Steelcitygrit [in exile]

Ruminating on all things Canadian and political.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

clearing up the Rae debate

I'm willing to get past this donations issue soon, but first the slavish apologists require a response. This is not an issue of loyalty, or party fealty. Not at all. This is a values issue, in a practical sense.

In both the '06 and '04 elections, I chose the Liberal option. I didn't do it out of instinctual adherence to the Red and White. I didn't do it because I was auditioning for a job. I did it on principle because I believed it the party most capable of governing.

Bob Rae chose the NDP option. We can assume he did so on principle; he's a principled man. The NDP was closer to his political vision a few months ago then was the Liberal Party. That puts us fundamentally at odds.

It makes no sense not to take that into account.

- Mike (SCG)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Liberals ran a good candidate here in London, I was sad to see him lose.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Skip said...

Are you forgetting that he donated to the Liberals as well? Or did that slip your mind?

8:37 AM  
Blogger Herb said...

Exactly. Rae wasn't a candidate last January. He donated money to people he considered his friends. Some were Liberals and some were NDPers.

(I note that one of the latter repaid the favour by slamming him in today's Globe. Which just goes to show that Bob's more honourable than his old colleagues and made the right decision.)

This is really a mountain being made out of a molehill. Perhaps we could get back to focusing on substance?

8:59 AM  
Blogger Liberal Wise said...

Rae made leadership the theme of his campaign so what kind of leader is he?

He not only donated money to the NDP in the last election and refused to put up a Liberal sign when asked, a mere month before flipping to the Liberals.

But he was also campaigning over the summer on the imperative need to amend the constitution to recognize Quebec as a nation, a mere month before flipping to the no constitutional amendment side when he saw Ignatieff take the lead on that issue.

Does he stand for anything besides winning?

9:17 AM  
Blogger Herb said...

Also, it's not entirely accurate -- in fact it's not accurate at all -- to say that Rae "chose the NDP option" in 2006. He had already broken with the NDP very publicly years before. He didn't repudiate that break. He didn't endorse the NDP. He didn't even slam Paul Martin -- and not even some prominent longtime Liberals can say that.

So if you're going to make a big deal about this, you should at least be fair in doing so.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own said...

I tend to think this whole thing's been WAY overblown.

Rae donated money to the campaigns of his FRIENDS in 2006, both Liberal and New Democrat. He supported INDIVIDUALS he knew, liked and trusted. Many of whom served in government with him.

So he wouldn't put up a Liberal sign when asked. So what? He didn't have an NDP sign up either, did he?

I don't think Rae chose an "option" at all in '06. He chose to support his friends, and those he knew well and trusted, INDIVIDUALLY regardless of party affiliation. To me, that's to be applauded, not criticized. There are MANY Canadians who support candidates based upon who the candidate is, and what the candidate stands for, and not just what party they belong to. As Liberal leader, Rae would have different obligations. But to me, short of donations to idealogues on the far left or right whom Rae barely knows, these donations from 2006 are less than meaningless.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

...refused to put up a Liberal sign when asked, a mere month before flipping to the Liberals.

Wasn't he still under contract to the government at the time, and required to be publically non-partisan?

10:37 AM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

I don't give a damn if he donated to Liberals as well. I chose the Liberal option in Hamilton Centre - where I live. He donated to Christopherson. I wrote in vocal support of the Liberal option in London Fanshawe. He donated to Mathyesson - who refuses even to condone what he did. Those are two INDIVIDUALS he supported - and two INDIVIDUALS I opposed. Two INDIVIDUALS I heartily opposed, because I think they are ridiculous candidates and make ridiculous MPs. What aren't you getting?

If he didn't choose the NDP option in those two ridings (and elsewhere), then he was acting very unprincipled in providing material support for those campaigns.

OH WAIT - I get it! He was looking after friends instead of worrying about the bigger picture, about the practical impact those friends would have on governance in Canada. Geez - what was I so concerned with? Surely (despite all that recent stuff about culture of entitelement, unprincipled management, patronage) Canadians will understand that Liberals have a responsibility to look after their friends first and Canada second.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much money did Ignatieff donate to the Liberal Party in the last election?

11:16 AM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:17 AM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

Oh bravo, anonymous. I don't give a damn about Ignatieff because we are talking about Bob Rae. Show me where Ignatieff or Kennedy or Brison or Dion or etc. donated money to campaigns that I personally competed with and I will say the same things about them. That's a promise.

11:19 AM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

Was it "slavish apologists" that you didn't like?

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob Rae has sold out to the old Liberal establishment and Toronto business establishment some time ago, accepting their board appointments and becoming a bit of a "John Turner" in retirement.

I guess he was feeling guilty a bit and that's why he still had to pay up to the NDP during the last campaign.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rae is an opportunistic "gigalo".

Promise me something and I will pretend to be faithful - you know, make me an offer I can't refuse.

Rae said he donated to friends he liked and trusted. Now, new rumour is that he donated to Ignatieff (for MP or leadership, I don't know) but if he did, then he was indirectly endorsing Ignatieff. If he did, thank you Mr. Rae.

1:48 PM  
Blogger NappyGuy said...

1. Bob Rae states his reason for running is: "I want to beat the pants off Stephen Harper", NOT "I want to lead the great Liberal Party"
2. Bob Rae quotes Tommy Douglas in a Liberal leadership debate.
3. Bob Rae donates money to multiple NDP candidates in a very close election race mere months before he enters the Liberal race.

1+2+3= political opportunist who doesn't seem to care much about the Liberal Party other than as a vehicle for his own ambition.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Zac said...

