Where will Bob Rae lead the Liberal Party?

In case you did not think that headline question was rhetorical, the answer is: nowhere.  The Liberal Party of Canada is not Bob Rae’s party to take anywhere.  When his couple of years as interim leader are finished, the party will still be very much in evidence in Ottawa and hopefully across Canada. Rae’s role is to encourage the party to use the opportunity during his time as caretaker to rethink and realign liberalism in this country.  He can help but it would be best for him to do it in a passive role.

The very fact of his previous life as a failed NDP Premier of Ontario will be useful.  His leadership position will help to cleanse the Liberal Party of Canada of the extremes of its right wing.  There is a Conservative Party that will welcome these misfits and the Liberal Party can more clearly define itself on the centre-left of the political spectrum.

The party never needed the Paul Martin’s and his ilk that thought they were smart to campaign on the left and then rule on the right.  The public quickly saw through Martin and his right-wing Liberals and said if they were going to have right-wing government, they would opt for Harper and the real thing.

But there is a desperate need in this country for a party of the centre-left.  That is the opportunity for liberalism.  It is an opportunity for a party with a social conscience, a concern for freedom of the individual, a party of equal rights for all, a party that says business serves the consumer first, that says government serves the citizen first, and ensures that we have courts that deliver justice to the citizen.  It has to be a political party that protects the environment for our now and future citizens.  It has to be a party, not dominated by unions, but that works for fairness for all workers.

Creating this new centre-left liberalism is not going to occur like magic.  It will take some years of hard work.  There will be missteps and confusion.  It has to start with the members of the Liberal Party taking over the power in the party from the Ottawa coterie.  This requires the recognition that the real power in the party resides in each electoral district.  The Leader’s office, with Rae temporarily filling the role, only runs the caucus.  The Caucus chose Rae as interim leader and they should work with him.  The Liberal Party members have a lot more important work to do.

We will keep you posted.

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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