months insisting that he was not in favour of merging the party with any other, and essentially accusing Prentice of harbouring a secret merger agenda, what was the first real action of MacKay over the summer of 2003?

      Entering into secret negotiations with Stephen Harper to merge the two parties.

      While he was elected as leader, not appointed as an interim leader, MacKay had no mandate to take that course of action, quite the opposite.

      My only point is that being elected doesn’t give you a mandate to do whatever the hell you want, but some will take that opportunity nonetheless.

      An interim leader, on the other hand, has no mandate other than that given by the executive council of the party. It’d be better if the marching orders were issued by the membership.

      Oh boy, there’s Petey boy on TV again. Yay. Hero.

      • The Doctor says:

        That was hardly the first time that David Orchard — or his followers — swallowed kool-aid. Fact is, Orchard and his wingnut followers lived on a steady diet of kool-aid. They were nothing but insurgent tourists in the old PC party, who seized on the old PC party as a vehicle to advance their agenda because they (correctly) perceived that it was a weak party that could easily be influenced or taken over outright because of its weakness (notably its withering membership base).

  10. Phil in London says:

    I say Ralph Goodale would be a good leader. He hasn’t a prayer of being elected the leader because of his lack of French Language skills but he is devoted and stable. If he really needs to have a French lieutenant why not the other nutty professor Stephane Dion? He could actually be a great interim leader because no one doubts his loyalty, what kind of person sticks around for another election after being stabbed in the back and hey he actually won his riding.

    If these two took a caretaker roll it could allow Liberals to think for a change and figure out where they want to go and who they want to appeal to while sticking to two people who are not likely to mix it up with the NDP while waiting it out.

  11. Cath says:

    Yep and the people they’re fooling the least are the ones the LPOC needs to appeal to and apologize to the most – your base.

    Start from scratch, go it alone if you have to but you’ve got as good a shot….maybe better than an Apps-led plan which is still going to be part of the problem and not the solution to anything much at all – worse actually.

  12. Attack! says:

    This was the post I was expecting this morning, since they announced that ‘don’t even TALK about a merger’ clause on CBC news late last night.

    I thought Apps was supposed to step down.

    Is there no way to oust him? He clearly has WAY too much power, and NO insight, and this whole Iggy debacle was all his fault, no? He should be ridden out on a rail.

  13. The Doctor says:

    This is SO reminiscent of the internal dynamic of the old federal PC party post-1993. You had these people (like Joe Clark) who were adamantly opposed to merging with Reform/Alliance, so much so that they wouldn’t even entertain discussion about it. True Believers vs. Pragmatists, or The Faithful vs. Sellouts, depending, of course, on your view of the issue.

    Note that the PC party had to get stomped in something like 3 straight federal elections before the pragmatists’ view finally prevailed — and even then, there was a lot of bitterness (witness those who still rail at the Peter Mackay/Orchard thing).

    • I wouldn’t rail at MacKay had he been honest. Had he said “If I get approached by Stephen Harper, and Brian Mulroney orders me to talk to him, I will” – then a fulsome debate could have been had and party members could have their say.

      • The Doctor says:

        We’ll just have to disagree on that. Orchard was a douche and as I posted above, an insurgent tourist in the PC Party. As such, I had no problem whatsoever with McKay stabbing Orchard in the back.

        Orchard joining the old PC party was pretty much the equivalent of Maude Barlow or Murray Dobbin joining the CPC today. It was ridiculous.

        • My complaint with MacKay has nothing whatsoever to do with Orchard.

          If a leader of a party says “I won’t merge with those other guys” and wins based in part on those promises, I expect that leader to uphold that promise, or don’t make it in the first place.

          MacKay was simply gutless. He couldn’t hold his own in a debate with Prentice if the topic was accommodation (or more) with the Canadian Alliance, so he lied. That’s the sort of person running defense of our country. Nice.

          Prentice had walked the walk and taken hits because of it, despite being a long time Tory. He was the only serious candidate who stated the obvious – that there was no path to power except by reuniting conservatives across the country.

          MacKay was a spineless liar. Has he changed? Seems unlikely to me.

          Back on topic, my point in posting this bit of history is that a rule means nothing if a promise openly stated and often repeated means nothing.

          • The Doctor says:

            I don’t disagree with you about Prentice vs. MacKay. I always found Prentice to be the more impressive and principled of the two. Unfortunately, most successful politicians have a bit of the snake in them, and Prentice lacked that quality.

