01.15.2012 07:41 PM

Rae: here we go

Last night at the Former Liberal Staffers mob scene at D’arcy McGee’s on the Sparks Street Mall, a young woman (whose name I did not catch) took me to task for being critical of the Liberal Party of Canada.  She was quite upset, and she gave me Hell, and I told her I appreciated the fact that she did so.  Most of the toughly-worded stuff I get comes in the form of anonymous emails.  So I applauded her saying what she had to say face-to-face.  I invited to do so when we meet again, but not in a noisy bar when folks have been drinking.

She seemed to be upset that I was opposed to Bob Rae leading the Grits into the next election campaign.  That’s fair. In response, I told her that I was and am a war room guy.  What I do, in campaigns, is relate critical information about our opponents.  The problem with Rae, I told her, is that there is a mountain of critical information in his past – and his past cannot be erased.  It is part of who he is, and it will present a big, big problem.

At the time, neither of us knew that the spot below had been released – according to the YouTube info, just the day before.  Tellingly, it’s by the National Citizen’s Coalition, which Stephen Harper once led.  I believe it provides a pretty good sense of what the Reformatories will say about Rae in 2015.

Will people be motivated by ads like this?  My youthful critic would say no.  Looking at this, I can’t say my view has changed one bit.

111 Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    What a farce it will be if Rae is leader. His keynote speech was one big cliche.

  2. AP says:

    Too bad the ad left out the part about Bob Rae kicking puppies on his way to work and demanding that everybody who last name began with L, C and F tithe to Bob Rae personally … oh yeah they also left out the part about Bob Rae being a Nazi AND a Communist.

  3. Patrick says:

    Wow… I’m supra see NCC can afford to licence Daft Punk’s work from Tron, a Disney owned production.

    I knew Tories had deep pockets, and Im sure they wouldn’t use the material without permission being so pro free-market as they are. Impressive to be able to bring that type of spending to bear on a web video.

    😉

  4. bigcitylib says:

    I don’t think this stuff bites so much 20 years later. Bu I think he’s too damn old and if the LPoC doesn’t win the next election (or at least hold ’em to a minority) then we have to find another leader again. Cauchon, Hall-Findley, Garneau, McGuinty(either)…if these guys are really making a run then I would support any of them over old Bob. If we can’t attract anyone of that calibre, then Bob. Bob if neccesary, not necessarily Bob.

  5. Jason Baines says:

    Look how long it took the NDP to recover from Rae! Literally almost 20 years! The brutal shellacking the Federal NDP took in 1993 was a direct result of Rae. The only difference between Rae and Iggy (on this issue) is that Rae will fight back and he is certainly a skilled politician.

    • AP says:

      Yeah I too to this day am shocked — shocked I tell you that the voters allowed the shitiness that was Bob Rae to ignore the second coming of Tommy Douglas whose name was Audrey Mcwhatshername.

  6. SaM says:

    Rae has brought the Liberal Party back.
    He delivered great speeches this weekend that inspired.
    He should seek the leadership. Let the challengers come forward from beyond their hospitality suites.

  7. Sharon says:

    i suddenly feel like I have been watching U.S. television.

    The ugliest thing of all would be if leadership candidates started spreading ads like this about each other. Sure hope that does not happen.

  8. Jason Baines says:

    PS – It just dawned on me that the Tories get to kill two birds with one stone: Rae (and thus the Liberals) and his NDP government.

  9. Chris says:

    I wonder if Garneau can pull it off…

    • Liz J says:

      Well, he’s been out of this world if that counts for anything in politics. I think the Liberals would have to be on another planet to choose Rae. However he has a leg up, he supports legalizing pop and non-members voting for leader. Potheads will flock to support him.

    • Nelson says:

      I can see the CPC ads now: Marc Garneau went to space… he didn’t come back for YOU!

  10. Gordon McCague says:

    I think that the Conservative Party of Canada has a large number of appendages crossed hoping that Mr. Rae will go for the leadership. In fact they are not even waiting. They’re starting the attacks now. I think it is short sighted to hope that the average voter will all of a sudden develop the knack of ignoring such content. The problem is I think that many voters are staying home and not voting because they just don’t want to be involved in such nonsense. I can appreciate that.

    • Cam says:

      Seems to me if the neo-con establishment is already attacking Rae than they are more concerned than not. By the way typed this out on my Playbook – neat gadget and a Canadian company.

      • Realist says:

        Cam: Exactly. Liberals fell for this in 2006, and I can’t believe so many of them are falling for it again. The Tories spent the entire run-up to the convention loudly proclaiming how happy they would be to run against Rae. After the spooked Libs picked Dion (brilliant move, that one), various Tories admitted that Rae was the candidate who worried them the most. Unlike Dion or Ignatieff or any of the second-tier types who are now getting touted in these threads, Rae actually knows how to campaign. And how to hit back. I’m surprised that a war room vet like Kinsella doesn’t give any points for that.