How much money did Ignatieff donate to the Liberal Party in the last election?

How much money did Ignatieff donate to the NDP is a better question to ask.

The issue isn't donations that Rae made to the Liberal party, but rather to the amount he provided to opposing parties.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

What nonesense. THis isn't an issue of subtance, but Ignatieff's place of residence (of course convienantly forgetting Britain over US for many years) is? Ignatieff's liking an American baseball team is? Ignatieff's use of pronounes is? What nonesense!

And what substance? Are you kiddding/ THis blog is about substance almost every single post and its very interesting that despite professing to care so much (we have gone into detail on teh constitutional question since last march before anyone was talking about it) the only time I see the people saying that chime in here is on the only issue they deem to have no substance. And what substance is that? Rae's endorsement of constitutional change over a lifetime and as recently as this summer, and then his complete turnaround to bamboozle voters into thinking he is somehow the saviour of Trudeau, a man he made a career mocking?

The fact is all those things, such as choosing a candidate they liked better are entirely different when you are running to be the leader! Didn't put a sign up? That is bad, he wasnts to be the LEADER. That implies a commitment that is so deep, that involves feeling the party "in your bones" as Rae now says about the country.
And as Mike says those individuals robbed us, particularly Mathyssen of an outstanding Liberal candidate in Glen Pearson.

I dont' exagerrate I don't think this made those races win or whatever some people are saying and I'm not calling for him to step down or some such thing but Steelcitygrit is not picking at nothing here. Especially after the time we have spent refuting inane comments on other candidates.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Herb said...

I've posted a lot about this all over the place and I'm concerned that it's becoming too big a pissing match. I'm really not interested in fighting with my new colleagues in the Liberal party, so here's my last thought on it and then I'll be done.

It's not exactly a secret that Rae used to be an NDPer. Nor is it exactly a secret that he broke very publicly with the party. If you've seen him speak during this campaign, you've heard him say that he has lots of friends in the NDP. That's only natural. I assume Brison still has a few Tory friends.

My view is that the NDP is becoming increasingly irrelevant as a progressive alternative to the Tories, and its members seem hell-bent on speeding that process along. But it won't happen overnight. I would *like* to see more people on the centre-right of the NDP come over to the Liberals. Wouldn't you? I think it would be a really good thing for both parties, and I think it would have the potential to eradicate the vote-splitting that works against both of those parties in places like Hamilton or Toronto-Spadina.

Mike, don't you think it's possible that with Rae as leader, a significant chunk of the NDP vote in Hamilton -- enough to make a difference where it counts -- would come over our side?

You may say: fair enough, but in that case Rae should pay his dues in the party before running for leader. I understand that argument, but I have two arguments against it:

1) Electing a leader who directly embodies that effort to "unite the centre-left" (to coin a phrase) might help speed up the process;

2) I really do believe that out of all the candidates, Rae is the one who would be most effective in beating Harper and bringing back a LIberal government, sooner rather than later. I have nothing against Dion or Kennedy or Dryden. I just think Rae is an experienced politician who can do the hard job of going head-to-head with the Tories better than they can.

So that's it. I'm not asking you to agree with me, but I am asking you to think about it.

2:58 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

I agree with most of your last post Herb. I also would love to see more New Democrats migrating to this party - and not just for the political logistics of it. I am glad that Rae is now a Liberal. I don't even think that he needs to pays his dues. I want our party to reward promise, rather than longevitiy.

My issue, at its simplest, is that Bob Rae demonstrated support for individuals with whom I don't share a political vision. That shouldn't be a decisive issue, it certainly shouldn't be reason for him to step down as leader, but it is substantive.

I'm willing to drop this issue now, but I think it has shown legs for a reason.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Herb said...

SCG: Fair enough. I would probably feel similarly if I were in your shoes.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous burlivespipe said...

You make it sound like he personally attacked you because you supported the Liberal candidates in those ridings. Unfortunately, I think your real gripe is with those who voted for the candidates (and Paul Martin's team for running such a piss-poor campaign) but if you can't accept his supporting friends and colleagues, then I guess you really must be important. Can't oppose you or feel that wrath of Khan!

11:09 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:48 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Its no pissing match, or at least it doesn't have to be. The question that you miss, that from our perspective is a problem, is that this, along with Rae's comment "I did that long before I ran for leadership" (which was a period of a few short months) seems to indicate that he is partly a Liberal so much because he has a chance to be leader. At least to me, obviously not to you. It never was a question of outsiders in etc., it is how much is this dedication based on opportunism, ie. reshape the party in your image and who wouldn't want in. Like Mike said, how well does the vision fit with our vision of the Liberal party. It would make no sense to not stand up now, in a time of leadership competition, and say no we believe this signifies a divergence of vision than has been stated, one that we disagree with (such as "supporting great people" but in his judgement seeing them as superior to candidates who's viewpoints we specificaly preferred-especially GLen Pearson for me).

His comment I mentioned before, that he thinks that's an excuse, "oh well I wasn't running for leader then so why should it matter" is exactly the problem. Of course we take different views on this, but with someone who due to their past opens this question already, its not illogical to be concerned. That's really all I have to say too.

Burlivespipe, that comment makes no sense other than to take some sort of dig. Herb-I would point out to you that it is this sort of comment that attempts a pissing match.

1:50 AM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

What an embarassing comment on the part of Burlivespipe. As much as I hope that on some level he realizes how badly he has missed the point, it really doesn't merit a response.

10:53 AM  

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