          • Intpro says:

            Agree with him or not, MacKay had vision. His first was to get rid of a rump of the party that was causing the whole Party embarrassment. The other part of the vision was realized 9 days ago. I think he had lots of guts…..and May 2nd proved him right.

          • Phil in London says:

            Is that like someone campaigning to scrap the GST? Is it like saying I won’t raise taxes and then bringing Ontario the HST, the Health Premium………..?
            Just wishing for clarity, I can assume in the fall you will be villifying the soon to be ex-premier of Ontario for his Pinochio mechanized nose?
            If MacKay hadn’t lied as you insist all would be right with the world because the divided right would be on the sidelines right?

  14. WildGuesser says:

    With 4 years+ to the next election, it’s a wonder the non-elites don’t re-organize as a Liberal Democratic Party or somesuch. The current leadership is doing the party no favours!

  15. Bill From Willowdale says:

    The leader should be picked by the caucus.

  16. Sean says:

    Forget Rae, Dion, Trudeau and assorted plots / conspiracies etc… There are 30 or so highly qualified M.P.s in that caucus who most Canadians have never heard of before. Libs ought to showcase some new talent, be creative and look to the future. I’m talking about the “Kevin Lamoureux / Judy Footes / John McKays” of the world. All of these warriors have proven their skills and loyalty. I hope the caucus chooses one of them. For heaven’s sake, lets hope they choose a woman.

    • Cliff says:

      If you consider Kevin Lamoureux “highly qualified” at anything other than mindless ward-heeling, you must not be from Manitoba.

  17. Bill M. says:

    I think it’s amusing that a week after winning a majority, cons still show up here to worry about the 3rd place LPC.

    But Freud did say that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    • Paul R Martin says:

      Liberal Party infighting is a spectator sport. It is difficult to ignore it.

      • Africon says:

        For a political junkie this is a rare and enlightening insight into the minds of a small group of committed Liberals and yes a bit of a spectator sport.

      • Philip says:

        Look who just couldn’t stay away. Can we all look forward to more of your desperate attempts to gain Ignatieff’s attention? Is it jealousy Paul or do you just miss his heady man-musk?

    • Philip says:

      I’m getting a chuckle out of it too. Ultimately Liberal Party members will decide the future of the party, anything else is white noise. The mountian of free advice offered here daily by conservatives is worth exactly what was paid for it. Nothing.

    • The Doctor says:

      I agree that with good, new leadership and some solid, well-thought-out policies and platform planks, the LPC could easily come back strong. This current hole the LPC is in is entirely of its own making, e.g., choosing to trigger an election over issues that were not resonating with most Canadians. If the LPC had been led by people (like WK) who could perceive stuff like that, we wouldn’t be here picking over the entrails.

  18. Wayne says:

    Why hasn’t the current President resigned yet??????

  19. michael hale says:

    Typical. The same group who vaulted Iggy into the chair without a leadership race can’t see beyond their own biases to set up rules that just let the party MPs and Senators pick the leader they want on an interim basis. It wasn’t a good choice the first time and they are making the same mistake again.

    As to his baggage, the best way to get past the fear mongering and really test how bad that baggage is would be to make him interim leader and see how the public react.

  20. que sera sera says:

    HOW COME APPS HASN’T RESIGNED YET!!?!?!?!??!?!? Zero hope & zero credibility with all Apps all the time. Good grief.

  21. Michael S says:

    Stick a fork in it.

  22. mrburnsns says:

    Are we sure that Alf Apps isn’t on the conservatives payroll? It must take years of training to be so professionally out of touch with reality.

    • Africon says:

      That would be giving the Cons a little too much credit.
      I must say that every single wretched time I saw him on CTV’s Power Play, I could not help thinking – “what a loud mouthed dumka!! ” how is this guy helping the Lib cause ?

      Sorry if that sounds too condescending.

  23. Danny Boy says:

    It’s too soon after the election for factionalism…………….if the Dippers fall on their faces the fun begins, if they can build on what they achieved this year Liberals will polarize into merger and non merger camps

  24. eattv says:

    So at what point do the internecine battles stop?

  25. Jim says:

    Hey, just a thought, how about Hedy Fry as Liberal leader!


  26. Patrick Hamilton says:

    Re: Kelly McParlands column…..when the pundits are laughing at you, instead of with you, its over……

    In my short time with the Liberal Party, I am convinced more than ever, HQ needs a giant enema……

  27. E. Lindsay says:

    The problem goes WAY beyond Alf Apps people.

