Ontariobane: Bob Rae
it’s official. Bob Rae – one of the most singularly hated men in
Ontario provincial politics is making his run at the leadership of
Liberal Party of Canada. And if he wins, the Tories are all but assured of a second term in office. What astonishes me about this development is that his entry would be tantamount to Brian Mulroney attempting to make a compback in any theatre of provincial politics. Is there signle province anywhere in Canada (or territory for that matter) where that man could suceed as leader of a major political party?
And once the spotlight is on Rae, the result will be the same.
So what are Rae’s chances? Beyond the controversial leadership of Ontario’s provincial government, he’s recently lead an inquiry in the Air India bombing and involved at a family-level with the Jean Chrètien campaigns of yesteryear. His brother, John, was a key organizer in Ontario and it’s thought could put the Chrètien machine to work for Rae there.
But regardless of "the Liberal machine" (which ought not be underestimated), there’s still Rae’s own presistent unpopularity. And none of his subsequent accomplishments, which have ameliorated his image somewhat, can completely erase the damage to his image here in Ontario. In short, there’s probably just too much work for any campaign machinery – no matter how well-oiled – to get him the support he’ll need in Ontario to become PM.
And it will be interesting indeed to see if the Chrètien machinery gets him through the leadership process with the obvious knowledge of these facts on the minds of delegates.
Notably absent from CBC TV’s list of leadership hopefuls is former Trudeau cabinet minister & policy disciple, Lloyd Axwrothy of Winnipeg, MB. Why Axworthy has not been approached or thought of as a possible candidate given his relatively young age and former prominence in the nation’s political theatre isn’t clear – other than he’s likely not expressed any interest whatsoever in the job.
Not that this stopped others from being appraoched, but then – Axworthy’s not from "down east" is he? Amd Ottawa still might be recovering from having a prime minister from Alberta, which hasn’t happened in the lifetime of most of the electorate.
Also formerly a minister of numerous portfoloios in past Canadian governments, a nobel peace price nominee, and author, Axworthy is presently serving as Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg and, as of this month was also serving as part of Canada’s observer delegation to the OAS for national elections in Peru.