        • VH says:

          But that’s only half true. Let’s look at the list of 2006 candidates:
          Iggy – out of the country for 29 years
          Rae – former NDPer
          Dion – only so-so English skills
          Findlay – newbie
          Kennedy – newbie and lost Ontario party leadership race to McGuinty
          Brison – former PC

          Jean Chretien retired on November 6, 2003. On that day, exactly 1 person from the above list was a sitting federal Liberal MP at the time and he only spoke barely passable English.

          2 people (Iggy, Brison) were not even in the party, one of them not even in the country. And the other two people (Kennedy, Findlay) were *probably* party members but had no federal experience and one had never held any elected office at all.

          That’s the problem. Rookies and non-Liberals and carpetbaggers. Speaks to a general lack of principle within the Liberal party.

          It’s little wonder the Cons were worried about Rae. Who else would *you* have been worried about?
          You can’t fix structural problems like that from within a war room.

          • The Doctor says:

            Note another thing about those LPC leadership candidates — not a single one of them comes from a place West of Toronto. That speaks volumes about the state of the LPC.

          • James Curran says:

            VH, Hedy Fry represented the west. Also, you left out Carolyn Bennett in your list of sitting MPs, elected in ’97. Maurizio Bevilacqua, elected in ’88, and Ken Dryden, elected in 2004. So your theory of non-Liberals and carpet baggers goes out the window. As for Martha, she had been an active militant young Liberal and women’s commission favourite for years and years. Hardly call her a rookie to the federal Liberal party. You see, it wasn’t Dion’s English, it was everyone else’s shitty or non-existant French.

          • The Doctor says:

            “Hedy Fry represented the West.”

            Umm, that’s part of the problem, James. If Hedy Fry is the best the LPC can do in terms of a representative from the West, the LPC is in dire, dire shape out West. Think about it.

    • Pat says:

      I find it amazing that this type of ad is already being released. I’m not surprised that they are attacking Rae – we have a constant campaign going on now, and I get that. What I find amazing is that they have written it as though there will be an election tomorrow.

      • Philip says:

        NCC = CPC.

      • Pat says:

        That’s not what I’m saying, Gord. I’m not even criticizing the fact that the ad exists. What I’m saying is that it is worded strangely – as though Bob Rae is on the verge of becoming PM. The next election is years away, but they have already started the scare tactics as though he will be bringing in socialism in the next couple of months. Besides the fact that he is the interim leader of the third party, we are nowhere near a point where people have to actually care about his opinions (he literally can’t have any impact on policy formation unless the tories want him to..).

        The timing is weird, but the content is even weirder…

  11. Dan says:

    In all honesty, I think the attacks the Conservatives have against an *unknown* candidate will be much more effective. With Bob Rae, voters know exactly who he is. Isn’t it remarkable that the party has been able to recover under his leadership, particularly in Ontario where he’s supposedly toxic?

    Somewhere in the past 10 years, we’ve reached a point where the media pundits are almost always wrong, because they’re using the wrong assumptions about voters.

    • Jordan says:

      The Liberals have gone from 19% nationally to about 23%, not a great recovery. The Liberals are the only party who have gained in public support since May but when you consider how horrible the NDP have been over the last few months it’s pretty sad that the Liberals have not surpassed them.

    • Ottawacon says:

      Counting your chickens there to say they have recovered.

      I think Warren is bang-on about Rae. I lean Conservative, but am very troubled by their conduct and the So-Con ascendancy, while being mildly dissatisfied with the economic management of the Harper government. Put simply, I could be convinced…but not by Rae. I remember the disaster that was his Ontario government, and how he was led rather than leading.

      • Dan says:

        I lean New Democrat. That should tell you something about the chickens I’m counting: they’re not mine.

        • pomojen says:

          I lean NDP but could be convinced by a progressive Liberal leader. But not Rae.

        • The Doctor says:

          “The problem with socialism is that eventually, you run out of other people’s chickens.”

          – with apologies to Margaret Thatcher.

          • pomojen says:

            “a big problem for conservatism is that it does not attract the best and brightest of the young and it’s ideas are not working anymore.” David Frum I think…

            Margaret Thatcher is completely fascinating. Really looking forward to the film.

  12. Lance says:

    Dion was a quiet man who did good things as a cabinet minister. Ignatieff had virtually no record as a politician. The Tories were able to frame both. Rae has neither done good things during his NDP premiership of Ontario, nor is he without a record; quiet the contrary. If the Tories can do what they did to Ignatieff and Dion, think of what will be done to Rae, and since he would be at the helm, to the Liberals.

