Monday, October 1, 2007

Listen To Bob

I’ve always liked Bob Rae.

He’s just a likable guy - intelligent, affable, articulate. I liked him when I voted for him as Premier. I liked him even after he and his former party managed to bankrupt Ontario (ok, c'mon - the recession didn’t help). I really liked him when he ran for the Liberal leadership. I might have even voted for him had I been there.

I especially like what Bob Rae just wrote for the Globe & Mail today:
Why something called the spending power matters

When Stephen Harper was president of the National Citizens Coalition, he signed a manifesto known as the "firewall" letter: Keep the federal government out of Alberta, and let the province run its own affairs.

Whether firewalls or watertight compartments - that the federal government and the provinces live in their own worlds and never the twain shall meet - Canada's leaders have been engaged for generations in an ongoing discussion about who does what.

What's different today is that, for the first time in our history, we have a prime minister and a cabinet talking openly about giving up the game for the federal government.

You may recall my post on this very subject last week, when Stephane Dion warned that this would be an issue in the upcoming Throne Speech. Rae goes into far more detail, and his arguments are dead on.
Whether introduced by Conservatives (progressive or otherwise) or Liberals (in majority or minority governments), our history as a country has been marked by moments of a pan-Canadian vision led by federal governments with the support of Parliament and people.

This is what Mr. Harper wants to end, either by constitutional amendment or federal-provincial agreement. For the first time, we have a national party - the Harper Conservatives - ideologically committed to a fundamentalist misreading of our history and Constitution, and a separatist party only too happy to reduce the Canadian government to a marginal role, just before, in their sad dreams, it disappears altogether.

Go read the whole thing, and then decide if the Liberals shouldn’t just bring these bastards down. Immediately.


  1. Mr. Rae, Then Premier Rae, in 1990 - 1991 was having to deal with an economy which was totally hollowed out by the FTA. Mulroney made NO PROVISION FOR DISPLACEMENT AND JOB LOSSES when the Americans repatriated their Canadian manufacturing operations. Had it not been for Premier Rae and his Labour Minister, none of the 600 employees at our plant would have had a pension to cling to. Mr. Rae threatened to seize their assets in order to force them to fund their pension obligations in Canada. It worked ... and although we're not much above subsistence, we can survive simply because of his aggressive handling of a very bad situation. I like and respect Mr. Rae and I do think he will be a valuable performing member of LPOC. Howard [Hammy the Hamster]Hampton still maintains a strong dislike for Mr. Rae because Mr. Rae did not 'tumble' for public auto insurance.

  2. In today's op-ed, Bob Rae also wrote this:

    Canadians who want their federal government to support early childhood education, decent housing, cities that work, a healthy environment, new initiatives in health care, more mobility for students, better research and stronger universities should be appalled at this emasculation.

    In fact, Canadians who believe in a federal role in the areas Bob Rae mentions should also be appalled by the record of the party he so recently sought to lead.

    'Early Childhood Education'?

    It was the Liberals who repeatedly broke their promises on a national child care programme, election after election, and left Canada dead last in the developed world in terms of spending on ECE, according to OECD numbers cited in the Early Years II report issued earlier this year.

    'A healthy environment'?

    Please. Greenhouse gas emissions ballooned under the Liberals, who signed on to Kyoto with no plan to implement its requirements.

    'Mobility for students'?

    Under years of Liberal government, students became more mobile all right--moving faster and deeper into debt thanks to years of Liberal underinvestment in post-secondary education.

    'Decent housing' ?

    Look at the Liberal record on this issue: it was under their watch that Canada became the only developed country in the world without a serious national housing plan. Thanks to Paul Martin, tax cuts--of which he and his colleagues routinely boasted--took precedence over federal investments in housing, even while as many as 2 million Canadians lacked secure and affordable housing.

    It is simply shameful, given the record of his party, that Bob Rae would pose as the defender of federal efforts in so many areas in which the Liberals have done so much harm during their time in office.

  3. Well....Mr Stephen Harper did say this in 1994:

    "Whether Canada ends up with one national government or two governments or 10 governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangement of any future country may be."

    - Stephen Harper in a 1994 National Citizens Coalition speech.

    It's just another way to actually make that dream happen.