    Liberal Party of Canada seats:
    2000 – 172 seats
    2004 – 135 seats
    2006 – 103 seats
    2008 – 77 seats
    2011 – 33 seats

  28. RayK says:

    Trying to limit an interim leader to the sort of caretaker role they have historically played makes sense, but this particular set of rules seems so targeted at Rae that the Apps Gang just lose all credibility in the claim that they just trying to excercise such common sense.

    But here’s my question: isn’t the process that the Liberal Caucus (Senators & MPs) nominate an interim leader and the Liberal board just votes up or down to confirm them?

    If that’s the case, presumably the Apps Gang wouldn’t be doing this unless they thought Bob Rae had almost overwhelming support in caucus. Otherwise, why poke the bear?

    With that support in hand, couldn’t Rae just say that he rejects the notion of making up rules on the fly like, won’t sign any back-of-the-napkin pledges required by the backroom boys, let the caucus nominate him and then dare the board to vote him down after the caucus has selected him?

    Were that to happen he’d either (a) be interim leader, or (b) be able to position himself as the guy taking on the very backroom boys who screwed up the party and–with the caucus miffed at the Apps Gang having voted down their guy–probably get a Rae supporter in as interim leader anyway.

  29. Blue (Da Ba Dee) says:

    Why not Rae as interim? He is statesmanlike and well regarded by enough people- besides it would cap off an illustrious career as a parliamentarian. Even if he ran for the official job he would have no hope in hell. The only shot he would have is interim. Why is the media saying he has to choose which job to run for. Rae knows himself that he will not and cannot win. The next liberal leader will be younger and most likely a francophone. The only one’s who have a shot are Justin Trudeau, Dominic LeBlanc, and or somebody from the outside with some serious credentials, and stones. Even the average observer would admit that he is more than qualified and will probably serve in an interim capacity very successfully.

  30. jack says:

    I have noted it before but will repeat it again. Bob rae seems to be a nice guy. BUT, he has an albatross around his neck and that is that people blame him for a horrible situation that occured in Ontario. Like the NEP IN Alberta, the people don’t forget. It is clear that “blue” liberals voted for harper this election to avoid the ndp. These are the people that gave harper a majority. If he is leader many, mnay more liberals would move to the conservative party.

    As for a merger….forget it. Why merge with a prty that doesn’t want to now that they want to crush the liberals too. And besides the policies are not close. NDP are tax and spenders. No doubt about it. Cons are and will soon seen to be tax cutters and deficit builders. It is going to get ugly. the liberals are the manage the economy and manage social programs party. They are the true economic managers, it happens all the time. In the last two elections they let that slip into the environment party and the democracy champion party. In due course there will be the opportunity to reclaim that. Focus on that. the merger talk is ridiculous. And Bob Rae needs to take a role but not the leader. that will spell the further demise of the Liberal party.

    • The other George says:

      jack, I agree.

      “The environment party and then the democracy party” That pretty well hits it on the head. When it really come down to the crunch, Jobs, Pensions and Healthcare trumps the environment and any concerns about contempt of Parliament. Leave the environment to the Green Party and touchy-feely social issues to the Dippers. Own responsible management of the economy, maintenance of Canadian sovereignty (by not jumping into every security whim presented by the US), going back to Peace Keeping instead of war-making, maintaining public ownership of assets instead of selling them off for a quick buck, and improving the financing and implementation of the public-only healthcare system.

  31. James Curran says:

    Just so you know. Alf has sent out emails today saying he has the full support of not dozens, but thousands of Liberals. Yes. He put that in writing.

  32. Craig Chamberlain says:

    Rx for the Liberal Party


    (Multiple applications may be required.)

  33. Derek Pearce says:

    Yes to Bob Rae as leader only if he agrees to be interim, for 2 years. No shot at being PM Bob, sorry. Ditch Apps, but also be firm on no merger talks. 2015 is absolutely eons from now and the NDP might not be such prime goods to merge with (or, maybe they will) but they have a lot of proving to do. Focus on fundraising, policy, holding the government to account, and chill out about both leadership & mergers for now.

    • MCBellecourt says:

      I agree, Derek. They have the time, I would like to see them use it well–and out of the eye of the media, because the corporate media have their own interests to protect, and they have nothing to do with a revitalized Liberal Party.

  34. MCBellecourt says:

    Just got back from the good ol’ National Newswatch and caught this beauty.


  35. Jane says:

    Still say Martha Hall Findlay for LPC President. She connects with liberals at all levels and is passionate about the party! Let’s bring back the grassroots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.