    *SIGH* Come on guys, for crying out loud (and apologies for sensitive eyes) – WAKE THE FUCK UP!!!!!

  13. Dan says:

    Shorter version:

    YOU MEAN THE CONSERVATIVES ARE GOING TO ATTACK LIBERALS ON TAXES?@?!?!??!?!? OMG PICK SOMEONE ELSE

  14. Michael Bussiere says:

    So, how come Harper’s past has never stuck to him?

    • Tiger says:

      It did stick to him — that’s why he’s only just now been able to win a majority, on his fourth try.

      But eventually it’s just old news — the 500-page dossier that dropped during the last writ period didn’t make a ripple.

    • Michael Radan says:

      THIS!

      Warren, as a war room guy what is your take on why Harper’s past does not haunt him. Is it that the Liberal and NDP war rooms were not able to exploit Harper’s past? Or did the Canadian electrorate just not care?

      • Jordan says:

        The Liberals and NDP could never afford to use political attacks ads to let Canadians know about some of the things Harper has said or done in the past. Unless you follow politics you wouldn’t know Harper’s history.

    • JenS says:

      Because his opposition, frankly, has done a craptastically bad job of making it so.

      • Paul says:

        It also didn’t stick because some of the attacks were too far fetched – remember ‘tanks in streets’ commercials? When the real stuff was put out, people just tuned it out. That’s why an effective attack has an element of truth to loosely quote Warren.

        • George says:

          it also didn’t stick because the CPC made sure their team had their own copies of War Room and it looks like they’ve learned those lessons better than the LPOC has….thanks Warren:-)

          • The Doctor says:

            I also think that Andrew Coyne had some interesting stuff to say about this issue. The thing is, the LPC had been running against Reform, then the Alliance, then the CPC, for over a decade on the same theme: “they’re scary”. That can work for a while, but arguably the LPC had been milking that cow for something like 4 or 5 consecutive federal elections by the time that Harper finally won a minority (and only a minority) govt. Coyne went on to point out that the problem with the “they’re scary/he’s scary” tactic is that if the allegedly “scary” party or candidate ever gets into power, it’s game over for that strategy, because the inherently hyperbolic nature of partisan rhetoric and advertising means that Mr. Scary will never be as scary as you made him out to be (except in the fevered minds of partisan kool-aid drinkers).

            The other related point is that running an attack ad against Harper now is a completely different thing from running an attack ad against an opposition leader, because Harper is a known entity as PM. Harper is not a blank slate anymore, he’s been PM for years now. The Liberals don’t even have the “yeah but wait until he gets a majority” bullet anymore. Of course, that hasn’t stopped Heather Mallick from arguing that the REALLY scary stuff is coming via the second majority. Note to LPC — do not hire Heather Mallick for the war room . . .

  15. Ruth says:

    Bob Rae is yesterday’s man – isn’t there a freash new face amongst the Liberals?.
    I do not support the Liberal party but still I believe in new ideas and new blood – notwarriors who are worn out and carryingso much baggage.
    As for Ontario – don’t put all of the blame on one man’s shoulders.

    • frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

      Yes, because that “fresh face” of Ignatieff worked so well……..all I can say to those of you who want to see Mr. Rae tar and feathered…..the “new, fresh face” better have some political street smarts,

      and not be afraid to take the gloves off, or they will wind up on the scrap heap like M. Dion and Mr. Ignatieff…..

  16. Jordan says:

    The Conservatives could not attack Ted Hsu on economics, he has a solid background in finances and in sustainable development.

  17. Tiger says:

    Rae has great political chops, but Conservatives would have a great time writing these sorts of ads.

    Stylistically, looks like the same shop that did “Not A Leader” and “Just Visiting” did this new one…

  18. Steve says:

    Bob Rae is a good caretaker leader, but he should not seek the leadership of the party. The Liberals need to elect a strong leader who can take on Harper and his gang of thugs. I still think Dalton McGuinty would be a great leader for the Federal Liberals. Say what you want about Dalton, but he knows how to win elections, and he knows how to beat Conservatives. This past summer the polls had him down 20 points and he came back and won because of his political war room team. After he creamed the PC’s in 2003, Baird, Clement, Flaherty, and a few more jumped ship and went to Ottawa because they knew they were finished in Ontario as PC’s.

    Bob Rae needs to see that no matter what he can’t win a general election against Harper. It’s time for new blood at the Federal level, and someone who has proven he/she can win elections.

  19. Kevin says:

    Same old Liberal fighting.
    No wonder Liberals joined Harper.

    People want change not back room boys like Rae.

  20. It’s a one-sided rant, that fails to mention before the balloons starting losing air on election night, the right-wing noise machine sprung into action. Another reaction to an NDP victory.

    Gerald Caplan wrote an excellent piece for the Globe in October of 2010, in which he says:

    snip snip: Mr. Rae’s provincial NDP government faced an unrelenting, brutal four-year onslaught that was unprecedented in Canadian history. The attacks came from all sides.

    It is no exaggeration to say hysterical fear-mongering and sabotage was the order of the day. Launched within the very first year of the new government, the attackers included every manner of business big and small, both Canadian and American-owned, almost all private media, the police (especially in Toronto), landlords and lobbying/government relations firms. Their goal was clear, and they had the money and power to achieve it.

    They were determined to undermine the government every step of the way, to frustrate the implementation of its plans and to assure its ultimate defeat. In all three goals they were successful. The considerable achievements of the government – often forgotten or dismissed –were wrought in the face of a deep recession and ferocious obstruction.

    http://pushedleft.blogspot.com/2011/09/fresh-merger-talks-raise-question-is-it.html

    • The Doctor says:

      Yes Nadine, I’m sure the $10 billion deficit in the first NDP budget had nothing to do with people thinking that the NDP were a bunch of incompetent, out of touch idiots. It was all a conspiracy perpetrated by cartoon capitalist villains in black top hats, pencil-thin curled moustaches and black capes.

      • Cam says:

        Not to mention the projected 2012 40 billion federal government deficit under the neo-cons, the 40 to 50 billion deficits under Mulroney, and the 5.6 billion hidden deficit of Harris/Eves. As I recall wasn’t Flaherty the Ontario Finance Ministry at or just before the time the Ontario provincial neo-cons projected a balanced budget when in reality there was a 5.6 billion deficit. Yep got to like the cons con.

  21. a good repost from Margreta Carr – Yes, Bob Rae was premier of Ontario while in the NDP. It is a fact that Jean Chrétien had finally convinced Bob to join the federal Liberals almost 20 years after Rae began his political career. The only mistake Bob made in his career was setting his sights too low: he went provincial instead of federal, and he believed the NDP to be a principled party. The NDP were lucky to have him while they did, and they know it: now they only have Andrea Horwath hoping to survive on a sympathy vote.

    Bob Rae said, if you want to talk about provincial track records – bring it. You won’t hear that from Harris, and all you will hear from Hudak is snivelling evasion, equivocation, and half-truths. And you know what they say: A half-truth is a whole lie. Personally, I would love to see Rae and Harris go head-to-head on their track records, finally the truth about the hell of the Harris legacy, and the falsehoods spread about Rae would be put to rest.

    Consider one single point: the two-bit crowd love to write “Rae days” – but do they even know what it refers to? It refers to mandatory days off that public servants had to take, to control their inflated wages during recession. It was that or have people lose their jobs altogether because they would have to be laid off.

    Do you really think it is better for that “ordinary family” that Hudak claims to champion, to have them lose their livelihood through cutbacks? That’s what it’s all about: cut the jobs.

    It is more of a study of human nature than of political process when a writ is dropped, because people seem to come to “intellectual” conclusions without ever having examined the facts. Never take a moment to find out for themselves if what they are being told is true. Some of the statements I have read and heard from politicians I know to have been barefaced lies.

    As for “not voting for someone who switches to another party,” that would include Jack Layton, who was a Liberal before NDP, and Thomas Mulcair, a former Liberal. The list is endless. It will be interesting to see how Rocco Rossi fares in his new neocon role.

  22. Skinny Dipper says:

    One thing that opponents of Bob Rae can do is to create doubt. The Conservatives do not need Liberal voters to switch to the Conservatives. They just need the Liberal voters to stay home on election day. The Conservatives are good at voter suppression. Bob Rae does have a lot of baggage. The Conservatives will take advantage of Rae’s weakness every chance they get.

  23. Robert says:

    The NCC ripped off that music from the Batman movies. Batman is awesome, ergo Rae is awesome?

  24. Nathan says:

    I wonder if the national citizen’s coalition received permission from daft punk or Dinsey for using music from the Tron Legacy soundtrack?

  25. Kev says:

    “By the National Citizens Coalition”.

    Yet uses the same visual style, typeface, and voiceover, as official Conservative Party ads.

    “By the National Citizens Coalition”.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

  26. Philippe says:

    *YAWN* Who cares. They would run ads against the Dalai Lama. So what?

  27. Tim Sullivan says:

    Why are the Conservatives afraid of him?

  28. Tim Sullivan says:

    How are the producers of the ad allowed to use the Liberal logo without paying for it?

  29. TheSilentObserver says:

    One thing that constantly confuses me is the vitriol that still dogs Rae for his provincial record almost two bleedin’ decades ago whereas the comparatively recent Harris, while still detested by a significant portion of Ontarians, seems to recieve a kid glove by comparison.

  30. Margreta Carr says:

    whoa that Carr chick’s off the hook.

    (cheers, Nadine.)

    Bob Rae’s “disastrous” government of the 90’s saved my ass: I was a single mother with 2 children to feed. Hello Family Responsibility Office – I, and a few thousand other mothers were not left desperate to pay the rent while court applications were filed for support arrears – it was pay the office or get your wages garnisheed, there was no screwing around. And I got student loans and grants enough to finish my BA, which made it possible to provide for my children for the next 15 years. Small investment in 1990 became 15 years’ worth of “hardworking taxpayer family” return on the investment. huge payoff.

    A Nod to Realist, exactly right: Harper is more afraid of Rae than anyone. [Anecdotal evidence, blah, blah…]

    As for a Liberal-NDP merger: I would cut up my membership card before I’d ever belong to an organisation that included the No Discernible Principles party. We’ve already got one smart defector, there’ll be more (and Conservatives) and the NDP will have to figure out how they can still be relevant sometime between now and 2015 and lotsa luck, jackoffs.

    It’s astounding how completely out of touch people are to be talking about Bob Rae this way. He hit the ground running, how do people think we pulled in more delegates than the Cons & NDP *combined* in freaking subzero temperatures, in January (when everybody’s broke) – he set this in motion with the rebuilding of the Liberal.ca site, held coast-to-coast town halls by phone, he engaged, engaged, engaged people. The way some people talk, you’d think it was a mystery, some kind of “Who knew?” phenom like Woodstock.

    And that is why the Cons are worried. And the NDP have already lost.

    • Realist says:

      Great post Margreta. Nice to see some facts injected into the discussion.

    • Self-confessed Raelian says:

      Thank-you Margreta for the excellent post…..I’ll stick with Bob Rae til someone better comes along, and quite frankly…..I dont see that happening……..

  31. Judy Kendle says:

    So if you’re eventually stuck with Rae as the new Liberal leader, how would you counteract all the so-called “baggage”? And ideas, war room guy?

  32. Marc L says:

    His legacy as NDP Premier is one thing. But they will also use the fact that he lied about not seeking the Liberal leadership. I can already see the attack ads: “he lied to his own party…do you think he won’t lie to you?”. Good luck with that.

  33. Jim Hanna says:

    I remember at the Convention bringing up several times that the Anti Rae ads were already cut and waiting (but that was just speculation on my part) I didn’t see them coming out now.

    And I wonder about this strategy, Warren. I agree with you thats what they would do, and the main reason I never supported Rae was the drubbing he would take on his record. But without overthinking this, why are the Tories doing this now, when it would sabatoge his chances at becoming leader? We just finished one of the best conventions in our history, the party is looking strong…and the Tories attack.

    As for his age, Rae will never be elected Prime Minister – we have too much work to do; if he stays he maybe reconsolidates the party into Official Opposition, and then turns it over to a new leader to take it the next step.

    THey are getting afraid. Either way, we have to attack, and attack back hard. And attack back now.

  34. aboucher says:

    I don’t understand who the target audience for these adds are. If Bob Rae has such obvious baggage making him a stinker of a candidate for PM, wouldn’t they want to increase the odds of having us Liberals elect him as our leader by holding off on these attack adds until its fait accompli?

  35. Jim Hanna says:

    Rae set up the response in his closing speech, when he promoted the fact that Liberals don’t come to the table with dogma…here’s how I see a reaction

    1) Rae mea culpa’s raising taxes during a recession/recovery – it was a mistake, it hurt jobs, I admit that – it will never again happen
    2) Point out raising taxes to raise revenue – was an “ideological” left wing response to the revenue issue – and its why he got out of the NDP (solidifies how he learned his lesson , why he left NDP, and backhand slap to NDP
    3) With the payroll tax increases (EI and CPP) the TORIES are raising taxes now during a recovery – THEY DIDN’T LEARN ANYTHING – and payroll taxes kill jobs…

    Irrespective of whether Rae stays on, we need to defend him now; if for no other reason then we’ll have practice when its real. The Democrats who came up from the Obama/Democratic campaigns made it clear, when you have 3-4 years of negatives thrown your way, you cant start reacting during a 40 campaign (that session alone was worth coming up for – and despite living in Montreal for 15 years now, I liked the implication we had to start investing in the West….make the Tories defend that turf, and steal away some Edmonton and Calgary seats)

  36. Sandy says:

    Why is it that so many Liberals think it is the CPC who are producing these ads? Liberal think tanks do it all the time but you don’t allege it is the LPC or ONLP who are doing it? Like, not too long ago in Ontario the Working Families coalition comes to mind.

    Re the Harris record. Many commenters idea of what constitutes destroying Ontario is very strange indeed. I worked for a Harris era MPP (backroom girl as it were). It is pure B.S. to suggest that Harris ruined the province. In fact, it is the exact reverse. Did they do controversial stuff like the amalgamations? Yes they did and I always disagreed with those decisions.

    But, reality check. In four years, the Harris government paid down the NDP $12 billion deficit, got 700,000 back working in good full time jobs and got 100,000 people off welfare (because Rae had made it more financially lucrative to stay home than to work). They also cancelled photo radar and contrary to popular opinion here, increased both education and healthcare spending by billions. The $400 million health care cuts people like to quote were to hospitals where the top brass decided to lay off front line workers rather than administrators. Remember, hospitals are able to do as they wish with the money they receive, unless they are taken over by a provincially supported supervisor. The $400 million was re-allocated to homecare and long-term care, which were starving for money.

    Oh, and the $5 billion deficit McGuinty likes to quote? In the spring of 2003, the Eves PCs had a balanced budget. What happened between then and October when McGuinty won his first mandate was SARS — a one-time epidemic, not mismanagement!

    So, spare the anti-Harris rhetoric. During the recent Ontario election, I wrote frequently that Hudak should embrace the Harris legacy and I still feel he should have done that because too many believe the exaggerations and outright lies.

    One thing about Harris though, love him or hate him, he kept his promises and he never lied. Rae wrote only a little while ago that he would NOT run for the permanent Liberal leadership. I like the man personally. I have watched him perform in the Ontario legislature. He is a brilliant politician. But, as the head of a government, he failed miserably and we don’t need to watch him do to Canada what he allowed to happen to Ontario.

    Just sayin. The NCC is not the CPC. If the CPC wanted to put out ads, they would. Frankly, I think they will wait until after 2013. Some call the Ignatieff ads negative ads. Actually they weren’t. They just showed what he had actually said or done, like blowing kisses to journalists. Deja vu on Saturday I am told.

    Before I am hounded for being a Conservative partisan, let me say that I am a former Liberal. I attended the Liberal convention in Ottawa in 1968 and was a PET supporter. What a time that was? Electric hardly begins to describe the room when he won! Plus, I voted three times for former PM Chretien.

    I am, in other words, one of those former Liberal supporters that changed sides based on who is party leader and what parties do and say. And, there are millions like me. And, putting Rae at the helm will not bring me back. A former astronaut won’t either. Another Trudeau? No. Now, say the names John Manley, Frank McKenna or even Martha Hall Findlay and I would sit up and listen. Plus, there also has to be a vision of Canada that does not sound NDP. Legalizing pot is all that really came out of the weekend — a long way from vision about the economy, the military, the justice system and social justice.

    Thank you Warren for allowing my comment. We may be on different sides at the moment, but I respect you.

    • ben burd says:

      “But, reality check. In four years, the Harris government paid down the NDP $12 billion deficit, got 700,000 back working in good full time jobs and got 100,000 people off welfare”

      No disagreement there but why did it happen? Because there was a bloody boom after the bust – Dickhead

      • Sandy says:

        Ben Burd — Why must you resort to personal attacks? Dickhead? Why? Because you think the only reason there was a boom between 1995 and 1999 is because the Harris government lucked in somehow. So, why did they have to make hard decisions? Just to be nasty? Would you say the Chretien gov’t paid down the deficit simply because they suddenly came upon good times? No to either. They balanced the budgets the Hard way. Cutting expenses and in the Liberal case, using EI surpluses. Harris did it by lowering taxes and opening Ontario up for business and investment. Why is that when it is Liberals who turn things around, it is their good management skills and brilliant governance. But when it is a conservative government, they just got lucky because it was a boom that just happened to come along at the right time?

        Oh, and one more thing, in 2002, the Ontario portion of our taxes was 34% of the federal. When Bob Rae’s NDP left office, it was 58%. It’s probably back at that rate, or close to it, again. That was not due to any unexpected boom, it was due to pro-business and lower tax government policies — meaning $2000 more in the average person’s bank account — who spend it on new houses, new furniture, home improvements. Another thing, when you have 700,000 more people working and who are paying taxes, even when the rate is reduced, you end up with more revenue.

        It was those policies that brought about the 1999 so-called boom. And, there was nothing dickhead about that!

        Anyway, it’s unlikely I’ll change anyone’s opinion on these issues. I simply wanted to say that if you want former Liberals to come back, you have to do better than Bob Rae, no matter how nice a guy he is or how capable he is as a speaker. I mean, frankly, there is no one more glib than he is. But, he can’t renew the Liberal party around because he represents his own dark past. And, that is sad because Canada needs too strong national parties, Liberal and Conservative. Each being a government in waiting which keeps them both on their toes. And, why it is my hope that the Liberal Party is able to get passed the NDP next time around.

        Either one of the McGuinty brothers? Not likely. Martha Hall Findlay? Perhaps. Hidden in plain site.

    • Philip says:

      No mention of Dudley George or Walkerton I see. Those happened on the Harris watch. Harris and his boys wrecked Ontario, which is why he ran away like a little bitch and left Eves to carry the weight. So nice try, you can piss on people’s shoes all you want but you are going to have a hard time telling them it’s rain.

      • Sandy says:

        Philip — Does Caledonia come to mind? The reason nothing is done there of any consequence is because McGuinty does not want another Ipperwash. Well, tell that to some who have been beat up in the Caledonia area. In other words, sometimes Premier’s and PM’s have little control over what happens on their watch and they deal with the hand was dealt them. Walkerton? A tragedy that only happened because two employees falsified records. That may be politically incorrect to mention, but it is reality. Read up on it if you don’t know.

        How am I pissing on anyone’s shoes?

        As Warren says in reply to another comment, I am just giving my opinion or explained what I know to have happened at any given time.

        You have a good day too!

        • Philip says:

          I am having a good day, thanks for asking.

          Are you seriously comparing a beating in Caledonia to an OPP sniper putting a 7.62 mm round through an unarmed Dudley George? I am not comfortable with the notion that any level of government in Canada believing it to be OK to shoot it’s unarmed citizens. Or is it just OK if Conservative governments do it? Anything to get those Indians out of the park, I suppose.

          That’s an odd thing to say about the Walkerton tragedy. Particularly since the Walkerton Commission of Inquiry saw things a little differently. I direct you to Chapters 9 through 11 of the Commission’s report. The balance of responsibility in the tragedy rests squarely on the Koebel brothers but the Harris government played a supporting role, particularly in the front line staff cuts at the M.O.E. It’s good to see you give your boy a free pass though.

          That’s the nice thing about being a Conservative, there is alway someone else to blame when things go pear shaped.

      • Sandy says:

        Sorry Philip, my response to your comment was put just above. It really is too bad that we can’t debate civilly anymore — on either side.

        • Sandy says:

          Warren, please delete my comment to Philip at 3:24pm. It wasn’t needed.

          • George says:

            I really wish that people would stop reliving and rewriting political histories from days gone bye. This is 2012 folks and nothing is the same as it was. Stick a cork in it kids and try keeping up to the times and discussing what we can change instead of what we can NOT.

            As an adult I can’t stand being lectured to by either side.

  37. Mulletaur says:

    Arguing over the relative merits and demerits of the record in government of a 63 year old former NDP leader doesn’t exactly scream ‘renewal’, does it ?

    • Jan says:

      Neither does infighting. This is why I come close to joining the party and then the bitchfest starts up again and forget it.

      • Mulletaur says:

        And you reckon that any other political party anywhere is different ? Because all political parties have infighting. It comes with the territory : politics. If you are not able to face up to that, then you’re right, politics, and being a member of a political party, is not for you.

  38. Anne Peterson says:

    Yesterday I was just imagining creepy little people in the conservative back rooms spending their time digging through the lives of all the liberal and NDP canadidates looking for things that can be twisted into lies to turn Canadian against them. Time for a lesson for Stephen Harper and his icky people and boy is there a lot of stuff in his background to use. The last elections have proven that most politicians in Canada are not nearly as nasty or unethical as Harper conservatives. What a moral dilemma is this! Become as nasty and horrible as possible or lose.

    • George says:

      you don’t have to imagine it Anne. It’s already been done and waiting for the day when Rae is Liberal leader. When Gerard Kennedy handed Dion the leadership crown, it was Rae the CPC and their war room were prepared for. Everything that’s happened between then and now is all more fodder. I can see the ads now. Visual of Bob Rae jumping bare-assed into a lake with Rick Mercer, with Rae’s own voice-over from the leadership debate. Soooo much to choose from with Rae.

      As I said before the CPC have proven to be better students of The War Room than have the Liberals. You’d think that having the guy who wrote the book on-side, the LPOC would clue in and take a few lessons themselves.

  39. Craig says:

    The reason why the CPC would see a benefit in attacking Rae now is that (for now) he is the Leader of the LPC and the CPC does not want to see the LPC gain momentum and once again be seen as the alternative government in waiting.

    Rather, Harper’s plan all along is to try and have the NDP replace the LPC as a polarized electorate benefits the CPC.

  40. Ted H says:

    Bob Rae’s deficit, a product of then current economic times has been eclipised by the Conservative deficit, even after the Liberals left them with a full tank of gas. Rae days were not popular but at least they were an attempt to avoid massive layoffs, a policy created by a human, not by an economist.

  41. George says:

    What you all are forgetting is that the CPC right now don’t have to do a thing to frame Rae. The LPOC and the continued squabbling is doing it nicely all by itself. The CPC have no reason whatsoever to spend time on Rae.

    Self-destruct at will.

  42. Blair says:

    Rae is like the skipper of the Italian cruise ship.

    • Self-confessed Raelian says:

      Yeah, like he sailed HMS Liberal into the political rocks of 34 seats, and then promptly abandoned ship without accounting for passengers and crew….

      Mr.Rae has stayed on course, navigated some difficult waters, and has proven to be a master of the good ship Liberal….

      He is nothing like that sorry ass excuse for a skipper of the Italian cruise ship, sorry……

  43. Wendy Peters says:

    Most of the accusations the cons have levied at Rae could be listed under the Harper government’s dirty deeds. The only difference is that Bob Rae had and still has a big heart but that of Harper and Co. has long since stopped beating. Besides, that was then and this is now. Rae has some bold ideas. Harper is cruel. That’s the main difference.

  44. dave says:

    Who’s the leader? Who’s the leader?
    Who’s # 1? Who is the winner?
    Winner takes all. So who’s the leader?
    I caught only a little of Don Tapscott’s talk on CPAC. There he suggested that newspapers, radio and tv are industrial age technologies, and that interactive techs (like this blog) might be the way to look at things, and operate things today.
    I remember in the early 1980’s when the Sandinistas were first ruling their newly freed Nicaragua, they did so with a committee of 13 (I think) people, with no ‘first among equals’ in there. The Nrth American media, it seemed to me, was in panic trying to pick out one ‘star’ that they could use as the leader of the government in Nicaragua.
    Present federal government seems so old fashioned because it is so obviously a one man show.
    But one leader does make it easy for the tv/radio/newsprint media to keep up…and cheaply, too. That is likely why they keep asking everyone the same question: “Running for leader? Are you? Areyouareyouareyou?”
    Maybe a year of letting leadersip arguments go would be ok, and concentrate on what is coming in the next few decades would be another way to go forward. Build a member base, review liberalism in the 21st Century, apply it problems and possibilities…maybe even consider whether a review of our electoral system and our Westminster Parliamentary system to be more democratic, more able to work for more of us, would be a useful way to expend energy and resources.
    Forget Rae for while…he’s doing a good job for you. Don’t undermine him.

  45. Christian Giles says:

    Warren, I completely sympathize with your position – Bob Rae has baggage, steamer trunks of baggage. But what potential leadership candidate does/will not have baggage? Yes some candidates will have less but that will not stop the Cons from running negative ads. I think the main issue is not whether we can find a candidate that will not have baggage but whether we can find a candidate that can effectively RESPOND to the inevitable ads that will come. In this regard I think Rae has some talent and strengths. From what I’ve seen so far (and its early days admittedly) he’ll engage head on and maybe just maybe fire back by highlighting some of Harper’s not insignificant amount of baggage. Anyway, I’m prepared to wait and see how this thing shakes out and will keep my options and mind open.

    Cheers!

    Christian

    • Warren says:

      Thanks, Christian. It’s a question of degree. Everyone has some unhelpful skeletons in the closet, as you say. But in Rae’s case, he’s got Jurassic Park crammed into multiple storage lockers.

      It’s gonna be ugly.

  46. JH says:

    Personally I hardly think demonizing Bob Rae, as some on here do, is the LPC’s solution to it’s problems and demonizing the CPC or Harper as most are wont to do as well, is to miss the point.
    Many of you are simply feeding off each other’s hate in both cases, while ignoring folks that are making good points, that could help the LPC in what it needs to do. In both cases it seems to me, some of you need to take an enema, cleanse yourselves and move on positively. You don’t convince the unconvinced or win elections with a negative approach. And the nastiness just turns folks off

  47. Bob Bruce says:

    I think that Bob Rae is a brilliant politician, however his fiscal policies devastated Ontario, and is as far as I can tell still a Dipper, although (the late) Jack wasn’t about to turn over the party to Rae. We need a Liberal party not necessarily to be the Government unless the Conservatives screw up, but to be a forceful and thoughtful centrist opposition. It’s time for younger Liberals, e.g. Leblanc, to come forward to lead, and implement fiscal policies that are realistic in the context of the world economics. Bob’s talented, but [well] past his Best Before date.

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